COLUMN: 5 tips to enjoy Oktoberfest Zinzinnati 2016

CINCINNATI — Here are five things to look for at Oktoberfest Zinzinnati this weekend:

Tour the venue: Take time to make a tour around this year’s new Oktoberfest Zinzinnati venue on Second and Third Streets. The area feels more spaced out with tents, band stages, beer gardens and food vendors. I personally liked the new Zinzinnati Bier Garten on Third Street near Race Street. MadTree, Rhinegeist, Rivertown and Braxton were on tap at the garden. There also was ample seating and live music, all under twinkling lights strung above the venue. And the best part? I didn’t feel like I was elbow to elbow with other people taking it all in.

Cincinnati Reds vendors: Why look for those vendors that sell peanuts, bottled water and baseball-related merchandise outside Great American Ball Park, near Oktoberfest’s venue this year? Simply put, most of them have disposable ponchos for sale. The vendors could be life savers with a 70 percent chance of rain Saturday and 40 percent chance Sunday. Luckily, the Reds play a double-header on Saturday and a game Sunday, so there are plenty of vendors (and ponchos) around.

 

A perfect picture of this weekend in downtown Cincinnati. #oktoberfestzinzinnati and @reds all weekend long.

A photo posted by Brian Mains (@brian_in_cincinnati) on

Plan parking accordingly: With concerts, baseball games and Oktoberfest Zinzinnati all taking place in a relatively compact area, parking is probably going to be an issue if you want to get close to the Riverfront. Though crowds started out light Friday night, things definitely picked up by about 10 p.m. A good recommendation is to park farther away from Second and Third streets, then take advantage of the city's other modes of transportation. Red Bike stations are plentiful and could make for a fun way to see Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Bell Connector added streetcars to accommodate this weekend’s crowds as well. There is a streetcar stop conveniently located on Second Street just past Walnut.

Watch out for celebrities: This was a recommendation from our Oktoberfest list last year that remains true this year, too, despite festival location changes. Actor and writer Jason Segel was in town last night. Diddy and his Bad Boy Reunion Tour play US Bank Arena Saturday night, and James Edwards Olmos is performing with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra Saturday and Sunday. There’s also the off chance that folks could spot Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman and other celebs in town filming “To Kill a Sacred Deer.” (Ellen Page and Rooney Mara should arrive in Cincinnati soon to shoot their romantic drama “Mercy” as well.)

People watching: One of the best parts about Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is the crowds it draws. Play a game of seeing how many lederhosen-clad men and dirndl-wearing women you can find. And then there are the hats. I attended Friday’s Oktoberfest with folks who never attended it before. They all wanted to know, what’s up with people wearing the chickens on their heads?

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