By Polly Campbell
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Where to celebrate Oktoberfest:
The great big Oktoberfest downtown is next weekend, but there are several ways to get an early start. .
Mecklenburg Gardens in Corryville has its biggest celebration Wednesday. The 20-piece Jack Frost accordion band will play in the delightful vine-shaded biergarten, starting at 7 p.m. The Bier Band will play every Friday in September.
302 E. University Ave.; 221-5353
Thursday, two days before the Munich Oktoberfest begins, Hofbrauhaus in Newport will throw a barrel-tapping party as a benefit for the Munich Sister Cities Association and the German Heritage Museum.
It will start at 6:15 p.m. at Sawyer Point with a parade across the Purple Bridge led by the Bidinger Brass Band from Bavaria, a horse-drawn carriage, dancers and the Newport Corvette Club.
At 7 p.m., inside the restaurant, they'll tap barrels of Hofbrauhaus Oktoberfest beer imported from Munich.
Mayors from several municipalities will be celebrity barrel-tappers. Entertainment will include a brass band and the Donauschwaben Schuhplattler dance group.
The $10 admission will include an original Oktoberfest poster. Tickets will be available at the door.
Thursday through October 5, Hofbrauhaus will offer a special Oktoberfest menu - Bavarian specialties such as tellerfleisch, a boiled beef dish with potato dumplings; Oktoberfest hendl, roasted chicken; beef rouladen; pork schnitzel cordon bleu; and a Bavarian pretzel ham and cheese sandwich.
200 E. Third St., Newport, (859) 491-7200.
If you want to celebrate Oktoberfest in "Oktober," that's when the Black Forest German restaurant in West Chester Township will have its entertainment and dinner specials on weekends throughout the month.
8676 Cincinnati-Columbus Road, 777-7600.
The downtown Oktoberfest will be 11 a.m.-midnight Saturday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. next Sunday.
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Get an early start to Oktoberfest
Get to it!