August 13, 2015

Vintage Planes, Rides, Skydivers at Big Bear Air Fair

Fun on the ground and in the sky awaits guests of all ages at Big Bear Air Fair open house at the airport on Saturday, August 15 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

P 38 at 2013 Big Bear Air Fair“Wings Over Big Bear” fills the skies with the sights and sounds of vintage warbirds from the Planes of Fame air museum in Chino along with other antique aircraft, while on the ground there’s antique cars, a wide range of vendor booths, activities for kids, skydivers, Forest Service helicopter water drops, and much more. For just a few bucks knock off a bucket list item with rides in a helicopter or vintage aircraft.

Music by the Mountain Fifes and Drum Corp at 9:30 a.m. and again at 12:45 p.m. is always an Air Fair highlight, and Just in Time skydivers drop in for 9 a.m. and noon demonstrations.

Airplane lovers typically see an array of vintage craft that are flying in for the event, including a B-25 Mitchell, best known as the plane Jimmy Doolittle used in his famous raid on Tokyo. There will also be a Japanese Zero, English Spitfire, P-51D Mustang long range fighter, carrier-capable F4U Corsair, 420 mph P38 Lightning and 1000-horsepower P-40 Warhawk and a Douglas Dauntless Navy dive bomber.

More aircraft expected at the event include Vietnam-era Douglas A-1 Skyraider and an assortment of T-34 propeller and T-38 jet training aircraft. Take to the skies yourself with rides aboard a PT-17 Steerman or BT-13 Valiant, or just check out the full motion simulator.

For youngsters there’s climbing wall, jump house and balloons. Don’t miss the dozens of sponsor booths that include the General George Patton Museum, Orange County Pilot’s Association and United States Marines, Army and Air Force, plus local groups that include Big Bear Discovery Center, Historical Museum and others.

Free admission makes this the best show around. Air Fair is preceded by the Kiwanis breakfast at 7 a.m. Additional parking at Big Bear Snow Play (Speedway) (42825 Big Bear Blvd.) is available with free shuttle.

The Airport is off the boulevard in Big Bear City at 501 Valley Dr.

Call (909) 585-3219.

August 2, 2015

After Everest, Romero Setting Even Loftier Goals

Five years ago Jordan Romero became the youngest person to ever climb the world’s highest mountain at age 13. Now the former Big Bear resident is trying to scale even greater heights.

When two massive earthquakes rocked Nepal in April and May, they rocked Romero’s world too. These, after all, were people who helped him reach his goal of climbing the Seven Summits, the highest peaks on each continent, becoming the youngest to do so, another first. It didn’t take long for his Facebook feed to light up as the gruesome numbers started to come in: over 9,000 dead, another 23,000 injured, entire villages flattened, and financial devastation for people already among the world’s poorest.

“Nepal holds a special place in my heart,” Romero, 18, said. “The people were so hospitable and kind. The affected districts have a long road to recover, perhaps $6 billion to fully reconstruct.”

Among the dead were 19 climbers on Everest, trapped in an avalanche of snow and rock, making April 25 the deadliest day ever on a mountain that has claimed more than its share of lives. The climbing season ended before it started, and as Jordan noted, tourism revenue from mountaineering is a huge part of Nepal’s economy.

The lead Sherpa on his successful ascent to the 29,029 ft. Everest summit Ang Pasang lost everything in the earthquake and as a Himalayan guide his livelihood was canceled when the season ended. So Jordan decided to give back to those who helped him reach the world’s highest point by setting yet another lofty goal.

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July 23, 2015

Save with Jet Ski 10-10-10 Deal

Early birds get the glassy lake and better deals including the 10-10-10 discount on jet ski rentals at Get Wet Water Sports Center.

Go out before 10 a.m. any morning when the lake is at its calm-and-glossy best and get 10% off plus an extra 10 minutes free on any jet ski rental. Get Wet Water Sports Center is at Holloway's Marina and North Shore Landing and has the lake's largest fleet of jet skis to choose from. Call (800) BIG BEAR or (909) 878-4FUN.

July 22, 2015

Suds, Shooting, Shopping at 2015 Brewsfest

Toast the hardworking American cowboy with a day of western fun at Spirits of the West Brewsfest Saturday, July 25.

Temecuala Action Gunfighters Performing in Big BearThe fourth annual event at the Convention Center at Big Bear Lake offers free fun for the whole family with live action shooters, arts and crafts vendors, live music all day and country dancing in the evening with popular DJ Joe Vonesh. Those 21 and over can sample more than 50 different beers and another 20-plus spirits, including whiskey, tequila and bourbon.

