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Since 1976 Cincinnati’s held it’s annual Oktoberfest festival at the heart of downtown to celebrate the city’s German heritage. Over the years Oktoberfest in Cincinnati, or Zinzinnati as it’s known during the festival, has steadily attracted more and more visitors. Now, with over 500,000 people annually, Cincinnati’s Oktoberfest celebration is the biggest North America and the second largest in the world behind the big daddy partei in Munich.

The beer, the brats, the oompa bands and the girls in short German dresses it a pleasant affair for everyone in attendance…well, almost everyone. Last year, during “The World’s Largest Chicken Dance,” I bore witness when things went horribly, horribly wrong for one tiny dancer.

Weird Al: Harbinger of Death

It was seemingly a typical Oktoberfest day on Fountain Square. As usual, I arrived early to make sure that my favorite beer, Christian Moerlein Fifth & Vine, would be in good supply while I built up a hefty level of trunkenheit to thoroughly enjoy the kitsch that is Oktoberfest.  I don’t know about you but watching dachshunds wearing big styrofoam hot dog buns race is a hell of a lot more enjoyable if you’re kicked back with a few dozen pints of lager.

Looka me go! Mein torso ist so streamlined! Züm züm!

Well, last year everyone had the same idea as me and started getting loaded early. Men, women, grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, baby daddies and baby mommas were all getting sauced ASAP so the incessant sound of the clanging glockenspiels would induce pleasure rather than a Rhine-load of pain. I even saw a few stroller-rollin’ babies rockin’ a bottle of the brew, jimmy-rigged with a rubber nipple. Granted, they were mostly drinking weak-ass Bud Light, but still…babies need to drink responsibly.

Somebody get this little dude a stein, stat.

It got to the point that by early afternoon the entire crowd of half million was entirely shitfaced. Those that weren’t puking into the gutters were doing all sorts of terrible things. I witnessed furious leiderhosen-on-leiderhosen dry humping on Vine Street. On 5th I spied kids using the aforementioned wiener dogs as footballs in terribly accurate reenactments of Carson Palmer’s playoff game knee snap. On Walnut I saw one guy poop in a tuba. And everyone was spilling their beer–precious, precious beer–all over the place. It was horrendous.

Convicted Tuba-Pooper

Everything was getting real at a maddening pace when, suddenly, a voice came over the PA system from Fountain Square’s main stage. “Listen up you sons of bitches, I got something to say.” It was Nick Lachey and he was wasted. Well, wasted wouldn’t really do it justice. It would be fairer to say that there was a life-size marionette of Nick Lachey up on stage being operated by an amateur puppeteer. The only thing that held him up was two Thai women in shiny golden dirndls…at least I think they were women; they looked pretty buff. But I digress.

“I’m Nick Lachey, you pussies, and it’s (hiccup) it’s time for The World’s Largest Chicken Dance!” The crowd let out a tidal wave of cheers, burps and ticklish laughter in response. “Nick Lechey says get up to the stage and shake your tail feathers, you Midwestern hillbilly shits….uh, I mean sexy Cincinnatians!” And with that cordial invitation 500k drunken wahoos (myself included) stormed Fountain Square and somehow lined up single-file, row upon row…hungry for Nick Lachey’s command.

Hometown Hero, Dance Führer

The music started instantly. “Duh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh, duh nu nu nu nu nu nuh, duh nu nu nu nu nu NUH, *CLAP* *CLAP* *CLAP *” went the battle cry. And on it went; over and over and over. As time elapsed the pace gradually increased. It was imperceptible at first but with each chicken-like movement I could feel the lactic acid building from wing to beak. When I thought I could take no more I looked up at Nick Lachey with eyes that screamed, “Why Nick Lachey, why?” He only responded with laughter and another crank of the PA’s tempo knob.

This is where things get blurry. It’s a pretty emotional memory, so bear with me. I remember there was a younger married couple in front of me doing the poultry jig. In between the two there was a young boy in a stroller, no older than two, destroying the contents of a 2-foot glass boot stein. When the song started the couple were spaced a safe distance from their tipsy toddler. But as Nick Lachey turned the Chicken into a Wild Turkey the couple lost all bearing of time and, more terribly, space.

Without warning the woman, a curly-headed brunette wearing jort overalls, started kicking her Keds high with each clap. One of these wayward kicks landed squarely on the right temple of her sauced son. This sent him flying to the left, and into the path of the prematurely balding husband. He too, at the whim of Nick Lachey’s demonic knob fiddling, found his legs with a mind of their own…stomping and stomping to their own delight. Their son, now passed out from a combination of drink and traumatic stroller tipping trauma, never saw the Reaper’s cold hand. The husband’s top-siders came down on the crown of his son’s skull and out spilled the memories of a first birthday, of first snowfall, of his first German pilsner.

But the man, wearing tortoise-shell glasses prescribed for myopia, didn’t stop stomping. The music had complete and utter control of him. If anything, his speed increased…controlled by the twitching fingers of Nick Lachey.

And you may ask yourself, “Why didn’t I read anything about this in the papers?” Well, the reason is both simple and disgusting. The latter half of Cincinnati’s summer had been a particularly dry one. Because of this the concrete tiles on fountain square were particularly porous. Mix this with the fact that the chemical engineer with P&G didn’t stop clucking and kicking until his son, from head to toe, was completely liquified. Simply put, the aqueous remains of his son were thoroughly absorbed by the tiles of Fountain Square. His parents’ inebriation was so complete they plum forgot they had a son, skeletal system and all, when they sobered the following week. It’s a tragedy from top to bottom, yes sir.

So, this year when you visit Zinzinnati’s Oktoberfest, make sure you pour some Doppelbock out for Little Billy. It’s been a while since he’s had a good German draft.

Dig In!

>>>Click To Download German Beer Drinking Music on 320 kbps MP3

Tracklist

1. Ein Heller Und Ein Batzen

2. Die Blauen Dragoner

3. Oh, Du Wonderschoener Deutscher Rhein

4. Schwartzbraun Ist Die Hazelnuss

5. Unter Dem Doppel Adler

6. Morgen Marschieren Wir

7. Steig Ich Den Berg Hinauf

8. Waldeslust Ich Den Berg Hinauf

9. Das Schoenste Auf Der Welt

10. Glaube Nicht Ans Rehbocknest

11. Wenn Die Soldeaten Durch Die Stadt Marschieren