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Fun, fellowship have kept a local band performing at Oktoberfest for decades

Posted at 4:30 AM, Sep 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-21 14:39:45-04

CINCINNATI -- Outside of the beer, pretzels, and the crowds, one of the biggest things that draws people to Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is the music. The Smittie Schnapps Band has played at the festival for decades.

“This group is very special,” band leader Hank Meinking said. “This is something that I look forward to every year.”

Meinking took over band leader duties a few years ago after his predecessor, Jacque Shoemaker, died. 

“We certainly miss Jacque, but again, we carry on because of Jacque, too,” Meinking said. 

Originally from Cincinnati, Meinking has lived in St. Louis for the past four years. He makes the trek back home every year to meet up with the other band members and play for the Oktoberfest crowds. 

He and the rest of the band plan to keep playing the festival for as long as they enjoy it.

“We just have a lot of fun,” band member Steve Hoock said. 

The band makes sure the crowd has fun, as well. Oktoberfest kicks off Friday, and you can catch the Smittie Schnapps Band Saturday and Sunday at noon.