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 www.thecavebigbear.com.

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!

July 1, 2015

Fireworks, Arts and Crafts Key July 4th Holiday

From the fireworks to three days of arts, crafts and family activities at the Convention Center, make the most of the holiday weekend in Big Bear with tons of activities to mark 239 years of American independence.

Fireworks from Rotary lakeside barbecueRotary Club’s annual Fireworks Show over the lake is on July 4. The show has been named Southern California’s best free show with over $60,000 in pyrotechnics set to be fired, including five 10-inch shells. Each burst lights up the sky and water below to create a visual spectacular that stadium shows can’t duplicate. Any location around the lake affords viewing.

There’s 2,000 bursts during the grand finale alone. Tune into KBHR 93.3 FM to hear patriotic music synchronized to each shell for a treat for the ears as well as the eyes. A special tribute to late Rotarian Skip Suhay, longtime orchestrator of the fireworks show, is planned.

Best seat in the house to see the show is at the annual Rotary Best View Barbecue on the water at Marina Resort. There’s entertainment, midway games for the kids, and barbecue from 4:30-7:30 p.m. $30 includes entry and choice of steak or chicken dinner prepared by Barnstorm Restaurant, or $25 buys hamburger or hot dog meal from Nottingham’s. Beer and wine are available at the Hydration Station including Big Bear Lake Brewing Co. offerings plus festival food for purchase. Bring your own lawn chairs or blankets or Rotary has commemorative holiday blankets for $20 or two for $35.

VIP guests receive served meal and seating on the deck for the show’s best view for $100 while for $50 there’s reserved seating at the water. Barbecue guests also enjoy exclusive viewing of set pieces and shells from a second barge. Call (800) 4- BIG BEAR

Miss Liberty paddlewheeler has prime fireworks viewing as well as she sails from Pine Knot Marina from 8-10 p.m. Guests enjoy climate-controlled comfort as they see each burst from right below aboard the lake’s largest tour boat. $80 includes hors d’ouevres, champagne toast and souvenir. Call (909) 866-8129.

Independence Day Extravaganza is also on July 4 at Captain John’s Fawn Harbor in Fawnskin. Enjoy reggae music, picnic beach, and water sports from 8 a.m. with a great view of the fireworks. Tropical BBQ of Temecula serves smokehouse plus Caribbean delicacies. (909) 366-5109.

The Convention Center’s 21st Annual Independence Day Faire is July 3-5, with arts and crafts, live music daily, children’s activities, plus food and drink. Over 50 crafters from the West Coast including Arizona and Nevada are featured, with wire-wrap jewelry, home and garden decor, homemade jams, health products, toys and clothing. Some crafters make their wares on site. There is something for every taste and budget.

Enjoy live music under the pines on the outdoor patio featuring local favorites Silver Moon on Friday and Skeleton Key on Saturday. There’s also a special children’s Kinder Garten with face painting, bounce house, game booths and a variety of tasty treats.

When hunger strikes hit Wyatt’s Cafe and Saloon for half-pound, full Angus burgers, a pound of wings or mound of nachos and carnival food like shaved ice, kettle korn and hot dogs. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 10-3 Sunday. Admission is free all three days. (909) 585-3000.

June 26, 2015

History Joins Music in` Annie Get Your Gun'

Just eight years after Custer’s Last Stand, Sioux Chief Sitting Bull was in show business. Only in America!

Serena Saunders, Brett Smith Star in Big Bear showNot only that, he was playing to huge crowds, touring the country with a pretty girl who was a pretty good shot in her own right, sharpshooter Annie Oakley. Who just happened to be romantically involved with the man she bested in a shooting contest over a $100 bet, Frank Butler. All of it straight out of the history books, courtesy of  the famous “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show,” a late 1800’s traveling Hollywood-ized version of the frontier that focused more on entertainment than history.

Like Annie Get Your Gun does, the musical loosely based on Oakley’s life during her traveling show days and especially her relationship with fellow sharpshooter Butler. As juicy as the storyline is, Annie Get Your Gun, which Community Arts Theater Society presents for 11 shows at Performing Arts Center beginning June 26-28 at 7:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m. Sunday matinee), is best known for music, not history.

The Irving Berlin score is replete with many of theater’s best known songs, the marquee tune of course being the entertainment icon “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” Yet that’s just the tip of a musical iceberg that also includes tunes like “Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better),” “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun,” and “Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly.”

Amazingly the list continues with show tunes like “The Girl That I Marry,” “I Got Lost in His Arms,” “I Got the Sun in the Morning” and more. No wonder some consider the song list the best ever in a Broadway musical!

It’s presented with a talented cast that keeps both music and history flowing with a funny script. Starring as Annie Oakley is talented Serena Saunders, a veteran of many CATS shows, including recent productions of Oklahoma! and The King and I. She was one of the Broadway Broads of Big Bear, the  well-received CATS cabaret-style original spring production.

Saunders was in the first three CATS shows beginning 21 years ago as one of the kids in Fiddler on the Roof starring the late Leonard Graves. She performed throughout school, and studied classical voice in Orange County before returning to Big Bear. “Serena could be on Broadway with this performance,” said Karen “Sarge” Rachels, director and choreographer. “She has a terrific voice.”

Brett Smith stars as love interest Butler. His most notable CATS roles have been as Curly in productions of Oklahoma! The former Big Bear school teacher who new resides in Palm Springs previously was a singer with The Young Americans and toured the country in professional shows such as West Side Story, Bye Bye Birdie and the Chevrolet National Tour.

Other Big Bear favorites include Jim Weyant as Buffalo Bill, and he’s growing out his silver beard to capture that distinctive Cody look. Michael Reno is a professional actor who plays Charlie Davenport. Diana Hintergardt as Winnie Tate and Adam McDonald as Tommy Cody Keeler also star along with Steve Mangels, who plays Sitting Bull.

As usual the sets are spectacular and include gazebo, boat, hotel, even a motorcycle, designed by Julaine Salem. Costuming by Priscilla Anderson is equally as lavish and extensive, each of the over 50 performers donning at least four costumes!

Annie Get Your Gun continues with 7:30 p.m. shows on July 1, 3, 6, 8  and 10-11. Sunday 1:30 p.m. matinees are on July 5 and 12. Ticket prices vary by performance and range from $17-$29 for adults, $16-$27 seniors, under 18 $11-$20.

Call the Performing Arts Center at (909) 866-4970.