In Partnership with the Southern Weekend

Everything You Need To Know About Oktoberfest Zinzinnati

People holding steins

When the beer starts flowing and the brats hit the grill, you know Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is back for another year.

It’s the second biggest in the WORLD, only behind the original in Munich. And with 500,000 people expected to descend on downtown, it’s absolutely an event you need to witness in person.Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of the festival or just looking to experience it for the first time, we’ve got everything you need to know to make it a successful (and stress free) weekend.

When is it? Where is it?

  • Oktoberfest Zinzinnati takes places on Second and Third Streets, between Walnut and Elm Streets, downtown.
    • NOTE: With a festival this big, keep in mind that many streets surrounding it will be closed for the weekend. Plan a little extra time to get where you’re going.
  • Festival hours:
    • Friday, September 15, 2017 | 5 p.m.- 11 p.m.
    • Saturday, September 16, 2017 | 11 a.m.- 11 p.m.
    • Sunday, September 17, 2017 | 11 a.m.- 9 p.m.

Parking

There’s no doubt that the meters will fill up quickly, so odds are you’ll be looking for a garage. See our map above and look for the “P” icons to see some of the closest garages. Unless you don’t mind walking from OTR or Covington, prepare to spend a little bit more than usual.

The Events

Part of what makes Oktoberfest Zinzinnati so great are all the crazy, uniquely Cincy events going on during the festivities. This year, to celebrate the Bengals’ 50th season, Andy Dalton and A.J. Green will be acting as grand marshals and leading the world’s largest chicken dance.

Below are the can’t miss events that make this Oktoberfest so legendary.

  • The Running of the Wieners
    • Friday, Sept. 15th at 11 a.m. on Race Street between 2nd and 3rd.
    • Watch dozens of dachshunds dressed as hot dogs run in heats of 10 to their owners, with one lucky pooch to be named “King of the Wiener Dogs.”
  • The Gemuetlichkeit Games
    • Friday, Sept. 15th at 12 p.m. at the corner of 3rd and Race.
    • Watch the beer stein race and the beer barrel roll challenge.
  • The Opening Ceremonies
    • Saturday, Sept. 16th at 11:30 a.m. on the Main Stage, 2nd and Elm.
    • The official opening ceremonies where¬†Sam Adams founder Jim Koch will be tapping the keg.
  • Sam Adams Stein Hoisting Championship
    • Saturday, Sept. 16th at 5 p.m. on the main stage on 2nd Street.
    • Contestants will hold a one-liter stein, arm straight out, filled to the brim with Sam Adams Octoberfest beer. The last contestant standing, elbow locked and holding a full stein, wins the contest!
  • World Brat Eating Championship
    • Sunday, Sept. 17th at 2 p.m. on 3rd street.
    • World champion eater, Joey Chestnut, defends his crown as these weapons of mass digestion show Zinzinnati the true meaning of intestinal fortitude!
  • World’s Largest Chicken Dance
    • Sunday, Sept. 17th at 1 p.m. on The Main Stage at 2nd and Elm.
    • One of the ways this celebration distinguishes itself from the others is the chicken dance – thousands of dancers have congregated every year since 1994 when Zinzinnatians set the record for the largest Chicken Dance in the world.

The Food

If you’re setting a budget for the festival, you better allot at least 50% for all the amazing food (ok, maybe we eat a little too much down there. But doesn’t everyone?) When thinking about what you should eat, keep these numbers in mind from the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.

At the last Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, people ate…

  • 87,542 metts, 80,500 bratwurst, 64,000 sauerkraut balls, 56,250 sausages, 24,649 potato pancakes, 23,004 soft pretzels, 20,000 cream puffs, 16,002 strudel, 6,000 jumbo pickles, 3,600 lbs. of sauerkraut, 1,875 lbs. German potato salad, 702 lbs. Limburger cheese, 700 pigtails, 400 pickled pigs feet.

The Beer

There will be plenty of Marzen on tap as many of Cincy’s best breweries, and many great out-of-town breweries, bring in their trucks to serve the masses. If you’re a fan of the Oktoberfest style lager, don’t miss out on some of the hard to find versions. As always, drink responsibly and make sure you’ve got a ride home if you need one.