Bringing a Bavarian Tradition to Cincinnati, Ohio


There are at least one dozen Oktoberfest celebrations between August and Oktober throughout Cincinnati, Ohio. These festivals range from small church festivals to Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, the biggest Oktoberfest outside of Munich. But every year, one Oktoberfest attempts to stand out from the rest.

The Donauschwaben Oktoberfest in Colerain Township is certainly not the biggest Oktoberfest in Cincinnati but with live entertainment from Europe, homemade food and desserts, and over 25 beers on draft, the festival strives to bring an authentic experience to the city with a rich German background—a goal that without any doubt they have accomplished over the last 22 years.


Oktoberfest started in 1810 when Prince Ludwig I invited the citizen of Munich to his wedding on the fields in front of the city gate. The wedding reception blossomed into a two-week open-air festival that was so well received it became an annual event. Each year additional exhibits were added until it became the major annual German fall festival celebrating harvest time and the arrival of the fall season.

The Schuhplattlers doing the "Fight Dance"Today, over 200 years later, the citizens of Munich—and the world—still celebrate his marriage in a 14-day festival known as Oktoberfest. Each year, over 7 million visitors drink 14 million liters of beer and they consume more than 300,000 pairs of pork sausages, 600,000 roasted chickens and more than 60,000 roasted pork knuckles. The only breweries that can participate in Oktoberfest are those that brew their beer within the city limits of Munich and follow the Reinheitsgebot, or German Beer Purity Law, that limits the ingredients used in the production of beer to water, barley and hops.
The festival is known as the largest in the world and has become so huge that they have to start setting up in July, two months before the actual festival.


The Donauschwaben Oktoberfest is not nearly as big as the one in Munich— nor does it host as many people. But it was created as a way to bring the popular Bavarian tradition and German Gemütlichkeit to a city that is heavily influenced by German culture.

“Our goal has—and always will be—to bring the most authentic Oktoberfest experience to Cincinnati,” said John “Hansi” Weissmann, co-chairman of the Donauschwaben’s Oktoberfest.

Pit-Roasted PigYear after year the festival offers Cincinnati an experience that you would usually have to travel to Germany to enjoy. Last year, it offered 27 imported and domestic beers on draft including favorites such as Hofbräuhaus, Warsteiner, Paulaner, and Schwaben Lager, the new Donauschwaben house brew. It offered many homemade meals such as pit-roasted Bavarian pig and chicken, German sausage, stuffed cabbage, goulash with Spätzle (noodles), and tortes and pastries. Trauntul Trio and Kraichgauer Hundsbuam who were invited from Germany, shared the stage with Cincinnati’s own Alpen Echos and Vereinsmusikanten throughout the weekend.

And 2016 promises to be another great year, 24 years in the making.

Any event put on by any non-profit organization is only successful because of its volunteers. The Donauschwaben has a lot of great volunteers who make this event possible.

“A lot of time and effort by a lot of people—too many to name—plays a role into making our Oktoberfest such a success every year,” Mr. Weissmann said. “Our club is truly blessed to have members who make an event like this so nice for everyone. We cannot be successful without the help and support of every single person who volunteered their time to this event.”

If you are able to volunteer your time for the Cincinnati Donauschwaben Oktoberfest please contact us at cincydonau@gmail.com and we will put you in contact with our booth chairmen. Any help is greatly appreciated.

The 24th Annual Donauschwaben Oktoberfest is September 30 through Oktober 2nd, and is located at the Donauschwaben Park, 4290 Dry Ridge Road in Colerain Township (I-275 and Colerain Ave, behind the Lowe’s). Onsite and convenient shuttle parking from Saint John Dry Ridge School is available. Event admission is $3.00 per person.

For a complete schedule of events, more information on Oktoberfest and other Donauschwaben events, like the Official Cincinnati Donauschwaben page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/cincydonau) or follow us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/cincydonau).