GOOD FOOD – GOOD BEER – GOOD TIMES

Taste of Cincinnati USA is held every Memorial Day weekend in Downtown Cincinnati by the Downtown Council and the Greater Cincinnati Restaurant Association. Started in 1979, it is now the nation’s longest running culinary arts festival.

Taste of Cincinnati USA started as a one-day fest in Piatt Park, then known as Garfield Park, with approximately 5,000 attending the first event. The event expanded to two days in 1981, and in 1988 expanded to three days and moved to Central Parkway.

In 2007, th event was moved to Fifth Street to spotlight the $42-million renovation of Fountain Square and its underground parking garage, and to bring the event closer to Downtown’s cluster of hotels, such as The Cincinnatian, Garfield Suites, Hilton Netherland Cincinnati, Hyatt Regency, Millenium Hotel, Terrace Hotel, and the Westin.

Approximately 500,000 now attend the annual food extravaganza, making Taste one of the nation’s largest street festivals. Taste of Cincinnati was named Food Event of the Year for 1997 by Events Business News, the recognized authority of the special events business in the United States, selecting it out of 40,000 special events across the nation.

Taste of Cincinnati USA features more than 40 fine restaurants serving up delicious and delectable menu items. In the weeks leading up to Taste each year, menu items are previewed and judged for the prestigious Best of Taste Awards.

The Taste is also a music festival, with continuous live entertainment featuring local and national recording stars performing on multiple stages throughout the event.

WHEN:
Saturday: Noon-11:00pm
Sunday: Noon-11:00pm
Monday: Noon-9:00pm

WHERE:
On six blocks of Fifth Street, from Race Street to Broadway in Downtown Cincinnati.

GoOTR 5k Run/Walk

The second GoOTR 5k Run/Walk is coming up next Saturday, May 31st. This is a great way to see the new stuff going on in OTR, get some exercise, enjoy the outdoors, and raise some money for the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce.

This year’s 5k will start at 10am at 12th & Vine (GoogleMap). There will be food, beer and plenty of fun. This year’s race and events will pay tribute to the 1-year anniversary of the Gateway Quarter. Registration is a mere $10, with the money going to the OTR Chamber (this gets you into the race and a t-shirt).

I am signed up and ready to go…and I’ll surely be sporting my new Over-the-Rhine Volunteer Ambassador t-shirt (orange with OTR Ambassador across the back).

You can register online without any processing fees (select OTR 5k run/walk for the payment reason). You can also get more information from the OTR Chamber of Commerce at 513.241.2690 or by email at otrchamber@zoomtown.com.

The retail over-saturation problem

When can you tell enough is enough? Is there any hope for our nation if there isn’t constant growth? These are the questions I find myself asking when I read stories like this.

Cincinnati Mills, one of the largest retail centers in the region, has seen store after store shutter. This comes after millions of dollars of reinvestment into a massive mall sandwiched in between two others along a mall interstate of sorts.

It really makes you wonder (at least me), do we really need all of this retail space. The same can even be said for urban environments where seemingly every new renovation project, in a mixed-use built area, seems to call for street-level retail with residential or office space above. I suggest that we return the area, where Cincinnati Mills sits, to a natural state. That is obviously an extreme proposal, but at the very least tear down that mall (said in my best Ronald Reagan voice) for some other/better use.

This region is growing much slower than our retail space is expanding…and it seems obvious that the retail locally (and nationally) can not sustain itself by the free market alone. It seems to me that the best alternative would be to let struggling retail space ride off into the sunset. This would allow for values to rise at other retail locations, and we could begin the process of ridding ourselves of our excessive retail space…and who knows, maybe even our over-consumerism.

Ann Driscoll at Southgate House

From Citybeat.com:

Singer/songwriter Ann Driscoll is a Cincinnati native who’s currently studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. But, at age 20, her songwriting already possesses the kind of wisdom, originality and maturity that can’t be learned in college.

She began her musical career in earnest just three years ago and her direct Indie Pop sound helped put her on bills with local favorites like Peter Adams and Katie Redier, as well as nationally acclaimed Rock bands like The High Strung. Driscoll’s self-released, self-titled EP is an engaging exhibition of blunt, catchy (but not predictable) Pop, with vocals that recall pre-blatant-sex-kitten Liz Phair and a writing style that is obviously informed by prime influences like The Beatles and Nirvana.

Berklee must be on summer break, because Driscoll is returning to the local stage this week, performing at the Southgate House’s parlour room Friday with local singer/songwriter Molly Sullivan. 8:30 p.m. $5-$8. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Mike Breen

Check out Bob Moses at the Wisp tonight

The Blue Wisp plays host to internationally acclaimed drummer Bob Moses with his Chicago Quartet tonight (5/15). The music begins at 7:30pm with a $20 cover charge for this premium act. This is however, an UrbanCincy Night and mentioning the site (at the door) will get you $3 off your cover.

If you haven’t yet heard of Bob Moses, go check out some of his stuff (YouTube video)…you’ll be in the groove before you know it. You can make reservations at fasteddief@aol.com or by calling 513.241.WISP (9477).

Blue Wisp (GoogleMap)