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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -
There is no better way to celebrate Cincinnati's brewing heritage and the coming of spring than with a weekend filled with parades, parties, food and beer throughout downtown and Over-the-Rhine.
Bockfest, now in its 22nd year, begins Friday with a parade starting at Arnold's Bar and Grill and ending at Bockfest Hall, where the ceremonial first keg is blessed.
On Saturday morning, runners will compete in the second annual Bockfest 5K, followed by an all-day celebration at Bockfest Hall and the crowning of the Sausage Queen at 8 p.m.
Bockfest Hall, located at Christian Moerlein Brewing Company Event Hall, will remain open throughout the weekend with live entertainment, food and brewery tours. Sunday is Continental Sunday, where Bockfest Hall will be the site for authentic German dancing, music, a German buffet and $1 off beer for anyone in traditional German dress.
New this year is a heated craft beer tent and VIP tickets for $50, which provide VIP seating area, a private bar and restrooms, T-shirts and a glass. Proceeds support the Brewery District
Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation, a non-profit dedicated to the redevelopment of the Brewery District.
Several area businesses are joining in on the fun. A free shuttle bus runs a continuous loop between Bockfest venues all weekend.
Arnold's Bar and Grill, 210 East 8th Street
By The Slice, 1207 Main Street
Cafe Martin (Garfield Suites Hotel), 2 Garfield Place
The Drinkery, 1150 Main Street
Japps, 1134 Main Street
Kaze, 1400 Vine Street
The Lackman, 1237 Vine Street
Lavomatic Café, 1211 Vine Street
Milton's Prospect Hill Tavern, 301 Milton Street
MOTR Pub, 1345 Main
Mr. Pitiful's, 1323 Main
Neon's Unplugged, 208 East 12th Street
Rhinehaus, 119 East 12th Street
Washington Platform, 1000 Elm Street
Traditionally, bock beer is brewed in late winter for celebrations and holidays with a higher nutritional and alcohol content than other beers. Bock was used by German monks during Lenten fast as a substitute for food due to the "higher" nutritional content.
Bockfest is celebrated on the first full weekend of March because of the historic association with Lent. Cincinnati is the home to the world's oldest Bock festival.
And what's the deal with the goats? "Bock" means goat in German. The parade is led by a goat pulling the ceremonial first keg of bock beer. For the past four years, the lead goat has been Schnitzel.
Schnitzel lives at Sunrock Farm in Northern Kentucky during his off time.
Details: March 7-9. Bockfest Hall, 1619 Moore Street, Over-the-Rhine. www.bockfest.com.