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Rozzis Mum On What's New This Year For Riverfest

Ann Thompson
Thousands of fireworks are being wired on this barge that will be moved into place Sunday.

On Thursday afternoon Joe Rozzi and his crew were trying to beat the rain as they put 7,000-8,000 fireworks shells into very specific spaces aboard a hidden barge.

Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU
The work on barges and bridges involves lining up the shells just right so they are timed to the music.

He holds pages and pages of information to make sure each explosive will go off at the right time for Sunday night's thirty minute show. "There's 25-30 books each for an individual location and as long as you follow that script it keeps you on track."

Vice President Michael Lutz says it amounts to setting up a computer network with hundreds of digital files.

Farther down the sandy barge Ed Manning is wiring shells that make a flash and create a loud noise. "It's a titanium salute. What they are is basically a crowd pleaser because when people hear them go off everybody gets really loud." He says you also hear them at the end of the show.

The fireworks culminate a day full of musical entertainment that begins at noon at Sawyer Point.

There's no better way to celebrate Labor Day weekend in Cincinnati than by going to Riverfest. If you're heading downtown for the event, here's what you need to know to be prepared.

Riverfest runs from noon to 10 p.m. The fireworks begin at 9:05 p.m.

Here's the band schedule.

WEBN's F.A.Q. about the fireworks.

From City of Cincinnati:

Access to the Cincinnati riverfront will be limited to pedestrians only. Third Street, and all streets north of Third Street, will be open so that people can access points throughout Downtown.

On-street parking will not be available throughout the downtown area south of Court Street after 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 6.

Other important closures include:

  • The Clay Wade Bailey Bridge, Suspension Bridge, Purple People Bridge, and the Taylor Southgate Bridge will all close at 6:00 p.m. to vehicles and pedestrians.
  • The streets into Mt. Adams will be closed at 6:00 p.m.
  • The Daniel Carter Beard Bridge (I-471) will close at 7:30 p.m.
  • The Third Street exits from westbound Columbia Parkway and southbound I-71 will close at 9:00 p.m.

The actual timing of these closures may be adjusted as traffic volumes dictate.
It is recommended that everyone coming to Riverfest take advantage of the convenient parking facilities located throughout Over-the-Rhine, the Central Business District and The Banks, which will leave you with an easy walk to the riverfront.

Parking is available in the many lots and garages north of Third Street. Additional parking lots are located north and west of Paul Brown Stadium. Cash parking will be available in Riverfront surface lots in the vicinity of Paul Brown Stadium on a limited first come, first served basis.  Please note that construction sites in and around the riverfront are off limits for public parking. Sites will be clearly marked and secured, and anyone parking in these areas will be towed.

Arrive Early

People from all over the region will be coming to enjoy the festivities. Those getting downtown early will have a better chance of finding premium parking in Riverfront lots, securing good vantage points for the fireworks show, and avoiding delays from heavy traffic.

Use Public Transportation When Possible

As an alternative to driving, all are encouraged to use public transportation to obtain quick and convenient access to the downtown area. Metro will be running a normal operating schedule. For more information, call MetroCenter at (513) 621-4455 or visit Metro's website. For more information about the Southbank Shuttle as well as the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky, contact TANK at (859) 331-TANK or visit TANK's website.

Visit the Department of Transportation and Engineering website for more information.

From Covington:

All streets north of East Fourth Street and east of Madison Avenue to the Licking River will be closed to vehicular traffic at 6 p.m. The Roebling Suspension Bridge and the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge will be closed to all traffic beginning at 6 p.m. The Fourth Street Bridge to Newport will close at 8 p.m.

Madison Avenue will remain open to allow access to public parking lots and garages until they are full or 6 p.m., whichever occurs first. Once the parking lots and garages have reached full capacity, Madison Ave. will be closed to through traffic north of East Fourth Street. There are exceptions for TANK buses, invitation holders to the Metropolitan Club and hotel guests with room keys and parking passes.

Devou Park, Kenton Hills, and The Bluffs will have restricted traffic beginning at 2 p.m. Access to these areas will be restricted to residents and their guests only.

Streets inside of the Impact Area will not reopen and residents and guests will not be permitted to exit the Impact Area in a vehicle until the CPD Event Commander determines that it is safe to do so. This may be up to an hour after the fireworks are completed.

