CINCINNATI -- The multicolored lights of BLINK will spill across the Ohio River in 2019, expanding the festival over the Roebling Bridge and into Covington, Kentucky.
“This bridge is going to kick the ass of the Brooklyn Bridge when it’s lit from side to side,” Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber head Jill P. Meyer said in a rooftop news conference Wednesday night, gesturing to the Roebling -- long the Luke Hemsworth to its younger, more famous East Coast sister -- over her shoulder.
Organizers announced Wednesday night they planned for the event's second iteration to be bigger and brighter than the first, which attracted over a million people to Downtown Cincinnati with projection shows that brought murals to life and dressed familiar landmarks in flashing neon colors.
BLINK will return to Downtown as a free public event Oct. 10-13, 2019. The Carol Ann and Ralph V Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation president and CEO Tim Maloney, who spearheaded the inaugural BLINK last year, will once again orchestrate the light festival's return. ArtsWave will help make it happen.
"The ArtsWave Campaign forms the foundation for the quality and variety of cultural experiences that our region enjoys today, including events like BLINK that connect and enliven our community through the arts," president and CEO Alecia Kintner said in a news release.
Sponsors include Procter and Gamble, Scripps, Cincinnati Bell, Skyline Chili and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, among others.
The inaugural BLINK included 21 light projections mapped onto murals and buildings, new murals by international artists, 27 interactive light sculptures and live entertainment from Oct. 12 to 15, 2017. The festival spanned 20 blocks that roughly followed the Cincinnati streetcar route.
The large crowds at the first BLINK meant high ridership for the streetcar: It logged roughly 27,000 rides throughout the festival, far exceeding average weekend ridership.
However, an influx of riders exposed several ongoing struggles. People packed onto the streetcar, and its struggle with its ticket vending machines reared its head, with multiple machines malfunctioning or simply shutting down.