Oktoberfest Zinzinnati organizers reveal FC Cincinnati will lead Chicken Dance

Posted at 8:00 AM, Sep 08, 2016
and last updated 2017-09-05 15:44:24-04

CINCINNATI -- FC Cincinnati president and general manager Jeff Berding, head coach John Harkes and players will lead this year's World's Largest Chicken Dance as grand marshals of Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. 

The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, which organizes the annual German festival, announced the choice during a news conference Thursday.

The 40th annual Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, scheduled Sept. 16-18, is moving from its usual location on Fifth Street to accommodate the Cincinnati Bell Connector streetcar, which begins operations Friday.

RELATED: Oktoberfest Zinzinnati's move means event changes, new road closures

Cincinnati USA selected FC Cincinnati to lead the Chicken Dance after the soccer team regularly set attendance records at the University of Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium, where it plays home games, during its inaugural season. The dance is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Sept. 18 on Oktoberfest's main stage.

"We're going to have a lot of fun," said Berding.

Because of this year's relocation of Oktoberfest, the dance will take place at the corner of Elm and Second streets, Downtown, instead of its traditional spot on Fountain Square.

The Chicken Dance, which is typically held on the second day of Oktoberfest, also has been pushed back a day to accommodate the schedule of Joey Chestnut, according to Cincinnati USA spokesman Rich Walburg. Chestnut will defend his World Brat Eating Championship title at Oktoberfest at 3 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Glockenspiel Stage, which is located at the corner of Third and Walnut streets this year. zzz

New to Oktoberfest this year is the Zinzinnati Bier Garten. The garden, which will be located at Third and Race streets, will feature local craft beers, live entertainment and an 11-by-6-foot video screen so people can watch weekend sporting events.

Other changes in store include a host of Downtown road closures and the relocation of other events such as the Running of the Wieners and Gemuetlichkeit Games. (Tip: If riding the Cincinnati Bell Connector to Oktoberfest, get off at Streetcar Station 1 at the Banks.) 

The Cincinnati Reds will host four home games against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park during Oktoberfest weekend. During Thursday's press conference, Cincinnati Police urged fans attending those games to park south of Second Street in the Central Riverfront Garage along Mehring Way.

There is also public parking available in Newport and Covington, along with access to Red Bike rentals and the Southbank Shuttle, said Reds public relations manager Michael Anderson. 

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati

5 p.m.-midnight Sept. 16, 11 a.m.-midnight Sept. 17, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sept 18
Second and Third streets between Elm and Walnut streets