Annie’s (Parade is) Back

aop16aLast year what was said to be lack of interest but which can probably better be described as lack of agreement sidelined the Annie Oakley Days Parade in Greenville, Ohio. This year it was back and seemed to be just as popular and nearly as big as it ever was. The return of the parade was announced quite some time ago and right before my last visit to Greenville, some six weeks ago, it was announced that the Grand Marshalls would once again be relatives of mine. Several years ago a cousin and her husband had filled the roles. This year it would be an aunt and uncle.

aop16baop16cShortly after the color guard swung around the corner and the parade started down Broadway, the Grand Marshalls rolled by in a white carriage. Uncle Dean and Aunt Arlene had their youngest grandsons with them but Sam and Charlie weren’t really into that smiling and waving thing. They did, however, keep a sharp lookout on both sides of the carriage to prevent any and all surprise attacks.

aop16dKatie Hurd, Miss Annie Oakley for 2016, won her title the old fashioned way — with a gun. Contestants didn’t attempt to gun each other down but, like the real Annie Oakley, demonstrated their shooting skill by firing at a target. The shooting starts at 25 feet and the distance is increased until only one shooter hits the baloon target baloon. That happened at 100 feet. Hurd wears two sashes because she also won this year’s Best Costume competition.

aop16eaop16faop16gMany local businesses supported and participated in Saturday’s parade. There were also plenty of cars. The Darke County Jeepsters are personal favorites. Their matching red vehicles appear in many parades. The parade also contained quite a few Shriner units.

aop16hIt’s certainly fitting that Buffalo Bill Cody rides in Annie’s parade. The long association that the two had benefited them both greatly.

Cincinnati Strut

od2016_01I’m sure some folks get tired of hearing about how special Opening Day is in Cincinnati but that’s not going to stop me. I won’t write as much about the history as I did back in 2012 but I will again mention that the world’s oldest professional baseball team always opens at home and always has a marvelous parade. The picture at right shows people gathering for the parade on Race Street. Behind them is Washington Park and Music Hall stands beyond the park. The park was completely renovated a few years ago and is now a popular gathering place for families. Music Hall will be closing soon for its own renovation. I reported on a performance there a couple of weeks ago.

od2016_02Lou Piniella managed the Reds in their last World Series win in 1990. I remember it vividly and recall thinking that it had been a long dry spell since The Big Red Machine wins in 1975 and ’76. But that was just fourteen years and the Reds have now played twenty-five seasons without even getting to a World Series let alone winning one.

od2016_03I snapped a picture of the Corvair station wagon as it approached but didn’t realize who was in it until it was beside me. That’s legendary King Records studio drummer Phillip Paul with who I believe is his good friend Roberta Narcisse beside him. Paul recorded the original “The Twist” with Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, “Train Kept a Rollin'” with Tiny Bradshaw, “Hide Away” with Freddie King, and an incredibly long list of other hits. Paul isn’t quite as flashy as another local music legend who was in last year’s parade but, while Bootsy Collins performs only occasionally, the ninety year old Paul has a steady weekend gig in downtown Cincinnati.

od2016_04President William Howard Taft threw a ceremonial first pitch to start the Washington Senators 1910 season and every president since has thrown a first pitch at an Opening Day, World Series, of All Star game at some time while in office. Taft was a Cincinnati native and his former home is now a National Historic Site. A fancy brewpub right on today’s parade route bears his name. If you have any thoughts of being a Taft impersonator, Cincinnati is the place to be.

od2016_07od2016_06od2016_05In less than a year of existence, the Red Hot Dancing Queens have made me a most sincere fan. As I told a small group of them I encountered after the parade, if everyone could have a mere fraction of the fun these gals have, the world would be a much better place. Watch for them at parades and festivals throughout the summer.

od2016_08od2016_09od2016_10Here’s another parade group that I like a lot. I recall first seeing the Wapakoneta Lawnmower Precision Drill Team a long time ago in a Saint Patrick’s Day but they haven’t been in that parade for many years. They might have realized that the fun was draining from that parade well before I did. After completing one of their precision choreographed drills, there was a pause in the parade and some of the team members dashed over to the curb to high-five some of the spectators. Only after he had rejoined the formation did the group of boys in front of me notice the faux southern exposure on the guy they had just exchanged high-fives with. As we all know, a little snicker makes everybody feel better.

