A Season Full of Pleasure
Look for three months of excitement, entertainment, energy and engagement

The official start of summer ‘round these parts is Summerfair weekend. Then, there’s all sorts of action happening in the three months of June, July and August, including the opening of the new “Giraffe Ridge” exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo, new rides at
Coney Island — showcasing a Euro-Bungy (think four trampolines inside a geo dome) and Raging River, a swinging pirate ship
— and the opening of the new National City Pavilion at Riverbend Music Center and the Bank of Kentucky Center at Northern Kentucky University: Ohio River Way Paddlefest Goettafest

The 41st annual Summerfair is an artistic extravaganza which imports 300 painters, artisans and craftmakers from across the country, all selling paintings, drawings, photography, ceramics, jewelry and more. Other entertainment includes live bands, strolling mimes, jugglers, magicians, clowns, banjo players and barbershop quartets. Coney Island, 6201 Kellogg Ave., Anderson Township. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 1. $10 for adults, children 12 and under free. (513) 531-0050 or www.summerfair.org.

The Friends of the Public Library hold their 36th annualUsed Book Sale . New this year: An expanded audiovisual section with CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes and books on CD. Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County, 9th and Vine Sts., downtown. 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, June 4-8. (513) 369-6035 or www.friends.cincinnatilibrary.org.

There are big changes ahead for the Hulbert Taft Jr. Center for the Performing Arts (better known as Riverbend) as an intimate 4,100-seat concert area — theNational City Pavilion — opens. The $6.8-million pavilion kicks off the summer with a concert by The Moody Blues. 6295 Kellogg Ave., Anderson Township. 7 p.m. Friday, June 6. $55 to $82.50. (513) 562-4949 or www.ticketmaster.org.

Giraffe Ridge, a 22,000-square-foot area featuring five giraffes, opens. Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, beginning Saturday, June 7. $13 adults, $11 senior citizens and $8 children ages 2 to 12. (513) 281-4700 or www.cincinnatizoo.org.

TheNorthern Kentucky Wine Festival features everything about wine. Bank of Kentucky Center, campus of Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights. 2 to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 7. $22. (513) 562-4949 or www.nkywinefestival.com.

Kings Island unveils a series of new shows: “Flashback! Totally ‘80s” in the International Showplace Theatre; “The County Line” in the Festhaus featuring the music of Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts and others; and “Girls Night Out” in the Festhaus, a celebration of American women and their music. 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason.Show are performed multiple times daily June 7 through Aug. 17. Free with park admission, which is $45.99. Season passes are $89.99 each. Parking is $9.(513) 754–5700 or www.cedarfair.com.

The 31st annualConcours d’Elegance , a rare auto show, has a special focus this year on classic cars such as a 1929 Duesenberg once owned by Elvis Presley. Other autos include TV’s Batmobile and President Herbert Hoover’s 1931 Hudson Phaeton. Ault Park, 3600 Observatory Ave., Mt. Lookout. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 8. $20, free to ages 11 and under. (513) 321-1951 or www. ohioconcours.com.

TheCincinnati Opera’s summer festival kicks off with Madame Butterfly. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, June 11-14. $27 to $136. (513) 241-2742 or www. cincinnatiopera.com.

Pancetta, mascarpone, cannoli, tiramisu ... If any of these words begin to make your mouth water, head immediately toItalianfest, the region’s largest food and music festival devoted to Italy.Highlights include a pizza-eating contest, cooking contest, live Italian music and fireworks over the river. Riverboat Row between the Taylor-Southgate and L&N bridges, below the Newport on the Levee shopping complex, Newport. 8 to 11 p.m. Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday, June 12-15. Free. (859) 292-3666.

Riverspan is a sculpture exhibition and sale featuring 83 vendors from four countries and 24 American states. Purple People Bridge, on the Ohio River between Newport and Cincinnati. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday (with a patrons sneak peek from 5 to 9 p.m. for $75), 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 20-22. $15 ($5 Friday), children under 15 free. (513) 241-3769 or www.riverspansculpture.org.

TheGoettafest & River Raid Renaissance Festivalis devoted to all things goetta, with goetta pizza, goetta hoagies, goetta Reubens, goetta omelets, and more. (For the uninitiated, the uniquely Cincinnati meat product — pronounced “get-uh” — is a combination of steel-cut pinhead oatmeal, pork, beef and seasonings.) There’s live music, too, with performances by a half-dozen local bands. MainStrasse Village’s Goebel Park and nearby Main Street, Covington. Noon to 9 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 20-22. Free. (859) 491-0458 or www.MainStrasse.org.

Stevie Nicks performs at the National City Pavilion. 6295 Kellogg Ave., Anderson Township. 7 p.m. Thursday, June 26. $55 to $82.50. (513) 562-4949 or www. ticketmaster.org.

