PHOTOS: Record Crowds Pack Over-the-Rhine for 22nd Bockfest Celebration

It is estimated that well over 30,000 people attended this year’s Bockfest celebrations in historic Over-the-Rhine – shattering previous attendance records.

Cincinnati’s Bockfest is the largest and longest running such festival in the world. Its history, however, is rooted in Bavaria. It is traditionally understood that Bavarian monks would brew bock beer and consume it and it only during times of fasting – typically around Easter or Lent.

As is custom, this year’s festivities were kicked off with The Bockfest Parade and the ceremonious delivery of the first keg of bock beer to be tapped at Bockfest Hall. The following 21 photos are a sampling of the opening parade that took place late Friday afternoon.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Check out 5chw4r7z’s photos for even more views from around Bockfest this weekend.

URBANexchange Hosts Vice Mayor at Short Vine Taste of Beligum

Snow may still be on the ground but we will have warm waffles at this month’s URBANexchange event! That’s right, we are pleased to announce that for this month’s event we have moved to Taste of Begium’s Short Vine location. Come down for some waffles and chicken or some Belgian beers this Thursday from 5:30pm to 8:00pm. This is a great opportunity to check out the new development that has opened in Uptown.

As always, the event will be a casual setting where you can meet others interested in what is happening in the city. We will gather in a space near the bar so that each person can choose how much or little they buy in terms of food or drink. Although we do encourage our attendees to generously support our kind hosts at Taste of Belgium.

We are pleased to announce that Vice-Mayor David Mann (D) has indicated he will be attending the event. Mr. Mann has a distinguished career in the city as a former Mayor and Councilman. He returned to City Council last November.

Short Vine Taste of Belgium

As always URBANexchange is free and open to the public. This month we are giving away two $25 gift cards  to Taste of Belgium as door prizes so be sure to drop your name into the raffle.

We will be situated near the bar in the center of the restaurant but you can also ask the host where the UrbanCincy group is located and they will be happy to assist.

Taste of Belgium is located on Vine Street in Correville between the University of Cincinnati’s east and west campuses and is located just two blocks from a future uptown streetcar stop. If you choose to bike there is free and ample bike parking is available outside the building. The venue is also served by Metro’s Metro+ bus , as well as routes  #19, #78 and #46 buses.

Photo by Jake Mecklenborg

February URBANexchange is Tonight

URBANexchange

Sick of winter? So are we, so come join us in keeping warm at the Moerlein Lager House for the February URBANexchange tonight! This month’s event is dedicated to sneckdowns, the snow filled islands in roads where cars do not travel but where pedestrians could one day roam.

As always, the event will be a casual setting where you can meet others interested in what is happening in the city. We will gather in the biergarten so that each person can choose how much or little they buy in terms of food or drink. Although we do encourage our attendees to generously support our kind hosts at the Moerlein Lager House.

URBANexchange is free and open to the public. This month we are giving away two $25 gift cards from Findlay Market as door prizes so be sure to drop your name into the raffle.

We will be situated in the northwest corner of the biergarten (near the Moer To Go window), but you can also ask the host where the UrbanCincy group is located and they will be happy to assist.

The Moerlein Lager House is located on Cincinnati’s central riverfront and is located just one block from a future streetcar stop. If you choose to bike there is free and ample bike parking is available near our location in the biergarten outside by the Schmidlapp Event Lawn.

Balls Around The Block Event to Raise Money for Fido Field Dog Park

As the number of people living in the center city continues to increase, so does the number of dogs. One of the problems, however, is that center city residents do not have yards where their dogs can run around or take care of other, let’s say, daily needs.

This is where dog parks come in.

The problem is that, in 2008, Cincinnati had just 1.2 off-leash dog parks per 100,000 thousand residents – ranking it 15th nationally according to the Trust for Public Land (TPL). The ratio has remained unchanged at 1.2 off-leash dog park per 100,000 residents, but other cities have made significant improvements since 2008 while Cincinnati has not. According the the TPL, Cincinnati has just four such dog parks and its ranking has plummeted 17 spots to 32nd in the nation.

This will be the ninth year for the annual Balls Around The Block (BATB) event downtown, and since 2010 the event has donated its proceeds to support Fido Field – an off-leash dog park on the eastern edge of downtown. While not a new dog park, the effort is helping improve Cincinnati’s standing.

Event organizers say that BATB raised more than $10,000 for Fido Field last year, which paid to top the large dog section with recycled rubber. The goal for this year is to raise more than $12,000 this year.

This year’s event is expected to attract more the one-hundred participants, as it has the past several years, and will include stops at 11 official venues in the Backstage Entertainment District block bounded by Sixth Street, Walnut Street, Seventh Street and Vine Street.

The event works with so many people due to the team setup. Organizers require that each person participating in the event sign-up a team consisting of 25 members. Each of the teams will start at different bars. From there participants will be instructed by group leaders once 30 minutes has lapsed and it is time to move on to the next destination.

