Over the past few years, Cincinnati has been plagued with negative national publicity. The Cincinnati Riots of 2001 coupled with the multiple killings of African American youth have given a black eye to Cincinnati, especially its downtown area. Shortly after the Cincinnati Riots of 2001, many prominent African American celebrities and leaders canceled their engagements in Cincinnati in the name of a boycott. Some among the list of 'boycotters' were Bill Cosby (comedian and Cosby Show fame) and comedienne and Academy Award winner Whoppie Goldberg.
Things are starting to change here in Cincinnati. Not only can you take in either a Major League baseball game at Great American Ball Park, you can also walk a few city blocks and partake in the frenzy of a National Football League football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Currently, Cincinnati’s professional football team, the Cincinnati Bengals are well on their way to recapturing the AFC Championships as they did in 1988, and on their way to another appearance at the Super Bowl.
Sports are not the only thing that Cincinnati has going for it. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is unabashedly positioned in between Cincinnati’s two professional sports team's stadiums. Located on The Banks of the Ohio River, you can meander through this state of the art museum and learn about Cincinnati's role as being the gateway and primary destination for African Americans as they escaped the horrid institution of slavery in the South.
This museum was one of Cincinnati's first instances in its pro-active stance to bring culture to this city. Other attractions, thought not permanent, that you could find here at Cincinnati are its annual MidPoint Music Festival, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati and this past summer, one was be able to catch the high flying antiques of Cirque de Soleil, as they set up camp on The Banks.
This push towards cultural diversity is nothing new to the downtown area of Cincinnati. The ‘Final Friday’ (FF) event that has been taking place in the Pendleton neighborhood has been a staple of downtown living for at least the past two decades. Over the years this display of monthly exhibition of artesian expression has spread to other parts of downtown and Over-the-Rhine (OTR) areas to include the downtown business districts and Main Street. This event occurs (as you may know from the name) on the last Friday of every month, from 8pm to 10pm, where art gallery and shops in the downtown keep their doors open later than normal, seducing patrons with free wine and appetizers. I fell in love with this even my first year of college when the parent’s of a high-school friend opened an art studio in this area and invited my to my first FF event.
The crowning jewel of Cincinnati and one of the most notable landmarks of downtown is Fountain Square where you will find the Tyler Davidson Fountain. A must see if you are visiting within 50 miles of the area or any area in Greater Cincinnati. Currently, The Square, as it is so affectionately called to those who were born and raised in the Queen City, has been under a major face lift. The last time that The Square was remodeled was in the 70’s. Closed for the past several months, The Square is scheduled to re-open October 14, 2006, with a celebration that you should not miss if you are visiting the area. There are many hotels in the downtown area were you can stay to experience the re-opening celebration where the unveiling of the poem, 'I am Cincinnati' written for and read by native Cincinnatian and distinguished author Nikki Giovonni.
The weekend of the re-opening celebration of The Square is a perfect time to visit the city of Cincinnati and experience all of the uniqueness that this city has to offer. At the celebration, there will be performances by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Ballet and the Cincinnati Opera, in addition to the unveiling of the new and improved Tyler Davidson Fountain. Other attractions of this weekend will be performances by OK Go, a band that is mixed between indie, stadium and straight up rock. Nationally known Talib Kweli and the band Los Lobos will also e in attendance for performances.
So I hope to see you there!