Dancers and Prancers

lhp15_01The last time I was at a Lebanon, Ohio, horse parade was in 2011 and it was part of what I called a trifecta. On three consecutive weekends I attended horse parades in Greenville, Springfield, and Lebanon. This year Greenville held their 12th annual Hometown Holiday Horse Parade on November 21. I missed it. As happened in 2011, an open weekend separated the Greenville and Lebanon parades but I have found no evidence of Springfield filling it. The 2011 parade was their first and it may have been their last. Pictures in this post are from the 27th annual Lebanon Carriage Parade held yesterday, December 5.

lhp15_02lhp15_03Lebanon actually has two parades and a sizable street festival to go with them. The Red Hot Dancing Queens, who I’ve seen on a few other occasions, were part of the pre-parade entertainment. They are indeed red hot and seem to always have every bit of fun that the law allows.

lhp15_05lhp15_04Lebanon has both a daytime and nighttime parade. The nighttime parade, which was the one I attended in 2011, is harder to photograph but electric lights on the carriages and and horses do look cool. Obviously I attended the daytime parade this year and it’s just as obvious what is being celebrated.

lhp15_06lhp15_07lhp15_08I haven’t seen an official count but there must have been just about 100 entries. I recall seeing tags in the 90s with a few carriages behind them plus I spotted a pair of entries wearing A and B versions of the same number. There may have been more.

lhp15_11lhp15_10lhp15_09The posted photos show just a small fraction of the entries. There is absolutely nothing scientific about their selection. They are merely some that I like. Since I have no idea who any of these people are, I can’t really be accused of slighting anyone. Ignorance can be useful.

On the Road

mbp_01In addition to a film festival, visiting ships, a new mile marker, and the country’s biggest Octoberfest (which I’ve yet to attend this year), this week included a parade in the nearby city of Mason as part of its bicentennial celebration. I managed to see the entire parade but it wasn’t all that easy. There is a long walk as well as a long story behind the picture at right.

By the time I started for Mason following the pancake breakfast at the condo clubhouse, the parade route had long been blocked off. I thought I might be able to drive closer to the parade start than to its end so that’s where I headed. My thinking was correct and I parked within half a mile of the point of beginning. It was almost close enough. The parade started promptly at 10:00 when I was still a couple of blocks away. I immediately went into high-speed pursuit mode (i.e., a brisk walk with a few cut corners) but only started closing in on the lead entry as the parade neared its point of ending.

mbp_02Of course that lead entry carried the parade’s Grand Marshal to whose identity I had not a clue and neither, as far as I can tell, does the internet. The distance from my parked car to the parade end point was about a mile with the “high-speed” parade route portion accounting for about two-thirds of that. A nice, though unplanned, workout.

mbp_04mbp_03The Mason High School Marching Band was not far behind. They quite reasonably had a two song repertoire for the parade and it had cycled several times during my pursuit and overtaking. One song I can’t remember and one song I can’t forget. For the second consecutive Saturday, I got to hear Hang on Sloopy live.

mbp_07mbp_08mbp_09mbp_10In the interest of time, I’m going to forego any pretense of posting a representative set of photos. Instead, here, without explanation or justification, are a few I just like.

mbp_11When your city is ten or twenty times your age, you can jump — repeatedly — for joy at the birthday party. I’m sure they could have caught up with the Grand Marshal before the second verse of Sloopy.

Celebrating

bd2015_00The Findlay Market Opening Day Parade was a full thirty hours away and my birthday had barely begun when last week’s post went up. Here’s an update.

Last Sunday was a long way from blisteringly hot but it was reasonably warm (60s), dry, and sunny. I spent much of the day driving a familiar loop along the banks of the Ohio River. I haven’t decided whether or not the new chapeau is a keeper but I got it for almost nothing with an about to expire credit and I’m going to give it a chance.

bd2015_01bd2015_02Breakfast was had at Brew River Gastropub in Cincinnati. Even though I cringe at the word “gastropub”, I’d stopped in here one night for beer and live music and decided it was OK. It’s location on Riverside Drive and a reputation for a  good Sunday brunch made it a reasonable choice for a place to start the day. My Easter eggs came in what is essentially an omelette known as “Eggs Du Drop”. It was quite good with house-made goetta, Irish Cheddar, and green onions. From there it was east along the river’s north bank, a crossing at Maysville, and a return to Cincinnati on the Kentucky side.

