Friday-Sunday, March 2-4, downtown and Over-the-Rhine
Bockfest, Cincinnati’s annual celebration of spring and the region’s brewing heritage, will observe its 26th year with free activities throughout the weekend.
Bockfest kicks off with the infamous Bockfest Parade (6 p.m. Friday), which will wind its way up Main Street to Bockfest Hall at the Christian Moerlein Brewery, 1621 Moore St. There, the ceremonial keg of bock beer will be blessed and the party will continue with live music, food and cold bock beer. A free shuttle will take Bockfest-goers to more than a dozen participating establishments on Friday and Saturday nights.
The Bockfest 5K on Saturday will run through Over-the-Rhine and past historic brewery sites. After the 5K, it will be time for Beer & Bygone Days with local bock beer tappings, history speakers, beer homebrew competitions, stein and breweriana displays, and historic brewery tours.
On Saturday night, the finals of the Bockfest Beard Baron and Sausage Queen competitions will take place at Bockfest Hall. Winners of the five preliminary gender-neutral Sausage Queen rounds at local bars will compete in a rowdy pageant, led off by the Beard Baron competition. The night will continue with the Billygoat Ball, featuring live music, DJ dance party and — you guessed it — plenty of beer.
Sunday will be a family-friendly day at Bockfest Hall. Games, Germans & Gemütlichkeit will kick off with the new Little Links kids pageant, and it also will feature kid-friendly games, goat yoga and music, plus the Bockfeast Dinner and Bock Bloody Mary Bar. Continental Sunday will showcase German heritage with live German music and dancing.
Participating bars and restaurants will offer special deals all weekend.
Previews of the upcoming Brewing Heritage Trail will be included in historic brewery tours available all weekend. On Friday and Saturday evenings, the Below Bockfest Tour will celebrate how beer was made and consumed in pre-Prohibition times. Saturday and Sunday will feature the Mishaps Malfeasance and Murder Tour, with the stories behind the beer, including corruption, accidents, even murder.
The nonprofit Brewery District Community Urban Redevelopment Corp. organizes Bockfest. All proceeds support the Brewery District CURC and its mission to preserve, promote and redevelop Cincinnati’s brewing heritage, including building the Brewing Heritage Trail.
Entrance to Bockfest is free. Some events are ticketed.
Tour tickets: www.bockfest.com/historic-tours.html
5K registration: runbeerseries.com