Friday, Sept. 17
Dust off your dirndl because Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is back in 2021 and it's bigger than ever. There are now four full days of celebrations. And there's plenty of fun packed into those fest days, including beloved events like the The World's Largest Chicken Dance, the Running of the Wieners (which took place on Thursday), the World Brat Eating Contest and more. Professional eater Joey Chestnut has won the Zinzinnati brat-eating contest nine times, and hopes to break his record of eating 70 brats in 10 minutes at this year's event. If you aren't quite on that level but are interested in scarfing many sausages this weekend, you can still stuff your face with German-inspired food and drink from vendors all weekend long. 5 p.m.-midnight Sept. 16; 11 a.m.-midnight Sept. 17 and 18; and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sept. 19. Free admission. Second and Third streets downtown between Elm and Walnut streets, oktoberfestzinzinnati.com.
The Cincinnati Comic Expo bills itself as the city’s largest gathering dedicated to comic books and pop culture. In other words, it’s the perfect place to dress up like Darth Vader and meet fellow nerdy connoisseurs to talk about the newest indie comics or Marvel blockbuster. Running Sept. 17-19 at the Duke Energy Convention Center downtown, the expo is an exciting weekend-long destination for anyone who collects and celebrates comics, film, TV, toys or memorabilia. TV and movie stars slated to appear include John Barrowman, Tom Cavanagh, Felicia Day and others. 3-8 p.m. Sept. 17; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sept. 18; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 19. $20 Friday; $35 Saturday; $25 Sunday; $55 weekend. Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Downtown, cincinnaticomicexpo.com.
As members of Generation Z continue flooding the workforce while grappling with the existential dread of adulthood, a hunger for early 2000s nostalgia has entered the cultural zeitgeist. Though the silicone bombast of Hyperpop music has successfully reframed those formative years into a fantasia of cybernetic fashion and genre bending, Pop Punk-reviving camp, Missouri-based trio BLACKSTARKIDS offer a more intimate, pastel-toned recollection of the past. Specializing in lo-fi composition and ultra-optimistic energy, they sound like a garage band from a coming-of-age flick or Degrassi episode come to life — in the best way possible. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test from the prior 72 hours is required. 10 p.m. Sept. 17. Free. MOTR Pub, 1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, motrpub.com.
The Ohio River's favorite death dredge is back to scare the crap out of people for the 2021 Halloween season. After taking last year off due to COVID, the USS Nightmare is reopening its cursed doors to the public this weekend. All your favorite freaky characters are back, including the evil Captain Mitchell, as well as his daughter, Anna, and her demented clowns; the "lady in red;" and the ruthless galley cook. The U.S.S. Nightmare says this year's experience "delves deeper" into the history of the haunted boat and explores its sadistic lore, including mysterious accidents and deaths that occurred on board as well as possible crew exposure to radioactive chemicals. There are multiple ways to experience the U.S.S. Nightmare, including a lights-on events for kids and people who hate haunted houses, plus the Captain's Extreme tour — an "adult-rated show featuring adult language and content, more horror, group separation and more special content." Regular ticketholders can also up the action with the RIP Experience, "a more interactive and extended tour of the ship designed for death with access to additional areas and the potential for complete separation from the civilized world." Sept. 17-Nov. 6; days and times vary. General admission tickets start at $18; fast pass starts at $28; front-of-the-line tickets start at $48; the RIP Experience starts at $32. 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, ussnightmare.com.
Saturday, Sept. 18
The Big Bounce America is stopping in the Queen City to offer a little bit of youthful jubilance to both kids and kids at heart. The touring attraction will bring the "world's biggest bounce house" and other extravagant inflatables to Cincinnati's Heroes Sports Park. Described as "the Taj Mahal of bounce houses" by online publication Thrillist, the Big Bounce America Cincy stop will feature three different inflatable attractions to explore during your ticket time: The World's Biggest Bounce House; bouncy sports arena Sport Slam; and outer space-themed inflatable airSPACE. All sessions last three hours, with a dedicated time slot for the World's Biggest Bounce House and unlimited play time in the other bounce houses. Tickets are divided into four sections: toddler session for ages 3 and under (and their caretakers), junior session for kids ages 7 and under, "bigger kid session" for ages 15 and under, and the adults-only session for ages 16 and up. Times available Sept. 17-19. $19-$39. 2175 Springdale Road, Springdale, thebigbounceamerica.com.
Musician and producer Jack Antonoff is bringing his Bleachers project to Greater Cincinnati in support of his latest album, Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night. One dollar from every ticket sold will go to the Ally Coalition's work with homeless and at-risk LGBTQ youth. The show is outdoors rain or shine. And for any OVATION events before Oct. 1, you must provide proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of the concert. 7 p.m. doors Sept. 18. Tickets start at $35.101 W. Fourth St., Newport, promowestlive.com.
Sunday, Sept. 19
The Burlington Antique Show, the Midwest’s premier antique market, hosts its penultimate market of 2021 this Sunday. Expect to hunt through authentic wares — Midcentury Modern, Art Deco, pre-war, Industrial and more — from more than 200 dealers offering the best antiques and vintage collectibles. The last show of the season takes place Oct. 17. 6-8 a.m. early bird Sept. 19; 8 a.m.-3 p.m. general admission. $6 early bird; $4 general admission. Boone County Fairgrounds, 5819 Idlewild Road, Burlington, Kentucky, burlingtonantiqueshow.com.
It's National Hispanic Heritage Month, and Cincinnati is ready to celebrate. Great Parks of Hamilton County and La Mega Media will host the inaugural Hispanic Heritage Festival Sunday in Sharon Woods. The event will honor "the history, culture and achievements of Hispanic and Latin Americans," according to an emailed release. Plenty of local organizations and vendors supporting Greater Cincinnati's Latinx and Hispanic communities will be on hand during the festival, which will be concentrated in Cardinal Crest Meadow of the park. There will also be entertainment, including salsa dancing and music, plus food trucks. Noon-5 p.m. Sept. 19. Free admission, but a Great Parks parking permit is required ($10 annual fee for residents). Sharon Woods, 11450 Lebanon Road, Sharonville, greatparks.org.
BONUS: Monday, Sept. 20
Las Vegas Pop Rockers The Killers are coming to the new PromoWest Pavilion at OVATION on Monday. “OVATION is jamming! From Rock to Rap to Country, we have a little of everything for everyone and we can’t wait to welcome fans to our brand-new venue. The Killers is like the cherry on top of a great, diverse roster of artists for us," says Scott Stienecker, PromoWest Productions and AEG Presents Regional Vice President and CEO, in a release. The show is outdoors rain or shine. And for any OVATION events before Oct. 1, you must provide proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of the concert. 6:30 p.m. doors Sept. 20. Tickets start at $67.50. 101 W. Fourth St., Newport, promowestlive.com.
Greater Cincinnati Restaurant Week is once again bringing a local dining experience to the Tri-State from Sept. 20-26. The event features more than 40 participating restaurants offering dine-in and limited take-out options. Area restaurants will offer $26, $36 and $46 three-course prix fixe menus. This year, $1 from every meal will be going directly to Cincinnati Children’s, and CityBeat will match the first 1,000 meals. For more information about the event and to view the menus, visit greatercincinnatirestaurantweek.com.
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