Oktoberfest Zinzinnati 2013: A guide to Cincinnati's German festival

This weekend marks the official kick-off to autumn with the region’s premier fall festival, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, USA.

Beyond the normal staples of beer and German food, this year’s festival will be punctuated, Oh My!, by opening ceremonies led by George Takei.

For those planning to attend all, or part of the weekend activities, here is a breakdown of times, street closures, and a highlight of special events:

Festival Hours:

• Saturday, Sept. 21: 11 a.m.-midnight
• Sunday, Sept. 22: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

SATURDAY:

Opening Ceremonies

How else would you officially start an Oktoberfest, if not for a traditional keg tapping and parade? Beginning at 11:30 a.m. representatives of the German-American community will be decked out in traditional garb going from tent to tent tapping kegs and hanging flags and seals to officially start the weekend.

Chicken dance, the Oh My! Edition

George Takei takes center stage at 4 p.m. to lead the Oktoberfest crowd in the city’s most popular tradition. The man who played Sulu on the classic Star Trek series and movies will flap his arms and do a little chicken dance for the crowds who gather at Fountain Square downtown.

Takei is also performing as a guest narrator for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Cincinnati Music Hall. For more information about those performances visit:  http://www.cincinnatisymphony.org/

And for those unsure how to dance the dance, here’s a little primer:

For those heading down for any of the Oktoberfest activities plan on knowing parking and street closures that result from the event that happens on 5th Street downtown.

Here’s more from the Oktoberfest website: www.oktoberfeszinzinnati.com and WCPO traffic reporter Adam Marshall: http://www.wcpo.com/traffic/traffic-news/oktoberfest-zinzinnati-road-closures

• The Friday night’s opening will close 5th Street and Vine Street at 9:30 a.m .on Friday, Sept. 20.
• Also at that time cross-streets Walnut, Main, and Sycamore between 4th and 6th Streets will be closed
• Bus traffic will continue to travel south on Walnut to Government Square, Government Square to Main and 6th until 6:30 on Friday.

Access to parking garages will be allowed at 4th and 6th Streets.  There will be no access from Fifth Street to northbound Interstate 71, eastbound Columbia Parkway or southbound I-471. Additional Cincinnati police officers will be on hand starting Friday morning to assist drivers who are impacted. All streets will be reopened effective 6 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 23.

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