Cincinnati's annual start of summer festival is getting a new venue, kind of. Taste of Cincinnati is staying on Fifth St but is moving two blocks east.
Rather than starting at Fountain Square, Taste will start at Main St. and go past Sentinel St. to extend onto the ramps to I-71 and Columbia Parkway.
"This will not add to any traffic issues as the I-71 ramp has always been closed during Taste of Cincinnati and the Columbia Parkway ramp will closed at that time due to already scheduled construction," says Taste of Cincinnati Director Cynthia Oxley.
Festival organizers say they're moving the event so the streetcar will be able to run throughout the weekend. Original plans had called for canceling Cincinnati Bell Connector service during the annual three day event.
"The Cincinnati Bell Connector saw its highest paid ridership to date during Oktoberfest weekend of 2016," says Oxley while encouraging people to park where they normally would, or to take the streetcar to the event.
Organizers say traffic and parking will not be affected any differently than it normally is during Taste.
Taste of Cincinnati runs May 27-29.
The main event stage will be relocated from Fountain Square to the Western Southern parking lot.
"Food Truck Alley is going to go onto the ramp to Columbia Parkway," says Oxley. "It's a lot bigger so it allowed us accept a lot more food trucks into the event this year. I believe we have 19."
She says organizers haven't yet decided how they'll utilize the ramp to I-71. The move gives the event a little more room, though Oxley says they will lose some support parking on side streets.
The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber considered nine locations for the 2017 event. Five were ruled out immediately and four were studied, says Oxley.
"We just think this is the best option," says Oxley. "We're in the heat of the sun all day so there's some buildings that shade the space. The easy access to parking and the streetcar..."
The Chamber ruled out putting Taste on Second and Third streets where Oktoberfest was moved last year, but that was ruled out because of a lack of shade to cool the area.
"It's typically hotter in May than it is in September," says Oxley. "With it being a food event, you don't really want to eat when it's boiling hot."