Imagine a spring evening in downtown Cincinnati when restaurants, clubs and bars are overflowing with enthusiastic patrons, grinning people of all ages stroll the streets and live music at the renovated Fountain Square has folks in a smooth groove under the newly budding trees.

 

That's the reality Mary Armor envisions for the third Downtown HopAround, coming April 21. Armor, who lives in Mount Adams and has worked in a downtown law firm for 28 years"”often walking to work"”was one of a handful of people who love urban Cincinnati and germinated the idea together in the wake of the boycott.

 

Last spring's first HopAround surpassed expectations. A September sequel escalated the crowds and excitement, with some restaurants reporting a 100 percent increase in business. "Palomin'™s saw a definite difference"”and in how the energy was up," Armor notes. "It was just so much fun."

 

The organizing team consists of Armor, Pat Barry, Raymond L. "Buz" Buse III, Ran Mullins and Dennis Speigel. Their concept is simple. Volunteer "ambassadors" station themselves at participating establishments, invite friends and family to meet them and to spread the word to others. Patrons can stay put for the evening or become Honorary HopArounders, visiting other spots and sampling the best of Cincy.

 

Three grand marshals will lead the kickoff reception at the Bankers' Club: Mayor Mark Mallory, actor Gary Sandy of WKRP in Cincinnati, and Reds pitching great Tom Browning. Sandy and Browning will emphasize the event theme: celebrating Cincy's arts and sports.

 

The organizers want a kickoff reception at Fountain Square. There will be more emphasis on food and less on drinking, and "absolutely" more music in the air. More info will become available at www.downtownhoparound.com.