Nine things to look forward to in 2019

Posted at 12:19 PM, Dec 31, 2018
and last updated 2019-01-02 14:57:42-05
  1. Rock in the new year

    Begin 2019 with a (head) bang when Panic! at the Disco brings its "Pray for the Wicked Tour" to U.S. Bank Arena on Jan. 26, followed by Metallica's "Worldwide Tour" on Jan. 30.

    Both tours will be the first of many big-name shows scheduled to visit Cincinnati in the new year. Most recently, Hootie & the Blowfish announced they will bring their "Group Therapy Tour" to Riverbend Music Center on July 20.

  2. 'Hamilton' comes to Cincinnati

    It was no surprise when tickets for every Cincinnati performance of the touring Broadway production of "Hamilton," which will run from Feb. 19-March 10, sold out in a matter of minutes. The musical, which tells the story of America's Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, has set multiple Broadway box office records since its debut in 2015. But "Hamilton" is so popular that there was no way I could leave it off this list.

    The eternal optimist in me hopes that maybe I have a friend out there with an extra ticket to see the show at the Aronoff Center for the Arts. For those more daring, and with deeper pockets, you could try to buy a ticket online through a secondary vendor. (If you do, make sure to read this story by WCPO consumer reporter John Materese first.)

  3. FC Cincinnati goes big time

    FC Cincinnati will join Major League Soccer in 2019 and local fans can't wait. The team is scheduled to start preseason play on Jan. 20 with a match against Montreal Impact. The team also just finished its expansion draft in preparation for the MLS regular season, which typically begins in March.

    It should be fun to watch how the Queen City club handles the increased competition and grows within its new league.

  4. The Reds turn 150

    Throughout the 2019 season, the Reds will celebrate their 150th anniversary and the coinciding 150th anniversary of professional baseball.

    The celebration won't be with another black-tie gala or pre-game parade of former players, though. With the full backing of Major League Baseball, the Reds are planning to throw a seasonlong birthday bash like none other.

    The 2019 baseball season begins on March 28 with the 100th annual Findlay Market Opening Day Parade before the Reds' Opening Day game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park.

  5. Two new breweries to watch

    With more than 50 craft breweries currently operating in the region, and more on the horizon, it's getting harder to keep track of them all. Here are two breweries worth watching that are planning to open in 2019.

    Founders Brian Jackson and Marvin Abrinica hope to open Esoteric Brewing Co. inside the historic Paramount building in Walnut Hills sometime during the first half of the new year.

    Renovation of the 1930s art deco building that sits at the corner of East McMillan Street and Gilbert Avenue is well underway. Esoteric will anchor a $15 million-plus mixed-use re-development of the Paramount and be the first minority-owned and operated brewery in Greater Cincinnati.

    In June, Kyle Hackbarth announced plans to open the Cartridge Brewing Co. inside the former Peterson Cartridge Factory at 1415 Grandin Road in Maineville, Ohio. The 102-year-old facility near the Little Miami Trail north of Loveland has sat empty for years after the Environmental Protection Agency called for extensive cleanup of the site in 2009. The site's owners, Bloomfield/Schon, spent more than $5 million in 2015 to remove lead and other ground contaminants that resulted from the factory's days as a munitions manufacturer.

    Hackbarth said he's ready to start renovations of 10,000 square feet of the facility as soon as government agencies give final approval for work to begin. He hopes to open Cartridge Brewing sometime in 2019. The brewery also will be part of a mix-use development that includes upscale condos and retail.

  6. Bunbury Music Festival

    The annual end-of-spring-and-into summer music festival will return to Yeatman's Cove and Sawyer Point May 31-June 2. Though organizer PromoWest has yet to reveal the lineup for Bunbury 2019, tickets are currently available online. Organizers have begun offering clues, though, as to who will perform via social media.

    PromoWest announced the Bunbury 2018 lineup in March. That lineup included headliners Jack White, the Chainsmokers and blink-182.

  7. Real-life Mario Kart Racing

    Calling all Queen City go-kart racers and video game players – "Let's a go!" Mushroom Rally, a touring, real-life version of the classic "Super Mario Kart" video game series, will roll into Cincinnati June 15-22.

    Just like the classic Nintendo game that pits popular characters such as Luigi, Princess Peach and Bowser, along with the title character Mario, against each other in go-karts, Mushroom Rally will pit contestants against one another in real-life races as well.

    The location of Cincinnati's adult go-kart races is still secret, but people can register to race at www.mushroomrally.com.

  8. Cincinnati Music Festival

    It was an early Christmas for fans of the largest annual summer concert in the Queen City when organizers announced the 2019 Cincinnati Music Festival lineup on Dec. 4.

    Mary J. Blige and Maxwell will headline the festival, which will take place July 25-27 at Paul Brown Stadium. Tap here for the complete list of performers coming to the music festival.

  9. BLINK returns

    The multicolored lights of BLINK will spill across the Ohio River in 2019, expanding the festival over the Roebling Bridge and into Covington for its second year.

    BLINK will return Downtown and expand south to Seventh Street and Madison Avenue in Covington as a free public event Oct. 10-13, 2019.

    The inaugural BLINK transformed 20 city blocks and attracted more than 1 million people to downtown Cincinnati from Oct. 12-15, 2017. The event transformed iconic architecture and murals with its animated light projections. You can relive some of the inaugural BLINK's magic here.

  10. What are you looking forward to in 2019?