1. HorrorHound Weekend
After going virtual last year, HorrorHound Weekend returns with in-person events this year. The convention celebrates the horror genre by bringing in some of the biggest stars for autograph and photo opportunities, on-stage question-and-answer sessions and more than 100 vendors offering some of the newest (and rarest) horror toys, apparel and ephemera. This is your chance to meet "scream queen" Danielle Harris, the guys from "Clerks," Billy Zane and Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund, who'll have his own action figure available for sale.
Throughout the weekend, there are special events like concerts and stage performances, a costume contest, the Ink Fusion Tattoo Festival and the HorrorHound Film Festival, where you can enjoy movie premieres and screenings.
HorrorHound runs 5-10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. VIP packages and weekend passes are already sold out, and only a limited number of single-day tickets ($30) for Friday and Sunday remain. Sharonville Convention Center is located at 11355 Chester Road. horrorhoundweekend.com.
2. Covington Oktoberfest
After a brief hiatus, this time-honored celebration of German culture returns to Covington's MainStrasse Village and Goebel Park (501 Philadelphia St.) with an emphasis on everything local: local artists, local food vendors – including Reuben USA, Mick Noll's Covington Haus, Taco Fuerte, the Shakery, Shivers Frozen Pops and Parlor on Seventh – local musicians and, of course, local beer. Braxton Brewing Company's Oktober Fuel will be flowing, and you can drink it from a commemorative 1-liter stein. Covington Oktoberfest runs 5-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday.
3. Cincy Blues Challenge
Here's a real treat for fans of the blues. The Cincy Blues Challenge is an opportunity to hear some of the best blues bands, duos and soloists in the region, as they compete for the chance to represent the Cincinnati Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis next year. Each act is limited to 15 minutes, with professional judges scoring performances on blues content, instrumental talent, vocal talent, originality and stage presence.
Doors open at 11:30 a.m. Sunday at Germania Park (3529 W. Kemper Road, Colerain Township), with the competition running from noon-9 p.m. Winners will be announced at the end of the night. Food and drinks are sold at the park; no coolers permitted. cincyblues.org.
4. "End of the Rainbow"
The Carnegie's Judy Garland biography is finally taking the stage after originally being postponed in March 2020 due to the pandemic. Garland was a star of stage and screen, but her personal life was troubled by failed marriages, addiction and suicide attempts. Sent in 1968, "End of the Rainbow" finds her firmly set on a comeback trail.
The savagely funny drama features an ensemble of Garland hits such as "Get Happy," "The Man That Got Away" and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." It opens this weekend at the new outdoor Covington Plaza Amphitheater (144 Madison Ave.). Showtimes are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday through Sept. 19. Due to the adult nature of the play, it is not recommended for ages under 13. $32, $29 Carnegie members, $25 students. thecarnegie.com.
5. Vintage Motorcycle Rally and Bike Show
Great Britain has given the world a wealth of pop culture. The Beatles. James Bond. Downton Abbey. But did you know the British also dominated road racing and the sports motorcycle market until the 1970s? The Classic British Motorcycle Club of Cincinnati remembers well those days, and they've got the bikes – Norton, Triumph, BSA and others – to prove it. At the Vintage Motorcycle Rally and Bike Show, you'll find vendors and dealers, a swap meet, door prizes and food trucks, and you'll have a chance to chat with collectors and enthusiasts.
Highlights include a group ride on Saturday, and a Concours-style judged vintage bike show on Sunday, which includes all makes of vintage and classic motorcycles, not just British. There are 15 vintage show classes and over 30 trophies up for grabs. The show opens at 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Boone County Fairgrounds, 5819 Idlewild Road, Burlington. Admission is $10 both days or $7 for a single day. Children under 12 get in free. Got a bike to show? It's $10 for the first bike, $5 each additional bike. cincybritishbikes.com.
Honorable mention: British Car Day
For a different type of British motor show, head to Fairfield on Sunday to see over 100 British cars on display at Harbin Park (1300 Hunter Road) as the British Car Club of Greater Cincinnati celebrates British Car Day with a car show benefiting the Aubrey Rose Foundation. This year's featured model is the Jaguar E-Type, but you'll find 35 classes of British and European cars on show with over 70 awards to be presented. Enjoy food and drinks, door prizes, vendors and a DJ spinning tunes. It happens from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5. bccgc.com/british-car-day.
Honorable mention: Village Green Car Show
Fairfield is also the location of the annual Village Green Car Show, happening Saturday at Village Green Park (301 Wessel Drive). This show is open to all makes and models, including motorcycles, and proceeds benefit the Fairfield Community Foundation's Lisa Brown Scholarship Fund. The day also features food, a grand raffle and a live performance at 7 p.m. by the Belairs. The show runs from 3:30-10 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free; $15 to enter a vehicle in the show. fairfield-city.org.