Who should lead Oktoberfest Zinzinnati's Chicken Dance? Here's our short list

Posted at 8:00 AM, Sep 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-06 08:00:50-04

CINCINNATI -- Every year, someone gets the honor of flapping their arms and shaking their tail feathers to lead the World's Largest Chicken Dance as grand marshal of Oktoberfest Zinzinnati.

This year Oktoberfest, traditionally held along Fifth Street, is moving to Second and Third streets, between Walnut and Elm, to accommodate the new Cincinnati Bell Connector streetcar. The Chicken Dance will go on, though: It's scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Sept. 18 at Second and Elm streets.

Previous grand marshals include former Bengals quarterback Ken Anderson, visiting celebrities like George Takei and 98 Degrees singers and TV personalities Drew and Nick Lachey.

Here are nine people we recommend to lead this year's Chicken Dance.

The local Olympic medalists

(From left) Rachael Adams, Kayla Harrison and Max Holt. (Getty Images)

Greater Cincinnati natives Rachael Adams, Kayla Harrison and Max Holt proved this summer they have more than enough grace and dexterity to lead the Chicken Dance.

Harrison, a 2006 Middletown High School graduate, earned her second consecutive Olympic gold medal in judo at the Rio de Janeiro Games in August. (She earned her first at the London Games in 2012.)

Adams, a 2008 Mount Notre Dame High School graduate, and Holt, a 2005 Purcell Marian High School graduate, won bronze medals as part of the U.S. women's and men's volleyball teams respectively.

FC Cincinnati

FC Cincinnati (Photo by Phil Didion)

Professional soccer team FC Cincinnati has proved it can draw a crowd during its first year of play. The team regularly sells out the University of Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium, where it plays home matches.

The only question: Could Oktoberfest Zinzinnati organizers fit the team's 30-man roster on the main stage?

John Travolta

John Travolta (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

How epic would it be if the man who brought us "Saturday Night Fever" took the stage in Cincinnati to lead the Chicken Dance?

Yes, since Travolta wrapped up filming the "The Life and Death of John Gotti" here weeks ago, it is a long shot he would return to grace the Oktoberfest stage, but we can hope. If it happens, Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman, who are both currently in Cincinnati filming "The Killing of a Sacred Deer," would definitely be welcome to dance with Travolta.

Billy Hamilton

Billy Hamilton (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

It has been a rough year for Cincinnati Reds fans as the team continues to rebuild its roster. One bright spot this season, though, is center fielder Billy Hamilton.

Hamilton regularly makes spectacular plays and steals bases. He also brought some swagger to the team in August when he told reporters that with the proper training he could give multi-gold medal-winning Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt a run for his money in the 100-meter dash. 

Though Hamilton would have no problem leading the Chicken Dance, the rest of us might find it a challenge to keep up.


Diddy (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Sean "Diddy" Combs will be in town for the Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour at U.S. Bank Arena during the weekend of Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. That got us thinking: What if Diddy agreed to lead the Chicken Dance the day after his concert? It's right down the street. 

There is precedent for visiting celebrities leading the dance (with George Takei being the most recent example). It could be the most epic polka ever.

Edward James Olmos

Edward James Olmos (Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for The Music Center)

Another celebrity will be in town during Oktoberfest weekend and could potentially lead the dance if Diddy is unavailable.

Academy Award nominee Edward James Olmos is scheduled to perform with the Cincinnati Pops during its season-opening weekend Sept. 16-18. 

Olmos gained fame in the 1980s as Lieutenant Martin Castillo on "Miami Vice." He also played Admiral William Adama in the 2004 television series "Battlestar Galactica" and most recently portrayed Robert Gonzales on ABC's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

The dance would be a nice way for Olmos to cap off his weekend.

Walk the Moon

Walk the Moon (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

These local musicians cemented their rock star status in 2014 with "Shut Up and Dance," and they seem like a natural fit to lead the Chicken Dance. Perhaps they could even put their own spin on the traditional accordion accompaniment and make polkas cool again. 

Ken Griffey Jr.

Ken Griffey Jr. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Perhaps the biggest local name we would like to see lead the dance is Ken Griffey Jr., who played for the Reds from 2000-2008 and retired from baseball as a Seattle Mariner in 2010. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown earlier this year.

Jason Segel

Jason Segel (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images)

Comedian, actor and author Jason Segel will be at Joseph-Beth Booksellers at 7 p.m. Sept. 16 signing his new book "Nightmares!: The Lost Lullaby."

Surely someone could persuade the lanky comedian to stay an extra couple of days and lead the Chicken Dance.

He has the build for it.