Local spotlight: Oktoberfest Zinzinnati

By: Jessica Larkin ~Copy Editor~

America’s largest Oktoberfest celebration was back again this year with German food and dancing from Sept. 19 to 21.

For the past 38 years, this celebration of German culture and heritage conquered the streets of downtown Cincinnati with traditional German food, music and plenty of lederhosen. Oktoberfest Zinzinnati uniquely celebrated German tradition over three days with a record-breaking attendance of more than 600,000 people.

Xavier’s Student Activity Council (SAC) organized a looped shuttle that took students to the event on Sept. 20.

Senior Joe McGrath was one of the students to attend.

“All people come together at a hearth place of food and drink and that’s what the Germans love,” McGrath said. “While I’m 95 percent Irish, I still find the celebration of Oktoberfest to be a welcoming holiday, bringing people together and having a good time.”

Most notably, the Oktoberfest tradition of the “World’s Largest Chicken Dance” continued on Sept. 20.

Cincinnati natives Drew and Nick Lachey (left and right, respectively) lead the Chicken Dance at the 38th annual Oktoberfest Zinzinnati.

In 1994, 48,000 people gathered for the dance, securing Oktoberfest Zinzinnati in the Guiness Book of World Records for the 1995 to 1997 editions for the largest Chicken Dance in the world. Last year’s Chicken Dance was led by Star Trek’s George Takei and this year Drew and Nick Lachey took the stage.

Oktoberfest also hosted a number of performances from the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, the Donauschwaben Schuplattlers, the Bavarians, the Cincinnati Schnapps Band and many more.

And what is a German celebration without plenty of food? Aside from taste-testing an assortment of beers offered at the festival, patrons ate goetta brats from the Porkopolis Goetta Haus, Oktoberfest chicken from the German Grill and cream puffs and strudel from Bernhard’s Bakery. With food tents lining the streets of downtown Cincinnati, attendees had a wide selection of traditional German food.

In addition to the festivities downtown, student organizations also hosted on-campus events to celebrate the event.

Xavier’s German club, together with the Department of Classics and Modern Languages, the National Association for Music Educators (NAfME), the Department of Music and Theatre and the Honors Council, hosted a Bavarian folk band and sold brats and soft pretzels on Sept. 17.
The first Oktoberfest took place in Munich, Germany, in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Prince Ludwig I and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen and was celebrated again in 1812 because of its success. The festival grew so popular that it became well recognized as a celebration of the fall harvest and the fall season.

The Munich festival typically begins the second to last Saturday of September and lasts until the first Sunday of October. During that time, 14 million liters of beer are consumed as well as hundreds of thousands of meat products like pork sausages and roasted pork knuckles.