Archive for the 'Events' Category

Tunes And Blooms And Babies

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the Cincinnati’s Tunes & Blooms series. The first three weeks of this year had to be postponed due to severe weather in the area each of those weeks. Last night was the first make-up date and it seems that many people haven’t got the message about the rescheduled dates as this was the least crowded I’ve seen Tunes & Blooms in years!

Lion Cubs

Lion Cubs

There are still two more rescheduled dates, the first is tonight, Thursday, May 7. The second is next week on Wednesday, May 13. And now that Zoo Babies is going on, it is the perfect time to head to the zoo. Last night I took the kids over to see the three lion cubs and the ten African painted dog puppies. The energetic lion cubs must be driving their parents crazy as it looked like the keepers have given them phone books to explore and other things to chase.

African Painted Dog Pups

African Painted Dog Pups

The painted dog pups are just as rambunctious, but I think there are enough of them that they often leave their parents alone. The creek that runs through their habitat seems to give them plenty to explore as well. It’s going to be a fun couple of years watching these babies grow up.

Cincy-Cinco Latin Festival

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Over the weekend my family and I visited the Cincy-Cinco Latin Festival on Fountain Square. The 12th annual event took place Saturday and Sunday and featured Latin music, dance, and food.

Fountain Square

Fountain Square

While my wife and I were able to enjoy some Mexican beers and Latin styled food, our kids loved exploring all the children’s activities that were available. The highlight was easily the Home Depot area where everyone was welcome to paint a flowerpot and once dry a flower was added to it, all completely free of charge. The kids area also featured a variety of games and a prize was awarded after playing them all.

Children's Activities

Children’s Activities

My four-year-old had so much fun painting the flower-pot, that we ended up going back again on Sunday so that he could paint another. And the timing couldn’t have been better with mother’s day just around the corner.

Queen City Survival

Two weekends ago I attended the Queen City Survival benefit for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This event was held at the newly opened Columbia Community Center in Columbia-Tusculum. This beautiful event center and music hall was renovated and is owned by the same man who brought us Eli’s BBQ, which is conveniently located just down the road.

Nicholas & The Pessimistics

Nicholas & The Pessimistics

During the few hours I was there I saw a few of the musical acts perform and the sound inside was really great. The event featured many local artists and there were a couple of dozen raffle items including Red’s tickets and items from some of the bands.

The Almighty Get Down

The Almighty Get Down

I hope more concerts are held at the Columbia Community Center. I missed Al Scorch at a recent show but would happily go back to see him perform if/when he returns.

Opening Day 2015

Yesterday was opening day for the Reds. My parents joined my family for the opening day parade and then kept the kids for a few hours so Kim and I could go to the game. This was my first time attending the opening day game but definitely not the last. We had a great time at the park, despite the often rainy weather, and the Reds did their part by bringing home an exciting winner.

Homecoming Zinzinnati

This past Saturday was the University of Cincinnati homecoming football game against Miami University. It all kicked off with a parade across downtown. Normally the parade would take place up on campus, but as I mentioned earlier the on-campus stadium is being renovated this season and all games are taking place downtown instead.

The Bearcat and Cheerleaders

The Bearcat and Cheerleaders

The UC Band is Damn Good

The UC Band is Damn Good

President Santa Ono

President Santa Ono

This weekend was also Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, America’s largest Oktoberfest with more than 500,000 people attending every year. So the parade and other weekend activities took on the Homecoming Zinzinnati theme.

Alumni Association

Alumni Association

Maypole Float

Maypole Float

After the parade was over we spent some time tailgating in one of the large lots surrounding the stadium before heading in for the 119th Battle for the Victory Bell.

Kim and Paige at the Tailgate

Kim and Paige at the Tailgate

A record 41,926 people turned out to watch the Battle for the Victory Bell. The game started off a slow for the Cats but they eventually took control of the game and brought home the Victory Bell for the ninth straight year, 31-24.

Ring of Red

Ring of Red

Next up for the Bearcats is an away game at Ohio State this weekend before returning back to town October 4th to take on Memphis.

Yelp’s Summer Bucket List Bash

A couple of weeks ago I was invited down to Yelp’s Summer Bucket List Bash, a celebration of all things summer in Cincinnati. It all took place on BB Riverboats‘ Belle of Cincinnati.

BB Riverboats

BB Riverboats

All three indoor decks of the riverboat were open for tastings of various Cincinnati restaurants including Jeff Ruby’s, Eli’s BBQ, Meatball Kitchen, Mazunte, Keystone, and Holtman’s Donuts.

Food Tasting

Food Tasting

The top deck had DJ Chris Handlon and he quickly turned the entire deck into one big dance party.

Yelpie

Yelpie

We cruised all the way out to Rivertowne Marina before turning back to complete the two and a half hour sightseeing cruise.

Barge

Barge

On the way back the sun was setting and by the time we arrived back in downtown the city was all light up and the party was in full swing.

