Labor Day weekend, I had the opportunity to be a part of the WEBN Fireworks/P&G Riverfest team. P&G Riverfest and the WEBN Fireworks is one of the largest events put on in Cincinnati/NKY. It is estimated that 250 thousand people attend the event. This year’s theme was “BOOMSday”. I have to say that I have never been more exhausted than I was that Monday after the fireworks, but it was completely worth it.
Month’s prior, I attended meetings with the city of Cincinnati and other partners to make the event possible. I was astounded to find out how unbelievably expensive the Sponsor banners are that are hung up on the Purple People Bridge.
Though I may sound a little naïve, I did not realize how much responsibility WEBN holds in the planning of Riverfest. WEBN has to put together literally everything. I always assumed that if an organization or business was at an event that they provided their own tent and signage. Nope, I was wrong. We were in charge of ordering tents for all of the clients and then ordering banners for them as well. Some of the expenses that WEBN took responsibility included;
-Booking of Sawyer Point
-Banners (on bridge & tents)
-Security from the City
-Fencing (if capacity is reached)
-Toilets (2 for every 500 people)
The Crew met at 8am to set things up. We were given walkie-talkies, maps, and our OWN GOLF CARTS. I can’t tell you how excited we were about driving golf carts all around Sawyer Point. It was like we were all 5 year olds on Christmas morning. Saturday consisted of putting together stands to put the banners on, and then putting those stands up with the banners. Then I had my first experience with dun dun dunnnnnnnnn…a staple gun. We had to staple gun the tablecloths and table skirts to all the wooden tables under the client’s tents. A lot of force has to go into stapling into a wooden table, especially when you are stapling upside down. I was honestly afraid the staple was going to miss the table and go straight to my eyeball. Dramatic I know, but the staple gun really did intimidate me! And although this task sounds easy, it was a little more challenging since we were on the riverfront and certain parts of the serpentine wall were EXTREMELY windy. For one of the tables, I had to lay down on the table while some one stabled the table-cloth down very quickly. This task brought us a lot of laughs.
If you’ve ever been downtown or mostly Newport, you may have seen the Ride The Ducks boat/van. I have seen it many time driving down roads, however I have never seen it in water. While Kim and I were attempting to staple the tablecloth turned boat sail onto one of the tables, we were able to see the Ride the Ducks vehicle plunge into the water. It’s submergence into the water reminded me of one of those water roller coasters at amusement parks where it looks like you are riding in a log and you dive down a “waterfall”. When I saw this vehicle switch from driving on pavement to floating in water, I gasped in amazement. After my mini freak out, a passerby rudely asked, “You’ve never seen that before? It happens all the time”. To answer him; No sir, I do not spend much time hanging by the riverfront. HOW RUDE.
We finished up the rest of the tasks for the day and headed home around 4:30pm. Maria and I went and ate Chipotle for dinner then went to bed before 10pm!
Maria and I woke up at 5am. I threw my hair in a sock bun, ready to take on the long day! We stopped at McDonald’s for breakfast and made it to our “station” by 6am.
Once the whole team was at the station, we were all assigned positions for the day. I took on the task of welcoming Clients into the park to set up and directing them to their correct location. The great thing about this position was the fact that I was able to interact with so many different people. Once the client’s were in the park I was able to switch to different positions such as working the information booth and a runner on the golf carts.
While working the information booth, I was able to witness the Rubber Duck drop for the first time. It was unbelievable to see thousands of Rubber Ducks dumped into the Ohio River. Very Cool! Working the info booth, I passed out the WEBN Frog stickers. WEBN’s fan base is unbelievable. I have never seen an audience so crazy and passionate about a radio station, like people are with WEBN. Listeners go absolutely nuts for the Frog stickers, or STACKERS as my team and I like to call them. 😉 We ran out of the stickers well before night fall.
As the day progressed, it was time to start setting up the VIP seating on the lower level of the serpentine wall. We finished setting up the many white chairs and signaled for the VIP guests to file down into their seats. Just as we had a good amount of people in their seats, it started raining. And it rained and rained and then rained some more. I was completely drenched and eventually gave up on trying to keep my hair dry. I was in fear that my Walkie-talkie was going to get ruined!
The WEBN Fireworks have not been cancelled for decades, and we weren’t going to change that this year. The fireworks still went off in the rain and it was a great show. My favorite part of the show, every year, is the waterfall of fireworks off of the two bridges.
Once the show concluded, it was back to work! As it was still pouring down rain, the team had to clean up everything we had set up. My hands were so prune-y, I thought they were going to crack!
We ended up leaving at around midnight, though there were still some things to be done. The event was extremely successful and we all worked great as a team. It was such a great experience, and whether I get to work with Clear Channel in the future or not I would absolutely love to help out with Riverfest again!
If you have any questions about my experience, leave them in the comments!
***A lot of information was kept out of this entry due to confidentiality.