Don Your Dirndl for Cincinnati's 155th Schutzenfest, America's Oldest German Festival

Cincinnati's Kolping Society hosts the weekend celebration, which includes a competition for the shooting of a hand-carved eagle, a bier dash and authentic German food.

click to enlarge Schützenfest - Photo: schuetzenfestcincy
Photo: schuetzenfestcincy

Carrying the title of America's oldest German festival, Cincinnati's Kolping Society is hosting the 155th annual Schützenfest this weekend at its headquarters in Mount Healthy.

Translated as “The Marksman’s Festival,” the original Schützenfest began in the 15th century when, according to the legend, a German marksman shot an eagle that attacked a child. When German immigrants settled in Cincinnati, they brought the traditional fest with them, holding the first Schützenfest here in 1866.

Today, the Kolping Society continues the tradition with a weekend that includes a competition for the shooting of a hand-carved eagle, a bier dash and authentic German food.

The fest takes place 6 p.m.-midnight July 16, 4 p.m.-midnight July 17 and 1-9 p.m. July 18.

click to enlarge Fest map - Photo: Provided by the Kolping Society
Photo: Provided by the Kolping Society
Fest map

The bier dash fun run starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday, and takes participants — who are encouraged to don traditional German attire (prizes will be awarded for more authentic dress) — on a 1K route through the woods, where you are required to drink a beer at three different stations. 

And speaking of beer, this year Schützenfest has three exclusive imports from Warsteiner and König Ludwig, plus Hacker Pschorr, Paulaner, plenty of schnaps, "Wein Schlüshies" and a riesling from local Hanover Winery. 

Thankfully, no one has to drink on an empty stomach, as the extensive food menu includes homemade jägerschnitzel, potato pancakes, spätzle, sauerkraut balls, pastries, German pretzels, schützenwurst and Limburger cheese sandwiches. 

In addition to live German music from bands like Alpen Echos, there will be a family-friendly Kinderplatz with inflatable attractions, an under-21 zone, magic shows, balloon artists, plenty of dancing and a massive biergarten. 

Admission is $5 per person and free for those under 12. On-site parking is free. 

The Kolping Society is located at 10235 Mill Road, Mount Healthy. More info:

Sign up for our weekly newsletters to get the latest on the news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Scroll to read more Culture articles
Join the CityBeat Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join CityBeat Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.