October 9, 2015

Deana Carter, Kiefer Sutherland Band at Cave

Country superstar Deana Carter highlights a busy schedule at The Cave Big Bear as it continues to present top tier performers in an intimate mountain setting—cozy ticket prices too.

Carter’s October 24 concert has been eagerly anticipated for a year now as the multiple Grammy-nominated singer performs just feet away from the audience. She’s had three number one hits including "Strawberry Wine" and her debut album Did I Shave My legs for This? sold over five million copies, thrusting her onto the country scene. Some 14 hits later, including Grammy-nominated "We Danced Anyway" and "How Do I Get There" plus other Top 20 tunes, prove her career is still in full gear, even after taking a pause for parenting duties.

Evidenced by the tune "You and Tequila" recorded by Kenny Chesney which received Grammy and Country Music Association nominations for Best Song. The latest release by Carter, daughter of late famed studio guitarist and producer Fred Carter Jr.., "Southern Way of Life," has been well received, reflecting her unique country approach on tunes like "I’ll Save My Love For You" but also sprinkled with retro-rock at times with an 80’s sound a la Blondie or The Cars. like on "You Can’t Stay." Tickets start at $30.

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October 7, 2015

Aspen Grove Show Goes On, in a Couple Years

The flames that roared through here, incinerating everything and cancelling this year’s annual autumn aspen show, will make for better fall color displays in the coming years.

That’s the message Steve Alarid of the Forest Service is trying to impart on this late September day, and I can see it. Summer’s Lake fire came through one of only two naturally-occurring aspen groves in Southern California and removed everything, from conifers like pine trees to the quaking aspens to the sign marking the entrance into the San Gorgonio Wilderness, leaving just a barbecued piece of lumber though some lettering can still be made out.

Everything, save for gurgling Fish Creek that because of the fire is flowing better in this drought year than I would have expected, is blackened. Yet already hardy aspens are returning, most of them admittedly just a foot or two high, but still their green presence in the Moon-like landscape is a welcome reminder that popular Aspen Grove, closed for the next year or so after the inferno, will be back.

Not in time for this year’s color show, when the aspens turn yellow and amber in a seasonal display fit for the Midwest and East Coast, and probably not for a couple years more. “These are juvenile stems,” Alarid says of branches sticking out of charcoal, popping out of an extensive root system that was protected from flames above. ”They won’t really change color till they get older, maybe a couple years or so.”

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October 5, 2015

2015 Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest Specials

The 45th annual 2015 Big Bear Oktoberfest is well underway and there's severl deals and discounts availble to help you save a buck when you cluck.

Start by picking or clicking up the October 2015 edition of Big Bear Today magazine, available in town at fine lodges, hotels, motels, private home rentals and other high traffic locations including restaurants, shops and more. Clip out the coupon for FREE Sunday adult admission and save up to $9! Kids get infor free on Sundays too so the whole family can get into Oktoberfest free of charge and enjoy music and dancing in the mountains. Sundays are family days with face painting for the kids, bounce house, contests and more.

Speaking of coupons, the official Big Bear Oktoberfest magazine features 10% off all Action Tours including Ziplining, Segway rentals, Tree Climbing and Action Flyboarding tours. Or use it for savings on Action Snowshoe Tours during mountain romps during winter after the snow arrives--and with El Nino forecast there could be a lot of snow to play in! Or save $50 on a two night stay in a premium vacation cabin rental from Big Bear Cool Cabins--use the online Oktoberfest discount promo code OKTOBFREE (certain restrictions apply).

2015 Oktoberfest souvenir magazine has more coupons too. Like from Alpine Slide, where guests can enjjoy a round of miniature golf on the Putt `N Around course plus go-kart rental for just $8. Stay four nights in a vacation home or cabin rental from Big Bear Getaway and get two free Oktoberfest tickets (other discounts available on shorter stays in cluding pay for two, stay three night deals and more.

