Other German Events in Cincinnati

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White Sausage Breakfast

Mustard Club Cincinnati

Inspired by the Gemütlichkeit of Bavaria’s Händlmaier Mustard Fan Club, Cincinnati’s chapter gathers once each month at Mecklenburg Gardens for a traditional Bavarian white sausage meal (Weißwurstessen). The spread consists of sausages cooked in water, sweet mustard (or whichever Händlmaier variety you prefer!), fresh pretzels, and wheat beer.

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Beer Festivals

Mustard Club Cincinnati

During the 1800s, Cincinnati had a booming brewing industry. German beers and lagers dominated the scene. However, with the introduciton of Prohibition, the vast majority of the breweries shut down and local brewing was almost non-existent by the 1980s.

Today, the brewing industry in Cincinnati is on the rebound. Its resurgence is celebrated throughout the year with festivals that inspire unique seasonal brews from talented brewers throughout the city.

Cincideutsch proudly sponsored the Listermann Brewing Company's Starkbier Fest in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

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Bockfest

Bockfest is an annual beer festival held in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine, organized by the OTR Brewery District. Held the first weekend of March, it is the oldest and largest Bock beer festival in the United States. Celebrations begin with a parade that ends at Bockfest Hall, where the ceremonial first keg is tapped.

Bock beer was originally brewed in Einbeck, which is located in Northern Germany. The monks of the area created this heavy beer to drink during the Lenten fasting season before Easter, as beer consumptions was not restricted like food.

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Schwabenfest

Schwabenfest, also known as May's Oktoberfest, is an event unique to the Donauschwaben Society of Cincinnati. The family friendly festival is a great way to relax and enjoy the Spring weather while eating homemade German sausage and drinking authentic German beer. Attractions include the Paulaner Biergarten, serving Munich's very own Paulaner beer, live entertainment by the Donauschwaben dancers, a children's play area, delicious German sausages, and homemade sweets, including strudel and Bavarian cream puffs. 

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May Fest

The May Festival, which marks the arrival of spring, was first held in Cincinnati by the German singing societies in 1873. The success of the festival led to the construction of Music Hall in Over-the-Rhine three years later. It is now the oldest choral festival in the United States.

Maifest is also celebrated in the style of a fair at both Mainstrasse Village in Covington, KY and Germania Park in Colerain Township. The Germania and Donauschwaben Societies both erected a Maypole on their grounds, as did the Hofbräuhaus in Newport, KY. The Maypole is traditionally the center of celebrations, where dancing and singing usually take place. At Germania, a small Maypole is also placed in the pavilion, where dancers circle the pole while interweaving ribbons. They then retrace their steps to unravel them.

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German Day

Deutschland Tag in Cincinnati

Cincinnati held its first German Day celebration in 1895. It is a two- day celebration, held at Findlay Market, Ohio’s oldest public market, on Saturday and at the Hofbräuhaus on Sunday during the first weekend of June. Festivities include recognition of Cincinnati’s German societies and representatives, a ceremonial keg tapping, traditional dance, music, and Gemütlichkeit.

German Day celebrates the unification of Germany. Prior to 1871, Germany as we know it had existed as an individual kingdom. This holiday holds special importance for the German community in Cincinnati, as it led to the founding of the German Day Society, which coordinated plans for the event. Over the years, this planning committee evolved into the German American Citizens League of Cincinnati (GACL). The GACL unites the many German societies in the Greater Cincinnati area under one organization and curates the German American Heritage Museum in Colerain Township.

Shooting Festival

Schützenfest is a target shooting competition held each summer by the Kolping Society at the Kolping Klubhaus. The winners of the competition are declared King and Queen of the festival. They are the last people to successfully shoot down the last piece of a wooden eagle. The festival, originally held St. Clair’s Park (formerly Schützen-Buckel hill) by the Riflemen’s Society, has taken place in Cincinnati since 1866. The Kolping Society then took ownership of the event in 1925.

The tradition of Schützenfest is over 500 years old. There is a legend behind the event which describes an eagle attacking a small child. A marksman killed the eagle, saving the child and was thence forth considered a hero and the festival created to commemortate his brave act.

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Oktoberfest

Cincideutsch at Oktoberfest

Autumn is the busiest time of year for the German community in Cincinnati. From the last week of August through the first week of October, Oktoberfest celebrations can be found every weekend throughout the city. In fact, Cincinnati has more Oktoberfests than any other city in the United States.

Oktoberfest originally began in Munich, Cincinnati’s Sister-City, as the wedding celebration of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig (King Ludwig I) to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen, the present-day Free State of Thüringen. The primary feature of the event was horse racing. In following years, horse racing became part of the opening ceremonies and the commemorative event took more of a festival-like atmosphere.

Christmas Market

The Christkindlmarkt tradition in Cincinnati began in 1988 when the Germania Society introduced the city’s first German-style Christmas market. In 2012, Cincideutsch brought its own authentic market to the heart of the city by holding the first Christkindlmarkt on Fountain Square. The actual traditions of German Christkindlmarkt, however, go back for centuries. The market in Nuremberg is touted as the country’s oldest and most renown of them all, with records of the event dating back to 1639.

Typically held in Advent, the festivals take over streets and town squares for the entire month of December. Wooden booths are erected, where vendors sell a range of items for gift-giving, decorating, eating and drinking. While walking through the town, you can smell freshly roasted almonds made by a local confectioner, sample a piece of Stollen (a traditional German Christmas cake made with dried fruit and nuts) and ward off the cold with a warm cup of Glühwein (Mulled red wine, spiced with cinnamon, cloves, citrus, and sweetened with sugar).

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Singing Festival

The City that Sings

Prior to the founding of the May Festival, the greatest singing events in the city were the German singing festivals. Begun by choirs known as Sängerbunds in 1849, these choral events drew thousands of singers to the city of Cincinnati. Almost 100 years since its founding, enthusiasm for the festival eventually died down due to the increased popularity of the May Festival and the event ceased to be held as of the 1950s. After the success of the World Choir Games in 2012, Sängerfest was revived that same year, perpetuating the tradition and reaffirming Cincinnati's well-deserved title of "The City that Sings."

Cincinnati German Community

The influence of German culture in Cincinnati extends beyond the organizations that keep the history and traditions of German immigrants alive into realms of the arts, cuisine, and community. Currently, Cincideutsch has several relationships that provide members with opportunities to enjoy the work of Cincinnati’s talented artists and musicians and to become involved in the city’s latest developments.

Cincinnati Chamber Opera
Founded by Cincideutsch member, Autumn West, and fellow CCM alum Shawn Mylnek, the organization aspires to bring high-quality, fully staged opera productions to the Cincinnati area in an intimate, chamber setting, as well as to give local young talent an opportunity to showcase their voices and their work.

Music Hall
Built in 1873 as a result of the May Festival, Music Hall is home to performances by Cincinnati’s Opera, Ballet, Symphony Orchestra, Pops Orchestra, and May Festival Chorus. To partake in the modern musical culture of Cincinnati, contact info@cincideutsch.com for the members’ group rates.

Over-the-Rhine
Also known as OTR, this neighborhood acquired its name due to the large population of German immigrants living north of the Miami-Erie Canal during the mid-nineteenth century. This community is getting back in touch with its roots through renovation projects and events, breathing life back into the streets of the city.
OTR Brewery District
OTR Foundation
OTR Matters (Blog)