The nation's largest German-heritage celebration is this weekend, and with more beer choices than usual.
Cynthia Oxley with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber says visitors drank more than 2,000 barrels of beer at last year's Oktoberfest Zinzinnati.
“New for 2015, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is excited to feature microbreweries and craft beers," Oxley says. "In celebration of 40 years, we’ll have 40 craft beers at the all new Brewer’s Alley, which is on Broadway off Fifth Street."
Oxley says Brewer's Alley will be open only on Saturday and Sunday.
Across the entire event there will be 108 different varieties of beer along with wine, specialty drinks, and food.
The grand marshal of this year's Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is a former Bengal. Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber Vice President Pat Sheeran says former Bengal quarterback Ken Anderson will lead the world's largest chicken dance.
“Ken Anderson was the winning quarterback in the Freezer Bowl, which sent the Bengals to the Super Bowl," Sheeran says. "Mr. Anderson played for the Bengals from 1971 through 1986 and was later a coach for the Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Pittsburgh Steelers."
This is the 40th year for Oktoberfest Zinzinnati and Sheeran says the Chamber estimates nearly 650,000 people will attend.
A Cincinnati Police sergeant says the department is ready for the crowds. Sergeant Ken Lewton says Oktoberfest will be safe for the hundreds of thousands of visitors expected.
“We have lots of police on hand to handle any issues that come up," Lewton says. "We’ve added additional because of some juvenile problems we’ve had on Fountain Square. We hope that those aren’t going to happen. But we’re prepared to deal with them, if necessary."
Over the July Fourth weekend, several people scuffled with police after a concert at Fountain Square.
Lewton says traditionally there are few or no arrests at Oktoberfest.
A number of streets will be closed for the weekend and the city warns normal traffic flows will be interrupted.
Oktoberfest Zinzinnati activities start at noon Friday on Fountain Square. The event continues until Sunday evening.