Bockfest Sausage Queen Arnold's Tub

We recently began a new series of articles here on the meetNKY blog-- “Off the Beaten Path.” It’s for travelers (and locals) who relish finding cool, out-of-the-way places to eat, drink, and shop, as well as unique events.

Of course, we love our well-known things to do like the Newport Aquarium, and our famous restaurants like Hofbrauhaus. But we also know you can have an experience or meal just as memorable “off the beaten path.” You might just need a little help finding them.

Bockfest parade float Motr

Even though I’ve lived in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region for years, it took me a while to hear about Bockfest, and I’m a long-time craft beer fan. Bockfest is billed as our region’s funkiest festival, with good reason. Where else do you celebrate the return of spring with a three-day party featuring goats, beer, a Sausage Queen and a Beard Baron?

Bockfest beer

Bock Beer – The Delicious Heart of Bockfest

Bock is a dark, malty beer, light on the hops. No one seems to know exactly when or where it originated. It’s become a beer to toast the return of spring in part because some think it was invented in the middle ages by monks needing the liquid sustenance to help them through the season of Lent. At Bockfest, you will find dozens of varieties of bock beer from regional craft breweries as well as some of the more than 50 local craft beer breweries here in NKY and Cincinnati.

bockfest monks

Arnold's Sausage Queen Preliminary Winner

The Sausage Queen and Beer Baron

The Sausage Queen leads the Bockfest parade. She or he is chosen by a round of preliminary competitions in local watering holes in the weeks leading up to Bockfest. Contestants sing, tell jokes, tell hilarious stories and wear whatever costume they deem fit for the spirit of Bockfest. The Sausage Queen preliminaries are a rollicking good time to attend. Don’t miss one if you’re in our area the month before Bockfest.

The Beard Baron is a recent addition to our three-day party. Facial hair enthusiasts compete the night the Sausage Queen is chosen from the preliminary semi-finalists. The Beard Baron joins the new Queen in leading the next year’s Bockfest parade.

Bockfest parade dance flash fusion

Photo: Dance Flash Fusion

The Bockfest Parade

A Bockfest parade float with a giant goat dressed as the Statue of Liberty in downtown Cincinnati

The parade is such a good spirited kickoff to all the fun of Bockfest! It always starts in front of Arnold's Bar & Grill, located at 210 E. 8th St. in downtown Cincy. In 2020, it kicks off at 6 pm. 

Bockfest viking

Where else do you get a chance to see a Viking on a bicycle?

Bockfest gargoyles

Not to mention a few gargolyes? 

Bockfest is always held the first weekend of March. The parade marks the official start of the festival, winding its way from Arnold's through Over the Rhine to Bockfest Hall, located at the Christian Moerlein Brewing Co.

Bockfest parade

If you’re looking for a fun weekend getaway, you won’t find a friendlier, more high-spirited event than Bockfest! There are too many scheduled shenanigans to fit in one blog post, including a family friendly day of events on Sunday. Check out the full list on the Bockfest website.