od2015_04od2015_03od2015_02On Monday I parked near Arnold’s with the intention of having breakfast there as I did last year but it was simply too crowded. Instead, I stopped in at the Sports Page Restaurant for another helping of geotta. That made timing just about perfect for a one beer test of Cincinnati’s newest brewery. Taft’s Ale House had planned to open last fall but, when construction surprises made that impossible, decided to open in sync with the Reds. Today was the official grand opening and, while they didn’t make enough to cover their $8 million investment, they got a good start.

odp2015_01odp2015_02odp2015_03I had time to snoop around the staging area a bit then found myself a good spot just a few blocks into the route as the parade started. This year’s Grand Marshalls were the Nasty Boys from the 1990 World Champion Reds. Relievers Norm Charlton, Randy Myers, and Rob Dibble had a combined 44 saves as the Reds stayed in first place for the entire season. Other local sports figures were also on hand including the only Bengal in the NFL Hall of Fame (Anthony Munoz) and a key piece of the Big Red Machine (George Foster).

odp2015_04odp2015_05odp2015_06odp2015_07odp2015_08odp2015_09odp2015_10odp2015_11Here are more parade entries that are uniquely Cincinnati starting with some currently active athletes, the Cincinnati Roller Girls. Next is a float from current Cincinnati success story Pure Romance and a car from one time Cincinnati powerhouse Crosley Corporation. In about a month, a new carousel will be put into operation on Cincinnati’s riverfront and a few of the custom made figures filled a parade float. From a little to Cincinnati’s west comes the Rabbit Hash General Store and from the east comes the Cardboard Boat Museum. In the race for Most Flamboyant Cincinnatian, Bootsy Collins might edge out Jim Tarbell by a little bit but neither has been called a wallflower.

od2015_07od2015_06od2015_05I guess the closest I got to Great American Ball Park was Fountain Square and even the tail of the parade had passed by the time I got there. Cincinnati will be hosting this year’s All-Star Game and a count down sign was unveiled yesterday. I grabbed a shot of that and watched some of the game on the big screen before heading up to the City View for dinner and the rest of the game. Dinner was a ‘burger and the game was a rain delayed win for the Reds. The stadium can be partially seen from the bar. The wisp of smoke visible between the couple on the deck is from the win signalling fireworks.

bw201501bw201502The game was over but the birthday celebration had a couple more days to run. Ovenmaster Mary brought peanut butter brownies to Tuesday’s trivia gathering for some low-key great-taste celebrating. On Wednesday, I headed north to Dayton. Last year I finally experienced what many consider Cincinnati’s premier steakhouse, the Precinct. At that time, I stated that a steak I’d had at Dayton’s Pine Club remained a contender for “best ever”. I noted that more research was needed and tonight I went back for that research. The trip was infinitely worthwhile but it didn’t exactly lead to a decision. I’d ordered that Precinct steak with options while my Pine Club cut was unadorned. I had a mild sense of being slightly more impressed with the Precinct meal but realized that might be the crab meat and Béarnaise talking. Both filets were superb. In the end, I decided that debating the merits of steaks at this level or price point is like debating whether a lily looks better with silver or gold gilding. The two restaurants are different but no meat eater with functioning taste buds would be disappointed with either.

bw201504bw201503I made one more stop for birthday week. Pinups & Pints, “The World’s Only Strip Club – Brew Pub”, is just a few miles northeast of Dayton and I have, duh, wanted to go there ever since I first heard about it. The problem has been that I’m hardly ever in Dayton in the evening with free time and that’s when Pinups & Pints tends to be open. The brewery operation is an almost tiny fifteen gallon system and only a single rotating brew is available. At present, that’s Thigh High IPA which was, although IPAs are not my first choice, quite good for the style. Even though there’s no doubt that the brewery is something of a gimmick, it’s definitely not a joke. Owner/brewmaster Scott Conrad is serious about it and puts in the effort required to produce a quality product. I had intended to have just one beer but the dancers were attractive enough to make me order a second. Although two beers wasn’t enough to make the reasonably pretty dancers drop dead gorgeous, a few more might. Nearly naked women that make you want another beer that makes the women prettier which makes the beer taste better which makes the… I think Conrad might be onto something.

