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Oktoberfest Zinzinnati brings normalcy, even with an abnormal approach

It's been a tough six months
Posted at 3:49 PM, Sep 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-18 19:20:16-04

CINCINNATI — The 2020 Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is more important than ever right now.

Not only to bring revenue to local businesses struggling during the pandemic, but to bring a morale booster for the entire city.

It’s been a tough six months in the hospitality industry.

“Everything that’s happened over the last six months since March 15, we were shut down from March 15 to May 15,” said Holy Grail owner Jim Moehring. "Everything that we’ve lost is just another layer to us.”

Oktoberfest comes as a relief for Moehring.

“This is one of Cincinnati’s greatest traditions and I’m glad they’re continuing it on,” he said.

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati kicks off Friday night. It’ll last ten days, with dozens of bars and restaurants participating. Plus, people are encouraged to celebrate “In Za Haus,” with German drinks and food at home.

Rich Walburg from Oktoberfest Zinzinnati has your “In Za Haus” night mapped out.

“Put on the Spotify playlist of German songs. Go to Kroger and get some brats and mets,” he said.

Even from home, Walburg said it’s vital to keep the tradition going.

“It’s just as important this year to the morale of this region and to help businesses and restaurants,” he said.

Though people won’t be shoulder to shoulder in the streets and in bars, Justin Wiener, general manager Moerlein Lager House, said the festival is bringing a sense of normalcy to downtown.

“It felt like kind of getting back to some regular things as well, so definitely a big boost for us,” Wiener said.

COVID-19 precautions are still in place, with capacity limits and social distancing at the venues. Wiener said it won’t dull the energy of this Cincinnati staple.

“We’re excited this event is going on and I think it’s going to bring a lot of people to downtown and have some great energy around it,” he said.

“It’s a huge party, people are up. In the past we’ve had bands come in. It’ll be different this year, but we’ll still have a blast,” Moehring said.

The chicken dance is still slated to happen Saturday while the Stein Hoist is next weekend. And through the entire 10 days there will be live entertainment, which you can check out both in person and virtually.