Top 5 things to do in Cincinnati this weekend: Sept. 10-12

A fan dresses up as Hellboy at the HorrorHound convention in 2017. The convention returns with in-person events at Sharonville Convention Center.

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.

Mainstrasse Oktoberfest

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

Mojo Blues Cats are one of the bands participating in the Cincy Blues Challenge. From left to right: Tom Richardson, Michael Mauldin, Eddie James and Tony Clark.

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.

Kim Schroeder Long brings Judy Garland to life this weekend in The Carnegie's production of "End of the Rainbow."

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.

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