And don't miss the ad from Century 21 Bonnie Blue real estate which has listings in all price ranges if you decide to purchase your own slice of Big Bear heaven. There are cabins and cottages available in all price ranges in Big Bear, starting at well under $100,000 and up! Call (909) 866-7538.

October 1, 2015

Home Tour Decked Out for Fall, Holidays

See four distinct Big Bear homes in lavish fall decor with a hint of the holidays when the 37th annual Soroptimists Hearth and Home Tour is held on its new autumn date on Saturday, October 3.

Guests can soak up Big Bear’s fall foliage as they delight in viewing extraordinary homes decorated with inspiration from the colors, sights, sounds and aromas of autumn. Big Bear is recognized as one of the places in Southern California to see the season as oaks and aspens change color and combine to create a sea of gold, crimson, amber and yellow visuals throughout town and the surrounding hillsides.

Each home on the tour features a different theme, like “Fall Harvest,” “Thanksgiving,” “Old-Fashioned Holiday” and “Christmas.” The residences sport their own unique charm and a professionally decorated for a one-of-a-kind experience. Hosts at each home point out interesting facts and features. The tour is an inspiring, fun thing to do sure to get guests into the fall and holiday spirit.

At each stop on the elf-guided tour guests are treated to a delight array of homemade breads such as pumpkin, zucchini, apple spice and banana along with hot apple cider and coffee. Hosts also will offer decorating tips for the fall and holiday seasons.

Ticket books for the tour, held 9 a.m.-3 p.m., are $25 and can be purchased at Big Bear Visitors Center, Little Green House, Interiors, Union Bank, Village Sweet Shop and Fox Farm Antiques. Participants are given directions to the homes and go at their own pace.

Call (909) 585-7037 or visit www.SIofBigBearValley.org.

September 23, 2015

Hee Haw Honeys Stick Together for PAC Show

Both started out in the kornfield on the weekly television show “Hee Haw,” cracking corny jokes before moving on to prominent careers that led to prominent roles and gold records.

Now Misty Rowe and Barbi Benton are returning to their roots, teaming together for the original production “Hee Haw Honeys Reunion” for two shows on September 26-27 at the Performing Arts Center. They’re joined by two other Hee Haw girls, “Honey Dew” Victoria Hallman and Diana Goodman, plus Big Bear local Amber Carpenter, dancing fiddler Amberly Rosen, and a hay bale’s worth of other surprises in putting on a variety show that in its introductory form drew rave reviews in New York earlier this year.

Of course, there’s the Kornfield, a Hee Haw institution where Rowe took up residence for an amazing 19 years, Benton six before moving on to pursue a singing career. But “Hee Haw Honeys Reunion” goes well beyond the hit show seen by 30 million viewers each week, with songs and skits that highlight their careers.

Rowe presents a Marilyn Monroe segment—she was the first actress to portray the late star in a film. Rowe once lived at the Hollywood Studio Club, a boarding house for young actresses, for $25 a week, two doors from Monroe’s room.

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September 22, 2015

Robby Krieger's Guitar Has Opened `Doors'

Jim Morrison was in a dark mood, depressed, even talking of killing himself. So Robby Krieger decided to show him something inspirational.

The pair along with John Densmore, another member of the legendary rock group The Doors, drove up to the top of Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles at 5 a.m. to watch the sun come up over the city below. “It was beautiful, and that snapped Jim out of his mood. He realized why he had been down. `If you’re strange, you think everybody else is too, like looking at a mirror,’ he said.” So Morrison went back and wrote “People are Strange,” one of The Doors’ greatest hits.

Sadly sunrise didn’t have a long lasting effect on Morrison, whose troubled life tragically came to an end at 27 after a drug overdose. But Krieger has kept The Doors music going and added to the play list, bringing his Jam Kitchen all-star band, guys who have worked with Frank Zappa, Neil Diamond, Chicago and other heavyweights, to The Cave Big Bear on September 26. “We’ll play about 30-40 minutes of Doors music, Krieger said.

