The Tristate celebrates its German heritage with many festivals throughout August, September and October
Fall is Oktoberfest season in Cincinnati. When the end of August hits, locals pull out their lederhosen, find their favorite stein and get ready to take in their fill of bratwursts, pretzels and beer. And thanks to our region’s German heritage, you can partake in this festival on almost any weekend starting in August and through October.
But which one is right for you? Our guide to this year’s festivals gives you a taste of the region’s many Oktoberfests so you don’t miss out on one of the Tristate’s favorite events.
Germania Society Oktoberfest
The Germania Society of Cincinnati kicks off the season with its 49th annual Oktoberfest Aug. 23-25. According to the Germania Society, it is the most authentic Oktoberfest in the region, with live German music all weekend, imported German merchandise, German food and, of course, German beer. The festival is known for its classics like the sauerkraut balls and Oktoberfest chicken, but it’s also adding something new this year with the addition of carnival rides. F 6 p.m.-12 a.m., Sa 2 p.m.-12 a.m., Su 12-8 p.m. $5, 12 and under free, parking free. Germania Park, 3529 W. Kemper Road, Cincinnati. germaniasociety.com/Oktoberfest.
Sayler Park Oktoberfest
For a more intimate event that’s focused on music, head to Sayler Park Aug. 24 for the third annual Sayler Park Oktoberfest. Created by Howard Hughes, a member of local band Zinzinnati Beirband, the day features beer, sauerkraut, brats, metts, strudel, creampuffs and plenty of dancing in Sayler Park. The Zinzinnati Beirband will perform everything from traditional polka to rock ‘n’ roll. 2 p.m.-12 a.m. Free. Nelson Sayler Memorial Park, 6600 Gracely Drive, Cincinnati. saylerpark.org/sayler-park-oktoberfest/.
The largest party of the season is, of course, the largest Oktoberfest in the country: Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. Held Sept. 20-22 this year, the event takes over Second and Third streets between Walnut and Elm streets downtown. This is the event where everything feels big—there are nine beirgartens featuring more than 100 beers after all. Oktoberfest Zinzinnati also hosts the world’s largest Chicken Dance; the Running of the Weiners, which has more than 100 dachshunds race each other; live entertainment on multiple stages; and plenty of food. Last year, 650,000 people attended the event. F 5-11 p.m., Sa 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Su 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Free. Downtown Cincinnati on Second and Third streets between Walnut and Elm streets. oktoberfestzinzinnati.com.
Those looking for a traditional feel should head to the southern side of the river Sept. 27-29 for Newport Oktoberfest. The entire event is held under a tent, just like the traditional Oktoberfest beer tents. In addition to the beer (which features varieties from local favorites like Moerlein and Braxton) and food, the day also includes stick horse racing, a beer stein holding competition and a log sawing competition. F 5-11 p.m., Sa noon-11 p.m., Su noon-9 p.m. Free. Newport Festival Park, Riverboat Row, Newport. cincinnatifestivalsandevents.com/newport-oktoberfest.
St. Agnes Oktoberfest
St. Agnes Parish in Fort Wright, Kentucky, celebrates Oktoberfest with a family-friendly festival Sept. 27-29 on its parish grounds. Each day includes food and drinks, games suitable for attendees of all ages, festival rides and live music. This year’s bands include Doghouse, DV8 and the Derek Alan Band. F 6 p.m.-midnight, Sa 5 p.m.-midnight, Su 3-9 p.m. Free. St. Agnes Parish, 1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, Kentucky. events.saintagnes.com.
The last Oktoberfest of the year happens in Colerain Township Oct. 4-6. The 27th annual Donauschwaben Oktoberfest will celebrate German culture with live entertainment from Europe, more than 25 imported and domestic beers on draft, homemade meals like pit-roasted Bavarian pig and stuffed cabbage, and more. The Cincinnati Donauschwaben Society itself was created to preserve and share its members’ German heritage. More information to come. Cincinnati Donauschwaben Society, 4290 Dry Ridge Road, Cincinnati. cincydonau.com.