Cincy transforming for annual Oktoberfest

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 11, 2011

Next weekend on Sept. 16, 17 and 18, Cincinnati will be transformed into Zinzinnati USA as it hosts America’s Oktoberfest.

More than half-a-million herren, damen und kinder (men, women and children) 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.

That’s the world’s largest Chicken Dance! Details regarding this moving and grooving dance will be announced at a later date.

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Back by popular demand, an Oktoberfest Sneak Peek will start on Fountain Square at noon on Friday, Sept. 16. Enjoy authentic food, beverages and music until midnight as you have a front-row seat to watch Fifth Street transform into America’s Oktoberfest.

The Square’s Sneak Peek celebration kicks off at noon with the annual John Morrell Running of the Wieners race.

In its fifth year of fun competition, this doggie derby has become a fan favorite. The registration fee is $20 and includes all competition race gear, including hot dog bun costume and owner t-shirt.

There are a limited number of spots, so if you have a dachshund with a need for speed, register soon!

Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati features seven stages showcasing continuous live German music and more than 30 food vendors serving close to 200 dishes.

And more than 800 barrels of beer, or 1.6 million ounces, are consumed each year at Oktoberfest, the approximate capacity of a small microbrewery.

This year, 12 beer brands, including Samuel Adams, Spaten, Erdinger, Beck’s and Christian Moerlein, will have more than 40 styles of brew on tap.

Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati USA is considered the nation’s preeminent Oktoberfest celebration. USA Today calls Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati one of the 10 best beer fests in America, and magazines from Maxim to Better Homes & Gardens have lauded Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati as the place for an authentically-German good time.

In his book, “Party Across America! 101 of the Greatest Festivals, Sporting Events, and Celebrations in the U.S.,” author Michael Guerriero said of Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati, “Cincy has taken the Oktoberfest celebration to another level.

The greatest Oktoberfest in the United States and one of the best food festivals I’ve ever attended.”

Zinzinnati’s timing is perfect as it coincides with the biggest beer festival in the world Munich Germany’s Oktoberfest.

The celebration in Bavaria this year runs Sept. 17 through Oct. 3. Save yourself the time distance and expense and head downriver to the “Queen” City.

Last year 87,542 metts, 80,500 bratwurst, 64,000 sauerkraut balls, 56,250 sausages, 24,640 potato pancakes, 23,004 soft pretzels, 20,000 cream puffs, 16,002 strudel, 6,000 jumbo pickles, 3,600 lbs. sauerkraut, 1,875 lbs. German potato salad, 702 lbs. Limburger cheese, 700 pigtails and last but not least 400 pickled pigs’ feet were consumed at the Fest. Yummy!

Admission is free and beers are purchased at each tent, for either $4-$5 for a small, or as much as $11 for a large souvenir mug. Check out the schedule and activities at

I’ve had the pleasure of attending the big one in Deutschland several times but this fall the Travel Prof is dropping the convertible top and hitting the double A to Zinzinnati. See you at the Oktoberfest!

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Happy Travels!

Got travel? E-mail Steve Call at the or dial 740.550.9540.