Annual Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is Steeped in Tradition
Who Led the Chicken Dance?
The Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati tradition began in 1976 as a block party near historic Fountain Square to attract visitors Downtown and to celebrate Cincinnati's deep German heritage. Since its humble beginnings, the event has grown to be recognized as North America's largest Oktoberfest, attracting 500,000 annually.
Highlights from past events: Who led the Chicken dance?
In 1994, the Crown Prince of Bavaria attended Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati and helped the event set a world record for the World's Largest Chicken Dance, with 48,000 participating. Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati held the world record for largest group dance in the Guinness Book of Records, 1995-97 editions.
In 1998 Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati tuned up to set a world record for the World's Largest Kazoo Band. late great trumpeter Al Hirt, a 1941 graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, returned to his musical roots to lead 25,000 in a magical interpretation of his trademark song, When The Saints Go Marching In.
In 1999 Grammy Award-winning Weird Al Yankovic led 30,000 on kazoo in a rendition of the Chicken Dance and Beer Barrel Polka. The event was featured on CNN Headline News and VH1's "Rock-n-Roll Record-breakers."
In 2000, The Prince of The Monkees, Davy Jones, provided a goosebump moment leading the World’s Largest Chicken Dance and Kazoo Band in a rendition of “Daydream Believer.”
In 2001, Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati was postponed due to the attack on America on Sept. 11. A week following, American patriot and singer Tony Orlando led a throng on Fountain Square in inspiring renditions of “Tie A Yellow Ribbon ’Round The Old Oak Tree” and “America.”
In 2002, pint-size veteran screen star Verne Troyer, who played “Mini Me” in “Austin Powers,” cast a big shadow leading the Chicken Dance.
In 2003, rock icon Eddie Money celebrated 25 years in the music business as the Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati grand marshal.
Vince Neil, lead vocalist for the legendary rock group Mötley Crüe, led the 2004 World’s Largest Chicken Dance, an event so surreal VH1 named it the “Least Metal Moment” in the history of rock ‘n’ roll.
In 2005, legendary TV children’s entertainers Uncle Al and Captain Windy led the World's Largest Chicken Dance and Hokey Pokey.
In 2006, AOL named Oktoberfest Zinzinnati number one Oktoberfest in the nation. Cincinnati Bengals All-Pro wide receiver Chad Johnson led the 2006 version of the Chicken Dance.
In 2007, the first annual John Morrell "Running of the Wieners" wiener dog race was held. "Old left-hander" Joe Nuxhall, the youngest player ever to play Major League Baseball, led the World's Largest Chicken Dance, with help from the UC Dance Team.
Olympic track and field medalists (Beijing) and University of Cincinnati alums Mary Wineberg and David Payne led a very athletic Chicken Dance in 2008.
D'oh! In 2009, Homer Simpson celebrated his 20th anniversary on television by leaving his hometown of Springfield to travel to Zinzinnati and lead the annual Chicken Dance.
Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight champion and Cincinnati native Rich Franklin led the crowd in a mixed martial arts World's Largest Chicken Dance in 2010.
2011's version of the World's Largest Chicken Dance was led by none other than 10-time All Star, five-time Gold Glove, National League MVP, Silver Slugger, Reds and Baseball Hall of Fame legend, Joe Morgan.
In 2012, the Chicken Dance was led by All Star and Reds Hall of Famer, Mr. Perfect, Tom Browning. A Cincinnati red for 11 years, Browning pitched the 13th perfect game in baseball history and the first in the history of baseball's oldest professional team on September 16, 1988.