Your guide to BLINK, Cincinnati’s interactive and glowing adventure

Your guide to BLINK, Cincinnati’s interactive and glowing adventure

BLINK is back in 2019, stretching from the banks of Northern Kentucky to Findlay Market in Cincinnati.Spanning more than 30 city blocks across two cities with more than 100 installations, the festival is the largest light, art and culture event of its kind in the nation.The inaugural four-night event in 2017 saw the largest gathering of people ever in downtown Cincinnati and Over-the-Rhine. Organizers expect this year’s light festival to be even bigger. Feeling overwhelmed? We know it’s a lot to take in — But don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you. Here’s what you need to know, coupled with some tips to help make your BLINK experience even better. BLINK 101Let’s start with the basics. It’s only the second year of the festival, after all. BLINK runs Thursday through Sunday, from 7-11 p.m. each day. It is comprised of five zones, spanning from Findlay Market to Northern Kentucky. We’ll detail each of those zones later. BLINK is 100 percent free to the public. It’s designed around Cincinnati’s streetcar route, and meant to be experienced on foot — it’s not a drive-thru event. So what is it exactly? It’s an outdoor art phenomenon, with 100 installations, including large-scale projection mappings, murals and interactive light sculptures and art. The city will literally be glowing — from luminous facades to twinkling alleyways. Organizers recruited local, national and international artists to partake in the massive citywide extravaganza. EXPECT DOZENS OF ROAD CLOSURES & LARGE CROWDSOrganizers say they expect 1.5 million people to attend this year’s BLINK festivities. To put that into perspective, that’s more than twice the size of Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. Those traveling into the city should be aware of dozens of traffic restrictions and road closures. Cincinnati city officials say they plan to limit access to several primary and side streets in the urban core beginning each night of BLINK. Access will be allowed for residents and businesses at every closure, city officials said. STREET CLOSURE MAPS: Click here to view closures during BLINK // Click here to view closures for the BLINK parade WHERE SHOULD I PARK? HOW DO I GET AROUND?This is where it can be tricky if you’re driving in. BLINK is not designed as a “drive-thru” event. It is meant to be enjoyed outside a vehicle. Attendees are urged to make the most of public transit and find parking on the blocks and neighborhoods surrounding the event site (not in the event site itself). There are several Metro park-and-ride locations across the city, including Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, Cincinnati State and Northern Kentucky University.BLINK is designed around the Cincinnati Bell Connector Streetcar route, which will remain open during the event – and will be free to ride after 4 p.m. during BLINK’s four nights of light. But be warned, the streetcars are expected to be extremely crowded. Walking might be your best option. NOTE: Electronic scooters will be geo-fenced to reduce speed and turned off near and within the BLINK event venue, where riding them is prohibited. To find a spot to park near you, click here. IT STARTS WITH A PARADEA parade will kick off BLINK 2019 at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The parade will move south on Vine Street in downtown Cincinnati, from Eighth Street to Rosa Parks Street and West Freedom Way at The Banks.The parade will feature more than 3,000 participants and groups from across the city and beyond, lighting up the streets with luminous floats, puppets, musicians and performers. World-renowned chef Jean-Robert Cavel will be the event’s grand marshal. WHAT ARE THE MUST-SEE ATTRACTIONS?Out of the 100+ installations, it’s tough to pick favorites. It’s all new in 2019, and there will be several sleepers that emerge as crowd favorites throughout the event. We have our eye on the iconic Cincinnati structures that are set to glow. The Roebling Bridge, for starters, is set to glow and “sing,” organizers say. “Rumble: A contemporary voice for the bridge that sings” is set to bring the bridge to life. Officials with Masary Studios have created a musical and lighting score for the bridge, the culmination of a multi-month endeavor. “re:Fraction” at the Genius of Water statue at Fountain Square also looks to be an early crowd-pleaser, with light adding color and movement to one of Cincinnati’s most iconic symbols. The Architects of Air Dodecalis Luminarium in Washington Park was a big hit in 2017. It has been redesigned and is — again — slated to thrill, offering dazzling mazes and winding paths at the popular Over-the-Rhine park. This installation is ticketed.Other installations that have caught our eye include The World’s Largest Disco Ball, Energy Cycle, Entropy, Glass Fabric and Justice, Cincinnatus 3D, Light Streams and Neon Flux. THE DOWNTOWN ZONELet’s get into the various zones of BLINK. The central zone — the Downtown Zone — is a haven for projection lighting. Jammed between Central Parkway and 3rd Street, this zones has staggering 12 light projections and eight installations. Most of these attractions line Main and Walnut streets (again, following the streetcar tracks) and Central Parkway. Some of the highlights may be “re:Fraction” on Fountain Square, “The Portal” on the Contemporary Arts Center and “Glass Fabric and Justice” on the courthouse. THE OTR ZONECincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood is actually broken up into two zones, for the sake of BLINK. The OTR Zone refers to the area between Liberty Street and Central Parkway, spanning from Sycamore to Elm streets. Thirteen installations and eight projections will take over Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. The most densely-populated area is around Washington Park. That’s where you’ll find the Architects of Air Dodecalis Luminarium (as listed above) in addition to five other installations and two light projections. Crickets will sing inside of Music Hall (literally) and the nearby Memorial Hall and Cincinnati Shakespeare Company will include projection mapping on Elm Street. Main street is littered with light projections and installations and The Art Academy of Cincinnati looks to be a hotspot for BLINKers. THE FINDLAY MARKET ZONEThe second Over-the-Rhine zone is a haven for murals. Sixteen new murals will adorn the facades of buildings in this zone, just north of Liberty Street and surrounding the historic Findlay Market. Again, follow the streetcar tracks in this zone, as the action is along both Elm and Race streets.In addition to the murals, three installations and six light projections are located throughout the area. THE BANKS ZONEYou don’t have to walk much to check out The Banks Zone, with nine installations and three projections along the banks of the Ohio River. Smale Riverfront Park will be the hotspot for BLINKers, overlooking the glowing Roebling Bridge amid of sea of shining installations. Light projections — HUEmanity and Dreams Etched in Stone — will light up the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and a mural on the facade of Great American Ball Park. THE COVINGTON ZONE BLINK is moving into Kentucky this year, with the iconic Roebling Bridge connecting the cities of Cincinnati and Covington.The Covington path will be a bit different — there are no streetcar tracks, after all — but it follows a walkable path. Most of the magic will happen around Madison Avenue. Covington will include a whopping 13 projections, along with five projections and a mural. WHAT ABOUT THE MUSIC? It’s not just a light show. BLINK will also include a massive and diverse music lineup across six stages. More than 80 entertainers will take the stage over all four nights. National recording artist Grouplove will play a free Friday night show. Other featured acts include Redfoo, Pomegranates, Dudley Taft, Ernie Johnson from Detroit, The Cincinnati Opera, Willie Jones, Sun Seeker, Bendigo Fletcher, Young Heirlooms, Telehope, Rob Fetters, Harbour, Jess Lamb, JSPH, Carriers, Maria Carrelli, All Seeing Eyes, Lauren Eylise, Multimagic, Elementz, Dinosoul, Cincinnati Music Accelerator Buskers and many more.The music will play across six stages. Those stages include: Wellness Your Way Rivercenter Stage (10 East Rivercenter Boulevard, Covington, Kentucky): Click here for the full lineup.7th Street Covington Stage (26 West 7th Street, Covington, Kentucky): Click here for the full lineup. AARP Freedom Way Stage (10 Freedom Way East, Cincinnati): Click here for the full lineup. Belterra Court Street Stage (30 East Court Street, Cincinnati): Click here for the full lineup.Elder Street Stage (1801 Race Street, Cincinnati): Click here for the full lineup.Findlay Market Biergarten Stage (1654 Central Parkway, Cincinnati): Click here for the full lineup. WHAT ABOUT FOOD AND DRINK?Yes. Food, Pepsi products, water and alcoholic beverages are available in multiple locations throughout the event.You’re also downtown Cincinnati — and there is no shortage of bars and restaurants. WHAT’S THERE TO DO OUTSIDE OF BLINK HOURS?There is plenty to do before and after the show, including BLINK-affiliated events like Artist Talks. There are also several guided tours of the BLINK grounds. Here’s a full list of daytime events. Organizers also encourage BLINK attendees to visit any of the city’s restaurants, bars and nightclubs for BLINK’s afterglow. HOW IS THE WEATHER LOOKING? Thursday will be a gorgeous night to walk around town. Expect temperatures around 70 degrees. Friday may be a bit dicey. The evening hours will see temperatures around 70 degrees, but rain showers will arrive by Friday evening — look for scattered showers after 7 p.m. The showers will not be heavy, but pack a raincoat…just in case. Saturday should be dry by the evening hours, but pack a coat! Colder air will take over, and temperature will plummet — expect temperatures only in the upper 40s or 50s by Saturday afternoon and evening. Sunday will be clear and cool with highs expected in the mid/upper 60s. Sunday night to close out BLINK it will be in the mid 50s.WHAT ABOUT SECURITY? As an expanded BLINK is being pulled together ahead of its big debut Thursday, police are planning an enhanced presence.They expect 1.5 million people to dive right into the immersive art and light show.Officials said they have a plan to keep everyone safe. Cincinnati police said there will be extra officers everywhere you go throughout the five zones.They said you will be able to see some of the officers, but there will be some you won’t see.