Like an actor typecast into a role, Krieger will always be known as The Doors guitarist, even though he’s done some cool stuff since the band essentially ended after Morrison died in 1971. Krieger’s latest release “Singularity” is a Grammy nominated mix of his eclectic influences and he has a bountiful song list to draw from after successful solo efforts and appearances on albums with other artists including Blue Oyster Cult. He sat in with Stone Temple Pilots at the House of Blues and can play Flamenco guitar.

Still Robby Krieger will always be known as the guitarist for one of rock’s supergroups, and he’s okay with that. “Anything else that I’ve done has been overshadowed by The Doors,” Krieger said. “I got lucky once. There was something magical about the Doors. The four of us were the perfect combo to get the job done.”

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September 17, 2015

Summer Snow, Sounds, Sale at HDHR

Sounds, swag and snow—tons and tons of it!—combine to create the industry’s largest winter kickoff party during the 12th annual Hot Dawgz and Hand Rails at Bear Mountain on September 19.

Summer snowboard event with music, rail jam, pass sale and moreThe first big winter party comes during summer. Watch 50 of the best rail riders compete for $16,000 in cash on an expanded event course that includes a sprawling skate-inspired layout that puts spectators in the middle of the action. Judges include Bear Mountain team riders Joe Sexton and Chris Bradshaw, snowboarding legend  Dave Downing, and guest judges Stevie Bell and Austen Sweetin.

Bear Mountain’s jib factory has been hard at work all summer to create new park features for HDHR that in turn the public gets to enjoy on the slopes in the Red Bull Plaza during winter. With sponsor booth city featuring over 40 top vendors, tons of swag, season pass sale, DJs on The Deck, and Beach Bar in full operation, a nonstop party is on tap from morning till dusk with competition beginning at 2 p.m. Sponsors include Red Bull, GoPro, Electric, Neff, ThirtyTwo and Wahoo’s Fish Tacos.

Making it all possible is over 140 tons of summer snow made by Union Ice Co., which feeds 300 lb. blocks of ice into chipping machines that  turn it into beautiful snow, with nothing added—100% the real deal. Usually the company makes snow for Hollywood film and commercial makers as special effects, but it has also provided white stuff for the X Games and the snow is competition-quality.

Enjoy the party on the famous 13,000 sq. ft. deck at Beach and Tiki Bars or Rail View BBQ and Aloha Chill and Grill, where there’s DJs. Plus Snowboarder Magazine will do a live webcast.

Those who have yet to line up a season pass for what could be an epic El Nino winter will want to take advantage of one final season pass sale. Buy an anytime Snow Summit and Bear Mountain pass at the event or during the special three day sale Sept. 19-21 for just $549—fifty bucks off the regular price—and get an extra $50 of resort credit good for purchases from the bar to the sports shop. Bear Mountain only passes are also available for $449, discounted from the regular $499 price, and also come with $50 resort credit.

HDHR admission is free and gates open at 10 a.m. Call (909) 866-5766 or www.bearmtn.com.

September 10, 2015

45th Oktoberfest Here, September is Best

October gets all the hype, but September is the best month to enjoy Big Bear Oktoberfest.

Fun at the 45th annual Big Bear Lake OktoberfestEspecially this year, as the event gets ready to mark its 45th anniversary with an expanded eight weekend schedule Sept. 12-Oct. 31. The official celebration will be on Sept. 19 and everyone gets a commemorative souvenir plus there’s $4.50 happy hour beers. Best of all some 30 past Oktoberfest Queens—who earn their crowns by carrying the most full beer steins—will reunite.

September admission is cheaper, it’s when the German band is here for two of its three weekends, and crowds are lighter. Yet so many people only think of Oktoberfest in October, they pack the Convention Center those weekends and forget that the event’s eight weekend run actually begins weeks earlier.

