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Newly renovated OTR church is The Transept event space and bar

The former church at the corner of 12th and Elm streets in Over-the-Rhine is now home to the neighborhood’s newest event space and bar, The Transept. The facility is already hosting events, and the bar debut and grand opening celebration are still a couple weeks away.

The $4.7 million renovation of the 150-year-old building had been in the works for many years. Michael Forgus, manager of Funky’s Catering, and business partner Josh Heuser, who heads the AGAR promotions agency, have been working on their idea for The Transept since the early 2000s. They took their concept to 3CDC in 2011, and the nonprofit developer bought the building in 2012 with an agreement that within a year Forgus and Heuser would buy it back.

The historic 1868 structure is one of a number of abandoned local churches that have found new life in recent years.
The former German Protestant church has sat vacant since 1993 and was in dire need of repairs. During the renovation process, all of the church’s original wood floors were refinished and the building’s 89 stained glass windows were preserved and repaired.
On the inside, the building is much the same as when it held church services. There are several different rooms that all flow into the transept, dividing the building in half. Now that area will house restrooms and will allow a number of events to be held in the building at once.
The South Tap Room at Transept, the event center’s bar, has a street-level entrance accessible from 12th and Elm. The 1,200-square-foot space will offer a small food menu when it opens Oct. 8 as well as a craft beer and cocktail program run by a local bar operator. It will be open to the public seven days a week.
The main part of The Transept is upstairs and has its own entrance off of Elm. The Assembly is the main floor of the church, and the Gallery is the former church’s balcony. Both spaces are perfect for weddings or concerts, with enough space to accommodate up to 600 people standing.
All of the events held at The Transept, including the bar’s food menu, will be catered by Funky’s.
The Transept hosts a grand opening event Oct. 8 to show off its event spaces, open the bar and raise funds for the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce. The event is $15 for OTR Chamber members and $20 for non-members and includes appetizers and two drinks. Tickets can be purchased here.

Fall festivals kick into gear this weekend

Now that the region's big-name September celebrations are over, Greater Cincinnati’s events calendar still has plenty to offer on the first weekend of October. And it might just start feeling a little like fall.

Enjoy the last of the season’s Oktoberfest celebrations this weekend and start gearing up for pumpkins, costumes and candy. Or if getting scared is more your speed, head to one of the region’s haunted houses: Dent Schoolhouse, King’s Island Halloween Haunt, Land of Illusion Haunted Scream Park or U.S.S. Nightmare.
Donauschwaben Oktoberfest
6 p.m.-midnight Oct. 2; 2 p.m.-midnight Oct. 3; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Oct. 4
Donauschwaben Park, 4290 Dry Ridge Road, Colerain Twp.
Cost: $3
Like most traditional Oktoberfests, the Donauschwaben event features German music and dance, plus a pit-roasted Bavarian pig and chicken and sausage as well as over 25 German and domestic beers.
Friday Fright Nights
7 p.m. Oct. 2
Washington Park, OTR
Bring a blanket along for a horror show double feature of Scooby Doo: Spooky Space Kook and Mars Attacks! A full bar and concessions will be available.
Sunflower Festival
10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 3-4
Gorman Heritage Farm, Evendale
$8 for adults, $5 for kids
In its 12th year, the Sunflower Festival is about all things fall. Take a stroll through the fields of sunflowers or take home a bundle of fresh-cut flowers. There’s also a pumpkin patch, where you can pick up a pumpkin to carve at home or to launch in the pumpkin fling. A hayride, carriage rides, a corn maze, face painting and food trucks round out the fun.
Weekend of Fire
11 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 3; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 4
Jungle Jim’s, Fairfield
$10 for adults, $1 for kids, ages 5 and under are free
Make sure to bring some water, because this event will set you on fire. There will be hot sauces from all around the country, ranging from mild to wild. If you dare, try the hottest sauce that you can find.
12-5 p.m. Oct. 3-4 (and every weekend until Oct. 26)
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Avondale
Regular zoo admission
Don your costume and go trick-or-treating among the animals. The zoo’s two rides, the carousel and train, will transform for the Halloween season into the Scare-ousel and the Hogwarts Express.
Bend in the River Music Festival
5-11 p.m. Oct. 3; 12-6 p.m. Oct. 4
The Sanctuary, 2110 St. Michael St., Lower Price Hill
$7 for one-day passes, $10 for two-day passes, free for Lower Price Hill residents and Oyler School students
The two-day festival has a lineup of 12 bands, including Michael Moeller, Sassafras Gap, Royal Holland, Pike 27 and Part Time Gentlemen on Saturday and Todd Lipscomb, Gypsy Stone, Buffalo Ridge Band, Noah Smith, Billy Brown Band, Phoenix and The Almighty Get Down on Sunday. No Cincinnati music festival is complete without food trucks and craft beer, which will be served up by a number of city celebrities.
Hyde Park Art Show
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 4
Hyde Park Square
Cincinnati is known for its arts scene, and Hyde Park hosts the largest one-day art show in the city. This year, 207 exhibitors will be showcasing their wares, everything from paintings, sculptures, photography, ceramics, jewelry, fiber, crafts and multi-media art. After you walk among the artists, grab a meal or a pint at one of the restaurants on the Square.
Art on Vine
12-6 p.m. Oct. 4
Fountain Square, downtown
Held once a month, Art on Vine is another chance for local artists to get their names out there. This is the final one this year to be held on Fountain Square; the event will move indoors on Nov. 8 to its winter location at Rhinegeist Brewery.

