Hundreds of Streetcar Supporters Rally in Over-the-Rhine as New Mayor, Council Are Sworn In

There has never been a single anti-streetcar event that has gathered more than 20 people, but earlier today it was estimated that close to 1,000 Cincinnati Streetcar proponents gathered with green balloons at Washington Park to show their support.

Event organizers from Cincinnatians for Progress and We Believe in Cincinnati lined up the hundreds of supports for blocks – stretching from in front of Music Hall on Elm Street to north of Findlay Market, where streetcar tracks are currently being installed.

The event also came on the same day that the new mayor and city council were sworn into their offices, marking the first time an organized protest of hundreds took place on the first day for newly elected leadership. With a defiant Mayor John Cranley (D) and five of the nine members of City Council poised to pass a bizarre collection of ordinances in order to bypass any further public protest of their actions, it appears that legal fights are about to begin.

Also earlier today, Mayor Cranley and Councilmember Chris Smitherman (I) outlined exactly how they intend to make it all work to their favor. At the same time, reports surfaced of a potential conflict of interest for Smitherman due to his brother’s involvement with the $133 million streetcar project through Jostin Construction.

A majority of city council and the mayor himself have stated that they support the right to referendum, but their proposed legislative action would run counter to that. Whether or not they will allow Cincinnatians to vote on the streetcar directly for a third time, or be forced by the courts to do so, is yet to be seen.

The next big event will take place on Monday, December 2 at 4pm inside City Hall. City Council will hold a special hearing on the streetcar project at that time, and it is expected to be heavily attended by both supporters and opponents. Those who would like to attend are encouraged to arrive early. Those unable to attend that would still like to get involved can do so by donating to the Alliance for Regional Transit and by signing up to volunteer.

“Does it make any sense to lose our reputation with the federal government simply because we want to prove a political point,” Rob Richardson asked the boisterous crowd. “I’ll tell you what does make sense…it makes sense that we have to fight for a comprehensive transportation system so we can compete with cities all across this country and all across the world. That is the goal.”

“We measure greatest not by what we cut, but by what we accomplish.”

Christkindlmarkt Returns for Three Full Weekends This Holiday Season

Organizers are bringing the Cincideutsch Christkindlmarkt back for its second holiday season this year, starting Thanksgiving weekend and operating each weekend until December 15.

Last year’s Christkindlmarkt took place every weekend on Fountain Square. This year the festive seasonal marketplace will spend its first weekend on Fountain Square and then move for its final two weekends to Essen Strasse on the south side of Findlay Market in historic Over-the-Rhine.

“It was decided to move the Christkindlmarkt to Findlay Market for the following two weekends because it is the most iconic market place in the city, and is representative of Cincinnati’s German culture,” explained Lisa Bambach, marketing and creative director for Cincideutsch. “It is a link not only to Cincinnati’s German past, but also to the vibrant German-American culture which continues to permeate the city today.”

Cincinnati Christkindlmarkt
Visitors at Cincinnati’s inaugural Christkindlmarkt on Fountain Square in 2012. Photograph by Paige Malott.

Christkindlmarkt have been a holiday tradition in town centers throughout Germany and Austria for hundreds of years.

“It is a place for people to get together with family and friends to enjoy the seasonal weather and celebrate the holidays,” explained Olaf Scheil, a native of Lübeck, Germany and president and co-founder of Cincideutsch. “We are thrilled to be able to bring this tradition to the people of Cincinnati for the second year in a row.”

After more than 15,000 people visited last year, Scheil expects a similar number of visitors to come and enjoy the Christkindlmarkt this season. To help keep things interesting and active, organizers have coordinated live music, glass blowing, holiday sweets and baked goods, drink, decorations and crafts for sale within half-timbered houses.

In addition to the European baked goods, a hot spiced wine called Glühwein is also considered to be a holiday favorite amongst visitors. And in Cincinnati and German fashion, there will also be plenty of beer to go around.

“Glühwein is something I look forward to making each year since I first tried it in Switzerland,” Bambach confessed. “The aroma of the spices reminds me of Christmas just like the smell of pumpkin makes me think of Thanksgiving. It is a consistent feature at Christkindlmarkt in Europe, no matter which city you visit.”

Cincinnati’s Christkindlmarkt is sponsored by Christian Moerlein Brewing Company and will kick off in coordination with Macy’s Light Up The Square and DCI’s Downtown Dazzle on November 29 through December 1. The seasonal market will then move to Findlay Market December 6-8 and December 13-15. Both locations will have heaters to help keep visitors warm on cold days.

“We received both positive and negative feedback from 2012, and we have worked diligently to improve visitors’ experiences based on those comments,” Bambach noted. “The market is completely organized and run by volunteers, and in our second year we wanted to expand while also ensuring the growth was manageable.”

The Christkindlmarkt will be open from 11am to 9pm on Friday and Saturday, and 11am to 5pm on Sunday at Fountain Square. The market will then be open in coordination with normal Findlay Market hours when it moves there for its final two weekends.

Market at the Park Brings Pop-Up Shops to Washington Park Every Monday

We’ve all been there. The one day that Findlay Market is closed, we run out of fresh produce, honey, or another edible essential.

Although business hours have expanded to 6pm in recent years, some vendors remain reluctant to stay open later than that. As a result, a group of Findlay Market shoppers have started Findlay After Four – a weekly event that encourages people to shop at Findlay Market on Thursday between 4pm and 6pm.

