Your Insider’s Guide to Bockfest
Bockfest, a celebration of Cincinnati’s brewing heritage and the coming of spring, is ready to “bock and roll” for its 25th annual celebration with a weekend filled with parades, parties, food, and beer from March 3-5, 2017 throughout downtown Cincinnati and the historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.
If you are taking an Uber to Bockfest Hall (we highly recommend this option), the GPS address is: Bockfest Hall, 1619 Moore Street, 45202. You can also take the Cincinnati Bell Connector, getting off at the #13 stop at Liberty & Race and crossing over Liberty to Moore Street (a quick walk).
Here is your insider’s guide to Bockfest Weekend.
First some history.
Bock beer traditionally is brewed for a limited time in late winter. The word "bock" means goat in German. Bock typically has a higher nutritional content and alcohol content than other beers and is brewed for celebrations and holidays. Because of the higher nutritional content, bock was used by German monks during Lenten fast, a liquid substitute for food. Bockfest is celebrated on the first full weekend of March because of this historic association with Lent.
The Bockfest Parade starts at 6 p.m. at Arnold’s, 210 East Eighth Street, downtown and makes its way up Main to Bockfest Hall. The hot tip is to start at Arnold’s at 5 p.m. or so with a Bock beer and watch the parade start and head up to Bockfest Hall so you can get a seat.
Bockfest 5K is sold out but…
If you weren’t one of the 2,000+ to register for the Bockfest 5K, you’re out of luck this year as the popular race series is sold out. Race organizers from the Flying Pig Marathon still want to encourage spectators to support the runners along the course which runs through the historic Brewery District. The race begins at 10 a.m. and most runners are finished by 11 a.m. Join the fun at the start and finish right outside of Bockfest Hall.
Historic Tours: Malz, Volks, Doppelbock and Dr. Morgan’s Hangover Relief Tours, March 3-5
The popular historic brewery tours return for 2017 with two new tours along the upcoming Brewing Heritage Trail. All tours include a complimentary beer at the conclusion (for those 21+).
An all-new 90 minute walking tour that celebrates how beer was made and consumed in pre-Prohibition Over-the-Rhine. Your tour starts at Bockfest Hall, and visits multiple sites within the neighborhood including a visit with costumed reenactors at the Lafayette Brewery, before descending deep in the lagering cellars of the Kauffman Brewery. Tours are offered on both Saturday and Sunday of Bockfest. Tickets are available here.
An all-new 90 minute walking tour that celebrates the people of Over-the-Rhine and how they lived, worked, and played. Your tour starts at Bockfest Hall, and visits multiple sites within the neighborhood including a visit with costumed reenactors, before descending deep in the lagering cellars of the Schmidt Brothers/Crown Brewery. Offered Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are available here.
Returning this year is the Dopplebock Tour, a shorter one-hour tour through the Kauffman Brewery lagering cellars. Guests will learn how lager beer drove the development of the city and see where it was made, before returning to Bockfest Hall to continue the festivities with a complimentary beer. Offered Friday and Saturday. Tickets are available here.
Dr. Morgan’s Hangover Relief Tour
Join the man that Cincinnati Magazine declared “The God of Bockfest” and the author of “Over-the-Rhine: When Beer Was King” for a personal, behind-the-scenes journey. This Bockfest-only walking tour through OTR combines the neighborhood’s pre-Prohibition past with stories about the more recent reclamation of Cincinnati’s brewing heritage and the birth and evolution of the city’s most bohemian beer festival. Your tour includes a trip through Over-the-Rhine, into Washington Platform’s lagering cellars and the Gerke lagering cellars (four stories below ground).Offered Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are available here.
Saturday, March 4, 1 to 5 p.m. and Sunday, March 5, 3 to 5 p.m., Bockfest Hall
A hearty meal of herb roasted chicken, bockwurst and sauerkraut, German potato salad, sides, and caramel cinnamon bread pudding. The brunch option includes goetta and cheese strata plus a trip to the Bock Bloody Mary bar. Pre-purchase of tickets is recommended and tickets are available at http://www.bockfest.com/bockfeast-dinners--brunch.html.
A Toast to WNKU, Saturday, March 4, 1 to 7 p.m. with a toast at 5 p.m., Bock Beer Tent
A Toast to WNKU will feature the on-air personalities past and present of WNKU throughout the day with a celebration toast to honor WNKU for their years of service promoting Bockfest and a proper sendoff goodbye to the personalities of WNKU.
NEW: Billygoat Ball, Saturday, March 4, 6:30 p.m., Bockfest Hall
Saturday evening of Bockfest amps up the energy like a kick from a billygoat! Great live music, food and beer, plus the Sausage Queen and Beard Baron competition on the Bockfest Hall stage! Music starts at 6:30 p.m. on the Dock Stage while the Beard Baron competition begins at 8:30 p.m. and the Sausage Queen competition starts at 9:30 p.m. on the Main Stage.
Continental Sunday: A Celebration of German & Brewing Heritage, Sunday, March 5, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Bockfest Hall
Don your dirndl and celebrate German heritage on the Sunday of Bockfest.
In the Over-the-Rhine of the 1800s, it was illegal to sell beer on Sundays, but that didn’t stop Cincinnati’s German-American community from filling the day with revelry and drink. This controversial approach to celebrating the Sabbath was known as “Continental Sunday” and is celebrated with a day of authentic German dancing, variety shows, and music, along with tours, movies, steins, and Breweriana exhibits.
Bock Brunch, Sunday, March 5, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Bockfest Hall
A hearty meal of herb roasted chicken, bockwurst and sauerkraut, German potato salad, sides, and caramel cinnamon bread pudding. The brunch option includes goetta and cheese strata plus a trip to the Bock Bloody Mary bar. Pre-purchase of tickets is recommended and tickets are available here.