Alternative transportation options improve with Jungle Shuttle, Red Bike and Uber

Transportation isn’t limited to just buses and taxis anymore.
Urban living means relying less on cars and more on public transportation, walking and bicycling. Neighborhoods all over the Greater Cincinnati area are becoming more bike-friendly and, as in most large cities, are constantly investigating new modes of transportation.
We all know about Metro and TANK, but what other options are out there?

Cincy Red Bike
In operation for a year, Cincy Red Bike offers a bikeshare program on an hourly, daily and monthly basis. For only $8 a day, you can pick up a Red Bike at any of its 50 locations throughout Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky and ride to and from your destination. Annual memberships are also available.

Cincy Red Bike celebrated its one-year anniversary Sept. 15 by revealing numbers that show a total of 88,408 rides over the first year, an impressive 70 percent ahead of its projected 52,000 rides. There were 1,331 annual members, 42 percent over the projected 935 annual members, and a total of 14,767 unique users.

Check out Red Bike’s website for a location map and details. 

Jungle Shuttle
Taft’s Ale House and Cincy Brew Bus recently teamed up to offer a shuttle from Over-the-Rhine to The Banks and back for select Cincinnati Bengals home games. Mike Stokes, owner of Cincy Brew Bus, sees it as an opportunity to teach people about Cincinnati’s beer history and culture as well as a way to bridge OTR and downtown.
On game days, the shuttle will leave from Taft’s at 10:40 a.m. and will make trips every 20 minutes to O’Malley’s in the Alley near Paul Brown Stadium. O’Malley’s is the first bar to offer Taft’s beer outside of the actual brewery, and current offerings include Nellie’s Key Lime Caribbean Ale on tap and Cherrywood Amber in cans. Each shuttle rider will receive a wristband for $1 off Taft’s beer at O’Malley’s on the day they ride the shuttle.
The shuttle had its first run Sept. 20 and will operate on Oct. 4, Oct. 11, Nov. 29, Dec. 13 and Jan. 3. It’s free, but you have to register beforehand at Taft’s.

Available in 60 countries around the world, Uber offers rides at lower costs than most taxis. Drivers are contracted and can pick you up and drop you off wherever you need to go.

Download the Uber app on your smartphone, plan out your route and a driver will be along to pick you up. And you don’t have to worry about carrying change or tip money with you — payments are done via the app.   

Coming soon: Cincinnati Streetcar
Streetcar construction is slated to be completed by the end of October in downtown and OTR, just in time for the delivery of the first streetcar vehicle around Oct. 30. The second vehicle will arrive Dec. 11, with the third, fourth and fifth coming afterwards.
Cincinnati Streetcar is a $133 million project featuring 18 stops along a 3.6-mile loop through downtown and OTR. The route connects Second Street at The Banks to Henry Street near Findlay Market. Stops along the way include Government Square, Fountain Square, the public library, Aronoff Center for the Arts, the Gateway Quarter, Music Hall and Washington Park. Plans are for the streetcar to run 18 hours a day 365 days a year.

Roundup of neighborhood festivals through the rest of September

The temperature is finally starting to drop, and signs of fall are just around the corner. In response, Cincinnati gears up for the season with a plethora of arts, beer and music festivals.