Brews to taste include offerings from Spaten and Warsteiner plus Ayinger, Lindermans Beers, Samuel Smith, Oak Hills Brewery and Hangar 24. Spirits from Duke Bourbon, Russell’s RSV, Wild Turkey, Knot Rye and Maple, Pendleton 1910, Devils Cut, Beam Signature and 1972 bourbon are featured. Kids get to sample too—real sarsaparilla plus sodas including Pepsi products and Jarritos, a new beverage from Mexico available in mango, kiwi, strawberry and other flavors.

Gates open at 2 p.m. with free admission and a full slate of activities to mark Big Bear’s western heritage that dates back to the late 1800’s, which included cattle drives up to the mountains from the deserts of Palm Springs, Morongo and Yucca basins. Temecula Action Shooters perform a live action western drama with heroes and villains throughout the day.

There’s bounce house, cheery seed spitting contest and carnival-style games including horseshoe decorating for the kids. Arts and crafts and collectible vendors will sell wares.

Wyatt’s Cafe & Saloon is open with the mountain’s best ranch-style grub. Try the several inch high Smokin’ Gun burger or slow roasted pulled pork platter! Sampling tickets are a dollar each for beer and $3 for spirits and continue till 8 p.m. For $18 all-inclusive sampling packages include commemorative pint glass and 15 sample tickets.

The National Day of the Cowboy organization, founded in June 2005 with official resolution passed the U.S. Senate a month later, seeks to preserve America’s cowboy heritage for future generations. Bear Valley Marine Corp. League Detachment 1038 is also a beneficiary.

Wyatt’s is open Wednesdays with Vonesh and Fridays with live music.

The Convention Center is on Big Bear Blvd. at Division. Call (909) 585-3000.

July 20, 2015

Morgan Leigh Band at Jack Daniel's Dinner

Spend an evening with your old friend Jack Daniel’s featuring western dinner and dancing to the Morgan Leigh Band on Friday, July 24 at the Wolf Creek Wine Room.

The evening begins at 6:30 with reception featuring Jack Daniel’s glazed wings and shrimp. Entrees include smoked trip tip, ribs and chicken plus there’s sides like gourmet mac and cheese, baked beans, corn on the cob, coleslaw, biscuits and honeybutter. Save room for dessert—Jack Daniel’s honey whiskey cupcakes with bourbon drizzle.

Dancing to the Morgan Leigh Band in an intimate venue like the Wine Room is worth the admission cost itself. The group is one of the Southland’s up and coming high energy country bands and has opened for Pat Benatar, Loverboy, Jamie O’Neal, Craig Wayne Boyd, James Otto, Sammy Kershaw, Phil Vassar and Juice Newton among others.

Lead vocalist Leigh is a country star who has been seen on “American Idol” Season 12 and 14 and is a Texaco Country Showdown State Winner and American Country Star finalist. She’s also performed the National Anthem at the PRCA Rodeo Finals and Las Vegas Motor Speedway—in fact she’ll sing the song the day after her Big Bear gig for the San Diego Padres.

Leigh is joined by a solid band featuring rhythm guitar Paul Coughlin, bass Eric Cihonski, Gustin Flaig on drums, Reuel Zavala and fiddle and banjo, and lead guitar Marc Bliderbac. The group plays favorite current country pop hits as well as tunes from their debut album “Trouble.” In June Morgan Leigh Band was at the San Diego County Fair; the Wine Room will afford a much more personal experience making for a night of great music and dancing.

Cost for the evening is $75 per person which includes four complimentary Jack Daniel’s cocktails, tax and gratuity. Don’t drink and drive; complimentary take home shuttle service is available or better yet, stay in a cozy room at Wolf Creek Resort with discount lodging.

The Wine Room at Wolf Creek Resort is at 41421 Big Bear Blvd. Reservations are limited; call (909) 549-9578.

July 13, 2015

Races, Demos at Big Bear PaddleFest

There’s a new location but it’s the same great event when 8th annual Big Bear Paddlefest returns July 18 with races, demos, vendor expo and beach party.

Canoes, kayaks and Stand Up  Paddleboards are welcome at Paddlefest, now held at The Pines lakefront restaurant with events starting at 7 a.m. Sponsors include North Shore Trading Co., Stand Up Paddleboards from Hobie, Absolute Outdoor, Aztek Paddles, Keen Footwear, Desolation Outdoors, Clif Bar, Open Air Big Bear, Events Resource Office and World Paddle Association.