Bock to Rock

b2r01I stole the title. There’s a music store in Greenville, Ohio, called Bach to Rock which I think is the coolest name for a music store ever. On Friday, I followed up the 23rd annual Bockfest parade with a Dave & Phil Alvin concert. Voila! Fits like a glove.

While looking up the music store’s web address, I discovered that there is now a bunch of franchised music schools called Bach to Rock. They started in 2007 and the store has been around a lot longer than that. The store could probably sue the school but I doubt they will. We Darke Countians are a mellow lot.

b2r02b2r03The sun was shining — at a very low angle — as the parade “formed” on 8th Street near Arnold’s . Perhaps words like “formed” and “organized” are a little out of place when applied to the Bockfest Parade but it somehow happens. This year both marchers and watchers were plentiful despite the temperature being right at the freezing mark. Or maybe it was because of the temperature. WE ARE READY FOR SPRING.

b2r04Another word, “irreverent”, has always applied to the Bockfest parade. That definitely won’t be changing for the event in general but it does no longer apply to one major piece of the parade. Previous grand marshals have included the likes of the four-legged mayor (It’s a dog, don’t you know?) of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, but henceforth, in recognition of the serious celebration of Cincinnati’s past underlying this event, the organizers will select grand marshals for their “contribution to local culture”. This year’s choice is Elmer Hensler, founder and President of Queen City Sausage. The company is turning fifty this year. With honesty and quality, Elmer built it from nothing to being the official brat and mett of both the Reds and the Bengals and the last surviving meat packer in what was once Porkopolis. This year, the company’s bockwurst can be had wrapped in a Servatii (another Cincinnati favorite) pretzel as the Bockfest Pretzelator.

b2r05I really liked this Wizard of Oz themed group and walked a few steps with them so I could ask who they were. The first person I asked answered “Mustard Club” then, when I said something like “What’s that?”, turned me over to another marcher who explained they were from Mecklenburg Gardens, a popular local German restaurant. I later learned that this isn’t your run of the mill mustard club that likes just any old mustard. It’s the Händlmaier’s Mustard Club Cincinnati who go to great lengths to acquire their favorite condiment. If I had an award to give, they would get it because: 1) The Wicked Witch of the West was most convincing when she warned, “I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little goat too.” 2) There’s a bunch of them, from the group leading the yellow Hummer, through Dorthy and friends on the trailer it’s towing, to the pack at the back. 3) They covered both mustard and beer in their theme title “Follow the Yellow Bock Road”. 4) One of them handed off that giant lollipop to the traffic cop in the picture at the top of the page.

b2r08b2r07b2r06There were familiar entries like the Trojan Goat, Arnold’s self propelled bathtub, and the dancing pigs. Arnold’s previous tub, which appeared with some snow on it a couple paragraphs back, had some issues at last year’s Bockfest and, although it was repaired, I guess it’s never been the same. I suppose the new high class ride is more reliable but I still prefer the basic tub and motor style myself.

b2r09b2r10And there were some new themes like Bock to the Future (This is THE year, after all.) and the Bock Street Boys.

 

b2r12b2r11Here are a couple of entries which don’t have any really clever bock related names and really don’t have any particular bock connection at all but I like ’em. On reason I could not leave out the League of Cincinnati Steampunks is that I’m pretty sure this is the way to melt snow. Lastly is the very talented Buffalo Wabs and the Price Hill Hustle that we last saw here.

b2r13Yeah, I guess there does seem to be a lot more bock than rock but it was really good rock. Dave Alvin and his brother Phil, both formerly with the Blasters, are currently touring together and they deliver one tremendous load of music. I wish I’d seen them years ago but I’m sure happy that I’ve seen them now.

Celebrating the Connection

mcohc01Celebrating two weeks in a row. I’m in either a rut or a groove. Last week’s post was on my visit to the “Diana: A Celebration” exhibit in Cincinnati. This one is on my visit to a “Member Celebration” in Columbus on Saturday, May 24. This is the third such event for the organization though for the first two the celebrants were members of the Ohio Historical Society and they are now members of the Ohio History Connection. The first public use of the new name was part of the celebration.

mcohc02mcohc03mcohc04The “Member Celebration” was at the Ohio History Center and coincided with the season opening of the adjacent Ohio Village which, in turn, coincided with the opening of a two day Civil War era Soldiers’ Aid Fair.