Here’s a quick roundup of some of our September favorites!
Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, Sept. 18-20
Grab your lederhosen and a stein and head downtown for America’s largest Oktoberfest, which was first held in 1976. The celebration of German-style beer, food and music begins Friday with the Running of the Wieners and includes other events like the Gemuetlichkeit (Goodwill) Games and the World’s Largest Chicken Dance.
Fifty Fest, Sept. 19
Fifty West Brewing Company hosts its third annual festival that celebrates not only its beer but beer from all over Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. For a $10 entry fee you can hear 10 bands on three stages and try beers from 20 local breweries. The event is noon to midnight at Fifty West HQ outside of Mariemont.
CliftonFest, Sept. 25-27
There are several new features for this year’s CliftonFest, which has been held along the Ludlow Avenue business district for the past four years. Food trucks, local restaurant specials and kids game areas have been added to the traditional lineup of live music, West Sixth craft beer, arts vendors and fun activities for the whole family. Plus it’s free!
MidPoint Music Festival, Sept. 25-27
Tickets are still on sale for MPMF, celebrating its 14th year in Cincinnati. The music fest takes place over three days on 10 stages in Over-the-Rhine and downtown, four of which will host all ages shows. Daily passes are $40 and are available on MPMF’s website and on site.
Cincy Summer Streets, Sept. 26
For the first time, Cincy Summer Streets will be held in OTR; there have been two events this summer already, one in Northside and the other in Walnut Hills. Pleasant Street will be car-free between Washington Park and Findlay Market 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and feature fun outdoor activities for the whole family as well as food and drinks.
Cincinnati Street Food Festival, Sept. 26
Food trucks have become the norm in Cincinnati, and Walnut Hills knows how to celebrate mobile food in style. The fourth annual event will include a number of local food trucks, live music and local craft beer. Keep tabs on the event’s Facebook page for up-to-date vendor information.
Art Off Pike, Sept. 27
Covington has become known for its growing community of artists, and the rest of the Tristate is taking notice. Art Off Pike allows art-lovers the opportunity to browse and shop the works of more than 60 local artists and creatives 11 a.m.-5 p.m. as well as join in on the art making. The event had been centered at Madlot at the corner of Seventh and Washington streets, but this year it’s expanded to the Duveneck Triangle and the Pike Street Overpass.

Tour to highlight OTR's beautiful, historic churches

Over-the-Rhine is home to 11 historic churches, including St. Paulus Kirche, Cincinnati's oldest Protestant church. To honor that legacy, Taft’s Ale House — itself located in a renovated historic church — is teaming up with American Legacy Tours and the Over-the-Rhine Foundation to offer guided tours of neighborhood churches.
American Legacy Tours will lead two 90-minute tours of five historic OTR churches on Sept. 9: the former St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, which is now Taft’s Ale House, at 1429 Race St.; St. Francis Seraph, 1615 Vine St.; First Lutheran, 1208 Race St.; Nast Community (formerly known as Nast Trinity United Methodist Church), 1310 Race; and Old St. Mary’s, 123 E. 13th St.

“Each church included on the tour is currently serving the OTR community in one form or another,” says Erica Spitzig, attorney at Graydon Head. “The tour will serve to engage participants in the history, character and beauty of the OTR neighborhood while highlighting some of the amenities it has to offer its residents.”
The tours will help continue the OTR Foundation’s mission of teaching potential property owners how to successfully redevelop owner-occupied properties in Over-the-Rhine. The Foundation started a program in 2014 that covers property selection, financing opportunities and guidelines for working with historic properties and neighborhoods.
The Foundation hosted a Lessons Learned Workshop in June that featured three property owners whose buildings were at various stages of redevelopment. The first-hand accounts helped others who are interested in buying, rehabbing and living in OTR.
Tickets for the church tours are $30 and can be purchased on American Legacy Tours’ website. The first tour begins at 6:30 p.m. and the second at 7 p.m.; both tours start and end at Taft’s, where attendees can enjoy a pint as part of their ticket price.

Transform Cincinnati announces six finalists, puts them in front of potential funders

Transform Cincinnati, an initiative that connects people with great ideas to those who have the money to make the ideas happen, held its first call for submissions in June. Each submission had to have a measurable, long-lasting impact on Cincinnati, be sustainable, be large enough in scale to be truly transformational and be supported by a group or organization that could see it through.

The program was developed by businessman and arts patron Richard Rosenthal, who realized that since the early 1800s Cincinnati has benefited from the engagement of community “investors,” or people who gave of themselves and their resources to elevate the region.