Until those hours are further expanded at Findlay Market, be sure to get your fix at Market in the Park.

Market at the Park

Every Monday night through September, local vendors will set up pop-up shops featuring a variety of vegetables, tea, baked goods, and ready-to-eat meals in Washington Park From 4pm to 8pm, patrons can do their shopping or grab a hot sandwich, just like they would at Findlay Market.

While some of the vendors operate out of the market house during the rest of the week, others are new to the scene like condiment queens Sheila and Kathy. They will bring their special Kentucky Sauce, Hot Pepper Jelly, and zesty blends of salsa at their Chipotle Chicks booth. Hailing from Falmouth, Kentucky, the pair is excited to bring their southern flare to share with the Over-The-Rhine crowd.

Need to cool off? Try a decadent sea salt caramel gelato from Madison’s or snag an all-natural sno-cone from Chill Shaved Ice Bar, featuring syrups made from real fruit juice.

Food truck notables C’est Cheese and Red Sesame Korean BBQ will fill you up with dinner: a gooey Bee Sting grilled cheese stuffed with pepperoni, mozzarella, honey, and basil, or a kimchi beef burrito with rich Oriental seasoning. Providing that much-needed caffeinated pick me up at the end of the work day, Coffee Emporium will also be on site with iced drinks, lattes, smoothies, and hot coffee.

So whether you’re hungry for a unique happy hour or need a few pantry essentials, grab your grocery list and tell your friends, “Meet me at the Market!”

Shoppers Organize New Event to Support Evening Hours at Findlay Market

In 2009, Findlay Market decided to expand its hours of operation and add Sunday hours for the first time. While the addition of the Sunday business has been extremely successful, it has been more challenging for vendors and management to get customers familiar with the idea that the public market is open until 6pm every night.

In order to help grow awareness of this, a group of passionate Findlay Market shoppers have decided to organize what they are calling Findlay After Four.

Shoppers at Findlay Market

The event, which will take place today for the first time, will occur every Thursday from 4pm to 6pm.

“Successful retail today is about having the right in-store activities and promotions to drive loyalty and sales,” explained Karen Kahle, Resource Development Director, Findlay Market. “To support the Findlay After Four shopper campaign, each Thursday we will be offering a variety of activities.”

Kahle says this Thursday’s event will include a cooking demonstration by Julie Francis of Nectar, craft beer at the OTR Biergarten from Christian Moerlein and MadTree, a wine tasting at Market Wines, and free raffle giveaways.

The group of shoppers that have organized the weekly event are encouraging those who attend to bring their friends, family and anyone who wants to join in and support evening hours of operation at Cincinnati’s historic Findlay Market.

“Our goal is to chip away at the perception that the market is not always open until 6:00 and to attract OTR, downtown and uptown workers and residents to the market on weekdays,” Kahle concluded. “We hope you’ll check it out and help spread the word!

PHOTOS: A Look Back at Spring in the Queen City

We have had an eventful spring at UrbanCincy. We’ve had our monthly URBANexchange events at Moerlein Lager House, we hosted the 2013 edition of Bikes+Brews, produced original videography and photography, and dozens of original stories.

Our annual Bikes+Brews ride on May 4 attracted our largest crowd yet and we traveled from Findlay Market through Over-the-Rhine, to Nicholson’s Pub in the Central Business District, across the Ohio River to Keystone Bar & Grill in Covington and The Elusive Cow Cafe in Bellevue, and then back across the river to Via Vite at Fountain Square.

Our URBANexchange events, meanwhile, continue to attract people who are new to Cincinnati and those that are interested in getting more involved with the growing urbanist movement in the Queen City. These events are smaller than the Bikes+Brews ride, but they tend to attract one to two dozen people to the biergarten at Moerlein Lager House. Hopefully we’ll see you at the next one on Wednesday, July 10 from 5:30pm to 8:30pm (come and go as you please).

With summer officially beginning this Friday, June 21, I thought it would be a good time to share 28 of my favorite photos from this spring. Enjoy!

Craft Beer Series Continues at Findlay Market This Weekend

Elm Street Esplanade

Findlay Market is hosting a monthly craft beer series, focusing on local brewers, this summer at the OTR Biergarten.

The first weekend for the craft beer series took place in May and featured beer from MadTree Brewing Company. The next weekend for the series will occur this June 15-16, and will feature beers from Listerman/Triple Digit.

“Findlay Market is always trying to showcase anything and everything that has to do with ‘local’ Cincinnati,” explained Findlay Market’s public relations intern, Tanner Hinds. “We are a local, non-profit market and most of the business we delve into has some sort of local ties to Cincinnati or Over-the-Rhine.”

Other local brewers to be featured at the Craft Beer Series will include Blank Slate in July, Mt. Carmel in August, and Rivertown in September.

According to Hinds, featured brewers at the Craft Beer Series will be open from 11am to 5pm on Saturdays, and 12pm to 4pm on Sundays when there will also be live music.

In addition to the summer’s Craft Beer Series, the OTR Biergarten is open every weekend at the western entrance to the market house on the Elm Street Esplanade.

Findlay Market officials say that the event will take place every third week of the month until September when the season-long series will wrap up September 21-22.