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Riverfest 2021: 9 things to know before you go

Riverfest 2018
Riverfest 2018
Posted at 2:02 PM, Sep 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-06 04:33:57-04

CINCINNATI — 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 45th year for the fireworks display. For many people this weekend's event will mean a little bit more since last year's Riverfest was canceled due to COVID-19.

Whether you’ve been going to Riverfest since you were a kid, or this is your first time, here are nine things to know for this year’s celebration and the Western & Southern/WEBN Fireworks.

Riverfest runs from noon-10 p.m. Sunday at Sawyer Point Park and Yeatman's Cove. The Western & Southern/WEBN Fireworks will start at 9:07 p.m. Sunday. (Of course, if you're interested only in seeing the fireworks, you can see them from the Kentucky side of the river, too.)

WEBN will broadcast live from the Serpentine Wall starting at noon Sunday. (You can stream WEBN via the iHeartRadio app or bring a portable radio.).

This year also check out some of the best cover bands around at the 2021 T-Mobile Just Show Up Show, powered by Live Nation and Bogart's. This FREE show takes place at the P&G Stage at Sawyer Point Park before the fireworks!

🕐Southern Accents: 3 p.m.
🕐The Iron Maidens: 4:30 p.m.
🕐That Arena Rock Show: 6:15 p.m.

RELATED: Coast Guard reverses bans on boat during Riverfest

The Rubber Duck Regatta is the Freestore Foodbank’s quacky ... er ... wacky annual tradition. Thousands of rubber ducks are normally dropped into the Ohio River near the Serpentine Wall before the Western & Southern/WEBN Fireworks. The annual tradition is going virtual this year due to the closure of the Purple People Bridge. On the upside, sales of ducks have been extended until 3 p.m Sunday. The owner of the first-place duck will win a 2021 Honda CR-V. 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.

Due to high water, you won't be able to claim your spot on the Serpentine Wall with a blanket until noon on Sunday. That's when the event starts. In year's past people would start staking out their spot as early as 6 a.m. Saturday -- yes, before the event actually starts. Blankets will still be placed on a first-come, first-served basis. And if you think you'll still be able to sneak down and claim your spot early Saturday . . . don't. Police will be there to kindly turn you away.

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.

Multiple roads and bridges will be closed or restricted for Riverfest; you have been warned. Access to the Cincinnati riverfront is traditionally limited to pedestrians only.

Here are the closures for Cincinnati, Covington and Newport. Parking will be at a premium, so this would be a fine time to use public transportation: Metro, TANK and Red Bike. Tap here for a map of all relevant road closures.

✅ 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

❌Alcoholic beverages (We figured it bears repeating.)
❌Illegal weapons and explosives
❌Wheeled items: skateboards, bicycles, rollerblades, etc.
❌Laser pointers/laser pens
❌Glass bottles
❌Coolers
❌Liquids
❌Pets (with exception of service dogs)
❌Large umbrellas, chairs, etc.
❌Drug paraphernalia, illegal substances, etc.

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!

Three bonus tips from a veteran

  1. 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.
  2. Bring a portable cellphone charger. After being outdoors for hours, you will likely 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. Be patient. Remember, this event attracts an estimated 500,000 people each year, so expect a few lines at food and drink vendors.