“While we are fortunate to continue to have many generous individuals, there is a need and an opportunity to enhance the ranks of these significant, individual funders of regional initiatives and to facilitate the development of ideas that inspire, engage and involve new generations of funders and investors,” Rosenthal says.
Six proposals were recently announced as Transform Cincinnati finalists from a pool of 150 entries, and those six groups now will pitch their ideas to investors. On Sept. 30, Transform Cincinnati hosts a Marketplace event that will be much like the TV show Shark Tank, where the six finalists will present to a group of investors who could make those ideas become reality.
The finalists are:

A Down Payment on the Preschool Promise
4C for Children wants to create a foundation for the educational future of children through Cincinnati Preschool Promise. The program, still in development, aims to ensure that every child in the area has access to two years of high-quality, affordable preschool regardless of income.
Activate Ziegler Park
3CDC plans to expand Ziegler Park on Sycamore Street in Over-the-Rhine. The existing park would be renovated into five acres of community space to include a neighborhood green space, a new deep-water swimming pool, a multi-use recreational field and a playground.
Cincinnati Neighborhood Equity Fund for Walnut Hills
The Cincinnati Development Fund plans to create a fund to accelerate jobs and redevelopment in urban communities beyond Over-the-Rhine, beginning in Walnut Hills. CDF would support the idea by advising on financing, investing its own money and leveraging other funding sources to complement the initial investment.
End Youth Homelessness in Cincinnati by 2020
Lighthouse Youth Services plans to develop a multipurpose center in Walnut Hills that would provide housing and services for youth, including an emergency homeless youth shelter and new units of permanent supportive housing as well as a range of services that are meant to get youth off the streets. The ultimate goal is to eradicate youth homelessness in Cincinnati.
Precision Cancer Care
UC Health and its cancer institute want to revolutionize cancer outcomes in Cincinnati by leveraging breakthrough discoveries in genomics, drug discovery and biological model systems. UC’s goal is to rank the city among national leaders in new and personalized cancer-care advances, then spread those discoveries across the world.
Venture Building Studio and OPA! Labs
Cintrifuse, in partnership with the Health Collaborative, plans to establish a consumer healthcare venture studio that will be dedicated to attracting the best health innovators and talent to the area in order to incubate, nurture and commercialize ideas.

“We hope that together we can think bigger and do more than we have before,” Rosenthal says. “Transform Cincinnati is working hard to identify and facilitate connections between organizations with big ideas and the investors and funders with between $1 million and $10 million who can help make them happen. We’ve heard from organizations that the process has already helped them to seek new collaborations and to become more focused on how to bring their ideas to life. We’ve heard from investors who never before thought of themselves as having the wherewithal to invest in bigger ideas and now recognize they can do so.

“It’s both gratifying and motivating to recognize that Transform Cincinnati has unlocked a new way to help the region become one of the best places in the country to live, learn, work and play.”

Transform Cincinnati has drawn on the experience and involvement of leading community organizations such as ArtsWave, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation, Interact for Health, the Jewish Federation and United Way.
If you’re interested in investing in one of these six ideas, register here before Sept. 28.

Business grants aim to help OTR entrepreneurs grow customer base

Four Over-The-Rhine businesses recently received funds through the Business Innovation Challenge Grant and the Business First Grant, both of which aim to help local businesses grow and help strengthen OTR’s economy.
“The Business Innovation Challenge supports existing OTR businesses by helping them flourish, expand and ultimately grow new products and services,” says Emilie Johnson, president of the Over-the-Rhine Chamber, which helps facilitate the grants. “The mission of the Business First Grant is to help benefit the city by strengthening the local economy, increase business and employment opportunities and animate the sidewalks of OTR.”
The Business Innovation Challenge Grant launched in April 2014 to focus on existing businesses. Segway Cincinnati/The Garage OTR, MOTR Pub and Cincy Shirts each received $1,000 from Fifth Third Bank to develop their new business strategies over the next six to eight months.
Segway Cincinnati/The Garage OTR plans to create a new guided Segway tour of OTR and downtown to feature public art and art institutions. MOTR Pub is interested in creating and hosting an online OTR interactive parking map. And Cincy Shirts hopes to create a wall of stadium seats for their in-store T-shirt display as well as develop a line of stadium seat furniture.
Artichoke, a new kitchenware store planning to open at 1824 Elm St., received a $10,000 Business First Grant. The grant offers unique businesses that are new to OTR the opportunity to open, expand or grow their services in the neighborhood.
Artichoke will be housed in a renovated, historic brick Italianate building near Findlay Market. The store will offer cookware and have a demo kitchen to showcase recipes featuring produce from market vendors.

Over-the-Rhine continues to boom with new businesses

A number of new businesses have opened in Over-the-Rhine over the past few months, especially in the Findlay Market area north of Liberty Street as residential developments continue to crop up. We’ve rounded up a few of the neighborhood's newest and provide the low-down on what you’ll find.

Dirt: A Modern Market at Findlay Market, 131 W. Elder St.
Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

Dirt brings a year-round marketplace to Cincinnati that will help connect consumers with local producers. The full-time retail store sells only locally produced fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and dairy products along with a number of other goods.
Dirt also functions as a consignment store where growers and producers can rent space on a weekly or monthly basis. They keep 70 to 80 percent of their gross sales, construct individual displays and set their own prices. It gives producers the opportunity to continue selling their goods even when they aren’t physically at Findlay Market.

