Everything You Need To Know About Oktoberfest Zinzinnati 2018

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 21 | 5 p.m.- 11 p.m.
    • Saturday, September 22 | 11 a.m.- 11 p.m.
    • Sunday, September 23 | 11 a.m.- 9 p.m.


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 of the crazy, uniquely Cincy events going on during the festivities.

  • The Running of the Wieners
    • Friday, Sept. 21 at 11 a.m. on Freedom Way between Walnut and Rosa Parks.
    • 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. 21 at 12 p.m. on Freedom Way between Walnut and Rosa Parks.
    • Watch the beer stein race and the beer barrel roll challenge.
  • The Opening Ceremonies
    • Saturday, Sept. 22 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.
  • World Brat Eating Championship
    • Sunday, Sept. 23 at 2 p.m. at the Braxton Fass Bar Stage, 3rd & Walnut
    • 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. 23 at 12 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. This year, it’ll be lead by Thane Maynard from the Cincinnati Zoo.

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.