mcohc07mcohc06mcohc05This display of rare and exotic items may not have been the biggest or most highly promoted aspect of the fair but it was my favorite.

mcohc08mcohc09mcohc10Like many events at Ohio Village, a parade preceded an official opening proclamation. Weary and even wounded soldiers, presumably home on leave, joined in and helped elevate both patriotism and sympathy.

mcohc12mcohc11The celebration included a members only lunch but this is no small club. The picture shows part of the line, which I eventually joined, for the second seating. The closest things got to formal was a brief speech by Executive Director Bert Logan. There were thanks, of course, and something of an explanation for the name change. Although he didn’t use these exact words, the impression l have is that “Ohio Historical Society” often conjured up images of little old ladies and dusty old men sitting in dim parlors talking about old stuff. In surveys, “Ohio History Connection” created an image of something much more active and accessible. He pointed out that we not only need to preserve things for future generations but make those things available and interesting and understandable for future generations. Judging from the number of youngish folks both attending and participating, it seems Ohio’s history outfit is doing a pretty good job whatever the name.

HBW2Me

Arnold'sHappy Birth Week to Me. A week that ends on Saturday has to start on Sunday but not much happened Sunday. Monday, however, was a different story. It was Opening Day. With temperatures climbing into the sixties, it was a fine day to start the Reds’ season and really get my birth week rolling. I often visit Arnold’s after the Opening Day Parade but this year decided to start my day there when I learned that Cincinnati’s oldest bar would be tapping several unusual beers at 9:00 and serving breakfast from 9:00 to 11:00. I passed on the early morning beer but did enjoy breakfast in what I believe is Arnold’s only window seat.

Arnold's Opening Day Menuodp2014eArnold’s normally opens at 11:00 with lunch as the first meal of the day. The special breakfast menu was short. Kids under five could have scrambled eggs. Adults had three choices none of which appear on the menu at IHOP. There were hot dogs, for those wanting to get an early start on the ball park diet plus Sausage Gravy Bread Pudding and Geotta Hot Brown. I decided that the Geotta Hot Brown was the most “Cincinnati” of the choices plus, as you can see by the picture, it’s just the thing if you’re planning on running the bases several times later in the day. As I was leaving, sometime after 10:00, I heard a waitress telling new arrivals that the goetta supply had been depleted and that ham was now being substituted. Bummer but technically not a violation of Porkopolis guidelines.

odp201404odp201403odp201402I reached the parade’s Findlay Market starting point well before the noon step-off and was working my way back along the parade route when things began to roll. I was not at a very good vantage point when Grand Marshall Dave Concepción came by but managed an only partially obscured picture. The scene in the last picture is an unusual one. Because of street car construction, the parade, which usually runs straight down Race Street, detoured over to Elm for several blocks which took it right by Music Hall. It is expected to be back on Race next year.

I am aware of a campaign to make opening day a national holiday (or maybe — it is organized by Budweiser — it’s a campaign to sell beer) but I don’t see that happening. The fact that not all teams open the same day is just one of the details bedeviling the idea. It is really immaterial to Cincinnatians since opening day has been a de facto holiday here for decades. Sometimes Reds opening day and my birthday actually do coincide as they did in 2012 when I wrote a little more about opening day history.

The PrecinctSteak Collinsworth at the PrecinctTuesday was nice but windy. As I ate lunch on the patio of a local pizzeria, a strong gust lifted the large umbrella standing unopened in the center of the table and tried to drop it on my head. It missed. Rain arrived Wednesday afternoon but I got in about a 6K walk before it hit. Six kilometers isn’t all that much when there is a bar and a meal at the turnaround point. On Thursday, I bought myself a birthday present and ate it. I finally made it to the Precinct where I devoured what might have been the best steak I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. The only possible exception is a filet I ate at the Pine Club in Dayton but it is only a possibility. More research is needed.

Good times continued on Friday with a few drinks with buddy John in Wilmington and a continuation of this year’s fish fry streak at Saint Columbkille.

On Saturday, my actual birthday, I had to work. Well, maybe not exactly work. OK, not even remotely work. It did, however, involve just about the only thing I do on a regular schedule, live trivia. The team once again qualified for the semi-finals which took place at noon. I really intended to get a picture to include in this post but completely forgot in the heat of competition. The top five teams move on to the finals. We tied for sixth.