Venues this year include Mr. Sushi, Knockbat Nats, Play, Local’s, Madonna’s, Nicholson’s, Righteous Room, Igby’s, Mynt, Rock Bottom and Scene, and each will have its own drink and food specials for those participating in BATB. Organizers also say that they will be giving out a variety of raffle prizes including gift cards to local businesses, adult beverages, doggie daycare and food, a Hustler gift basket and more.

This year’s event will cost $35 per person and will take place on Friday, February 7. Registration will close at 3pm the day of the event, but those who wish to register at the door can do so for $40 cash, if there are spots remaining.

Those that would like to contribute to the cause, but don’t have the balls (sorry, I had to) to participate, can make a tax-deductible donation by contacting the event organizers at ballsaroundtheblock@yahoo.com.

URBANexchange to Highlight New Year

photo (6)

We’re back for the new year!  The first URBANexchange of the new year will be this Thursday at the Moerlein Lager House. This month’s event is dedicated to looking forward for 2014.

What are some of the things you’d like to see accomplished in Cincinnati during this new year? Drop by and lets talk about it over a drink!

As always, the event will be a casual setting where you can meet others interested in what is happening in the city. We will gather in the biergarten so that each person can choose how much or little they buy in terms of food or drink. Although we do encourage our attendees to generously support our kind hosts at the Moerlein Lager House.

Our team of researchers and writers will also occasionally dive further into the topics and publish the information and ideas on the website.

URBANexchange is free and open to the public. This month we are giving away two $25 gift cards from the Lager House as door prizes so be sure to drop your name into the raffle.

We will be situated in the northwest corner of the biergarten (near the Moer To Go window), but you can also ask the host where the UrbanCincy group is located and they will be happy to assist.

The Moerlein Lager House is located on Cincinnati’s central riverfront and is located just one block from a future streetcar stop. Free and ample bike parking is available near our location in the biergarten outside by the Schmidlapp Event Lawn.

Christkindlmarkt Returns for Three Full Weekends This Holiday Season

Organizers are bringing the Cincideutsch Christkindlmarkt back for its second holiday season this year, starting Thanksgiving weekend and operating each weekend until December 15.

Last year’s Christkindlmarkt took place every weekend on Fountain Square. This year the festive seasonal marketplace will spend its first weekend on Fountain Square and then move for its final two weekends to Essen Strasse on the south side of Findlay Market in historic Over-the-Rhine.

“It was decided to move the Christkindlmarkt to Findlay Market for the following two weekends because it is the most iconic market place in the city, and is representative of Cincinnati’s German culture,” explained Lisa Bambach, marketing and creative director for Cincideutsch. “It is a link not only to Cincinnati’s German past, but also to the vibrant German-American culture which continues to permeate the city today.”

Cincinnati Christkindlmarkt
Visitors at Cincinnati’s inaugural Christkindlmarkt on Fountain Square in 2012. Photograph by Paige Malott.

Christkindlmarkt have been a holiday tradition in town centers throughout Germany and Austria for hundreds of years.

“It is a place for people to get together with family and friends to enjoy the seasonal weather and celebrate the holidays,” explained Olaf Scheil, a native of Lübeck, Germany and president and co-founder of Cincideutsch. “We are thrilled to be able to bring this tradition to the people of Cincinnati for the second year in a row.”

After more than 15,000 people visited last year, Scheil expects a similar number of visitors to come and enjoy the Christkindlmarkt this season. To help keep things interesting and active, organizers have coordinated live music, glass blowing, holiday sweets and baked goods, drink, decorations and crafts for sale within half-timbered houses.

In addition to the European baked goods, a hot spiced wine called Glühwein is also considered to be a holiday favorite amongst visitors. And in Cincinnati and German fashion, there will also be plenty of beer to go around.

“Glühwein is something I look forward to making each year since I first tried it in Switzerland,” Bambach confessed. “The aroma of the spices reminds me of Christmas just like the smell of pumpkin makes me think of Thanksgiving. It is a consistent feature at Christkindlmarkt in Europe, no matter which city you visit.”

Cincinnati’s Christkindlmarkt is sponsored by Christian Moerlein Brewing Company and will kick off in coordination with Macy’s Light Up The Square and DCI’s Downtown Dazzle on November 29 through December 1. The seasonal market will then move to Findlay Market December 6-8 and December 13-15. Both locations will have heaters to help keep visitors warm on cold days.

“We received both positive and negative feedback from 2012, and we have worked diligently to improve visitors’ experiences based on those comments,” Bambach noted. “The market is completely organized and run by volunteers, and in our second year we wanted to expand while also ensuring the growth was manageable.”

The Christkindlmarkt will be open from 11am to 9pm on Friday and Saturday, and 11am to 5pm on Sunday at Fountain Square. The market will then be open in coordination with normal Findlay Market hours when it moves there for its final two weekends.