Races include sprints and relay races plus 5K and 10K immediately in front of the venue on a multiple turn course, offering excellent views for spectating. The 20K race still goes counterclockwise around the lake. Fastest man and woman on SUP or kayak in the 20K split $500 in prize money and there’s great prizes for other categories.

The free kids fun race for ages 12 and under is at 11 a.m.. There’s fun paddling activities like SUP yoga and clinics.

Race fees range from $40-$60 depending on distance and include lake permit, mandatory quagga inspection, limited edition tech tee and swag-stuffed goodie bag. Spectating is free (and the beach party after 1 p.m. awards ceremony has food, music and games.

Paddlefest is presented by North Shore Trading Company; call (909) 866-3414.

July 9, 2015

Berlin, Jo Dee Messina Star at Cave

Dance just feet away from headliners like Berlin with the great Terri Nunn and country superstar Jo Dee Messina. Rock to the music of Led Zeppelin and  Elvis, and other top shows.

Fireworks are sure to go off at The Cave Big Bear in July, as it presents one of the best and most varied monthly schedules of its short two-year history. All in an up close and personal music experience where tiered seating assures a clear stage view from every seat. The dance floor is right in front of the stage, the perfect place for up close photos and selfies with amazing artists. The state-of-the-art sound system is pure concert quality and laser lights and fog machines enhance the concert experience.

The schedule kicks off Friday, July 3 with ZEPPELIN USA takes The Cave stage Friday. July 3. Professional musicians from Las Vegas and Southern California have taken the tribute band scene by storm with dynamic recreations of songs like “Kashmir,” “Black Dog” and of course “Stairway to Heaven.” The emphasis is on the sound more than the look with heavy guitar riffs, layered arrangements and haunting lyrics for which Led Zeppelin is famous. Tickets start at $23.50.

Get ready for a real treat one week later on Friday, July 10 when the ROUGH RIDERS arrive direct from Hawaii as part of the 2015 “We Ride” Tour. The group features three Island icons—Henry Kapono, John Cruz and Brother Noland, award-winning guitarists and songwriters all—who present a unique folk-rock sound that’s fun and engaging.

Kapono, whose song “Dukes on Sunday” was covered by Jimmy Buffett, has been nominated for a  Grammy Award. Cruz meanwhile is a Grammy winner who has played for the President and was named Best Singer/Songwriter in Hawaii in 2008 by Hawaii Magazine. Brother Noland was honored in 2014 by the State of Hawaii for Lifetime Achievement in Music” and is credited with the birth of “Jawaiian” music, a fusion of Hawaiian and reggae. Tickets start at $22.

Berlin with Terri Nunn returns to The Cave July 11, 2015BERLIN featuring TERRI NUNN headlines Saturday, July 11. Nunn is a rock icon who has been compared to other top ladies of rock, like Grace Slick, Anne Wilson and Stevie Nicks, and came in at #11 on VH1’s list of the “100 Greatest Women in Rock.”
The hit single “Take My Breath Away” from the movie “Top Gun” rocketed the group to stardom in the 1980’s along with other hits like “No More Words,” the controversial “Sex (I’m A),” “Tell Me Why” and “The Metro.”

Up close is the only way to enjoy Berlin, which is touring in support of “4Play,” its impressive 10th release, featuring both new material and electronic and alternative rock covers from artists ranging from David Bowie and Depeche Mode to Marilyn Manson. Tickets start at $26.

THE WHITE BUFFALO aka singer/songwriter Jake Smith is at The Cave Friday, July 17. Songs like "Matador," "Damned," "Wish it Was True" and covers of "House of the Rising Son" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" have been featured on the FX crime drama show Sons of Anarchy but it’s his live shows that have fans impressed. Last year he performed songs "This Year" and "The Whistler" on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. Tickets begin at $23.

On July 18 KATCHAFIRE returns by popular demand. The New Zealand-based group’s 2011 album "On the Road Again" reached #3 on Billboard’s Reggae Charts and the fifth spot on iTunes Reggae. Three of its songs landed in the Mediaguide Reggae Singles Top 10 and from the South Pacific to North America and Europe, Katchafire’s roots reggae continues to catch fire. General admission seats start at $27.

The band is known for trading instruments during live shows including stops at SXSW, Reggae on the River, House of Blues and more. Katchafire has headlined the 10,000 seat Waikiki Shell in Hawaii and toured Australia and Fiji.