Go Reds

Go Reds

I don’t think evening cruises like this are offered often, so it was definitely a special trip, even if I had just cruised with BB Riverboats a month earlier.

Roebling Suspension Bridge

Roebling Suspension Bridge

It was a great way to help wind down summer.

Graeter’s Manufacturing Tour

Yesterday I was treated to a special tour of Graeter’s state of the art manufacturing facility thanks to Yelp. This plant is four years old and has been optimized for nationwide distribution of the finest ice cream around.

Outside Graeter's Manufacturing Plant

Outside Graeter’s Manufacturing Plant

Before taking our tour, we were given hair nets and beard nets when appropriate. I was excited to wear a beard net for only the second time! You may recall my first beard net from my tour of the Frisch’s commissary.

Hair Net and Beard Net!

Hair Net and Beard Net!

Those who are familiar with Graeter’s ice cream already know that one of the best parts of the ice cream are the massive chunks of chocolate in many varieties. These chunks of chocolate start out as ten pound blocks of the finest chocolate available. I believe that retail price of this chocolate is $19.95 per pound. Nothing like staring at a $200 piece of chocolate!

10 Pound Chocolate Block

10 Pound Chocolate Block

The chocolate is melted and mixed with non-GMO soybean oil to achieve a better consistency for use in ice cream. The vats containing this rich chocolate mixture smelled heavenly.

Melted Chocolate

Melted Chocolate

Graeter’s still a small-batch french pot process slowly creating just two gallons at a time. This creates an irresistible creaminess that cannot be achieved through modern commercial products.

Still Using French Pots

Still Using French Pots

There are four pods of eight french pots. Each pod is staffed by three employees, two who work the french pots and the other who hand-packs the ice cream into containers.

Flavor of the Day: Double Chocolate Chip

Flavor of the Day: Double Chocolate Chip

The flavor of the day during our visit was double chocolate chip. Yum!

Freezing 2 Gallons

Freezing 2 Gallons

As I just mentioned, all the ice cream is hand-packed into the packaging, nearly 20,000 pints per day.

Still Hand Packing Too

Still Hand Packing Too

One employee was kind enough to hand pack samples for our entire tour group right off the assembly line. This ice cream was almost of a soft serve consistency and was simply perfect.

Assembly Line

Assembly Line

The new manufacturing facility does make use of machines to automate the bookends of the manufacturing process, while still allowing the ice cream to be made by hand in small batches.

Packaging Line

Packaging Line

After viewing the entire production line, we took a quick tour of the warehouse, which can reach temperatures of negative forty! It literally took minutes for my body to recover from just a quick visit to this massive storage room.

Warehouse

Warehouse

After our tour was over we were treated for a few more samples, including two varieties of the new gelato line, the most authentically made gelato in North America. I really enjoyed the caramel truffle variety and will have to check for that in stores.

Handcrafting Irresistible Ice Cream Since 1870

Handcrafting Irresistible Ice Cream Since 1870

Unfortunately public tours are not currently offered. But I have some news that should make up for that. In celebration of national ice cream day, you can get any single scoop cone on Sunday for $1.44, commemorating Graeter’s 144 years. This offer is valid at any retail location and for any flavor.

World Cup On The Square

What a start for Team USA in the World Cup last night! Kim and I took the kids down to Fountain Square to watch the match versus Ghana. All of the round-robin games will be televised there on the big screen and last night there were easily thousands in attendance.

GOAL!

GOAL!

The next two events are Sunday, June 22nd from 12 PM – 9 PM, game time at 6 PM, and Thursday, June 26th from 11 AM – 4 PM, game time at 12 PM. I’m hoping to make it down for another fun game watch party.

wsotp-cincy-saints-fountain-square-flyer-black

Party In The Park

This past Wednesday we went down to Yeatman’s Cove for the first Party in the Park of this summer. I remember going down to the riverside park for this part in my younger years, but we had yet to check out the event with our kids in tow.

Naked Karate Girls

Naked Karate Girls

Happy hour with discounted drinks is held from 5 until 6:30 and saves you about $2 per beer. There is plenty of space to spread out a blanket and have a picnic. However food options on site are extremely limited, just one food truck and the park’s concession stand, both of which were slammed with long lines. The ATM also had a lengthy line as all booths are cash only.

Party in the Park runs from 5-10 every Wednesday through the third week of August.

Cinco de Derby

Even though Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby were a couple of days apart this year, that didn’t stop my entire family from celebrating both events on Saturday.

Mint Julep

Mint Julep

I enjoyed a tasty Mint Julep with lunch at the Yard House at The Banks. After that we met up with some friends at Buck’s Badass Bash outside of Bakersfield.

Buck's Badass Bash

Buck’s Badass Bash

We ended up watching the Derby on my phone at the bash before moving the party over to Neons to enjoy the beautiful day outside as well as grab some food from Taste 513, who was manning the grills on the patio.

Family Trip to Neons

Family Trip to Neons

It was a busy and fun-filled Saturday!