Top 9 things to do this weekend in Cincinnati: May 18-21

Posted at 1:00 PM, May 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-20 07:04:35-04

An Evening with Garrison Keillor

What NPR listener doesn’t miss the voice of Garrison Keillor, who retired as host of “A Prairie Home Companion” in October? Luckily, he will showcase his wit and humor during his live show this Friday at the Aronoff. 

8 p.m. Friday. Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Downtown. $30-$70.

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Jam with rock legends the Red Hot Chili Peppers this Friday at U.S. Bank Arena. The band will surely play old favorites, plus a few new songs from its 11th studio album, “The Getaway.” Irontom and Jack Irons also will perform.

8 p.m. Friday. U.S. Bank Arena, 100 Broadway, Downtown. $53-$103.

OTR 5K and Summer Celebration

Hail the return of warm weather and outdoor festivities in Over-the-Rhine with the annual OTR 5K and Summer Celebration at Washington Park. This year the party has grown into a two-day event including Art on Vine, the City Flea, live music, food, drinks and a 3.2-mile run/walk.

  • Art on Vine: 4-10 p.m. Friday. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. Free. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
  • City Flea: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. Free. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
  • OTR 5K: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. $40.

Buckeye BBQ Fest

You might want to bring a bib to the Buckeye BBQ Fest. With more than a dozen barbecue joints competing in this Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned competition, the chances of dribbling sauce on yourself are pretty high. You’ll also be able to sample craft beer and hear music organized by the Cincinnati Blues Society.

5-11 p.m. Friday; noon-11 p.m. Saturday. The Square at Union Centre, 9285 Centre Pointe Drive, West Chester Township.

I Hear Music in the Air conference 

Angels will sing when the 16th annual “I Hear Music in the Air” conference returns to Cincinnati this weekend. The conference is a celebration of the gospel industry with a focus on music, artists, ministry leaders and education. Gospel star Kirk Franklin will open the event with a concert at 7 p.m. Friday at Duke Energy Convention Center. The conference will continue with activities at different venues throughout the weekend.

Friday-Sunday. For a schedule of events and conference locations visit


Celebrate spring with two German-heritage Maifests this weekend. The 38th annual Mainstrasse Village Maifest in Covington promises food, music and fun. The Germania Society is hosting its own Maifest in Colerain Township with plenty of German food and entertainment, beer, wine, schnapps, live music, rides and games.

  • Mainstrasse Maifest: 5-11 p.m. Friday; noon-11 p.m. Saturday; noon-8 p.m. Sunday. Mainstrasse Village, 636 Main St., Covington. For more information visit the event Facebook page. 
  • Germania Society Maifest: 6 p.m.-midnight Friday; 2 p.m.-midnight Saturday; noon-8 p.m. Sunday. Germania Society, 3529 West Kemper Road, Colerain Township. For more information visit the event Facebook page. 

May Festival

Surround yourself with song starting Friday at the Taft Theatre when the May Festival Chorus and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra kick off the annual May Festival. The festival will bring fresh takes to music such as Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Bach’s B Minor Mass and debut "The Dream Project," an immersive concert experience. 

Friday through May 27. Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown. Tickets start at $12.

Dierks Bentley 

Country music star Dierks Bentley kicks off the summer concert season at Riverbend Music Center this Saturday.  Special guests Cole Swindell and Jon Pardi also will take the stage. 

7-10 p.m. Saturday. Riverbend Music Center, Riverbend Music Center, 6295 Kellogg Ave., Anderson Township. $29.50-$ 

Muse women's choir spring concert

Whoever you are and wherever you come from, Muse, Cincinnati's women's choir, wants to make you feel welcome this weekend. The group's 34th annual spring concert will ask its audience to consider immigration through the past, modern hospitality and patriotism through song.

7 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church, 103 William Howard Taft Road, Mount Auburn. $10-$20.

Bonus: Jane’s Saddlebag Wine Festival

Head out to the country and enjoy drinks and art at Jane's Saddlebag in Union, Kentucky. Jane's is hosting its annual Wine Festival & Art/Craft Show this weekend. There also will be food to try, too.

Noon-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Jane's Saddlebag, 3989 Ryle Road, Union. For more information visit the event Facebook page.

Bonus: Meet the author of “Hillbilly Elegy”

J.D. Vance will discuss his New York Times bestselling novel “Hillbilly Elegy” in Krueger Auditorium on the University of Cincinnati’s Clermont College campus this Friday. Vance will also sign copies of his book as time permits at the free event sponsored by the Clermont County Public Library.  “Hillbilly Elegy” explores the culture of Vance’s family, who lived in poverty in Middletown, Ohio. In April it was announced that the book is being adapted into a movie directed by Ron Howard.

7-8 p.m. Friday. UC Clermont, 4200 Clermont College Drive, Batavia. Seating limited to 400 people. Free.