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Big Bear Chili Cookoff


The Old Miners Association of Big Bear Lake, CA follows up a fun and festive Father’s Day weekend parade with another day of family-friendly activities at the Big Bear Chili Cook-Off on Saturday, July 13. The day-long event, sanctioned by the International Chili Society, returns to the Bartlett Lot in the Village of Big Bear Lake. From 10am to 6pm, Old Miners hosts chili competitions (in red and green categories, as well as salsa), live music, dozens of vendors, and children’s activities, such as haywagon rides, hoppity horse races, bubble blowing and tug of war--adults can have their fun, too, with prizes awarded for the Shoot n’ Holler, Miss Chili Pepper and Mr. Hot Stuff, as well as the afternoon outhouse races! Event admission is free, and chili tasting kits are only $5. Additional food selections, and beer, will also be available. Winning chili cooks advance to the world championships of the International Chili Society, taking place in Palm Springs in October. For more information on participating in chili competitions (which also offer prizes for Best Decorated Booth, People’s Choice, and Best First-Time Cook) or the outhouse races, see or for applications and rules, or call Mark “Mr. Chili” Gaines at 909/363-6592.

But the weekend’s fun is not limited to just one day, as the Old Miners Association also offers bluegrass with a Big Bear altitude on Friday, July 12 through Sunday, July 14. Friday night festivities feature a number of bluegrass bands playing at local venues, many free of cover charge, to get the weekend rollin’. The Big Bear Bluegrass Festival continues into the weekend with a ticketed concert on Saturday night, at Big Bear Lake’s new concert venue The Cave in the Village. Additional activities include a Sunday morning bluegrass brunch and paddlewheel cruise aboard Miss Liberty, bluegrass workshops at do-able prices for music enthusiasts, and bluegrass on the beach of Big Bear Lake. Bluegrass entertainment is provided by the Ash Street Ramblers, Get Down Boys, Gone Tomorrow, Keeping Fire, Sara Petite, Shadow Mountain Band, Stagerobbers, Stuart & Beazley, and the Wimberley Bluegrass Band. For lineup specifics, venues and to purchase tickets for special shows and workshops, please visit Shuttle service between sponsoring lodges will also be available. So, dust off your cowboy boots and come on up to the mountains to enjoy the fresh air, good grub and authentic bluegrass music on the “Beans and Banjos” weekend of July 13!

“The Old Miners Association is celebrating our 65th year and, already, we’re excited about the fabulous turnout for our fun parade in June, which honored our local heroes, specifically Big Bear Sheriff’s Station Deputy Alex Collins, who served as our grand marshal,” notes Old Miners Days Communications Chair Cathee Sandstrom. “We’re hoping to continue the momentum at our July 13 Chili Cook-Off—it’s free, it’s fun, and we’ll have enough activities for both kids and grownups to keep everyone entertained. You don’t want to miss the award-winning chili, or the outhouse races!”

SoCal Mountains & Pass Areas