Big Bear Oktoberfest brings tradition and chicken hats to SoCal


(L to R) Veronica, Carissa and Juan Moneada have been attending Big Bear’s Oktoberfest for three years. Photo by Giuliana Mayo.

Big Bear Lake has held an Oktoberfest for 53 years. It began as a way to draw tourists between summer and winter to sustain local restaurants and hotels. Now it’s grown to a nine-week event that is expected to draw 25,000 people from across SoCal. Log sawing contests, stein-carrying contests, and the chicken dance are all a part of the scene.

Big Bear Oktoberfest’s mountaintop events will be taking place every weekend through November 4.

The Bohemian Street Musicians are playing Big Bear Oktoberfest for their third year. Photo by Giuliana Mayo.

Alicia Jimenez is selling merchandise for the first time this year at Oktoberfest while also looking for “an appropriate man in lederhosen.” Photo by Giuliana Mayo.

Shirley Thorne and her friends come to Oktoberfest for all things chicken dance. Photo by Giuliana Mayo.

A reveler gets his child in on the chicken-themed attire early. Photo by Giuliana Mayo.

Dave Johnson has attended Big Bear Oktoberfest since 1981 and has the pin collection on his hat to prove it. Photo by Giuliana Mayo.

Ashley Sanford is bartending at Oktoberfest, her drink of choice? The Jägermeister bloody mary. Photo by Giuliana Mayo.

Some of the many steins on offer at Oktoberfest. Photo by Giuliana Mayo.