The 45th annual Big Bear Oktoberfest again kicks off with “American Heroes” weekend on September 12-13, featuring an All-American patriotic tribute to the troops on Saturday at 4 p.m. Past and present badge-carrying personnel including military, law enforcement and firefighters plus their immediate families receive free admission. All kinds of surprises are in store including Bear Valley Marine Corp color guard presenting the flag, Big Bear High School’s choir sings the national anthem, dancing by the Polka Tots and the official tapping of the first keg.

The Express Band is the logical choice to kick off Big Bear Oktoberfest, considered  in the Top 10 of such celebrations nationwide by AOL, Ski Net and most recently USA Today. Southern California’s premiere German festival band, The Express has entertained listeners for 25 years. Armed with polkas and waltzes, Top 40 tunes and country western, The Express always reaches deep into its never-ending song book to provide just the right music, no matter what the audience’s mood is.

During the afternoon the sound is more polka, after dark more Top 40, country and rock and roll. The Express returns for the final three weekends Oct. 10-11, 17-18, 24-25 and closing night’s Halloween “German Spooktacular” on Oct. 31.

Sandwiched in between is direct-from-Germany Franken Power Express band which takes the stage for Oktoberfest’s weekend, Sept. 19-20 plus Sept. 26-27 and Oct. 2-4. The eight-piece band from Hammelburg tours in Europe with up to 20 performers, with the top eight making the visit to America for Big Bear Oktoberfest.

Actually, if some of the members look familiar, it’s because you’ve seen them before. Franken Power Express features two members from the popular Alpentaler Band that visited Oktoberfest several years ago.

Franken Power Express brings the true sounds of Bavaria to Southern California’s favorite four season resort. German-born Oktoberfest founder Hans Bandows discovered the group during a visit back to his homeland and decided the band’s mix of polkas and dance standards was a perfect fit for the event.

He was right as audiences discovered during the group’s 2012 visit to Big Bear. The band has an uncanny way of getting the audience involved in the show, with wireless instruments that let singers, guitarists and horns play away from the stage.

Where they engage listeners in songs like “Hey Baba-Riba,” a lively takeoff on Ernie Tschannen’s “E-I-E-I-E-I-O” routine. The zany, crazy “Burger Dance” that’s always popular at Oktoberfest. And especially the latest rage in Germany, a bobsled tune where revelers schuss left, right and down the mountain.

The Spaten Rocktoberfest Stage has become such a hit outside, with live music under the pines, that it has been expanded for 2015 with two bands playing each Saturday from 2-10 p.m. Some Saturdays feature two band doubleheaders with some top bands, the biggest being nationally renowned Doo Wah Riders on Oct. 17. This month’s lineup includes local favorites Silver Moon opening Saturday, Jimmy Reid Project Sept. 19 and 2014 favorite Big Fat Steve Band on Sept. 26.

In the Bier Garten there’s contests like shoot `n yodel and beer pong. Catch Oktoberfest’s Sports Bar under the pines, where there’s all the big game action on big screen TVs, or soak up suds and grilled bratwursts on the outdoor patio. Also outdoors is the Warsteiner Garten plus new Budenstrasse Biergarten along with Avenue of the Booths with carnival games, unique shopping and food.

Once the funs starts at Oktoberfest it never ends, each Saturday (noon-midnight) and Sunday (noon-5:30 p.m.) plus one Local’s Night on Friday, Oct. 2 when admission is just $5 or $3 with two nonperishable food items.

September admission is $14 on Saturdays, $10 seniors and $6 children, $7, $5 and free on Sundays. Clip the coupon for FREE Sunday adult admission on page 11 of the September 2015 issue of Big Bear Today Magazine. And for everything Oktoberfest, incuding places to stay, cabin rentals, feature stories and much more, pick up the official Big Bear Oktoberfest souvenir magazine or click here for free PDF download...the same publication people read at Oktoberfest on your desktop!

Call Convention Center at  (909) 585-3000 or www.BigBearEvents.com..