For 11 days, Cincinnati will be the center of the universe. Really. Thousands of the world's best singers from Africa, Australia, North and South America and Europe will compete in 23 categories in the World Choir Games.

It's showing off Cincinnati in the best possible way.

The venues include the glittering showcase that is the School for the Creative and Performing Arts and the Cathedral Basilica in Covington (perfect for the Musica Sacra performances of sacred Christian music.)

The walkable grid for most of the locations in downtown Cincinnati also includes the Aronoff, Christ Church Cathedral and the iconic Music Hall.

The May Festival Chorus and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra headline the fantastic opening ceremonies, underwritten by the most international of companies, Procter & Gamble.

The regional chamber is touting Cincinnati's healthy list of four-star restaurants and, with some hotel reservations, there are even half-price Reds tickets.

Volunteers and city workers have been out in full force to spruce things up for visitors.

They've been painting signposts downtown, spreading mulch, and planting flowers.

On a recent Friday, workers were scrambling to put Cincinnati's best foot forward from Eden Park to the streets of the city.

Crews wearing safety vests and sporting company names were painting, weeding, shoveling and working hard.

New planters were being dropped off along Elm Street while folks inside Izzy's waited for sandwiches and talked about "cleaning up for company," just like Mom taught us.

An incredible website has been cultivated featuring the best of the best t-shirts and pins "” those famous trading jewels.

So, plan your vacation around it, make reservations at your favorite restaurant before it fills up.

Be sure to juggle your schedules so out-of-town guest can move into your spare bedrooms.

As the city puts its best foot forward, thanks to P&G as well as other sponsors, Cincinnati has a chance to show the world its best. After this event, perhaps the next Super Bowl and well, who knows?

It's going to be, as Ed Sullivan would say, a "reee-aly big show." -