First, a bit of personal history. My name is Ali and I’m from Idaho. I lived there my entire life until I moved to Big Bear in June. I’ve been asked countless times, “why on earth would you move from Idaho to California?” The reasons were simple: 1) I hated living in Idaho; 2) I wanted to be closer to two of my sisters that live in SoCal; and 3) I was thirsty for a new adventure.
I immediately began my quest for employment. Luckily for me, it didn’t take long and I now have a great job working at the front desk at Big Bear Vacations. In addition to my coworkers being welcoming and supportive, they are also very involved in the community. It’s refreshing and well, quite frankly, impressive.
Even before I moved here, I kept hearing tales about Oktoberfest. I mean we are talking about a HUGE yearly event in Big Bear. And it lasts for eight weekends (mid-September until the last weekend of October). I knew what I had to do – find a way to be involved in this epic event that is labeled by locals as the biggest Oktoberfest in southern California. I have been a bartender for a very long time, so it seemed clear to me that I should sling drinks at Oktoberfest. I applied, I interviewed and I got the gig!
Don’t worry – I’m getting to the good stuff. St. Pauli outfits and traditional Dirndls, Lederhosen, German beer, bratwursts and. OY! OY! OY! Let’s not forget the chicken dance either. It has been a long time since I’ve seen that many happy people in one place. I’m serious; people are joyfully dancing like chickens. And not just one time – every time that song is played people are dancing – there are even people dancing in their seats! I was astounded and could not contain my giggles. Did you know wearing a chicken hat is common place? Neither did I, but trust me it is the hat of choice when attending Oktoberfest.
I have worked in just about every type of bar you can imagine. From beer and wine to full liquor bars, but this is by far the most fun I’ve had bartending. It’s also the first time I’ve worn a traditional Dirndl (dress). It’s a treat to dress up and participate in an event like this. It’s about pride, tradition and family. It is also all about crowd participation! Don’t be surprised if you are pulled out of your seat to dance, laugh and enter many of the competitions held throughout the day.
Take it from the new girl in Big Bear, this is an event you want to attend! Get in the spirit of things and dress up! Wear the chicken hat and the Lederhosen, or a Dirndl and Pinafore! And stop by to say hi to me while I pour you a yummy German beer. Stay tuned for more stories of the shenanigans I will be participating in during Oktoberfest 2016! Cheers!