CINCINNATI — Dirndls and dachshunds will take over the streets of downtown this September with the return of Oktoberfest Zinzinnati.

Poster for Oktoberfest Zinzinnati 2021

The event will take place Sept. 16-19 between Second and Third streets in downtown Cincinnati.

After a year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual celebration of beer, food and German culture looks to make up for lost time.

It will start on a Thursday, one day earlier than in previous years. Oktoberfest will also remain open one hour later each night.

“Our community is roaring back, and Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is making its return in a big way,” said Jill P. Meyer, president and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and producer of the event. “Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is one of our region’s best-loved traditions and we’re excited — for all of us — to eat, drink and dance together again.” 

First held in 1976, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati has grown to be the largest occasion of its kind in the country. It attracts an estimated 500,000 visitors every year, according to the Chamber.

Revelers are lured by events like the Running of the Wieners dachshund race, the world's largest Chicken Dance and a brat-eating contest. There are also dozens of vendors serving various authentic German foods and beers.

With some of the larger Oktoberfest celebrations around the world not taking place, Cincinnati has the potential to flaunt an even bigger title.

“Cincinnati’s sister city, Munich, is the original and the world’s largest Oktoberfest. As that tradition is not happening in 2021, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is going to borrow the title of ‘Biggest Oktoberfest on the Planet,’” said Cynthia Oxley, director of Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. “With an extra night of reveling and extended hours each evening, the party is going to be even bigger.”

Oktoberfest is the first of several major festivals that will return over the next year, starting with Asian Food Fest from Oct. 9-10. 

Cincinnati Music Festival, one of the country's biggest musical events, returns July 21-23, 2022. The Taste of Cincinnati is scheduled for Memorial Day weekend of 2022. 

Expanded Oktoberfest Zinzinnati days and hours:

  • Thursday, Sep. 16: 5 p.m. to midnight
  • Friday, Sep. 17: 11 a.m. to midnight
  • Saturday, Sep. 18: 11 a.m. to midnight
  • Sunday, Sep. 19: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

More than 4 million fluid ounces (2,000 barrels) of beer are expected to be consumed at Oktoberfest, per the Cincinnati Chamber. They expect to sell about 225,000 total bratwursts, metts and sausages.

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