What have I been thinking all those years (18 of 'em) that I did not attend the Bockfest Parade? What a wonderfully fun event. The parade forms (and I use the word loosely) in front of Arnold's then, when the time seems right, turns the corner and heads up Main Street with partymeister (and many many other things) Jim Tarbell in the lead. The word "bock" means "billy goat" in German which explains the abundance of goats and goat like things in the parade. Goat stomachs were once used in the making of bagpipes so it's perfectly natural to have kilted pipers in the parade. Most of the parade entries need no explanation so I'll comment on just a few. The lady with the whip is quite adept at using it and the wise monks allow her plenty of room to demonstrate. The group behind the BCFM sign is not as snobbish as you might at first believe. While it is reasonable to think that the 'B' is for "bock", that's not the case. This is the egalitarian "Beer Club For Men".
After the last official parade entry goes by, many spectators step into the street and follow along. Of course, this also happened well ahead of that last entry. The line between participant and observer is a blurred one. The parade ends at Bockfest Hall in the old Kaufman Brewery. As the parade crossed Liberty, what was described as a "Chinese style goat" paused for a drink from an inflatable beer glass. There were some wonderfully short speeches and Jake Speed performed The Bockfest Song though it did turn into something of a sing along. Even though this year's bock had already been flowing for quite a while, the blessing of the symbolic first keg was a key part of the start of the fest. The last shot is of that Chinese style goat after it had won the best costume award. Bockfest continues through the weekend and I've a hunch I'll be back.
ADDENDUM: Mar 8, 2010 - As I walked back to Arnold's Friday night, I encountered a fellow walking the other direction who called out out something like "Hey, let me show you something." Needless to say, I was a bit leery as he pointed toward the black sky. A friend had just phoned, he said, to tell him that the International Space Station was passing over head. There was indeed a fairly fast moving something up there so I was half convinced and thanked him while pretending to be fully convinced. I marked the time, 7:21 PM, that it disappeared behind a tall building and later checked with some knowledgeable friends. The ISS was visible over Cincinnati for about 3 minutes starting at 7:19 PM so I believe the bright spot in the center of this absurdly processed photo was caused by the International Space Station. You never know what you might learn walking the streets of Cincinnati during a beer festival.
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