CINCINNATI — Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is back this year in person, after being forced to cancel in 2020 for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Local business owners are happy the event has returned since it brings a strong impact to the local economy each year.
"We really just tell our staff to be busy at all times," said Jade Colwell, bar manager at Smoke Justis across the Roebling Bridge in Covington. "Be ready for anything. When these weekends come around it's all hands on deck. Be ready for intensity. We just get everyone prepped up and ready to go that it's not going to just be a party. It's coming to work."
Mick Noll was one of Oktoberfest Zinzinnati's original vendors and founded Covington's Oktoberfest in Mainstrasse Village. After he died five years ago, his sons took the reins, including helping plan Cincinnati's Oktoberfest across the river.
Ludwig Noll, one of Mick's sons, said having to miss last year was difficult.
"Missing it last year, that was the biggest loss," he said. "It wasn't financially; it was emotionally and socially, and so I'm really looking forward to seeing a lot of the German friends and all the other people that just come out and enjoy our food. That is the biggest thing for us, is sharing our food with other people, enjoying them, watching them eat it. That's what gives us a lot of the joy, the impact that it has on our life. It's not really the financial part, luckily for us."
Hundreds of thousands of people flock to Cincinnati for the event annually. This year, Brendon Cull with Cincinnati's Chamber of Commerce, said the event will start on a Thursday.
"We have a baseball series this weekend with the Reds in town," said Cull. "Concerts in town. It'll feel alive. Feel great."
Cull is hoping many of the 3,200 rooms available to book within three blocks of the Duke Energy Convention Center will be full.
"Parking garages will be filled," said Cull. "People will walk around. Hopefully stop and shop at places too. You know they'll spend a lot of time at Oktoberfest because it's a great tradition."
The festivities begin at noon on Thursday with the running of the wiener dogs on Freedom Way at the Banks.