During the twilight of the 1880s, Cincinnati, OH, (the Queen City) was internationally celebrated as one of the most prolific centers for beer brewing in the United States. According to Michael D. Morgan, Author of Over the Rhine: When Beer was King, Cincinnati, during this pinnacle era, was chief among the Great American Brewing cities. The city was home to famous Beer Barons including Christian Moerlein, who proudly produced thousands of barrels of German inspired lager beer, created in part, from the ingenuity and inventiveness of German immigrants who came to Cincinnati seeking fortune and opportunity.
Despite their colossal growth and substantial economic impact, Cincinnati breweries would almost be completely wiped from the face of the earth following Prohibition in 1919, resulting in the closing of virtually every brewery and saloon in the city and the destruction of vast plots of historic architecture and urban planning.
Nearly 100 years later, Cincinnatians still maintain their proud German Brewing Heritage through Bockfest, a three day public festival, which unites the city in celebration of the brewing of Bock Beer in Historic Over the Rhine (OTR). OTR, one of the city's oldest and most vital urban neighborhoods, has been virtually transformed through successful visioning and long-term investment in the city’s urban core.
The annual Bockfest Parade, which assembled on Friday, March 1st, brought hundreds of excited onlookers in front of Arnold’s Pub, the oldest bar in the city. At 6:00PM sharp, the parade marched up Main Street, lead by a goat pulling a traditional keg of Bock Beer, towards Bockfest Hall to be blessed. Hundreds of enthusiastic spectators, many wearing authentic German costumes, sang songs and cheered for their favorite breweries, businesses and friends in procession. As a grassroots community event, Bockfest continues to grow each year, showcasing local venues, creating community and delivering unforgettable entertainment for families and visitors.
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How are community-driven events like Bockfest important for preserving our shared urban heritage? Please share your thoughts.
Credits: Data linked to sources. Photographs by Geoff Bliss.