Monday, August 05, 2002

'Mini-Me' will lead Oktoberfest chicken dance




By Jim Knippenberg jknippenberg@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Here's the long and short of it: Mini-Me will test his wings in Cincinnati. Make that Zinzinnati.

        Verne J. Troyer, the 32-inch actor who plays the mini-clone of Dr. Evil in this summer's blockbuster Austin Powers hit Goldmember, will lead the World's Largest Chicken Dance and Kazoo Band at 2002 Oktoberfest Zinzinnati in September.

        “He's our biggest grand marshal ever. And also our smallest,” says Chamber of Commerce public relations manager Buz Buse. “We expect him to cast a long shadow.”

        “I think the timing is what's so nice,” says Laurie Salzarulo, the Downtown Council event manager who booked him through her entertainment industry contacts. “The movie is so hot right now, I think that makes him our biggest personality ever for this event.

        “And the thing is,” she added, “he wants to do it so much that he asked us to move the Chicken Dance from its usual Saturday slot to Sunday to accommodate his schedule.”

        Oktoberfest, the nation's largest with a crowd of about 500,000, is Sept. 21 and 22. Mr. Troyer will lead the chicken dance and kazoo band at 4 p.m. Sept. 22, a job previously held by such feathery cluckers as Tony Orlando, Al Hirt, Weird Al Yankovic, Davy Jones, the San Diego Chicken and Prince Luitpold Von Bayern, crown prince of Bavaria.

        Although best known for the Austin Powers' role, Mr. Troyer has appeared in 20 movies since his 1993 film debut as a stunt double for a 9-month-old baby in Baby's Day Out. Other film credits include Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

        And now he's head flapper in Oktoberfest's annual chicken dance, an event that draws upward of 20,000 people tooting kazoos (the Downtown Council will give away 20,000 that day) and frantically flapping arms in the middle of Fifth Street.

        Oktoberfest is downtown on Fifth Street, from Race to Broadway.

       



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