$5M Gift to Fund Construction of Iconic Carousel at Smale Riverfront Park

The Cincinnati Park Board received a $5 million donation from the Carol Ann & Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation today to construct the carousel at Smale Riverfront Park.

The money will not only fully fund the project, but it will allow it to be operational in time for the 2015 All-Star Game to be hosted at the nearby Great American Ball Park.

The project had been positioned to receive $4 million from the City of Cincinnati’s parking modernization and lease plan, but ongoing litigation and a forthcoming ballot referendum have left those funds in limbo.

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According to park officials, the new carousel will be built at the foot of Vine Street on a tree-lined plaza filled with water features similar to those found near Walnut Street in phase one of Smale Riverfront Park.

The plaza will include a lower-level with a banquet center and park offices, and the upper-level will become the home of the glass-enclosed carousel.

“This carousel is a gift to the Cincinnati Parks Foundation honoring the life and philanthropy of Carol Ann Haile,” Tim Maloney, President/CEO of the Haile Foundation, stated in a prepared release. “The sparkle, whimsy and pure fun this carousel will provide is a direct reflection of Carol’s sparkling personality.”

In honor of Carol Ann Haile, the facility will be named the Carol Ann Carousel, and become an iconic feature of what will eventually be a 45-acre riverfront park.

While a carousel has been part of the Smale Riverfront Park plans for years, it comes on the heels of an announcement in Atlanta where a 180-foot ferris wheel will be built at Centennial Olympic Park.

Cincinnati’s 44-seat carousel, with folding glass door walls, will be open year-round starting in May 2015. Riders will be required to pay a small cost to ride, but the cost has not yet been determined.

So far park officials have completed a significant amount of work on the first two phases of Smale Riverfront Park, and will begin future phases as funding is made available.

Framester takes event photography to the next level

Chances are, if you have a Facebook account, you’ve seen the pictures floating around your friends’ feeds. High quality photo booth style pictures, perfectly capturing the essence of an event or party. This phenomenon is the brainchild of local entrepreneurs David Dewitt and Adam Kleshinski. It’s called Framester.

The philosophy behind the event photography company is that, given the circumstances, every person wants the chance to show their creative, spontaneous selves… and to take the perfect picture. The self-timed setup – a camera, a backdrop, and a little red button – allows party goers to create their own portraits in a way that traditional event photographers can’t.

DeWitt, a former DAAP student at the University of Cincinnati, set up his camera one night at a friend’s party in 2008, and was taken aback at the response it received. “It took a lot of trust, to leave my lighting and camera equipment up all night, but no one messed with it,” David explained. “My friends loved it, and it turned into something bigger.”

Through various connections around town, DeWitt took his setup to local philanthropic events over the next year, experimenting with props, backdrops and photography techniques. Bars and parties began to hire him as a special addition to their shindigs- tagging and sharing the pictures on Facebook helped gather name recognition for the venues, as well as give everyone kick-ass profile pictures.

DeWitt and Kleshinski connected near the end of 2010, where the Xavier MBA graduate saw a business opportunity that couldn’t be passed up. “I couldn’t believe it was just [DeWitt],” said Kleshinski. “I knew it could be something bigger.” The two worked through a business plan, and launched the Framester brand in the beginning of May.

“The goal now is to expand through the Cincinnati area,” explained Adam. “We want it to expand organically, and with 2.5 million people in the region, there’s a lot of room for growth here. Things are changing and moving in the right direction. Cincinnati is a base of ingenuity and entrepreneurship and good business – it’s a great market.”

The duo feels that Cincinnati is a perfect test market – a microcosm with enough diversity to try out different things as they tweak the business model and prepare to grow.

The difference between Framester’s services and any huckster with a camera is the professional level of quality and attention to detail for each event – no two are alike. The service naturally offers a distinctive brand marketing advantage to event sponsors and venues by levering advances in social media technologies, and former clients have seen immediate results in collecting contact information from their attendees along with targeted brand exposure.

Ultimately, Framester is helping to celebrate and showcase the momentum that is driving Cincinnati forward. Kleshinski and DeWitt both say it’s been incredible watching the amount of energy building in Cincinnati’s urban core.

“For too long there’s been this theory that Cincinnati is boring – there’s nothing fun to do here,” said DeWitt. “We know that’s not true – and we’ve got the pictures to prove it.”

CityBeat Best of Cincinnati Party photo provided by Framester.

Organizers now accepting registrations for region’s first TED event

Registration is now available for Cincinnati’s first locally organized Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) event.  Organized by individuals from LPK and Procter & Gamble, TEDxCincy will offer tickets for this experience will cost $55 for individuals, $35 for students.

Along with featured speaker Dhani Jones, the day’s lineup is expected to include a contingent of the region’s leading thinkers, innovators, artists, philosophers and entertainers representing diverse professions and backgrounds.  Event organizers say that additional speaker announcements will be made soon that fit into the event’s theme of passion.

TEDxCincy is scheduled to run from 8:30am to 5:30pm on Thursday, October 7 at the Aronoff Center for the Arts in downtown Cincinnati.  Stay up-to-date with the latest news on the region’s first TED event by following along on Twitter @TEDxCincy, or by becoming a fan on Facebook.  Tickets can be reserved now through the event’s website.

Brew Ha-Ha returns to Sawyer Point for 4th straight year this weekend

Comedy and beer will come together this weekend as Cincinnati Brew Ha-Ha returns to Sawyer Point. Now in its fourth year, the event will feature 50 comedians on three stages, 80 beers, live music, and plenty of food.

This year’s comedic headliners are Bobcat Goldthwait (Friday) and Tim Wilson (Saturday). Organizers say that with a full schedule of comedians and live bands, there is bound to be something for everyone.

The event will feature a vast collection of craft beer including a wide assortment of Cincinnati-area beers like Christian Moerlein, Samuel Adams, Alltech (makers of the famous Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale), and Rivertown brewers. The food will also be local and offer up Italian, German, Cincinnati-style chili, and barbecue food options.

In addition to the stand-up comedy, food and beer, event-goers will be treated to live music from The SwimSuitModels on Friday, and the Stays in Vegas Band on Saturday.

The 2010 Cincinnati Brew Ha-Ha will run from 5pm to midnight on Friday, and 4pm to midnight on Saturday at Sawyer Point. Admission is free, allowing everyone to enjoy the comedy. To drink, guests must purchase a $5 wristband and tickets for $1 each. One ticket will get you a sample size of beer, and four tickets will get you a full serving.

Automobile parking will be available at Sawyer Point (map), but in the name of safety, Brew Ha-Ha may be the perfect event for utilizing Metro bus service. Free bicycle parking is also available for this event.