History Comes ALIVE ! 


For the Eighteenth consecutive year, the Friends of the Big Bear Valley Library will present Chautauqua as part of the Old Miners Days Celebration. The open to the public production will be Saturday afternoon July 22nd, at Summit Christian Fellowship Church in Big Bear Lake, located across the street from the Library at 41965 Garstin Drive. The Chautauqua begins at 2:00 P.M., featuring Eliza Tibbets, one of the founders of the City of Riverside and pioneer of the California's citrus industry. 

Eliza Tibbets is portrayed by former Big Bear Lake resident, Sandra Petterson a docent at the historical Mission Inn in Riverside. Patterson portrays Eliza during the Festival of Lights in Riverside. 

Chautauqua guests will each be offered a ticket to enter the opportunity drawings. The grand prize is a brunch and tour of  the Mission Inn and Library. Several other prizes include a Fire Kindle tablet. 

Following Eliza Tibbets’ Chautauqua presentation, the Friends of the Big Bear Valley Library invite guests to the Chautauqua Reception at the Library.

Friends of the Big Bear Valley Library remind guests, reservations are not required, but seating is limited; early arrival is recommended. For more information, call the Library at 909.866-5571. 


  Eliza Tibbets

... was among Early American settlers and founders of Riverside, California. Tibbets was an activist in Washington, D.C., for progressive social causes, including freedmen’s rights and universal suffrage before heading west. Once there, she became the pioneer of California’s citrus industry where she successfully cultivated Riversides first two Washington Naval Orange trees.  A free spirit, Tibbets was a spiritualist and frequently held séances in Riverside.


Sandra Petterson, a longtime Big Bear Lake resident, Petterson graduated from Big Bear High in 1981, shortly after, followed in her father’s footsteps, enlisted in the military. Petterson joined the U.S. Navy, then later served in the Navy Reserves for 20 years, with whom she recently retired in June of 2016. Petterson holds an Associate Degree in accounting from SBVC, Bachelor Degree in interior design from The Art Institute of California, and is working towards her Masters in Interior Architecture. She is currently a partner in an Advertising Agency in Riverside where she currently lives.

Petterson is currently a docent at the Historic Mission Inn and during the Annual Festival of Lights, portrays Eliza Tibbets during frequent tours throughout the Hotel. She is also a board member and acting secretary with the Riverside Dickens Festival.

As a Veteran, Sandra Petterson is involved with the Dive Warriors non-profit organization,  whose mission is to build confidence and self-esteem in America’s Veterans with disabilities through scuba diving.