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

Posted at 10:46 AM, Sep 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-08 14:54:30-04

CINCINNATI — If you go to Oktoberfest Zinzinnati each year, be warned: The festival’s new location means its traditional events, from the Running of the Wieners to the Chicken Dance, are moving, too.

The annual celebration of all things German, now in its 40th year, will return Sept. 16-18. This year, though, it will move from its traditional Fifth Street location near Fountain Square to Second and Third streets between Elm and Walnut streets.

The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, which organizes the event each year, decided to relocate Oktoberfest to avoid disrupting service for the Cincinnati Bell Connector streetcar, which begins operating on Sept. 9.

Oktoberfest’s traditional events, previously held at Fountain Square, will relocate to multiple areas within the festival's new footprint. Notable changes include:

  • The Running of the Wieners will take place at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 16, at Race Street, between Second Street and Freedom Way.
  • The Gemuetlichkeit (goodwill) Games, which includie the Beer Stein Race and Beer Barrel Roll, will take place at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, on Second Street between Walnut and Vine streets.
  • The World's Largest Chicken Dance led by FC Cincinnati will take place at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, at Second and Elm streets.

Cincinnati USA is also creating multiple stages along Second and Third streets for the entertainment acts scheduled to perform during the festival. Click or tap on the icons in the Google map below for details on stage and event locations.

The move also means the chamber had to coordinate multiple street closures with Cincinnati city officials. Road closures begin at 9 a.m. Sept. 16 and continue through 4 a.m. Sept. 19. (For detailed traffic information, go to gettooktoberfest.com.)

The closings include:

  • Second and Third streets from Elm to Walnut streets
  • Vine Street from Third Street to the Central Riverfront Garage entrance and mid-block between Second Street and Freedom Way
  • Race Street from Third Street to the Central Riverfront Garage entrance and mid-block between Second Street and Freedom Way
  • Second Street ramp from I-75 north and south
  • Second Street ramp from Clay Wade Bailey Bridge, north and south
  • Second Street ramp to I-71 north (remains closed due to construction)
  • Third Street ramp from I-71 south (remains closed due to construction)

In order to allow access to parking garages near Oktoberfest, the following streets will be converted from one-way to two-way streets:

  • Vine Street from Fourth to Third streets for Allpro and Olympic garages at 309 Vine St.
  • Race Street from Fourth to Third streets for SP Garage at 321 Race St.
  • Elm Street from Fourth Street to Mehring Way for Central Riverfront Garage

The Cincinnati Police Department is also asking people attending any of the four Cincinnati Reds games throughout Sept. 16-18 at Great American Ball Park to park south of Second Street at the Central Riverfront Garage. That garage can be accessed along Mehring Way.

Click or tap on the lines and shaded areas below in the Google map to see a description of road closures and parking garages. 

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
Information: www.oktoberfestzinzinnati.com