Since 1976, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati has been the Queen City's favorite celebration of beer, brats and dashing dachshunds in hot dog costumes. And the fest is going big this year by making the World's Largest Chicken Dance larger than ever.
The dance, taking place at 5 p.m. Sept. 21, will now be performed on all nine stages of the festival and will be led by local media celebrities.
“Expanding the Oktoberfest Zinzinnati World’s Largest Chicken Dance to nine stages is a new and fun way to certify that Zinzinnati is home to the World’s Largest Chicken Dance — and to show our nation that Zinzinnati is America’s Oktoberfest,” said Lori Salzarulo, event manager, in a press release. “Essentially, the 2019 Oktoberfest Zinzinnati grand marshal is you.”
Since 1994, various celebrity grand marshals have led the masses in the dance, starting with the Crown Price on Bavaria. Other notable guests include "Weird Al" Yankovic in 1999, Davey Jones in 2000, Vince Neil in 2004, George Takei in 2013 and Nick and Drew Lachey in 2014.
Oktoberfest in general is bigger and better in 2019, kicking off six hours earlier this year. The event will now begin at 11 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 20. Previously, the German-themed feasting and fun got on its way on the opening Friday evening at 5 p.m.
And in honor of the shift, Mayor John Cranley has basically given everyone in the city the greenlight to take half of the day off.
"Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is one of our most important traditions,” Cranley said in a press release. “And it’s time we recognize it as the holiday it is!”
Cranley made an official proclamation announcing "a city-wide half-day holiday beginning at 11 a.m. on Friday, September 20."
Oktoberfest takes place 11 a.m. -11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. Free admission. Second and Third streets between Walnut and Elm streets, Downtown, oktoberfestzinzinnati.com.