OTR Candy Bar, 1735 Elm St.
Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

Co-owner Mike Petzelf’s brother purchased the building on Elm Street, and then the family came up with the idea for a candy store. After renovations and build-out, they opened the doors in April.  
OTR Candy Bar offers a large variety of bulk candies, which are locally and nationally sourced, as well as more than 50 soda flavors. Customers can mix their own 4-pack to take home or enjoy one while they’re strolling through Findlay Market.

3 Sweet Girls Cakery, 29 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine
Hours: 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday

This Kenwood-based bakery opened its second location in OTR just in time for the All Star Game. The shop offers a variety of items to satisfy your sweet tooth, including eight cupcake flavors and 15 cake pop flavors; their specialty is a Flying Pig Cake Pop.

3 Sweet Girls also sells decorated cookies, chocolate pretzels and Oreos, cake push-ups and cupcakes in a jar, plus special treats for your furry friend.
Goods on Main, 1300 Main St., Over-the-Rhine
Hours: Thursday-Sunday, subject to change

Goods is a retail collective with an ever-revolving, themed inventory. It opened in June and currently has everything you would need for an adventure, whether that be outdoors or in the kitchen.   

The store also has an event space, which is used for special occasions in OTR like Second Sundays on Main and Final Friday. There are plans to expand Goods into that event space to become a much larger store.

Several local food truck owners taking next step and opening storefronts

Food trucks have become the meal-on-the-go option for Cincinnatians, whether it’s a business lunch or community event. After establishing themselves and their menu offerings, a number of those food truck owners are now expanding their businesses and opening brick-and-mortar locations.
Share Cheesebar
6105 Ridge Road, Pleasant Ridge
Emily Frank, owner of C’est Cheese food truck, is planning to open a cheese retail shop this fall in Pleasant Ridge’s Sixty99 development next to Nine Giant Brewing. The shop will be part retail and part cheese bar, with a large selection of products and a rotating variety of cheeses, wine, beer and fresh bread.
Frank started C’est Cheese in 2011, when there were about 10 food trucks on the streets of Cincinnati. Today there are about 60, and she decided to use her love of cheese to introduce another venture in the city.
“I’ve always been a huge lover of cheese but have always been a bit intimidated by most cheese shops,” she says. “There are so many choices, and sometimes it feels a bit overwhelming and I’m hesitant to ask questions in order to learn more.”
Share Cheesebar will have a relaxed atmosphere, where customers can come in and enjoy a cheese or charcuterie plate or a glass of wine. Cheese will also be available for purchase to take to a party or home for dinner.
“The name ‘Share’ is really what we want people to do in the space,” Frank says.
Even though Frank is starting another venture, she will continue serving up the cheesy goodness from Blanche, her food truck.

Urbana Café
1206 Broadway St., Pendleton/OTR
Daniel Noguera purchased a Vespa Ape in 2013 and converted it into a mobile espresso café that’s a Findlay Market staple on the weekends. Now Noguera plans to open a brick-and-mortar café in October next to Nation Kitchen + Bar in the Pendleton area next to Over-the-Rhine.
Urbana Café will serve high-quality espresso-based drinks as well as a limited food menu with both sweet and savory options.
Noguera plans to continue his mobile coffee business and currently has two Vespas roaming the streets of Cincinnati. He has plans to expand the mobile side of his business to a nearby city, such as Louisville or Columbus.
1342 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine
Chef Alfio Gulisano and his partner Scott Lambert, owners of Alfio’s Buon Cibo in Hyde Park, recently started a food truck called Che Empanadas. They’re expanding on that concept and planning to open a restaurant based on the Argentinean staple of pizza and empanadas.
Che!, which means Hey!, will open its doors in Over-the-Rhine in the fall. The restaurant will feature a large bar with Argentine wines by the glass and craft beer options as well as an outdoor dining area with a parrilla, a large outdoor grill that will feature a rotating variety of grilled meats.
The restaurant will also have an ordering window that opens onto the street, where customers can get empanadas and pizza during late-night hours.
5164 Kennedy Ave., Pleasant Ridge
The owners of Catch-A-Fire Pizza opened a café inside of MadTree Brewing in February. It’s an extension of the food truck, and the menu features items infused with MadTree beer.
Dojo Gelato
1735 Blue Rock St., Northside
Dojo Gelato has been a staple at Findlay Market for six years, and next spring owner Michael Christner plans to open a stand-alone location in the old J.F. Dairy Corner in Northside.
Christner will continue to serve his gelato, which has become a Cincinnati favorite, but will also expand Dojo’s menu with twists on traditional ice cream favorites. That menu will eventually be served at the Findlay Market location as well, as all of Dojo’s production will be moved to the new Northside location.
O Pie O
1527 Madison Road, East Walnut Hills
While not a food truck, O Pie O will be expanding beyond its Findlay Market pop-up roots with a brick-and-mortar store opening soon at DeSales Corner. The store is currently hiring workers.
The pie shop will feature both sweet and savory options as well as a small menu of soups and salads. Wine, craft beer, coffee and ice cream will also be served as accompaniments.

