CINCINNATI -- From concerts to big festivals, 2017 is shaping up to be another exciting year of entertainment in the Queen City.
Here are nine big events we are looking forward to in the new year.
Jan. 21, 22 and 27-29: Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood
Husband-and-wife country stars Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood will perform five shows (Jan. 21, 22 and 27-29) at U.S. Bank Arena and expect to sell out them all. (Fans scooped up tickets for the first two performances within two hours of them going on sale.) Grab your cowboy boots and hats for a little fun in the new year.
Feb. 11: MadTree 2.0's grand opening
Cincinnati's craft beer boom will continue in 2017 when MadTree 2.0 opens Feb. 11 at 5164 Kennedy Ave. in Oakley. The new $18 million facility is an expansion for MadTree Brewing, which opened its first facility in Columbia Township in 2013. MadTree's new brewery, taproom, beer garden, restaurant and event space will coincide with its yearly Winter Bonanza anniversary party.
TBD: The Brewing Heritage Trail ... and more alcohol
There are a lot of other alcohol-related events to look forward to in 2017. Topping the list is the Brewing Heritage Trail, a 2.3-mile walking tour through Over-the-Rhine's rich brewing history. The trail project received $300,000 of state funding in 2016 and made Thrillist's list of "The 15 coolest things coming to U.S. cities in 2017."
In new brewery news, Bircus Brewing in Ludlow, Kentucky, hopes to tap its first beer by Mardi Gras on Feb. 28. Queen City Brewing of Cincinnati in Blue Ash opened its taproom for a test run on Friday and will announce regular weekly hours in the new year. We're also waiting to see if Rhinegeist Brewery's plans to open a restaurant at its location in Over-the-Rhine actually happen; the Cincinnati Historic Preservation Association already has granted its approval.
Craft spirit fans can't wait until Northside Distilling Co. opens its new tasting room at 922 Race St., Downtown, in January or February. Bellevue's New Riff Distillery also plans to open an expanded tasting room at a second location in Newport in the fall.
April 3: 98th annual Findlay Market Opening Day Parade
Cincinnati's biggest unofficial holiday kicks off on April 3 before the Cincinnati Reds take on the Philadelphia Phillies at Great American Ball Park. Organizers of the 98th annual Findlay Market Opening Day Parade will start accepting participant entry forms on Jan. 2, and the grand marshal is usually announced in February.
May 27-29: Taste of Cincinnati
The 39th annual Taste of Cincinnati will take place May 27-29. The food festival showcasing Queen City eats saw a growing list of local craft beer offerings last year, as well as food trucks and the "Taste Experience." The big question for 2017: Will organizers keep the event on Fifth Street or move it closer to the Banks, as they did Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, to steer clear of the streetcar route?
June 2-4: Bunbury Music Festival
Bunbury returns for its sixth edition June 2-4. This year's festival will mark the third year since Columbus-based PromoWest bought the festival from local organizer Bill Donabedian in 2014. Each year since its takeover PromoWest has tweaked the festival by rearranging stage configurations along Yeatman's Cove and Sawyer Point. Last year organizers also introduced radio frequency identification (RFID) wristbands, a cashless and ticketless system to help speed entry and purchases at the event. PromoWest will hold a 2017 Bunbury music lineup announcement party on Jan. 24.
July 27-29: Cincy Soul: The Black Taste
The inaugural Cincy Soul: The Black Taste, which local nightclub owner Julian Rodgers hosted on Fifth Street, Downtown, to showcase small, minority-owned restaurants in the city, was such a success that he promised an even bigger event in 2017. The second year of the festival will take place July 27-29. It will coincide with the Cincinnati Music Festival, one of the largest R&B music events in the country, at Paul Brown Stadium.
Sept. 22-23: Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic
This annual event returns Sept. 22-23 to Yeatman's Cove. The event debuted in 2014 and has grown in popularity each year. In 2016, the festival moved from Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine to Yeatman's Cove to accommodate that growth.
Oct 12-15: BLINK Cincinnati
BLINK promises to light up Cincinnati from Findlay Market to the Banks Oct 12-15. The inaugural festival will span 20 city blocks with four "themed" zones of art, music and light installations that highlight Cincinnati's creativity and architecture. Blink is being organized by the Haile Foundation, AGAR, ArtWorks, Brave Berlin and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, some of the same groups that helped bring the first three years of Lumenocity to Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine. Look for more details about the event as the new year progresses.