9 things to know before you go to Riverfest

Posted at 12:00 PM, Aug 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-02 16:58:03-04

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 40th year for the fireworks display, and many people have been watching them since the beginning.

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 celebration and the Western & Southern / WEBN Fireworks.

When And Where

Riverfest runs noon-10 p.m. Sunday at Sawyer Point Park and Yeatman's Cove. The Western & Southern/WEBN Fireworks 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.)

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There’s Entertainment All Day

WEBN will be broadcasting live from the Serpentine Wall starting at noon Sunday. There also will be live music by local and national performers; Hubert's Lemonade Beach, featuring 34 tons of sand, kiddie pools, beach chairs, umbrellas and free lemonade samples; flyovers by the Cincinnati Warbirds, Tristate Warbird Museum and the Commemorative Air Force; WEBN's "40 Years of Fireworks Museum," featuring historic archives from the show; a kids’ fun zone, cooking demos; food vendors and a meet-and-greet with Seg Dennison.  

Hubert’s Lemonade Pavilion Stage (Pavilion Stage, Sawyer Point Park)

Live Broadcast Stage (Lower Serpentine Wall, Yeatman’s Cove)

  • Noon: Shroom Broadcasting Live from the Cincinnati Warbirds Flyover
  • Noon-7 p.m. and 8:35 p.m.: Light the Fuse featuring Blue Salutes to honor local police officers
  • Noon-6 p.m.: Dick’s Last Resort Jet Pack Water Adventure Demos
  • 3 p.m.: 22nd annual Freestore Foodbank Rubber Duck Regatta drop from Purple People Bridge
  • 7:30 p.m.: Military ceremony featuring the Cincinnati Boychoir and Oath of Enlistment Ceremony
  • 9 p.m.: Crowd Wars from the crown of the Purple People Bridge
  • 9:05 p.m.: Western & Southern / WEBN Fireworks

Kroger Activity Zone (Yeatman's Cove)

  • Noon-2 p.m.: 700WLW’s Seg Dennison
  • 2-3 p.m.: Xavier Musketeer’s Cheerleaders
  • 2-4 p.m.: Jim Scott
  • 3-4 p.m.: UC Bearcat’s Mascot
  • 3:30-4:30 p.m.: Cincinnati Bengals Who Dey Mascot
  • 4-5 p.m.: FC Cincinnati Players and Marketing Team
  • 4-6 p.m.: Cooking with Caitlin
  • 4:30-6:30 p.m.: Cincinnati Reds Rosie & Mr. Red Legs Mascots
  • 6:30-8 p.m.: FC Cincinnati Coaches
  • Free Face Painting
  • Kids Coloring Contest

Click here for the full schedule of events.

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 Civic LX Sedan. 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. Get your ducks online at, by phone at 513-929-DUCK (3825) and at 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. The city of Cincinnati has not yet released its list of closings, but we'll link to them once they are posted. However, access to the Cincinnati riverfront is traditionally limited to pedestrians only. 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!

And check out some of these photos from Riverfest through the years.