Third annual Taste of OTR adds new experiences, "best of" contest

Tender Mercies will host its third annual Taste of OTR event Aug. 29 in Washington Park, with a lot more in store for foodies this year. The event showcases craft beer, local restaurants and food trucks as well as the art, music and shopping in Over-the-Rhine.
Tender Mercies created the Taste of OTR in 2013 as a way to contribute to OTR’s culture and its future. The nonprofit serves homeless adults with mental illness, and each year more than 200 men and women benefit from Tender Mercies’ programming and support.
“Taste of OTR has quickly become popular and is now a must-attend summer event,” says Jackie Baumgartner, development director at Tender Mercies. “The event is a celbration of Over-the-Rhine’s growth, vibrancy and cultural engagement. It’s a popular celebration of the continued revitalization of the neighborhood that we’re proud to be a part of.”
About 25 local and OTR restaurants will be featured at Taste of OTR, and drinks will be provided by Rhinegeist, Angry Orchard and Sam Adams. There will also be live music, with Sphynx as the headliner. Food truck alley will be set up on 14th Street with a number of Cincinnati favorites represented.
Taste of OTR is scheduled for 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Aug. 29 with free admission, and tastings ranging from $1 to $6. New this year are separate VIP tickets, limited to only 200 guests. The VIP experience will allow guests to enjoy Taste in a more private setting with special tastings throughout the day.
Also new this year is a “Best of Taste” contest, with the featured restaurants competing to be named a crowd favorite. Winners in each category will be recognized at the event and awarded a plaque to display in their restaurant.
“Our hope is that with continued growth Taste will bring unity and an increased cultural understanding and awareness of how many homeless are in need in Cincinnati,” Baumgartner says. “Taste shows the city that Over-the-Rhine is welcoming, engaging and a vibrant place to live, play and work that also helps those with nowhere else to turn.”
VIP tickets are $50 in advance and $60 at the door; drink tickets are included in the ticket price. To purchase VIP tickets and for restaurant information, visit the Taste of OTR website.

Findlay Market, community stakeholders plan for pedestrian-friendly Pleasant Street

A number of community stakeholders are exploring different options for a pedestrian-friendly walkway that would link Washington Park and Findlay Market in Over-the-Rhine. Two events have been held to gather community input and demonstrate options, with suggestions including seating, lighting, a playground, murals, interactive art, food trucks and musical installations.
Pleasant Street, which is parallel to and between Elm and Race streets and crosses Liberty Street, runs north/south from Findlay Market to Washington Park. Right now there are crosswalks, but the area isn’t heavily traveled by pedestrians or bicyclists. With the increased focus on development in and around Findlay Market, a pedestrian walkway would only add to the sense of community the neighborhood is attracting.
A community block party was held June 5 to start the conversation and get community members involved in the planning process. A follow-up event was held July 11 to showcase some of the improvements and designs that were developed by UC’s MetroLab with help from other planning, public art and ethics classes.
An ongoing public art project entitled “Alternate Steps” was installed, which follows the proposed walking path. The installation combines interviews with community members and photos of their feet, which were placed along the street to create a “walking path” of stories.
Another addition to the area is the Field of Greens, a wiffleball field in the 1500 block of Pleasant. It’s also serving as a working garden that will operate alongside Findlay Market’s production gardens and help supplement what’s produced there.
Seats made from old tires have been added along the path, and MetroLab has also designed an outdoor kitchen made from recycled plastic baskets that will be installed soon.
The ultimate goal is close Pleasant Street to cars at least some of the time. Elder Street, which borders Findlay Market on one side, is closed to cars during market hours and reopens after market hours. Closing Pleasant wouldn’t be tied to market hours, though — the idea is to make the area a safe, friendly place for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Join the conversation: What do you want to see on Pleasant Street?

