Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, presented by Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and Sam Adams, is the largest Oktoberfest celebration in the country. More than half-a-million herren und frauen will converge on a six-block area of Fifth Street to eat, sing, mingle, sport lederhosen, listen to polka music, try to speak German and perform the Chicken Dance with Grand Marshals Drew and Nick Lachey.
You can't have a party this big without closing a few streets, though. At 9 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 19, the following streets will be closed
Oktoberfest Zinzinnati features seven stages showcasing continuous live German music and more than 30 food vendors serving close to 200 dishes. And more than 1,300 barrels of beer, or 1.6 million ounces, are consumed each year at Oktoberfest, the approximate capacity of a small microbrewery.
Metro will be running bus service to Government Square until 6:30 p.m.
- Fifth Street will be closed from Vine to Broadway.
- Walnut from Fourth to Sixth Streets
- Main from Fourth to Sixth Streets
- Sycamore from Fourth to Sixth Streets
At 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 19, these streets will close:
- Government Square
- Broadway from Fourth to Sixth Street
- Fifth Street from Broadway to Sentinel Street
Though America’s Oktoberfest officially opens at 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 19, there are some preliminary events you don’t want to miss.
The Running of the Wieners, on Friday, September 19, at high noon. (or low, as they case may be) is the annual kickoff for Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati. Spectators will see 100 dachshunds racing to be crowned the winning wiener.
Each dachshund, outfitted in a hot dog bun costume (provided), will run approximately 75 feet in heats of ten dogs to their owners at the opposite end. The winner of each heat will compete in a final race to determine the winning wiener dog. Prizes will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners.
Stick around for the Gemuetlichkeit (goodwill) Games at 5 p.m. on Fountain Square, which include challenges such as the Beer Stein Race and Beer Barrel Roll. In the Beer Stein Race (Mädchens) run a short distance across Fountain Square with two beer steins. The winner is determined not only by the best time, but by the amount of beer left in the steins at the finish line. The Beer Barrel Roll is just that.
The official Opening Ceremony and Keg Tapping is on Saturday, Sept. 20, at 11:30 a.m. But the big event is at 4 p.m., when Nick and Drew Lachey lead the “World’s Largest Chicken Dance.”
The Lachey brothers are presiding over the three-day festival as Grand Marshals, putting their impressive dance to the test as they join thousands in leading the World’s Largest Chicken Dance (a Cincinnati tradition since 1994).
Originally from Cincinnati, the Lacheys rose to fame as members of the boy band 98 Degrees. Nominated for a Grammy, the band had sold more than 10 million albums. Nick Lachey is perhaps best known for his extensive work on television both as a host and reality star. His younger brother, Drew, was the winner of the second season of the hit show Dancing with the Stars, and also can be seen as a TV host. The two are currently working on a new reality show for the A&E Network, “Lachey’s Bar,” which is documenting the work the two are doing as they renovate and open a bar in the Over-the-Rhine.
From traditional music to delicious pretzels, more than 20,000 cream puffs and of course, plenty of beer, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is a fun way to spend a fall weekend downtown.