This is about a whole bunch of baklava.Panegyri Greek Festival lays claim to being Cincinnati’s largest annual ethnic food celebration. The annual fest serves up plates full of souvlaki, pastichio, mousaka, mezzethakia, dolmathes, saganaki, tiropita, spanakopita, kataifi, pasta flora, koulourakia, kourambiedes, melomakarona and even a baklava sundae. Food isn’t everything – well, of course it is — but you can also look for live music, costumed folk dancers, booths with imported handicrafts and jewelry, cooking demonstrations, performances, icon painting, and a Greek boutique and grocery. Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 7000 Winton Rd., Finneytown. 5 p.m. to midnight tonight, 3 p.m. to midnight Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, June 27-29. $2 adults, children 12 and under free. (513) 591-0030 or www.panegyri.com.

There’s a whole lot of paddling going on, as the 7th annualOhio River Way Paddlefest kicks off.The Coast Guard shuts the Ohio River to all barge and boat traffic, and the competition begins (check-in goes from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Saturday). “Gentlemen, start your paddles.” There’s also an art/music fair and kids expo. Coney Island Amusement Park, 6201 Kellogg Ave., Anderson Township. Friday and Saturday, June 27-28. The event is free to observers, while racing costs $8 to $25. Canoe and kayak rental is extra. (513) 723-1916 or www. ohioriverway.org.


“All aboard!” forEnterTrainment Junction . It’s touted as the only railroad-themed entertainment center in the world as well as the largest indoor interactive train display to be found anywhere. The $10 million attraction covers 80,000 square feet: “Main Street USA” is the facility’s Disney-esque entrance, with a village square, antique gaslights, a 1930s train depot and small-town shops. “Junction Journey” features 90 G-scale trains from three historical eras and a thousand smaller model trains, all running on two miles of landscaped track. There’s also the American Railroading Museum, a Train Expo Center loaded with artifacts and collectibles, a kids’ play area and a Walk-Thru Maze themed to certain holidays.7379 Squires Court, West Chester. Open daily, beginning July 1, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (noon to 6 p.m. Sundays). $9.95 for adults, $8.95 seniors, and $7.95 children. Walk-Thru Maze is an additional $6 ($8 during the Christmas and Halloween seasons).(513) 898-8000 or www.entertrainmentjunction.com

Stricker’s Grove, Cincinnati’s vintage amusement park (which is rarely open to the public since it books private groups throughout the summer) opens its doors to the public for one day only for a Fourth of July Celebration. The park features two roller-coasters and a dozen rides, and fireworks, of course. Stricker’s Grove, 11490 Hamilton-Cleves Road, Ross. 3 to 11 p.m. Friday, July 4. $1 ride tickets. (513) 521-9747 or www.strickersgrove.com.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers take the stage along with guest Steve Winwood. Riverbend Music Center, Kellogg Avenue at Sutton Road, Anderson Township. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 8. $71 to $98. (513) 562-4949.

TheSpirit Song Festival features a dozen contemporary Christian bands, including Jeremy Camp, Newsboys, Casting Crowns, TobyMac, the David Crowder Band, and Kutless. TimberWolf Amphitheatre, Kings Island, 6300 Kings Island Dr., Mason. 6 to 11 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. July 10-12. A three-day pass is $73.99.(513) 754-5700 or www.cedarfair.com.

Midsummer at the Meadows featuresKansas, Loverboy and Josh Gracin. Miami Meadows Park, 5900 McPicken Drive, Miami Township. 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 3 to 9 p.m. Sunday, July 11-13. Little River performs Friday at 8 p.m., Starship at 8 p.m. on Saturday night, followed by fireworks. Free. (513) 248-3727 or www.miamitwp.org.

Dave Mason headlines the Festival in Sycamore, which features two days of fun, food and music. Bechtold Park, 4312 Sycamore Road, Sycamore Township. 6 to 12 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 11 and 12 (Mason performs on the 12th). Free. (513) 791-8447 or www.sycamoretownship.com.

St. Rita Fest is one of the oldest and largest annual festivals in the Greater Cincinnati area. For some 90 years, the event —which is particularly famous for its turtle soup and funnel cakes — has featured a hundred-plus booths and games. St. Rita School for the Deaf, 1720 Glendale Milford Rd., Evendale. All day Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 11-13. Free admission, game prices range 25 cents to $5. (513) 771-7600 or www.srsdeaf.org.

Steely Dan performs at the National City Pavilion. 6295 Kellogg Ave., Anderson Township. 7 p.m. Sunday, July 13. $55 to $82.50. (513) 562-4949 or www.ticketmaster.org.

Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band perform. Riverbend Music Center, 6295 Kellogg Ave., Anderson Township. 8 p.m. Thursday, July 17. $90. (513) 562-4949 or www.riverbend.org.

Greater Anderson Days is Greater Cincinnati’s largest neighborhood festival, a three-day carnival featuring fireworks and musical acts. Beech Acres Park, 6910 Salem Road, Anderson Township. 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, July 25, 26 and 27. Free. (513) 357-6299 or www.andersonparks.com.

The 2008Macy’s Cincinnati Jazz Festival showcases Patti LaBelle, Earth Wind & Fire, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, and KEM, with more acts to be announced this summer. Paul Brown Stadium, 1 Stadium Way, downtown. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 25 and 26. $48 to $88. (513) 562-4949 or www.macysmusicfestival.com.