Cincy Summer Streets back for second year, adds event in OTR

Cincy Summer Streets return car-free one-day festivals to Walnut Hills and Northside starting July 18 — after drawing about 4,200 people last year in the two neighborhoods — and will introduce a third version in Over-the-Rhine.
“We looked at many neighborhoods and there are so many options for expanding,” says Margy Waller, co-founder of Summer Streets. “This gives people a chance to play in their own neighborhood in a space that’s typically used by cars.”  
The areas in Walnut Hills and Northside are slightly different from last year — Walnut Hills will be focused on McMillan Street between Victory Parkway and Chatham Street, while Northside will use Hamilton Avenue between Pullan and Spring Grove avenues. OTR’s event will be held on Pleasant Street, which connects Washington Park and Findlay Market, between 14th Street and Glass Alley.
The majority of activities will be held on sidewalks, leaving the streets open to walkers, bicyclists and skateboarders. Many of the same organizations will be back for this year’s events, featuring events like climbing walls, double-dutch jump roping, lawn bowling, mini golf, jousting, hula hooping, yoga, dancing, belly dancing, art and crosswalk painting.
With the streets free of cars, people can walk, run, bike, skateboard and roller blade up and down the event space.
“Cincy Summer Streets is a celebration of the communities’ largest public spaces, the streets,” Waller says. “We turn the streets into parks for a day and we help connect neighborhoods with their people, while getting those people to enjoy healthy activities and art-making right in their own neighborhoods.”
In OTR, Summer Streets is partnering with Findlay Market, which is working with a number of community partners to further activate Pleasant Street to benefit the community. They’re planning to involve Market vendors in the event, which is different from the events in Walnut Hills and Northside.
Other community partners include Interact for Health, US Bank/Haile Foundation, Topic Design, Walnut Hills Area Council, Walnut Hills Business Group, Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation, Northside Community Council, Northside Business Association, Over-the-Rhine Community Council, Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce, Art on the Streets and Cincinnati Development Fund.
“These events help foster civic pride as well as stimulate economic development and help to represent the community’s businesses and government investments,” Waller says. “The city has amazing parks, vibrant local business corridors, arts and artists and active community organizations. Summer Streets provides a chance to highlight all of these assets during safe, fun and free community events.”
The first Summer Streets event is July 18 in Walnut Hills. Northside’s event is Aug. 23, and OTR’s is Sept. 26. All three events are scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

Make sure to keep tabs on the Summer Streets website for each event's specific activities and organizations.

Ohio announces recipients of state historic tax credits, including six Cincinnati projects

Six Cincinnati projects recently received $7.1 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits. Statewide, 19 projects were chosen to receive funding, totaling more than $27.5 million. The projects range from new apartments to commercial space and are expected to leverage about $280 million in private investment.
512 E. 12th St.
Total cost: $700,000; tax credit funds: $76,800
Two Over-the-Rhine residents acquired the building from OTR A.D.O.P.T. and plan to renovate it into seven one-bedroom market-rate apartments.
Abington Flats, 33 Green St.
Total cost: $4,855,059; tax credit funds: $482,999
The four-story, 105-year-old building near Findlay Market will be converted into 18 fully accessible apartments and one commercial storefront. Cornerstone Corporation for Shared Equity, Model Group and 3CDC are partnering on the project.
Baldwin Piano Company, 655 Eden Park Dr.
Total cost: $39,233,265; tax credit funds: $4,840,000
The eight-story building served as the home of the Baldwin Piano Company until it was converted into offices in 1987. Neyer Properties plans to rehab it into 176 market-rate apartments.
Market Square A, 1808-10 Race St.
Total cost: $2,585,377; tax credit funds: $249,999
As part of the larger Market Square development near Findlay Market, the two buildings are over 11,000 square feet. Model Group plans to rehab the space into nine apartments and about 1,500 square feet of commercial space.
Market Square B, 101 W. Elder St. and 1812 Race St.
Total cost: $2,568,088; tax credit funds: $249,999
Another part of the Market Square development, the building at 1812 Race and the John and Henry Kruse Dry Goods and Notions Building at 101 W. Elder will become nine apartments and just over 1,500 square feet of commercial space.
Merchants Building, 34 W. Sixth St.
Total cost: $9,921,186; tax credit funds: $982,295
Ashley Commercial Group plans to turn the 103-year-old building into 62 market-rate apartments with first-floor commercial space.
Warner Brothers Pictures Building, 1600 Central Parkway
Total cost: $1,310,665; tax credit funds: $184,000
Built in 1940, the building has been vacant for a number of years. Grandin Properties has acquired the property and plans to convert it into office space.

