Cincinnati certainly knows how to send the summer season out with a bang – and a boom, and a pop, and a sizzle and a crackle, a thousand times over. Riverfest, featuring the Western & Southern/WEBN Fireworks, is the region’s biggest Labor Day weekend celebration. The day-long party on both sides of the Ohio River is capped by one of the largest fireworks displays in the nation.
It all started in 1977, when upstart radio station WEBN put on a fireworks show to celebrate its own 10th birthday. The event caught on. It grew to a behemoth, family-friendly festival attended by upward of a half-million people, all waiting for the half-hour Rozzi’s Fireworks extravaganza choreographed to a quirky soundtrack by WEBN.
This year, Riverfest will take place Monday, Sept. 1, from noon until the after-dark fireworks conclude. The event itself is at Sawyer Point and Yeatman’s Cove downtown, although people will scramble early in the day to stake out spots anywhere near the river with any kind of a view – Mount Adams, Newport on the Levee, Devou Park, Mt. Echo Park, you name it.
But Riverfest isn’t just a party. With its growth, it also became a focus for charities and nonprofits to stage fundraisers where people can do some good while having a good time.
Children’s Home Rockin’ at Riverfest
Sept. 1, 5-11 p.m., Smale Riverfront Park
Children’s Home’s largest fundraiser of the year supports the educational, behavioral and mental health services the organization provides. Indeed, it’s one of the top fundraising events in the city, according to the Cincinnati Business Courier.
“We have a goal of raising $500,000 at the 2019 Rockin’ at Riverfest,” said John Banchy, president and CEO
of The Children’s Home.
The event features a dinner, raffle, auction and deck party at Carol Ann’s Carousel in the Anderson Pavilion at Smale Park. It’s a prime spot for fireworks viewing. The co-chairs are Michael and Mary McGraw, and Dr. Robert and Julia Heidt.
Tickets are $100.
Gateway Foundation RiverBlast
Sept. 1, 5 p.m., Champions Club, Great American Ball Park
Gateway Community & Technical College Foundation plans its 10th annual fundraising celebration at Riverfest with a view of the fireworks from the Reds stadium downtown.
The event includes a behind-the-scenes stadium tour, full beverage service, appetizers and a buffet dinner. It also features private, reserved outdoor seating for the fireworks with coffee and dessert, plus a silent auction and raffle.
Proceeds aid students with financial needs at Gateway.
Tickets are $200, $100 for children or $1,500 for a table.
859-442-1612 or gateway.kctcs.edu
Boy Scouts Festival of Fireworks
Sept. 1, 5:30 p.m., Mt. Adams, next to Highland Tower
A family-friendly event with views of the fireworks from Mt. Adams, the festival will offer shuttle bus service, live music and entertainment, food, drink, silent auctions and more. A children’s activity area, monitored by Scout troops, will have face painting, caricature artist, bounce houses, jewelry making, cornhole and other attractions to keep the kids busy.
Tickets range from $25 for a children’s cookout ticket to $300 for an individual ticket to $3,000 for a Gold Table of 10 adults plus an unlimited number of children’s tickets.
513-577-7725 or danbeard.org
Freestore Foodbank Rubber Duck Regatta
Sept. 1, 3 p.m., Serpentine Wall
Imagine as many as 200,000 rubber ducks bobbing and weaving down the Ohio River near the Serpentine Wall. Now imagine that a duck with your name on it crosses the finish line ahead of aaaaaaallll those other faux fowl and you win 1 million quackeroos (translated from duckspeak, that’s $1 million). And it’s all for one of Cincinnati’s premiere charities, Freestore Foodbank.
The 25th Annual Rubber Duck Regatta presented by Dawn will entertain Riverfest-goers with that awesome sight. The first-prize winner gets a 2019 Honda CRV LX, plus $1 million if his or her duck happens to be the KEMBA Million Dollar Duck. Six other participants will win cash prizes.
More important: This event helps give area residents in need better access to food to keep their families healthy. Each duck purchased can provide 15 meals for hungry children.
Ducks can be purchased online or at Kroger groceries for $5 each, six for $25, 12 for $50, and so on. Also, a code on 7UP cans and bottles is good for two free ducks. Register your ducks at the Regatta website.
Cancer Support Community Ignite Hope
Sept. 1, 5:30-11 p.m. Metropolitan Club, Covington
Following up on last year’s Hope Is Here fundraiser, this party offers a great vantage point for watching fireworks – the 19th floor of the RiverCenter complex.
Aside from the spectacular view, the event offers a progressive dinner – a seafood station, a carving station, a mashed potato bar and more – plus beverages, entertainment, a live auction and “a VIP experience for all.” Parking will be at the Embassy Suites garage in RiverCenter.
Cancer Support Community offers community-based non-medical programs and services to area residents with any type or stage of cancer, as
well as to their families.
Tickets are $175.
513-791-4060 or mycancersupportcommunity.org