Is this your first Riverfest on the riverfront (or your first in years)? Here are 7 tips for newbies

Posted at 7:00 AM, Sep 03, 2015
and last updated 2016-09-04 06:51:59-04

CINCINNATI -- For the folks coming to the celebration for the first time -- or for the first time in many years -- here are some tips to maximize your Riverfest experience.

1. Claim your spot early if you want to sit on the Serpentine Wall. You can put down a blanket to save your seat as early as 6 a.m. Saturday. People are generally respectful of spots that have been reserved, as long as you show up at a reasonable time on the big day. That said, don’t take your sweet time heading down to the riverfront Sunday, thinking your reserved spot will remain undisturbed for hours. Because, no guarantees.

2. Bring a portable cellphone charger. After being outdoors for hours, you likely will need to recharge your cell at some point. Also, make sure to bring (and wear) plenty of sunblock. A poncho or small umbrella would be a good idea, too, because rain will NOT stop the show.

3. Know the street closures. There will be multiple closings and traffic restrictions on both sides of the river. And parking will be at a premium, so this would be a fine time to use public transportation: Metro, TANK and Red Bike.

4. Be patient. Remember, this event attracts an estimated 500,000 people each year, so expect a few lines at food and drink vendors. Also, the fireworks won’t start until 9:05 p.m., so if you go early (which I highly recommend) know that there will be an hours-long wait ahead. But there also will be plenty of activities to keep you -- and kids -- entertained.

5. Listen to WEBN’s broadcast. The station will broadcast live from the Serpentine Wall starting at noon Sunday. You can stream WEBN via the iHeartRadio app or bring a portable radio.

6. Carry tissues or wet wipes. Port-A-Potties and public restrooms quickly run out of paper, and you might want to bring some hand sanitizer, too — those dispensers also tend to run out.

7. Alcohol is not allowed at Riverfest. Either drink before you go (and if so, definitely don’t drive), or skip the riverfront in favor of one of the watch parties and other viewing spots around town.