It's time once again for Bockfest, that annual Cincinnati event where a keg receives a Catholic blessing, people parade around Downtown with goats and one lucky lady (or man) is crowned "The Sausage Queen." And now that I get the whole purpose of the goat, I can’t wait to join in the fun. Entertainment reporter Brian Mains breaks down the Bockfest basics here and provides details on the biggest events of the weekend.
Bockfest Parade: 6 p.m. Friday. Starts at Arnold’s Bar & Grill, 210 E. 8th St., Downtown. Festivities run through Sunday. For a full schedule of events, go to bockfest.com.
Karneval of Bock Beer
Kick off the Bockfest fun a day early at the Karneval of Bock Beer at Taft’s Ale House. It’s presented in conjunction with the Erste K.G. — or Karneval Gruppe — which is the oldest section of the Germania Society. The event will feature music, a special German-inspired menu and bock beer tappings from several local breweries, including Taft's own new Strudel Bock, brewed with McGlasson Farms apple cider and cinnamon.
5 p.m. to midnight Thursday. Taft’s Ale House, 1429 Race St., Over-the-Rhine. Free admission. Beer tapping starts at 6:11 p.m. Thursday; parade in and around Taft's starts at 7:11 p.m. For more details, go to the event’s Facebook page.
“Bobbleheads: The Exhibit”
Reds Bobbleheads are extremely popular, and now the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum is giving them the special treatment. The museum’s new “Bobbleheads” exhibit, opening Friday, will showcase more than 500 different versions of the collectibles, including every Reds bobblehead giveaway since 2001. The exhibit also will feature bobbleheads from other sports teams, as well other local bobbleheads from around Cincinnati.
Opens 10 a.m. Friday. The Reds Hall of Fame & Museum, 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, Downtown. $10 adults, $8 seniors age 60 and up, kids under age 4 free. redsmuseum.org
Jason Alexander and the Pops
Most people know him as neurotic, insecure George Costanza from “Seinfeld,” the classic sitcom about nothing. But portrayer Jason Alexander is a Tony Award-winning performer with an excellent voice, and he’s showing it off this weekend with the Cincinnati Pops. Expect fantastic music and plenty of laughs.
8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Downtown. $20-$86.75. www.cincinnatisymphony.org
50 Cent at Party Source
I drink vodka, and I like 50 Cent’s music (and muscles, tbh). So I will be at Party Source on Sunday for the rapper’s Effen Vodka bottle signing. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like: 50 will sign bottles of the Dutch brand of vodka, for which he serves as spokesman, and take photographs with fans. DJ ETrayn will provide music during the event.
Noon to 1:30 p.m. Sunday. 95 Riviera Drive, Bellevue. You can pre-purchase bottles for signing at www.thepartysource.com.
The Greatest Show on Earth
I’m still a kid at heart and though I have none of my own, I still like going to the circus -- it’s a really fun date! Starting Thursday, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s Circus Xtreme will bring aerial tricks, the Human Cannonball, the Wheel of Steel, high-wire acts, clowns and plenty of animals to U.S. Bank Arena.
7 p.m. Thursday; 3 and 7 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday; 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday. U.S. Bank Arena, 100 Broadway, Downtown. usbankarena.com
Cincinnati International Wine Festival
As much as I love wine, I have to include the Cincinnati International Wine Festival in this weekend’s Top 9. The festival will bring winemakers from around the world together with distributors, chefs, wine aficionados and more casual drinkers. It kicks off with winery dinners at 12 Greater Cincinnati restaurants on Thursday, and grand tastings Friday and Saturday will offer the chance to sample from more than 700 wines. Best of all: The festival is a nonprofit, and much of the organization’s proceeds go back into the community. Time to drink for charity.
Thursday through Saturday. Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Downtown. Some winery dinners are sold out, tickets for many festival events can be purchased online. For for schedule, visit www.winefestival.com.
Here are a couple of weekend recommendations from arts reporter Rick Pender:
A so-so 1992 Disney movie about newspaper delivery boys going on strike in New York City during the summer of 1899 became a 2012 Broadway musical hit. It picked up Tonys for music (by Alan Menken, who composed "Beauty and the Beast") and exciting choreography. This is a heartwarming story -- with a lot of energetic dancing -- about underdog kids who become unlikely heroes when they stand up to legendary newspaper publishers Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst to air grievances about underpaid child laborers.
Through March 13. Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Downtown. $29-$107. For showtimes, go to cincinnatiarts.org.
CCM’s Broadway-bound musical theater talent offers one of the first university-level productions of this show, a Tony-winning hit musical based on Green Day's multi-platinum album of the same name. It’s an energy-fueled rock opera about three disgruntled buddies who struggle to find meaning in a post-9/11 world. When they leave behind their hometown for the thrills of city life, their paths diverge. One joins the Army, one must return home for family responsibilities, and the third is seduced by love and drugs. (The show is for mature audiences.)
Thursday through March 13. CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theatre, West Corry Street and Jefferson Avenue. $31-$35. www.ccm.uc.edu.