Flipdaddy'sGraeter'sSkyline ChiliMy plans for the rest of the day centered around doing nothing. It was a beautiful day, however, with temperature in the fifties so, as soon as I got home, I headed out for a walk. Within a few steps, I came to the realization that I could continue the celebration and not leave the neighborhood. Not only did I personally stay close to home, there’s hope that some of the money I spent will stay nearby as well. I made three stops and all were at regional chains based in Cincinnati. I started with a 4-way at Skyline, had Chocolate Coconut Almond Chocolate Chip for dessert at Graeter’s, then washed it all down with Mount Carmel Amber Ale at Flipdaddy’s. A birthday that was good to the last drop.

Is Paddy Out Of Step?

Cincinnati St Patrick's Day ParadeCincinnati’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade has never been about precision marching. Oh, there are pipe & drum corps that step quite sharply and high school band directors who try to get their charges to all put their left foot forward at the same time but the general atmosphere has typically been one of slightly sloppy fun rather than of practiced drills. Now, however, the parade itself seems to be out of step with most of the country.

Last year Cincinnati made discrimination illegal at any event receiving financial support from the city but it also stopped the practice of absorbing much of the cost (police, cleanup, etc.) associated with the parade. One result was that the local chapter of the Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) had their application to participate in the parade denied. There were claims that the denial was due to the group failing to follow rules when they marched in the previous year’s parade but the violations were never exactly specified and not many are buying into the claim. A direct result of the application’s rejection was the boycotting of the parade by several officials and politicians who were scheduled to be part of it.

Cincinnati St Patrick's Day ParadeThis year the Cincinnati St. Patrick Parade Committee denied no applications and no politicians boycotted the parade. Reverting to what they had done sometime in the past, the committee accepted no applications and the parade was filled by invitation only. Other cities weren’t so clever. Organizers of the Boston parade turned down an application from a gay rights group named MassEquality and that led to a boycott by the city’s mayor and a number of other politicians. It also prompted Boston Beer Company, which operates brewing facilities in Cincinnati, to withdraw sponsorship for the parade. For similar reasons, Heineken dropped its sponsorship of New York City’s parade which was also boycotted by the mayor. Cincinnati’s preemptive “you can’t boycott ’cause you’re not invited” move did keep protesters at Saturday’s parade to a quiet and well behaved few. It also caused at least one parade goer to think about the whole Saint Patrick’s Day thing in a different way than ever before.

I first likened the recent events to some sort of bait and switch but soon realized it’s not like that at all. The parade organizers did not create some bit of revelry then take it away. In Cincinnati, the parade has always officially been a “religious procession”. It was the attendees who created the “everybody’s Irish” and, without actually saying it, “everybody’s Catholic” lore. I’m undecided but maybe, if the Catholics simply want their parade back, I’ll let them have it. I’ve a year to decide.

Cincinnati St Patrick's Day ParadeCincinnati St Patrick's Day ParadeCincinnati St Patrick's Day ParadeThis year’s parade had all the normal entries including the statue of Saint Patrick borrowed from some church. It also had really nice weather which is not always the case.

Cincinnati St Patrick's Day ParadeCincinnati St Patrick's Day ParadeI grabbed a couple of overhead shots from atop the same garage as last year. The second picture is of the Pedal Wagon, a human powered arrangement of mobile bar stools. It can be rented by anyone wanting to put the “crawl” back in pub crawl.

Cincinnati St Patrick's Day ParadeThe reviewing stand was near the end of the parade route and that’s where I caught the Delorean Club of Ohio. I counted fifteen cars this year. There are other Saint Patrick’s Day parades in Ohio, including one in a city named Dublin, but Cincinnati is where the state’s population of these Irish built cars come to show off. That has to be an endorsement of some sort.


AHA Heart MiniAHA Heart MiniAHA Heart MiniThe parade was Saturday. I was back downtown on Sunday for the American Heart Association Heart Mini consisting of a 1/2 marathon and several other events. One of those other events was a 10 K walk which I participated in. From near Fountain Square, we walked east on 5th Street  continued on Columbia Parkway, then turned around and walked back.

AHA Heart MiniAHA Heart MiniAHA Heart Mini10K is about six miles which put the turnaround about three miles east of the heart of the city. A 5K walk started at the same time so things were pretty crowded leaving downtown. 5K walkers were definitly in the majority and things thinned out quite a bit at their turnaround about a mile and a half out. I started near the middle but was very near the back at the finish. I typically walk around 3 MPH and that’s about what I did Sunday finishing in slightly over two hours. Most people obviously moved a little faster than that.

