Oktoberfest Zinzinnati 2018: Everything You Need To Know (And A Few Things You Don't)

Sep 20, 2018

Cincinnati held its first Oktoberfest in 1976, and since then Oktoberfest Zinzinnati has grown to be America’s largest, second only to the one held in Munich, Germany. In 2017, the stateside event attracted 675,000, while Munich drew 6 million.

And there’s just as many things you need to know before you go. (OK, das an über-exaggeration.)

When Is It Happening?

Friday, Saturday and Sunday, September 21-23, and the hours are as follows:

  • Friday, 5-11 p.m.
  • Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
  • Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Why Does Oktoberfest Happen In September?

Here’s why.

What’s New This Year?

This year’s Grand Marshal is Thane Maynard, director of the Cincinnati Zoo and host of WVXU’s The 90-Second Naturalist podcast. The Zinzinnati Craft Bier Garten has a new, expanded location at Third and Walnut streets, and will feature five regional Cincinnati breweries: Braxton, Fretboard, MadTree, Rhinegeist and Taft’s Ale House. The Braxton Fass Bar also can be found at Third and Walnut streets, and will feature the brewery's latest collaboration with Graeter’s: Pumpkin Pie Ale.

Attendees also will be able to check out the new 150-foot SkyStar observation wheel at The Banks.

SkyStar passengers will rise 15 stories during a 12-minute ride.
Credit Courtesy SkyStar

What’s Back?

The Running of the Wieners takes place Friday at 11 a.m. on Freedom Way between Walnut Street and Rosa Parks, while the World’s Largest Chicken Dance takes place Sunday at noon at Second and Elm streets. (That's more than a superlative, you know—Oktoberfest Zinzinnati set the Guinness World Record in 1994, though it has since been broken.)

Dachshunds, outfitted in a provided hot dog bun costume, run a 75-foot heat. The "wiener" of the finals is crowned top dog.
Credit Courtesy Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber

Samuel Adams founder and Cincinnati native Jim Koch will tap the ceremonial first keg Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at the main stage, and the G-Games, featuring local celebrities, will compete in the Gemeutlichkeit (goodwill) Games on Friday at noon on Freedom Way between Walnut Street and Rosa Parks.

How Do I Get There?

You’ll want to plan ahead, as the city will close streets to accommodate the event starting at 9 a.m. Friday. Here’s what to expect:

  • All exits leading to Second Street from northbound I-75; southbound I-75; eastbound Route 50; and the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge will be closed
  • Second Street will be closed west of Walnut Street
  • Third Street closed between Walnut Street and Elm Street
  • Vine Street/Rosa Parks Street closed between Fourth Street and Freedom Way (local parking access will be maintained between Fourth Street and Third Street and between Freedom Way and Second Street)
  • Race Street closed between Fourth Street and Freedom Way (local parking access maintained between Fourth Street and Third Street and between Freedom Way and Second Street)
  • Freedom Way closed between Race Street and Rosa Parks Street
  • Elm Street will be temporarily converted to two-way traffic between Fourth Street and Second Street which will provide southbound access from Fourth Street to Mehring Way

All streets will remain closed or altered until Monday, September 24 at 5 a.m. Note that another event closes more streets in the area on Saturday.

Anything Else?

Don’t just come thirsty, come hungry. The event will feature over 100 varities of beer and 200 menu items. Organizers expect 2,000 barrels of beer to be consumed (that’s nearly 4 million fluid ounces!) and plans to serve around ...

  • 87,500 metts
  • 81,000 bratwurst
  • 64,000 sauerkraut balls
  • 56,000 sausages
  • 38,000 cream puffs
  • 24,500 potato pancakes
  • 23,000 soft pretzels
  • 16,000 strudel
  • 3,600 lbs. sauerkraut
  • 1,900 lbs. German potato salad

For more information, visit oktoberfestzinzinnati.com.