CINCINNATI -- Break out your lederhosen and dirndls -- it’s time for Oktoberfest Zinzinnati.
More than 650,000 people are expected to head downtown Friday-Sunday for the annual celebration of German beer, food and music. If you’re going, are considering going, or have never been and want to know what to expect if you go, this guide is for you. (Yes, we cover all bases.)
Read on for seven essential things to know for Oktoberfest Zinzinnati weekend.
When And Where
Oktoberfest Zinzinnati will take place 5 p.m.-midnight Friday, 11 a.m.-midnight Saturday and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. It’s held on Fifth Street, Downtown, between Vine and Sentinel streets.
Yes, that means several streets will be closed this weekend. These streets will close at 9 a.m. Friday:
- Fifth Street from Vine to Broadway streets
- Walnut Street from Fourth to Sixth streets
- Main Street from Fourth to Sixth streets
- Sycamore Street from Fourth to Sixth Streets
Metro will run bus service to Government Square only until 6:30 p.m. Friday; then Government Square will close. The following streets also will close at 6:30 p.m. Friday:
- Broadway from Fourth to Sixth streets
- Fifth Street from Broadway to Sentinel streets
The Chicken Dance
Former Bengals quarterback Ken Anderson, grand marshal for this year’s Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, will lead the Chicken Dance at 4:30 p.m. Saturday on Fountain Square. Anderson played quarterback with the Bengals from 1971-1986, including during the "Freezer Bowl" in 1982, the coldest game in NFL history. He was selected to four Pro Bowls (1975,1976, 1981, 1982) and earned NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year awards in 1981.
Need to brush up on your Chicken Dance skills? Let last year’s grand marshals Nick and Drew Lachey show you how it’s done.
The Other Main Events
The Running of the Wieners: Imagine 100 dachshunds wearing hot dog bun costumes. The annual race for top dog is noon Friday on Fountain Square.
The Gemuetlichkeit Games: There will be beer barrel rolling and beer stein races. The Games are at 1 p.m. Friday on the Square.
Opening ceremonies:Oktoberfest Zinzinnati’s official opening ceremonies, featuring a parade of German-American representatives wearing traditional attire, will take place at 11:30 a.m. Saturday on Fountain Square, with Sam Adams founder Jim Koch tapping the ceremonial first keg.
Sam Adams Stein Hoisting Championship: This contest, which requires competitors to raise a one-liter glass stein filled with Sam Adams OctoberFest for as long as possible, will take place 5 p.m. Saturday at Fountain Square.
Glier’s World Brat-Eating Championship: One of the top-ranked competitive eaters in the world, Joey Chestnut, will defend his title at 5 p.m. Sunday at Fifth and Broadway streets. He will attempt to break the world record he set in 2013 by eating 70 brats in 10 minutes. (Please, don't try that at home.)
So. Much. Food. And Beer!
Brats, metts, cream puffs, pretzels, sauerkraut, strudel and more -- you will not go hungry or thirsty at Oktoberfest. Here’s the full menu.
There’s Entertainment Everywhere
Expect to hear live music and see dancers and more entertainers all weekend. Click here to check out the full schedule.
What’s New This Year
More craft beer: The new Brewer’s Alley, at Fifth and Broadway streets, will feature 40 craft and specialty beers from local and regional breweries. The beer menu includes:
- Anderson Valley Fall Hornin’ Pumpkin
- Ballast Point Dead Ringer Oktoberfest Lager
- Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin IPA
- Boulevard Tank 7
- Braxton Brewing Crankshaft IPA
- Braxton Brewing Oktoberfest
- Breckenridge Breck IPA
- Brooklyn Oktoberfest
- Coney Island Hard Root Beer
- Deschutes Pinedrops IPA
- Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
- Dogfish Head Punkin Ale
- Ei8ht Ball Tarnished Dry-Hopped Golden Ale
- Fat Head’s Bumble Berry Honey Blueberry Ale
- Founders All Day Session IPA
- Lagunitas IPA
- MadTree Happy Amber
- MadTree Lift
- Mt. Carmel Amber Ale
- Mt. Carmel Harvest Ale
- New Holland Dragon’s Milk Barrel Aged Stout
- North High Dry Hopped Imperial Kolsch*
- Old Firehouse Blood Orange Wheat Ale
- Revolution Fist City Pale Ale
- Sam Adams Fat Jack Double Pumpkin
- Schlafly Kolsch
- Schlafly Pumpkin Ale
- Shiner Oktoberfest
- Sierra Nevada Hop Hunter
- Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest
- Stone Coffee Milk Stout
- Stone IPA
- Tap & Screw All Jacked Up
- Tap Room 21 Oktoberfest
- The Brew Kettle Oktofest
- Thirsty Dog Barktoberfest
- Urban Artifact Finn Berliner Pale
- Victory Festbier
- Wiedemann’s Oktoberfestbier
- Wiedemann’s Special Lager
There Will Be A Giant Clock. With Dancers.
The Christian Moerlein Glockenspiel is a large clock with a bar on the ground level and a stage above the bar. When the clock strikes every hour on the hour, music will start and entertainers will come out and dance on the stage. Here's video of the Glockenspiel in 2012, if you need help imagining it.