Drinking the Bocks Outside

Cincinnati Bockfest 2014When I attended my first Cincinnati Bockfest in 2010, I bemoaned the fact that I’d missed the previous eighteen which implied I intended to be a more regular attendee in the future. I have not done well. I made it back and had a blast in 2011. In 2012, I was out of town for a Missouri road trip. Last year I was actually downtown with good intentions but turned back home when moisture and the temperature both kept falling. I remember thinking “I’m too old for this” as I made my decision. That could be be a sign that I’ve grown wise but is more likely a sign I’ve grown wimpy.

Cincinnati Bockfest 2014Cincinnati Bockfest 2014Cincinnati Bockfest 2014Clear skies and 59 degrees — up 21 from the previous Friday — made attending this year’s event a no-brainer. Schnitzel the goat leads things off with the ceremonial first keg then it’s the Lady with the Whip (a personal favorite) and the Goat with the Glowing Eyes (a.k.a. the Trojan Goat). Cincy legend Jim Tarbell is usually one of the parade’s leaders but apparently missed his cue this year. He hurried toward the front occasionally breaking into a jog and high-fiving fans all the way. Among other claims to fame, Jim was the owner of Arnold’s, Cincinnati’s oldest bar and parade starting point, when Bockfest was born. The self-propelled bathtub is a reminder of the claw-foot tub that still sits on the bar’s second floor and may or may not have been used to produce gin during prohibition.

Cincinnati Bockfest 2014A somewhat sad fact about the life of a Sausage Queen is that her biggest moment, waving to cheering subjects while riding an eight foot sausage, takes place just one day before a new queen is selected. Queen Emily Berger handled her parade obligations splendidly during this last full day of her reign.

Cincinnati Bockfest 2014Cincinnati Bockfest 2014Cincinnati Bockfest 2014There is just one requirement for parade entries but it is rigidly enforced. You absolutely must be present to participate. No exceptions.

Cincinnati Bockfest 2014Cincinnati Bockfest 2014Cincinnati Bockfest 2014Musical offerings included polkas from the Zinzinnati Beirband (“The more you drink, the better we sound.”), excellent Dixieland from an unknown-to-me band, and the gentle sound of aluminum on asphalt. It’s only rolling bock but I like it.

Cincinnati Bockfest 2014Cincinnati Bockfest 2014Here’s a better look at the dragon/goat behind the barrel walker in the previous photo plus a picture of the only parade casualty I am aware of. That motorized bathtub from Arnold’s lost a front wheel but was rescued when Triple Digit Brewing’s van came along. Paraders and spectators, which are essentially the same thing, stepped up to hoist the tub into the back of the van for a ride home. I passed by Arnold’s later in the evening and saw the tub back in its normal parking spot. I’m confident it will be mobile in no time.

Cincinnati Bockfest 2014Cincinnati Bockfest 2014Cincinnati Bockfest 2014The first picture is of people, at parade’s end, attempting to get inside a packed Bockfest Hall (a.k.a. Christian Moerlein Taproom). I took one look and didn’t even try. A large tent had been set up across the street and that’s where I headed. It looked to me as if most, if not all, local breweries were represented. I had just one beer, a Hudepohl Festival Bock, in the tent.

Cincinnati Bockfest 2014When I stepped out of the tent, the crush at the entrance to Bock Hall had only worsened and the area between Hall and tent was now pretty much full. I ran into a couple of friends and we talked about the crowd and the growth of Bockfest. One of them, unlike me, had been to every previous parade but barely caught the end of this one due to the crowd and parking complications throwing his timing way off. I decided not to even work my way back into the tent but headed back towards the car. Many other bars and restaurants participated in Bockfest this year and those I passed on Main were full with lines outside a couple. This event, helped by spring-like temperatures, was obviously a good thing for area businesses.

It didn’t bother me at all that I never got inside Bock Hall. I saw the parade, which is the main event as far as I’m concerned, and I drank a little beer. I had my beer in a tent where melted snow and maybe some spilled brew made a few spots into reminders that I was outdoors but being outdoors was cool. It’s what led to this post’s frightfully clever title.