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So Cincinnati: Schutzenfest

CINCINNATI (Bob Herzog) -- It looks like an Oktoberfest.  It smells and tastes like an Oktoberfest.  It certainly sounds like an Oktoberfest.

But at Schutzenfest a legend lives on from medieval times.

The story was a child was lost in the forest and an alert Schutza, which is a person who carries a crossbow, spotted an eagle that came down from the heavens and attacked a child.  Then he shot the eagle, brought the child back and the eagle to the little town and was proclaimed king for that year.

Schutzenfest has been celebrated in Cincinnati since 1866.  The Kolping society took the reins in 1925.  And the tradition continues, not with crossbows and real birds, with .22's and a wooden eagle. 

The first shot won't bring the eagle down.  It takes a lot of shots to do that.  The eagle is put on a backstop and cranked all the way up high.  Then the shooters fire until one fateful shot brings the eagle down.  Whoever took that shot becomes king and becoming king is no small responsibility. 

The king sponsors several parties and is responsible to represent Kolping in the community at the various other German festivals.  And they are involved in lots of social activities throughout the year.

Jim Slouffman was king back in 1994.  Ben Albers took the big shot back in 1974.  Schutzenfest isn't just for royalty, though; it's also about family and passing things down to the next generation.

Albers said, "We got a wonderful German community.  We got a wonderful Kolping society.  And we do a lot, a lot of good things."


It doesn't get much more "So Cincinnati" than that.

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