Oktoberfest Zinzinnati will have a new location this year. The celebration of German culture will be on Second and Third streets, between Walnut and Elm. Cincinnati Chamber President Jill Meyer says the new area is larger and will allow the festival to grow.
"Oktoberfest Zinzinnati 2016 will come alive in the midst of the Ohio River, a beautiful skyline in two directions, two of our pro sports teams, a vital passage of the Underground Railroad, parks, gathering places, the streetcar, the city center, and beautiful riverfront neighborhoods that are filled both with our history as well as our future."
Meyer says the chamber didn't want the event to interfere with the new streetcar system, which is scheduled to start operating on Sept. 9.
Mayor John Cranley says "I think it's great that the streetcar will be helpful to the event and will not have to be stopped and will be able to get people to and from the event. I think it will make the event stronger."
Overall, Cranley calls it a better location. "First of all, you've got wider streets. It's easier for commuters to get here. It will not interfere with the restaurants and dining options at Fountain Square and nearby Fountain Square."
Meyer says the Chamber will be working with the Cincinnati Reds, who have four home games that week, and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, "to make sure we are lifting up the entire Cincinnati riverfront as part of our Oktoberfest event."
Reds Chief Operating Officer Phil Castellini says the new location is great, but does have its challenges. He says Oktoberfest will take away one of the main arteries to Downtown and the Banks.
"But, really, this is the front door of the city. It makes sense to have one of our premiere events at the front door of the city."
The chamber says Oktoberfest draws more than 600,000 people to Downtown Cincinnati.
"With change to any event of this size we know there's going to be a learning curve. We're going to ask you all to bear with us and we promise you we will have plenty of communications to make sure we're making this change easy," Meyer says.
She says parking could be a challenge, but encourages people to explore new options, and consider parking farther away and using the streetcar. It runs south on Walnut, turns east at Second, and heads north on Main.
Meyer says the future is still up in the air. "We can't declare it a permanent home because we have no idea how this traffic flow is going to go."
She says they're still discussing locations for the Taste of Cincinnati festival, which has also been on Fifth St.