Drink Schnapps and Eat Schnitzel at Schützenfest Cincinnati, America's Oldest German Festival

The weekend includes a competition for the shooting of a hand-carved eagle, a beer-fueled fun run 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 156th 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 beer-fueled fun run and authentic German food.

The fest takes place 6 p.m.-midnight June 17, 4 p.m.-midnight June 18 and 1-9 p.m. June 19. 

click to enlarge A map of Schützenfest grounds - Photo: schuetzenfestcincy.com/map.html
Photo: schuetzenfestcincy.com/map.html
A map of Schützenfest grounds

Fest highlights include Friday's very short 1K Bier Dash, where runners in German garb will hit three beer stations before toasting with schnapps at the finish line; live German entertainment; exclusively imported German beer from Warsteiner and König Ludwig; "Wein Schlüshies" and a riesling from local Hanover Winery; a family-friendly Kinderplatz with rides; a shooting competition and parade on Sunday; and plenty of food.

Dine on homemade jägerschnitzel, potato pancakes, spätzle, sauerkraut balls, pastries, German pretzels, schützenwurst and Limburger cheese sandwiches in an air-conditioned fest hall or in the biergarten.

Admission is $5 per person and free for those under 15. Parking is free. The fest is rain or shine.

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

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