Washington Park Grand Opening Celebrations include free concerts

over the rhine
Over The Rhine
over the rhine
Over The Rhine

CINCINNATI (June 18, 2012) – The rebirth of Over-the-Rhine’s Washington Park will be celebrated in a series of Grand Opening events in late July and early August, culminating an 18-month, $48-million renovation by the City of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Park Board and 3CDC. All events will be free and open to the public.

Sunday, July 22: Rock concert headlined by Over the Rhine. Led by Karin Bergquist and Linford Detweiler, who named the band for the neighborhood they lived in when starting their music careers, Over the Rhine has toured nationally and internationally since 1990. They’ve released 19 albums, including last year’s The Long Surrender, which finished No. 3 on WNKU-FM’s “Top 89 Albums” of 2011.

Over the Rhine is a member of the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards Hall of Fame.

[The free concert will begin at 7 p.m. on Washington Park’s permanent stage on the new Civic Lawn. An opening act will be announced soon.]

Friday, Aug. 3: Rare joint performance by Cincinnati Pops, May Festival, Cincinnati Opera and Cincinnati Ballet. The full Cincinnati Pops Orchestra will be conducted by John Russell Morris in a program of classical, Broadway and pop music and be joined by the May Festival Chorus, soloists from Cincinnati Opera and featured dancers from Cincinnati Ballet.

All four organizations perform at Music Hall, which is directly across Elm Street from the new park.

[The free concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. on a large temporary stage on Washington Park’s Elm Street plaza at the new Civic Lawn.]

Saturday, Aug. 4: Over-the-Rhine Community Festival. The Contact Center and Over-the-Rhine Community Council host their annual neighborhood picnic, held in Washington Park for the 27th time in 28 years (every summer except 2011, when the park was under construction). The festival will feature games, face painting, food, fund-raising raffles, children’s talent show, DJ music and live entertainment.

The Contact Center, a nonprofit community organizing agency in Over-the-Rhine whose mission is to end poverty, is still accepting applications to host game and activity booths. The deadline to apply is July 16; interested groups can get more information at 513-381-4242.

[The festival is 12-6 p.m. on Washington Park’s new Civic Lawn and around the historic bandstand. Free admission, with a small charge for game tickets, food, drinks and certain activities.]

Washington Park officially reopens to the public on Friday, July 6 with a 10 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony at the historic bandstand, followed by interactive activities throughout the park until 12 noon. The World Choir Games will present a free “friendship concert” that evening at 5-7 p.m. at the bandstand.

Free parking will be available the morning of July 6 at Washington Park’s underground garage, which has been operational since late April.

Starting July 6, Washington Park will be open 7 a.m.-11 p.m. daily and offer such amenities as a children’s playground, dog park, interactive water fountains, public restrooms and concession building. The garage is open 24 hours a day.

3CDC will offer a weekly schedule of entertainment once the park opens: live bluegrass music Wednesday night on the historic bandstand, jazz acts Thursday night on the bandstand, R&B and soul acts Friday night on the Civic Lawn main stage and “date night” movie screenings Saturday night on the Civic Lawn main stage. In addition, family-focused programming will be hosted on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from such organizations as the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Cincinnati Museum Center and Cincinnati Parks.

Details of all Washington Park programming will be available on the park’s new web site (WashingtonPark.org), which officially launches the first week of July.