The safe evacuation of the pedestrian traffic leaving the Impact Area will be the first concern of CPD. Traffic movement will be coordinated as soon as all pedestrians have safely cleared the area.


The following areas within the Impact Area will be posted as "No Parking Tow Away Zones". Vehicles parked in these areas will be towed starting at 7 a.m.:

  • Riverside Drive
  • Garrard Street between East Second Street and Riverside Drive
  • Kennedy Street between East Second Street and Riverside Drive
  • Shelby Street
  • Scott Blvd. north of East Fourth Street (including parking meters)
  • Greenup Street north of East Fourth Street (including parking meters)
  • East Third Street east of Madison Avenue (including parking meters)
  • Park Place (including parking meters)
  • Court Street (including parking meters)
  • Surface lots along the floodwall on Rivercenter Blvd. between Madison Avenue and Johnson Street and below the Roebling Suspension Bridge
  • Grass areas in Devou Park

All vehicles parked in garages and parking lots located in the Impact Area will not be permitted to leave until pedestrian traffic has cleared and the CPD Event Commander has determined that it is safe for vehicle traffic.
Alcohol & Other Restrictions

Alcohol is prohibited on City property and in public places at all times. All coolers and beverage containers are subject to inspection by CPD officers and will be checked at designated checkpoints.

For guests attending private events, no alcohol is permitted in the Impact Area after 6 p.m. Anyone wishing to bring alcohol to a private event must have it in the Impact Area before 6 p.m. After 6 p.m., Police officers will not allow anyone, including residents, with alcohol to enter the Impact Area.

Glass containers, bicycles, skateboards, pets, roller blades, roller skates, and fireworks are all PROHIBITED in the Impact Area. Motorized vehicles or scooters are not permitted on floodwalls. Swimming in both the Ohio and Licking Rivers is also prohibited during Riverfest.

Mooring along the Covington shoreline is prohibited. Vendors are not permitted to enter the Impact Area.

From Newport:


In the morning - Closing at 8 a.m.: 
Riverboat Row; 
Columbia north of 4th St.

In the evening - Closing at 7:30 p.m.: 
Cowans Drive; 
10th Street between Saratoga and York; 
Monmouth Street from 3rd to 11th.

(From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monmouth will be closed and used by emergency vehicles only.)


From 7 p.m. to Midnight there will be no parking on Monmouth. 


  • All traffic west of York Street will be directed south to 12th Street, right (westward) on 12th Street, follow 12th Street to I-275.


Purple People Bridge closes to pedestrians at 5:00 p.m.

Taylor Southgate Bridge closes to vehicles at 6 p.m., closes to pedestrians at 7:30 p.m.

4th Street to Covington closes at 8:30 p.m.

I-471 Exit Ramps to Route 8 close at 7:30 p.m. (unless safety concerns dictate closing earlier) 
DO NOT Park on bridges, ramps, or highways, you will be cited and your vehicle will be towed.


  • Newport residents are encouraged to leave their cars at home and walk to their favorite viewing spot.
  • Visitors are encouraged to utilize TANK's Park and Ride from NKU



After the fireworks all traffic will be routed to I-471 or I-275. Both of these routes will take you anywhere in the tri-state. 

The Newport PD suggests you turn off or disregard your GPS until you are on the interstate; the reason for this suggestion is, after the event the direction is reversed on several one-way streets to clear the riverfront (your GPS will not have these changes) and emergency personnel will direct you to the quickest path to the interstate and away from other traffic congestion. Once you are on the interstate you can get off at the next exit to turn around if necessary. This will speed up the flow of traffic because access to all entrance ramps are one lane only. ALL TRAFFIC LANES THAT ARE MANNED BY EMERGENCY PERSONNEL ARE DIRECT ROUTES TO THE INTERSTATE.

At approximately 9:15 p.m. Monmouth Street will reopen but traffic will be one-way south (this is the opposite of the normal traffic direction for this street) to send all traffic southward on US 27 to reach I-471 North and South.

All traffic using Route 8 after the event will be sent onto I-471 North or South.

After the fireworks the buses to NKU will stage at the Route 8 entrance ramp to I-471 southbound for everyone who arrived on those buses.