When BLINK — one of the largest light, art and projection mapping events in the nation — came to Cincinnati for the first time in 2017, it drew the largest crowds that downtown Cincinnati and Over-the-Rhine (OTR) has ever seen.
For its second year, organizers are expecting 1.5 million people to attend — more than twice what the crowds are for Cincinnati’s Oktoberfest celebrations.
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The parade, which kicked off Thursday night, had incredible crowds along the route from the corner of Eighth and Vine streets to the Banks of the river. About 3,400 people participated in the Blink Future Spectacular Parade itself.
For its second year BLINK is going big and it feels like it.
The event kicked off Thursday, Oct. 10, and will run through spanning more than 30 city blocks. It’s a massive cultural event with more than 100 murals, interactive art, light projection mapping installations and urban artscapes.
Here are some tips to make the most of it if you decide to head down.
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1) Get there early with a plan.
Parking is very limited and public transportation is packed. There are five zones that stretch from Northern Kentucky to the banks of the river in downtown Cincinnati to OTR. The event runs from 7-11 p.m. each night. Unless you are running from stop to stop you will likely be able to get through a little more than half of it in one evening.
2) Wear comfortable shoes and bring a bottle of water. Ubers are expensive and go slowly with so many people attacking the streets and crosswalks on foot. This event is designed along the Cincinnati Bell Connector Streetcar route and is free to ride during the event after 4 p.m., but the cars were packed on the first night. This is a walking event for sure, so arrive ready to put in some miles.
3) Know where the live entertainment and event hospitality areas are located.
Each zone has one and this is the best place to find, food, drink and bathrooms. If you are porta potty adverse be on the lookout for bars and restaurants that you can buy a drink at and find relief. Each of the five hospitality areas also has live music so it’s a nice way to take a moment and relax between all of the visual art stops.
4) It’s a free event, but bring cash. You never know when you’re going to need it and at this event you will probably find yourself in need at some point.
5) Don’t miss the Roebling Bridge, which has been brought to life with a lighting and musical score by Massey Studios. It was stunning and mesmerizing and very fun to watch and walk across to the Northern Kentucky attractions.
6) One event that is ticketed and will have very long lines at night is the Dodecalis Luminarium By the Architects of Air Washington Park. This is an attraction you can do during the day after lunch and before the crowds descend. It’s relaxing and beautiful with a setting that inspires and taps into your imagination.
7) Download a map to your phone just in case. The app and website have been experiencing crashes so arrive ready to navigate with your own tools if need be.
8) Take the addresses for the main stages with you. Here you will find a hub for what you need and can make a plan to get from one zone to the next.
• Wellness Your Way Rivercenter Stage, 10 East Rivercenter Boulevard, Covington, Kentucky
• 7th Street Covington Stage, 26 West 7th Street, Covington, Kentucky
• AARP Freedom Way Stage, 10 Freedom Way East, Cincinnati
• Belterra Court Street Stage, 30 East Court Street, Cincinnati
• Elder Street Stage, 1801 Race Street, Cincinnati
• Findlay Market Biergarten Stage, 1654 Central Parkway, Cincinnati
WANT TO GO?
What: BLINK Cincinnati
When: Thursday, Oct. 10 through Sunday, Oct. 13. BLINK will kick off on Thursday at 7 p.m. with a light parade.
Where: Downtown Cincinnati, spanning 20 city blocks, from The Banks to Findlay Market.
Admission: Free. (Items are available for purchase.)
More info: www.blinkcincinnati.com