Local vintage outfits host popup shop at Brick OTR during All Star Game week

Two local vintage stores, Flying V Vintage and Mike’s Vintage Toys and Collectibles, will host a popup shop at Brick OTR during All Star Game week. The shop will be open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. July 13-14 to sell items from the ’80s and ’90s.
Up to this point, both operations have sold exclusively online and through direct sales models. Jason Helferich, owner of Flying V Vintage, says the popup shop is an experiment in the feasibility of having a permanent brick-and-mortar store in the future.
“Both myself and Mike Patterson (owner of Mike’s Vintage Toys and Collectibles) were looking for a way to engage customers in an offline setting and generate awareness of our businesses and the type of products we sell,” Helferich says.
The popup will feature vintage sports apparel such as T-shirts, jackets, jerseys and snapback hats, with an emphasis on baseball apparel since it’s All Star weekend.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Real Ghostbusters, GI Joe, WWF and WCW action figures and toy playsets will also be available for sale. Helferich says that the most desirable items might be be a Chalk Line Chris Sabo Fanimation jacket and the original prototype toys from the ’90s Jim Carrey The Mask animated series toy line. Items will range from $10 to $150.
“We hope to bring something unique and different to the weekend,” Helferich says. “We know that many are fond of the ’80s and ’90s, and I’m sure they will find something they remember or had as a kid. From the unique merchandise to the limited engagement, this isn’t something you see every day.”

Tristate celebrates 4th of July with variety of events, music and fireworks

Looking for a way to celebrate America's birthday? Check out the variety of events around town to honor the 4th of July.
Thursday, July 2
American Salute
6 p.m., Burnet Woods, Clifton
Music from the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra's Little Big Band and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s string quartet will be followed by fireworks at 9 p.m.

Northside Rock n’ Roll Carnival
Music, food and craft beer fills Northside’s Hoffner Park all weekend. The event itself is free, and you can purchase drinks and food from a variety of vendors.
Friday, July 3
Cincinnati Reds Fireworks Friday
Game at 7:10 p.m., Great American Ball Park, Downtown
Fireworks will follow the game, with a live soundtrack provided by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. If you don’t go to the game, you can still catch the fireworks from points along the river, including Smale Riverfront Park and Newport on the Levee.
Fireworks at Kings Island
10 p.m.
The park itself is open until midnight. Fireworks show comes with price of admission.
LaRosa’s Balloon Glow at Coney Island
10 p.m.
Head over to Coney Island for a day of nostalgic rides as well as LaRosa’s 15th Annual Balloon Glow, which begins at 8 p.m.; fireworks will follow the Balloon Glow. Tickets are $10.95 and up for Coney Island rides and the Sunlite Pool, but the Balloon Glow and Fireworks are free with the price of parking.
Independence Day Celebration on Fountain Square
9:45 p.m., Fountain Square, Downtown
After the MidPoint Indie Summer Concert Series, the fireworks show will begin from the roof of Macy’s downtown store.
Saturday, July 4
4th of July Jam
3-10 p.m., Washington Park, Over-the-Rhine
Enjoy live music from The Almighty Get Down, The Infinity Project and Ray’s Music Exchange as well as a simulcast of The Grateful Dead’s “Fare Thee Well” concert at Chicago’s Soldier Field on a large LED screen. The free event will end with fireworks and will also include food, craft beer, carnival games and face painting.
Ault Park Independence Day Fireworks
11 a.m., Ault Park, Mt. Lookout
A children’s parade will begin the day of festivities, food and music. A fireworks show will end the day at 10 p.m.  
Cincinnati Reds Independence Day Fireworks Show
Game at 7:15 p.m., Great American Ball Park, Downtown
Fireworks to follow the game.
Covington Neighborhood Bicentennial Independence Day Parade
10:30 a.m.
Stake out a spot along the Peaselburg neighborhood parade route (Euclid to 16th Street and up Russell) and join the rest of Northern Kentucky for an after party at St. Augustine Church.
Fireworks at Kings Island
10 p.m.
The park itself is open until midnight. Fireworks show comes with price of admission.
Northside Fourth of July Parade
12 noon
Northside businesses, organizations and residents show off their creative sides with a variety of floats. The parade route is down Hamilton Avenue, beginning at the corner of Ashtree and Hamilton and ending at Hoffner Park.
Red, White and Blue Ash
4-10:30 p.m., Blue Ash Summit Park
Lots of free entertainment, including The Doobie Brothers at 8:15 p.m. and fireworks at 10 p.m.
Red, White, and Boom!
8 p.m., Riverbend Music Center
The Cincinnati Pops will play patriotic favorites, accompanied by the May Festival Chorus and the USO Show Troupe. Tickets are $15-35; ticketholders can visit Coney Island for free on July 4 (excluding Sunlite Pool).
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