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Oktoberfest Zinzinnati: Mayor Aftab Pureval proclaims Friday a half-day holiday to celebrate festival

Everything you need to know about America's largest Oktoberfest
Posted at 4:08 PM, Sep 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-14 16:08:31-04

CINCINNATI — Friday has been declared a half-day holiday by Mayor Aftab Pureval as Oktoberfest Zinzinnati kicks off for the weekend!

While not an official half-day holiday, Pureval proclaimed the holiday beginning at 11 a.m. Friday, and he encourages all Cincinnatians to head downtown to celebrate and experience all Oktoberfest has to offer.

"Nobody else in the country does Oktoberfest as big and as proudly as we do here in Cincinnati," Pureval said. "And we should continue to recognize its importance to our community and local businesses."

The celebration, which is America's largest Oktoberfest, is set to have fan-favorite events, authentic German cuisine, live music and, of course, lots of beer.

Just days away from beginning, there's one big change with this year's festivities: you can now buy beer with a credit card!

Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber President Brendon Cull said it was the number one piece of feedback given to Oktoberfest Zinzinnati organizers year after year.

"If you want to drink all weekend, you can put in on your credit card and pay it off later," Cull said. "And we'll be happy to make that happen for you."

There will be two card readers available at all beer and drink booths for those that want to opt for a cashless weekend, which kicks off at 11 a.m. Friday and runs until 9 p.m. Sunday.

Despite the big shift, some food and vendor booths will still only allow cash. If you forget to bring some, there will still be ATMs stationed around the celebration grounds.

Cull said the shift is really a matter of convenience for all of the Oktoberfest-goers — which had more than 700,000 attendees in 2021.

The beloved Running of the Wieners — which used to take place the day before Oktoberfest — will open the weekend at noon Friday. More than 100 dachshunds, broken down into heats of 10, will race to their owners while dressed to the nines in costumes. Each winner of their heat will then compete to find the fastest wiener dog in Zinzinnati.

Saturday will host some other fan-favorites such as the Stein Hoisting Challenge and the Best Dressed Contest will take place. Those that are brave enough can attempt to outlast everyone else while holding a one-liter stein of beer, straight-out without bending an elbow or spilling beer. One male and female-identifying winner will receive a three foot Sam Adams stein, a $250 gift card to the Sam Adams Tap Room and more. Registration for the stein hoisting challenge, which happens at 2p.m., have already closed, but the competition is still a sight to see.

Sunday afternoon, festival-goers can feast their eyes upon the World Brat Eating Contest, where Major League Eaters from across the nation will have eight minutes to eat as many brats as possible. Joey Chestnut is leaving the title undefended, so competition is sure to be fierce.

While the weekend has plenty of other events to join in on, there will also be live music across multiple stages, German food and, of course, a variety of beers to enjoy. There's more than 30 food vendors across the festival, and beer lovers will get to indulge in more than 130 beers from multiple breweries.

'We're excited to offer a beer list with a variety of options and flavors," said Spencer Mapes, lead event manager for Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. "Along with our official bear, Samuel Adams, local favorites like MadTree, Rhinegeist and Urban Artifact will be participating in the event."

The festival takes place on Second and Third streets between Walnut and Elm streets in downtown. Because of this, there are some road closures and traffic changes to be aware of when traveling or parking.

Road closures on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m.

  • Second Street from Elm to Walnut streets

Road closures from Thursday at 9 a.m.

  • Third Street between Walnut and Elm streets
  • Race Street between Fourth Street and Freedom Way
  • Vine Street/Rosa Parks Street between Fourth Street and Freedom Way
  • Freedom Way between Marian Spencer Way and Rosa Parks Street
  • Theodore M Berry Way west of the roundabout

Third Street will reopen by 5 a.m. on Monday, with the rest of the streets reopening by 5 p.m.

For more information on traveling details and parking information, click here.

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