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Top 9 things to do in Cincinnati this weekend: July 21-24

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Posted at 1:13 PM, Jul 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-22 14:37:40-04

Cincinnati Music Festival

It’s the longest-running music festival in Cincinnati, and this year it’s back with an extra day and new music. The Cincinnati Music Festival will bring R&B, a fashion show and hip-hop stars Talib Kweli and Doug E. Fresh to Paul Brown Stadium. One of my favorite groups ever, New Edition, is on Friday's lineup. (I know all the moves to "If It Isn't Love" by heart.) Other acts include Babyface, Fantasia, The Whispers and Judith Hill on Friday, and festival favorites Charlie Wilson and Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, as well as Ledisi, Leela James and The Deele, on Saturday.

Cincy Soul: Black Taste of Cincinnati

Something new will be served Downtown during this year’s Cincinnati Music Festival weekend. The inaugural Cincy Soul: The Black Taste of Cincinnati will showcase 34 small, minority-owned eateries along Downtown's Fifth Street on Saturday. The event, which is modeled after the Taste of Cincinnati, will feature tasty local eateries such as Conscious Kitchen and Alabama Que.

11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. Fifth Street between between Vine and Walnut streets. Free admission. For more details, visit the event's Facebook page.

Hippo Cove

There's good news for those anxiously awaiting the end of the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden’s 20-year hippo hiatus. The $8 million, newly constructed Hippo Cove officially opens Thursday, featuring a 70,000-gallon pool complete with a transparent wall for underwater viewing. The zoo’s newest residents came courtesy of two separate locations in Missouri; 17-year-old female, Bibi from the St. Louis Zoo, and 34-year-old male, Henry from the Dickerson Park Zoo.

Opens at 10 a.m. daily. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St. Adults: $16 online, $18 at gate; children and seniors: $12, $13 at gate. cincinnatizoo.org

Bootyard Bash

The Bootyard Bash will fill the air with country music Saturday at Washington Park. The festival will feature performances by Chris Cavanaugh, LANco, Wilder, Noah Smith, Brandon Lay and Dylan Scott. Aside from the music, there will be Western-themed games, food trucks and beer from MadTree, Rhinegeist, Taft’s Ale House, and Christian Moerlein Brewing Co.

7-10 p.m. Friday; 3-10 p.m. Saturday. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. Free admission. For more details visit the event's Facebook page. 

Jungle Jim’s Bacon and Cheese Festival

The name says it all. This new festival at Jungle Jim’s will spotlight two of my favorite foods. There will be tastings galore, plus beer, wine and live entertainment. You might want to wear your stretchy pants.

Noon to 6 p.m. Saturday. Jungle Jim’s Eastgate, Paradise Pavilion, 4450 Eastgate South Drive. Adults: $8 advance, $10 day of event; children: $2 advance, $4 day of. www.junglefests.com  

Beer Olympics

Ei8ht Ball Brewing will host the second annual Beer Olympics on Saturday. Events will include a tricycle race, beer plinko, pin the tail on the keg, a barrel roll, cornhole and dunk the brewer. (It should be fun to watch even if you don't compete.) The entry fee includes the first pint from participating breweries, such as Ei8ht Ball, New Belgium, MadTree, Braxton and Kentucky Ale, as well as complimentary food.

Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. Ei8ht Ball Brewing, 95 Riviera Drive, Bellevue. $25 per team of two to participate, free to watch. newriffdistilling.com/event/2nd-annual-beer-olympics-ei8ht-ball-brewing/

Darkness Brewing

Darkness Brewing, which will focus on dark beer styles, will start slinging its own beer at its grand opening Saturday. Darkness has been serving some guest beers for the past couple weekends, but it all has been simply a soft opening leading up to the big day. The grand opening celebration will feature Texas Joe’s taco truck and live acoustic music.

2-11 p.m. Saturday. Darkness Brewing, 224 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue. Free admission. For more details, visit the event's Facebook page.

‘Tosca’

Here’s a recommendation from WCPO arts contributor Rick Pender: Puccini’s tragic love story "Tosca" is the story of a fiery singer, a star of the Roman stage. She is desired by both a painter, who loves her sincerely, and a corrupt police chief, who longs to possess her. She has hard choices to make, poured forth in in her thrilling aria “Vissi d’arte” (“I lived for art”). Cincinnati Opera is creating a brand-new period production with sumptuous sets and costumes designed by Robert Perdziola, whose work is seen regularly at the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera and Santa Fe Opera. It’s a sure bet that his designs will have a long life beyond this production, as they are rented for use on stages across America. See them here first.

7:30 p.m. Saturday. (Other performances July 27 and 29.) Aronoff Center for the Arts, Procter & Gamble Hall, 650 Walnut St. $59-$129. www.cincinnatiopera.org

Aretha Franklin

The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, will perform with the Cincinnati Pops at Riverbend on Sunday. Imagine hearing “Ain’t No Way,” “Natural Woman” and “Respect” live under the stars. It’s OK if you catch the spirit and start singing along -- I know I will be.

8 p.m. Sunday. Riverbend Music Center, 6295 Kellogg Ave. $35-$135. cincinnatisymphony.org