TheNewport Arts & Music Festival features musical acts ranging from rock to folk, jazz to alternative. Riverboat Row, between the Taylor-Southgate and L&N bridges, Newport. Noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday, July 25 and 26. Free. (859) 292-3686 or www. newportky.gov.


Dozens of national and regional blues performers — including Watermelon Slim and the Workers, Jimmy Thackery and Kilborn Blues Alley — turn out for the annualCincy Blues Fest, with acts ranging from blues, gospel and spirituals all the way to ragtime, bluegrass and jazz. Sawyer Point Park, on the riverfront, downtown. 5 to 10:45 p.m. Friday, 1:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1 and 2. $5, ages 11 and under free. (513) 739-BLUE or www.cincyblues.org.

Time to “goetta” life, as Glier’s Goettafest festival celebrates Greater Cincinnati’s love of this unique meat product (produced only in Germany and here). Try goetta reubens, omelets, tacos, pizza and more. For those not familiar, the sausage fare (pronounced “get-uh”) is a combination of steel-cut pinhead oatmeal, pork, beef and seasonings. Look for continuous live music, games and rides, as well. Newport Festival Park, on the riverfront, Newport. 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 1, 2 and 3. Free. (859) 291-1800 or www.goettafest.com.

Peter Frampton performs at the National City Pavilion. 6295 Kellogg Ave., Anderson Township. 7 p.m. Wednesday,Aug. 6. $55 to $82.50. (513) 562-4949 or www.ticketmaster.org.

Have a fork full of lobster and a plate full of live music at the Great Inland Seafood Festival. Yeatman’s Cove, on the riverfront, downtown. 5 to 11 p.m. Thursday and Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7, 8, 9 and 10. Free. (513) 761-9911 or www.greatinlandseafoodfest.com.

The Union Centre Boulevard Bash is a three-day music festival starring the Ohio Players and more. Union Centre Boulevard exit off Interstate 75, between Muhlhauser Road and Centre Pointe Drive, West Chester. 5 p.m. to midnight Friday, 3 p.m. to midnight Saturday, and 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 8, 9 and 10. Free. (513) 579-3191 or www.unioncentreblvdbash.com.

Huey Lewis & the News perform at the National City Pavilion. 6295 Kellogg Ave., Anderson Township. 7 p.m. Monday,Aug. 11. $55 to $82.50. (513) 562-4949 or www.ticketmaster.org.

The annual Ohio Renaissance Festival at Renaissance Park is a replica of a medieval town,a 30-acre complex that comes complete with roving story-tellers, queens, magicians, singers, fire-eaters, jugglers and the like. The dozen rides and the live shows (nearly 100 daily on 11 stages) are a particular hit with kids, as are the daring displays of swordplay and the knights adorned in full armor, jousting atop their brave steeds. For older kids, visit the Tower of London/Dungeon of Doom torture chamber, complete with racks, chains and executioners. New this year: Enjoy a five-course feast while being entertained in the queen’s court. Renaissance Park, Ohio Hwy. 73 (near I-71, exit 45), Harveysburg. 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, Aug. 30 through Oct. 19. $19.99 for adults, $9.99 for children 5 through 12. (513) 897-7000 or www.renfestival.com.


Kings Island this season features Firehawk, the only flying roller coaster in the state, sending riders on a 51-mph sky dive. Riders ride four across in six-row “trains” in suspended, ski-lift-style seats with over-the-shoulder restraints. If you’ve been to the park before, don’t be confused by all the new ride names; the new owners had to drop the movie themed names when they bought the park from Paramount Pictures. Hence, Italian Job, an interactive stunt coaster, is now the Backlot Stunt Coaster. Face/Off, a suspended, floorless coaster (a face-to-face inverted thrill ride racing at 55 mph through three 70-foot loops, forward and backward), is now Invertigo. Tomb Raider: The Ride, a multisensory adventure in which park guests explore a tomb before strapping into the only possible vehicle of escape, is now The Crypt. And Top Gun, a steel suspended ride, is now Flight Deck.6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason.Open daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend starting at 9 a.m., but rides don’t start until 10 a.m. Closing times vary throughout the season, as do operating times in the spring and fall. Individual tickets are $45.99. Season passes are $89.99 each. Parking is $9. (513) 754–5700 or www.cedarfair.com.

For a dose of all the sharks, penguins and fish you’d ever expect to see, head to theNewport Aquarium . Visitors can actually stroll beneath the water with 75 of these big guys — inside long plastic tunnels or along see-through acrylic floors — standing just inches away, nose-to-snout, against the most deadly carnivore on Earth. The shark show is the centerpiece of the exhibition, encompassing you in an 85-foot-long acrylic tunnel teaming with 8-foot Sandtigers, 7-foot Sandbars, nurses sharks, hammerheads, and even stingrays. Newport on the Levee, 1 Levee Way, Newport. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. $17.95 adults, $10.95 children ages 3 to 12. (859) 261-7444 or www.newportaquarium.com.