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Come one, Come all to Riverfest this weekend!

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This year's Riverfest is Sunday, Aug. 31 from noon to 11 p.m. at Sawyer Point downtown and along Riverboat Row in Covington and Newport. The annual fireworks display is scheduled to begin shortly after 9 p.m.

Art Rozzi, the mastermind behind the spectacularly colorful displays that characterize the Toyota/WEBN Fireworks which cap off Riverfest, has outdone himself this year.

So say organizers of the event, who have worked with Rozzi and his colleagues at Rozzi's Famous Fireworks to produce what they promise will be some "amazing effects" during this year's show.


Improved digital technology has allowed Rozzi and WEBN engineers to tinker even more precisely with both the fireworks and the soundtrack, and the results will be obvious, according to WEBN spokesman Michael Walter.

"The soundtrack this year has been mixed to allow for some timing possibilities and elements that we've never seen before," says WEBN spokesman Michael Walter. "Art's just amazing at taking something that you've seen before and making it seem like you've never seen it before."

For his part, Rozzi says he and his colleagues relish the challenge of trying to top the previous year's display.

"We've tried to do the best we can with the riverfront surroundings, and, of course, the bridges are always part of that," Rozzi says. "I think the fireworks have always lived up to the hype, so as long as we keep doing it, we're going to try and keep improving it every year."

Organizers are also touting this year's festival as more family-friendly than ever. Since introducing alcohol-free zones on the Ohio side of the river in 1988, the event has become a more attractive option for parents and kids to enjoy together, Walter says. Switching the festivities from Labor Day Monday to Sunday has helped, too. This year, Meijer is sponsoring a family fun zone, where the kids will find inflatable castles to bounce around in, clowns, face painting and other surprises.

"Every year we try to grow the event with more activities for children," says WEBN event planner Jennifer McElroy.

"I think there's always been a push to put more out there for more people," Walter adds. "We realize that a lot of people come down who aren't WEBN listeners. It's always been about, 'Hey, let's try to make as many people happy as we can.'"

Cincinnati Police officials say they're planning to have between 200 and 300 extra officers on duty, comparable to recent years. More than 100 officers will be on duty on the Kentucky side, where coolers will be strictly prohibited.

"It's really been pushing toward being a more family-oriented event," says Cincinnati Police Lt. Mark Vennemeier. "When they banned the alcohol several years ago, that cut down on the vast majority of the problems we'd been having."

His advice for making the most out of the day: "Get there early. It seems like no matter what we do to warn people, traffic becomes a nightmare. So the best we can tell anyone is, plan in advance and plan to be patient getting in and getting out."

Best views

Instead of fighting for a prime spot along the riverfront to see the fireworks, consider one of these alternatives:

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Riverfest rules. I may go watch the fireworks at my sister's place in Park Hills.

I know--not interesting. I just wanted to add my first post at SSA! :)

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