When Oktoberfest is mentioned, the immediate response is visions of beer flowing, bratwursts grilling, oompah bands playing and maybe even lederhosen. Visitors get to see all that plus so much more as German heritage and culture are celebrated with authentic German food, beer and entertainment at the annual Oktoberfest Zinzinnati taking place along 6 blocks of downtown Cincinnati streets on Friday, September 20, Saturday, September 21 and Sunday, September 22.
Oktoberfest Zinzinnati The largest Oktoberfest celebration in the United States (and the 2nd largest in the world), this 3-day family-friendly event offers a wide range of activities for all ages and interests. More than 500,000 people are expected to attend. Don't forget to say "Hi" to Fritz, the authentic German dachshund who is mascot for Oktoberfest Zinzinnati.
One of the most popular events at Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is the Running of the Wieners Race where visitors can enter their dachshunds to achieve racing glory. Outfitted in provided hot dog bun costumes, each dachshund will run in a heat of 10 contestants for a distance of 75 feet to their owners at the opposite end of the race track.
Winners of each heat will proceed to the finals where prizes will be awarded to the top three contestants. Cost to enter is $25 with part of the proceeds going to a dachshund rescue charity. The race is scheduled for Friday from noon - 1 p.m. at Fountain Square.
Another attraction at Oktoberfest will be the Enquirer Media Glockenspiel, a 2-story actual working clock with a bar on the ground floor and a stage above the bar where entertainers will emerge every hour on the hour to dance, toast and throw souvenirs to the guests.
Also featured are the Gemuetlichkeit (Goodwill) Games (Friday at 5 p.m. at Fountain Square) which include a Beer Stein Race (running with filled beer steins) and a Beer Barrel Roll where contestants have to roll an empty wooden barrel around a course. There will also be the Sam Adams Stein Hoisting Championship (Saturday at 5 p.m.). How long can you hoist a filled beer stein?
The one event you don't want to miss is the World's Largest Chicken Dance where thousands of dancers will participate. In 1994 a world record was set with 48,000 dancers. The World's Largest Chicken Dance will take place on Saturday, September 21 at 4 p.m. and will be led by "Star Trek" star George Takei.
Also, make sure you check out the World Bratwurst Eating Contest taking place on Sunday, September 22 at 5 p.m. (at the corner of 5th Street and Broadway). Last year's champion Joey Chestnut is expected to participate. Prize money will be awarded.
And don't miss performances by the Oktoberfest Zinzinnati Alpenhorns. The world's longest horns (at 9 feet), the Alpenhorns consist of 5 specially commissioned instruments. They will be played at various stages throughout the Festival.
There will be plenty of live German music and German dancers (on 7 stages) at Oktoberfest Zinzinnati and of course, the beer will be flowing and there will be lots and lots of authentic German food available for purchase. It is estimated that there will be 80,500 bratwursts, 64,000 sauerkraut balls, 24,600 potato pancakes, 1875 pounds of German potato salad, 6000 jumbo pickles, 3600 pounds of sauerkraut and 16,000 pieces of strudel at Oktoberfest.
Official hours for Oktoberfest Zinzinnati are 5 p.m. - midnight on Friday (though the Running of the Wieners takes place on Friday from noon - 1 p.m.), 11 a.m. - midnight on Saturday and 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free.
For more information about Oktoberfest Zinzinnati get online at www.oktoberfestzinzinnati.com.
The Oktoberfest Zinzinnati will take place on the six blocks of Fifth Street (from Race St. to Broadway) in downtown Cincinnati. It is approximately a 4 hour drive from Cleveland.