Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati brings out the best

It’s just not everyday you get to see a Cincinnati City Councilman dressed up in lederhosen. Come to think of it, that’s true unless you’re talking about Jim Tarbell. The Cincinnati City Councilman likes to dress up. I’ve also seen him in long tails and top hat. But the good thing is he’s always in the spirit of the occasion – a true showman. Sunday was no different when I spotted him at Cincinnati’s annual celebration of its German-influenced heritage known as Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati.

Living downtown lends itself to doing things downtown. It might be my favorite part of being down here. Of all the festivals that happen down here – and there are some neat ones – I like this one the best. Call me biased, but maybe my German heritage leads me to that conclusion. But during Oktoberfest weekend, everyone in the Greater Cincinnati area is a little German.

Gotta say, too, that I was a little bummed I didn’t get a chance to see Uncle Al and Captain Wendy. Doing the chicken dance with them all these years later (when they first taught me to throw my elbows back and twist, twist, twist at my waist) would have been a distinct honor. I am so happy – even though I missed it – that they agreed to come back to town to do this. I have such fond memories of watching their show as a child.

(By the way, I had noticed a while ago – and had planned to write about it, but an editor declined the story – to write about how WCPO was selling Uncle Al t-shirts and other items. But apparently Uncle Al asked the station to stop selling the stuff.)

And though I’m German (my father immigrated here in 1955 when he was 7 1/2 years old), I don’t own a pair of those…things. And I’ve been asked why a few times. See, my family – thank God in Heaven – is from the northwestern region (a county, for all intents) of Germany known as Emsland. There they don’t wear lederhosen. That’s a southern-Germany thing. And I will forever be grateful. But, hey, Tarbell looks good in ’em.

Author: Joe Wessels

Joe Wessels is a freelance journalist and photographer. Wessels covers local news events for Thomson Reuters news service and features for About.com's Cincinnati Guide site, plus is the executive director of hyperlocal news site, iRhine.com. He wrote for The Cincinnati Post, covering Cincinnati City Hall and Hamilton County government and wrote a weekly political column, which continued weekly at Cincinnati CityBeat. Previously, he was a reporter for the Cincinnati Business Courier and writes or has written for several publications in Cincinnati and around the country including The Cincinnati Enquirer, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincy Magazine and the Sacramento News & Review. He is a native of Colerain Township, one of Cincinnati's western suburbs, and now lives in Over-the-Rhine near downtown Cincinnati. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a journalism writing certificate from the University of Cincinnati. He also graduated from Colerain High School, is an avid photographer, news junkie and was once a roller rink disc jockey, and sometimes rides a scooter around town.

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