CINCINNATI — As umbrellas and tents go up for the Kroger Wellness Experience at The Banks, a multi-day festival celebrating healthy habits and food, the potential for traffic issues downtown grows as well.
“This is our third year doing it,” Brian Endicott with Meyer Natural Food said Thursday. “It’s extremely stressful and difficult, but in the end it all comes together and turns out great.”
A creative strategist for Laura’s Lean Beef, Endicott and his team plan to pass out close to 6,000 taco samples at this weekend’s event, which is all about helping people find ways to live a healthier life.
“We know there’s several other concerts going on in the area, a couple of Reds games going on,” he said. “So we’re really hoping that we’ll end up with a large turnout.”
But that large amount of people could turn out to be a headache for some drivers. Several access roads to The Banks will be closed by performance stages and streets lined with vendors. That’s on top of several major construction projects downtown and bridges that are closed for maintenance.
“It’s a little hectic,” downtown resident David Purtell said. “I mean, honestly, it makes it a little bit harder to get back from work and the gym and everything else, so it’s a little frustrating at times especially like during Reds games and they block off the street. So it’s frustrating, but I am excited to see the area growing.”
Kroger spokesperson Jenifer Moore said people planning to attend the festival should plan ahead.
“There’ll be a lot of activities happening,” she said. “So, if you want to, you know you can always drive down. There’ll be ample parking.”
She said all the parking garages should be open, but delays should be expected as people try to navigate street closures.
“We’ll have a number of entertainment options for the whole family to enjoy,” Moore said of the health and wellness fair. “There will be free concerts each day beginning at 4 o’clock, so there’s a lot of excitement building for this. Our goal, like I said before, is to really connect the food with medicine so that everyone can see the importance of being healthy and being safe.”
The Wellness Experience is just one of several events happening in the area this weekend. Check out this week's top nine things to do this weekend.