“Krautfest” By James Jay Schifrin

image023Only in the Blue Chip City could Oktoberfest take place in the middle of September and nobody ask why.

Some people thought standing in line outside a Port-o-let was fun. But any similarity between last weekend’s commercial promotion and the legendary Oktoberfest celebration in Munich was purely ridiculous.

Only the acid indigestion was the same.
Of course, the news media loved the event.But some of the less-informed correspondents were a bit confused. Three tubs, a bass drum, and a bunch of geezers jumping around in Lederhosen do not exactly constitute a Viennese Waltz.

And despite inflated attendance estimates, downtown Cincinnati was now nearly as crowded as for the WEBN fireworks two weeks ago.

This time the only thing smoked was the sausage.

Down at Pete Rose Stadium, the Reds tried their best Saturday night, but they came out the wurst. A guy with a commemorative Oktoberfest beer bucket wore a “Kiss Me, Kraut Lips” button. For WWII veterans, the weekend brought back memories of offering chocolate and nylons to willing young frauleins on der Freiderickstrasse. At least in Cincinnati, they almost spoke English.

Fifth Street was jammed. People in sandals could feel the beer sloshing between their toes. You needed something to wash down all that semi-authentic German food.

It tastes good, but the trouble with German food is, an hour later you’re hungry again—for power. Which, of course, is better than eating Mexican food. There, an hour later, you wish you’d eaten German food.

But despite an criticism, the annual Oktoberfest exercise is good for one thing. It offers a chance for all the Irish to come downtown to drink Over-the-Rhine wine and get drunk. This makes up for the St, Patrick’s Day Parade, when all the Germans wear green ties and come downtown to drink anything they can get their hands on.

Truly, the City’s ethnic traditions have enriched us all.

image057This op-ed column first appeared in the feisty Mt. Washington Press personally edited by eminently renowned publisher Dennis Nichols on September 18, 1985.