High Altitude Oompah: Big Bear Oktoberfest

Prepare for eight consecutive weekends of brews, dancing, and fresh mountain air.

MOUNTAIN AIR... is described in many ways, from "brisk" to "crisp" to "refreshing" to "clean," but however you label it, it is especially lovely come the fall. Thank the dropping temperatures for the fresh sense of brisk-a-tude on the breeze and thank the changing sunlight for lending a lovely look to the very atmosphere (a look that ups the general crispness of being outdoors). It is, in short, a prime time of year to do anything up at a higher elevation, but if your pursuit involves knee socks and chicken dancing and stein-holding contests and sauerkraut-laden dishes, well... You must be at Oktoberfest. The annual party benefits greatly from its autumn connection, for many people say fresh fall air increases the appetite and invigorates the blood, two nice things when you want to eat many sausages and pretzels and enjoy some traditional beer. Revelers attending the annual Oktoberfest in Big Bear will be enjoying many of those activities, and there shall be a full eight consecutive weekends in which to enjoy them. As with almost all Oktoberfests, the bash starts in September, and Big Bear gets the oompah music and lederhosen wearing going pretty early: Saturday, Sept. 12 is the opening date, and the not-far-from-the-lake good times last through Halloween day.

THERE SHALL BE SPECIAL DAYS, too, during the eight-weekend run, from an Official 45th Annual Celebration on Saturday, Sept. 19 to an "Unplugged" happening on Friday, Oct. 16 (think of this as a fine dining experience that will provide some background into the celebratory holiday). As for what's new in 2015? A German-Mexican fusion cantina'll be serving spicy-sauer bites and a bier garten will provide more outdoor seating. Perhaps you'll grab one of those outdoor seats, the better to soak in all of that brisk autumn air? It's an excellent time of year to be up the mountain, savoring fall, and enjoying dancing and beer and music and games and costumes, too. If ever a season and a celebration went together, along with a place, it is autumn and Oktoberfest and an alpine-y, or close-to-alpine, setting. No need to do all eight weekends, but one Saturday afternoon should give you the tangy taste of the trio: fall, mountain, celebration.

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