CINCINNATI — Whew -- BLINK Cincinnati is finally back.
The interactive art and light festival, which first took Cincinnati’s collective breath away in 2017, kicked off its second edition Thursday and runs through Sunday.
Organizers -- the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, AGAR, Brave Berlin, ArtWorks, the Haile Foundation and new presenting sponsor ArtsWave -- expect BLINK to draw more than 1 million people. All the hype even crashed the festival website.
In case that happens again, we’ve got you covered. Here are the most frequently asked questions about BLINK.
What is BLINK Cincinnati? BLINK is a festival that features dozens of murals, light projections and interactive art installations. That’s the simplest explanation we can give you. Read a more detailed explanation here.
- Map: Tour some of BLINK's light projection, art installation and stage locations
- Rumblin' on the Roebling: BLINK adds original soundtrack to iconic 'Singing Bridge'
- Fountain Square BLINK installation will make audience part of the show
- Map: Here's what you'll see and do at BLINK this year
- Traveling rainbow bridge celebrates LGBTQ Cincinnati for BLINK weekend
When is BLINK? Blink runs 7-11 p.m. through Sunday.
Where is BLINK? BLINK spans five different zones. The new "Covington Zone" begins at the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge and roughly follows Madison Avenue south to Pike and Seventh streets. The Findlay Market, Over-the-Rhine, Downtown and The Banks zones encompass about 20 city blocks along the Cincinnati Bell Connector streetcar route. (Map: Here's what you'll see -- and do -- at BLINK in Cincy and Covington.)
Is it free? Yes, BLINK is largely free for all to enjoy. The only paid or ticketed installation is the Architects of Air luminarium, Dodecalis. The domed display of color, light and sound covers half a football field at Washington Park. For those who did not visit the original luminarium in 2017, think of it as an inflatable bounce house made of multiple rooms that change color based on the sunlight shining through its nearly translucent plastic walls. The whole experience is set to music, and it's wheelchair accessible.
Admission is $10, $5 for kids under 10, and free for kids under 2. Kids 16 and under must be with an adult. Bonus: You can visit it in the daytime, too -- it is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. through Sunday.
What streets are closed for BLINK? Short answer is: A LOT. Even the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge will be closed to vehicular traffic until the end of the BLINK festival, though pedestrian access will be maintained. Transportation reporter Pat LaFleur breaks down all the road and street closures here, with plenty of maps to show you where (and where not) to go.
Where can I park for BLINK? Be warned: City officials on both sides of the Ohio River are recommending that visitors to this year's BLINK art and light festival use public transit or carpool to the event.
Both Cincinnati Metro and the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky are offering additional park-and-ride options for visitors to BLINK, where they can park in a lot and then board a bus for transport to one of the festival's zones. I repeat: Read Pat’s breakdown of how to navigate BLINK -- the maps show some parking options, too.
For those who find parking within OTR, Downtown or The Banks, the Cincinnati Bell Connector streetcar will also be running free for the duration of the festival. But remember, traffic may slow the streetcar. (That's what happened in 2017.)
(For what it’s worth, I also recommend a couple garages people tend to forget about: The garage in the 84.51 building at Fifth and Race streets; and the garage between Sycamore and West Cheapside streets. You can enter via either Seventh or Eighth streets.)
Follow the rest of WCPO's BLINK coverage here:
- These funky, geometric lights will stay suspended in Downtown even after BLINK is over
- Roebling Bridge to close for BLINK prep
- Covington BLINK mural honors Northern Kentucky philanthropist Ralph Haile
- Catch these sounds from WCPO Lounge Acts alumni while seeing BLINK
- Cincinnati artist Jonathan Lamb returns home to paint Elm Street BLINK mural
- Podcast: Everything you need to know about BLINK