Cincinnati is preparing to host its fifth All-Star Game. While the Reds and Major League Baseball are in charge of all the official events, the city's organizing committee is making sure Cincinnati takes full advantage of being in the national spotlight.
Committee chair Melanie Chavez says the plan is to overwhelm visitors in a good way.
"We would love them to be inundated with so many activities that there's no lack of choice," says Chavez. "If they're here for five days or three days, we want there to be so much for them to do that when they leave they say, 'Man, I didn't get a chance to go to that restaurant. I didn't get a chance to go to that opening; to experience that band.'"
The goal, Chavez says, is to leave visitors wanting to return.
A second goal is making sure locals really feel like they're part of the fun and ensure they want to participate rather than avoid Downtown.
A traveling baseball is touring the region, much like an Olympic torch. All-Star greeters will be stationed in hotels, info kiosks, and at the airport. There will be pop-up events and performances scheduled all around town, and businesses that normally close on Monday's are being asked to open up during All Star week.
The Reds and Major League Baseball are getting ready to install large-scale signage around the region, and possibly on some of the city's iconic buildings. Store front displays are being planned. The team is playing up the Mr. Redlegs theme and plans to station mustached-shaped benches around the city. There will also be large scale All-Star Game picture frames in scenic locations for people to take group photos.
Randie Adam with the convention and visitors bureau says it has almost reached its goal of training 500 Certified Tourism Ambassadors. These are people who work the front lines in hotels, restaurants and other service industry jobs.
"What we're striving to do is educate them more on our region, educate them on customer service, and just have that result in great interactions with visitors," says Adam. "We want to increase economic development with people having a great time in Cincinnati."
Adam says certified tourism ambassadors go through four hours of training and must pass a test. They also wear special star pins so visitors can easily identify them.
Downtown Cincinnati Inc. is also getting ready to release an updated smartphone app. It's designed to help people find events, activities, dining and shopping recommendations, and navigate the city.