For a 24th year, parades, parties, food and beer will reign as Bockfest celebrates Cincinnati’s brewing heritage and the hope of spring.
Events take place throughout downtown Cincinnati. The official celebration will begin Friday with a parade launching at Arnold’s Bar & Grill, Cincinnati’s oldest saloon, and ending at Christian Moerlein’s Bockfest Hall, 1619 Moore St., Over-the-Rhine, where the ceremonial first keg will be blessed. Bockfest Hall will be open throughout the weekend with live entertainment, food, historic brewery tours and the finals of the Sausage Queen contest.
More than a dozen venues will join in the celebration, with no admission fees. A free shuttle bus will run a continuous loop among the Bockfest sites all weekend.
Proceeds benefit the Brewery District Community Urban Redevelopment Corp., which works to preserve, promote and redevelop the city’s brewing history, including the building of the Cincinnati Brewing Heritage Trail.
A rundown of major events:
- Prohibition Resistance: The Bock & Doppelbock Tours, March 4-6 – The Bock Tour, during the day Saturday and Sunday, is a two and one-half hour look at three brewery structures in Over-the-Rhine.
- The Dopplebock Tour – on Friday and Saturday evenings – is a one-hour visit to the Kauffman Brewery lagering cellars. cincinnatibrewerytours.com
- Fourth Annual Bockfest 5K, Saturday, March 5, 10:00 a.m. – the first of three road races in the Christian Moerlein Beer Series produced by the Flying Pig Marathon. Registration is $30 in advance and $40 race day.
- Bockfest Bock Beer Celebration, Saturday, March 5, 1-6 p.m., Bockfest Festival Tent – Brewer talks and events. A beer tasting at 1 p.m. features bock and seasonal beers from 18 or more local breweries. (Three-ounce samples are $2 each. A $25 tasting ticket includes a pint glass). Admission is free.
- Bockfest Heritage Series, Saturday, March 5, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Woodward Theater – Lectures, presentations, videos and exhibits. Admission is free, with food and beer available.
- Continental Sunday: A Celebration of German & Brewing Heritage, Sunday March 6, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Bockfest Hall – German dancing, variety shows and music, along with tours, movies, steins and Breweriana exhibits. New games, including the finals of Cincinnati’s first fowling league.
- BockFeast Dinner, Sunday, March 6, noon-2 p.m., Bockfest Hall – Tickets $20, with limited walkup sales. bockfest.com
- Bocklympics, Sunday, March 6, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Bockfest Hall – Head-to-head competition in events such as a 40-yard dash, corn hole and trivia. Free.
Preview events leading up to Bockfest
- Precipitation Retaliation Happy Hour, Friday, Feb. 26, 5:30-10 p.m., Milton’s Tavern. Commemorates the 2008 snowfall that almost shut down Bockfest.
- Little Kings Sausage Queen Preliminary Rounds – The infamous (and sometimes notorious) Sausage Queen helps lead the Bockfest Parade by carrying a symbolic tray of Bockwurst sausage. Remaining preliminaries for this gender-neutral contest are Thursday, Feb. 25, 9 p.m., Rhinehaus; and Saturday, Feb. 27, 9 p.m., Milton’s.
- Schoenling Bock Beer Tapping, Wednesday, March 2, 6-9 p.m., Mecklenburg Gardens – This event features the winner of last year’s Bockfest Homebrew Competition. This Schoenling Bock will be available only at the tapping and at Bockfest venues during Bockfest. Admission free, with happy-hour prices on the bock beers. A German buffet also will be offered.