9 things to know before you go to Riverfest

Posted at 10:40 AM, Sep 02, 2015
and last updated 2016-09-04 12:19:14-04

In Cincinnati, Labor Day weekend is synonymous with Riverfest, an all-day party of 500,000 people at Sawyer Point and Yeatman's Cove that culminates with Rozzi’s fireworks set to a WEBN soundtrack.

This will be the 39th year for the fireworks display, and many people have been watching them since the beginning. But this year also will be the first in three decades that the show won’t be televised -- meaning that there are likely to be more bodies than usual watching the show along the riverfront.

Whether you’ve been going to Riverfest since you were a child, or this is your first time, here are nine things to know for this year’s event.

When And Where

Riverfest runs noon-10 p.m. Sunday at Sawyer Point Park and Yeatman's Cove. The Western & Southern/WEBN Fireworks presented by Cincinnati Bell will start at 9:05 p.m. Sunday. (Of course, if you are interested only in seeing the fireworks, you can see them from the Kentucky side of the river, too.)

Related: Is this your first Riverfest? 7 tips for newbies
Related: Here's what to expect at Riverfest this year
RelatedWatch parties offer prime views of fireworks

There’s Entertainment All Day

WEBN will be broadcasting live from the Serpentine Wall starting at noon Sunday. There also will be a dunk tank, live music, DJs, flyovers, a classic car show, kids’ fun zone, appearances by Jim Scott and Seg Dennison, and more festivities. Click here to learn more about this year's America-themed show and get the full schedule here.

What’s Up With The Ducks?

The Rubber Duck Regatta is the Freestore Foodbank’s quack ... er ... wacky annual tradition. Thousands of rubber ducks will be dropped into the Ohio River near the Serpentine Wall to race at 3 p.m. Sunday. The owner of the first-place duck will win a 2016 Honda HR-V. If the winner is also the “KEMBA Million Dollar Duck,” its owner also will win $1 million. The second-prize winner will get $100 from Kroger every week for a year, and five additional winners will receive $500 cash from KEMBA Credit Union. There's still time to buy a duck for a chance to win -- you have until 2 p.m. Sunday. Get yours online at, by phone at 513-929-DUCK (3825) and at the checkout of local Kroger stores.

You Can Put Down Blankets Early

You can claim your spot on the Serpentine Wall with a blanket starting at 6 a.m. Saturday -- yes, before the event actually starts. Blankets are placed on a first-come, first-served basis.  

Remember, No Booze Is Allowed

There will be food, soft drinks and water sold at the event but not alcohol -- and no, you aren’t allowed to bring your own. Event staff will check your items at the entrance.

Many Streets Will Be Closed

Multiple roads and bridges will be closed or restricted for Riverfest; you have been warned.

Access to the Cincinnati riverfront will be limited to pedestrians only. Third Street, and all streets north of Third Street, will remain open. On-street parking will not be available throughout the Downtown area south of Court Street after 11 a.m. Sunday. Other closures include:

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

Also, here are closures for Covington and Newport.  

Here’s What You’re Allowed To Bring ...

  • Strollers
  • Diapers/Diaper Bags
  • Purse-sized umbrellas
  • Sunblock, sunscreen, sunglasses, etc.
  • Bug spray
  • Snacks for small children
  • Folding chairs (in designated areas), blankets, etc.
  • Cameras
  • Radios 
  • Earplugs
  • Binoculars

… And Here’s What You Can’t Bring

  • Alcoholic beverages (We figured it bears repeating.)
  • Illegal weapons and explosives
  • Wheeled items: skateboards, bicycles, roller blades, etc.
  • Laser pointers/laser pens
  • Glass bottles
  • Coolers
  • Liquids
  • Pets (with exception of service dogs)
  • Large umbrellas, chairs, etc.
  • Drug paraphernalia, illegal substances, etc. 

Share Your Photos With Us 

We want to see all of your photos from the action. Tweet us @WCPO and tag us @9OnYourSide on Instagram --and make sure to use the hashtags #WEBNfireworks and #Riverfest!