A night of Elvis music is at The Cave Saturday, July 25. James Kruk’s ELITE ELVIS TRIBUTE is the only such show to ever play the House of Blues and he’s been tabbed a top Elvis performer in competitions in Las Vegas and San Diego plus during many national television appearances. Tickets start at only $16!\

JO DEE MESSINA headlines The Cave Friday, July 31. One of country’s biggest stars, Messina has charted nine Number One singles on the Billboard country music charts and been nominated for two Grammy Awards. Songs like "I'm Alright," "Bye Bye" and "Bring on the Rain" shot to the top of the charts and Messina has been honored by the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music while selling over five million albums worldwide. Tickets begin at $51 for seats better than front row at other venues.

The Cave; Big Bear 40789 Village Dr.  (909) 878-0204 or

July 1. 2015

`Painting the Sky' a Tradition for Skip, Andy Suhay

That Big Bear’s annual July 4th fireworks spectacular is one of the Southland’s grandest is no accident, and not just because $60,000 of shots will be sent skyward, the most ever.

The late Skip Suhay was passionate about making the show the best around, until his passing just before last year’s show. For Skip the fireworks show was personal, a year-round thing that included going down to Cerritos each year to witness the latest and greatest shells, and making sure there was enough money and volunteer manpower from Big Bear Rotary to ensure the show was the best it could be.

None of which was necessary over a quarter-century ago when Skip got involved. “Back then it was small, what they call a reload show,” his son Andy, who is taking over his dad’s role, said. “You would fire off what you had, then go back to the buckets and reload to shoot again. It was a 15 minute show that was very sporadic with fireworks every 30 seconds or so.”

Now thousands of shells will be fired, sometimes several at once, what Skip liked to call “painting the sky.” To accommodate all those pyrotechnics, Rotary has a specially-designed 80-foot barge, rebuilt each year in about five days by 30-40 Rotary volunteers. The barge is covered in 3/8” plywood, with another 3/8” protecting the areas where bursts are launched.

Rotarians volunteer hundreds of hours during an intense five-day period before and after the show, assembling the barge, putting down plywood, spreading sand, putting up mortar cannons, wiring firing systems. A new launch/control pad was recently built by Rotarian David Stone’s crew at Superior Contractors to protect the pyrotechnics.

When fully armed the big boat looks ready for battle, with nearly 80 feet of mortar cannons lining both sides! For added safety, each is buried in sand, so if one misfires, it doesn’t lead to a chain reaction. There’s also a second smaller barge that has to be built, parked in front of Rotary’s Best View BBQ at Marina Resort, the club’s largest fundraiser, whose guests are treated to additional bursts others don’t see.

Andy has seen the show from the beginning, helping out on Rotary’s largest project when he was a kid and then getting more involved with the fireworks after turning 18. Now 33, Andy has taken over the fireworks show his dad ran so well for so many years, following in his father’s footsteps to make sure Big Bear’s signature event doesn’t miss a beat.

No one is better suited for the task, and not just because of his last name. “I’ve never done anything on the Fourth but this,” he said. “I’ve been on the barge every year since I turned 18.

“I was his (Skip’s) co-leader,”  Andy said. “He always had the idea he would hand the show over. He created a how-to for Big Bear fireworks. It was a passion he and I shared, fireworks and Fourth of July.”

Skip’s playbook was as thick as an NFL team’s, with every shot timed to the second, since the show is choreographed to patriotic music heard on KBHR 93.3 FM. The result is a visual and audio spectacular over the lake, perfect spot to launch pyrotechnics over. Skip liked to emphasize that while regulations call for a fall out area of 560 feet, Big Bear’s show has double that. “I could shoot sideways and not start a fire,” he’d say. Comments Andy echoes.

This year’s show is the largest ever as Pyro Spectaculars is donating additional pieces in honor of Skip. “The relationship Dad had with (Pyro) was special,” Andy said. “I feel I’ve stepped right into that relationship.” Evidenced by the fact that there was again a Suhay for this year’s spring preview in Cerritos, this time Andy.

There’s plenty of stuff that goes boom. Like five 10” shells compared to just two last year, which has Andy especially excited. “Plus we’re using a lot more 8” shells than in the past, almost 40” he said. “Along with 60 6” shells...and that’s not even including the finale!”

Andy has already been able to leave his mark on the show is dad amped up. Rotarians are happy that he’s cut 20 hours of build time before the show. His big plan is to increase funding. Seven years ago Skip was ecstatic that he had over $40,000 in fireworks to work with. The 2015 budget is about $63,000, more than 50% larger than that.

“It would be nice to have multiple barges out on the lake,” Andy said. “We have a beautiful lake that affords great viewing from everywhere. We can do things others can’t, make it not one of the top shows but the top show.” Something his dad would say.

One of these years, Andy admits he would like to look out on the show from the shoreline like everyone else, instead of straight up. Not likely, with the last name Suhay!