Washington Park and Fountain Square offer outdoor escape during pandemic

Posted at 11:06 AM, Aug 05, 2020

CINCINNATI — Traditionally, people pack Fountain Square and Washington Park for free weekly summer events.

This summer the COVID-19 pandemic has forced Emily Stowe and others at 3CDC, the group that organizes those events, to find new ways to offer safe outdoor fun.

"Normally, you'd see some very big concerts here in the park, like Friday Flow or our Roots series,” Stowe said. “So, we've re-imagined those to smaller events where we just have one or two individuals come with an instrument."

For Washington Park, Stowe and her team recruited individual artists to play from a corner of the park’s deck and bar area. Large bands usually perform on the stage located near Washington Park’s community lawn.

The lawn also has been transformed into a safe space for Washington Park’s popular outdoor workout series.

"We have marked off 53 circles on the lawn,” Stowe said.

Those circles are designed to keep workout participants six feet apart. They also will be used to keep people spaced apart when Washington Park’s outdoor movie series returns in a week or so, Stowe added.

3CDC took the same approach at Fountain Square for live music and other regular events hosted there.

"So, on Wednesdays, which is normally our big Reggae Wednesday event, we typically have a reggae performer,” Stowe said.

Stowe and her team also adapted 3CDC’s popular Strauss Troy Market and FSQ Eats that bring tented and food truck vendors to Fountain Square.

They expanded the number of days people can find a food truck at Fountain Square from three to five days, Stowe said.

"We're trying to give people who are back Downtown working, or who live Downtown, a place to grab something to eat and eat outdoors since a lot of people are still hesitant to go inside restaurants,” she said.

Other popular features people also will find slightly modified but still open at Washington Park include the splash pad, which now is gated off and limited to 20 people in the splash pad area at a time.

Park crew also regularly clean off playground equipment.

Stowe said looking to the future that she and her team hope to utilize the new Fifth-Third Bank Stage currently under construction on Fountain Square.

"We're really hopeful that we'll be able to host some smaller events from that stage before the end of the year but we'll have to see how things go,” she said.

For more information about 3CDC events visit