CINCINNATI —BLINK is back in 2019, stretching from the banks of Northern Kentucky to Findlay Market in Cincinnati.Spanning more than 30 city blocks across two cities with more than 100 installations, the festival is the largest light, art and culture event of its kind in the nation.
The inaugural four-night event in 2017 saw the largest gathering of people ever in downtown Cincinnati and Over-the-Rhine. Organizers expect this year’s light festival to be even bigger. Feeling overwhelmed? We know it’s a lot to take in — But don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you. Here’s what you need to know, coupled with some tips to help make your BLINK experience even better. BLINK 101Let’s start with the basics. It’s only the second year of the festival, after all. BLINK runs Thursday through Sunday, from 7-11 p.m. each day. It is comprised of five zones, spanning from Findlay Market to Northern Kentucky. We’ll detail each of those zones later. BLINK is 100 percent free to the public. It’s designed around Cincinnati’s streetcar route, and meant to be experienced on foot — it’s not a drive-thru event. So what is it exactly? It’s an outdoor art phenomenon, with 100 installations, including large-scale projection mappings, murals and interactive light sculptures and art. The city will literally be glowing — from luminous facades to twinkling alleyways. Organizers recruited local, national and international artists to partake in the massive citywide extravaganza.

EXPECT DOZENS OF ROAD CLOSURES & LARGE CROWDSOrganizers say they expect 1.5 million people to attend this year’s BLINK festivities. To put that into perspective, that’s more than twice the size of Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. Those traveling into the city should be aware of dozens of traffic restrictions and road closures. Cincinnati city officials say they plan to limit access to several primary and side streets in the urban core beginning each night of BLINK. Access will be allowed for residents and businesses at every closure, city officials said. STREET CLOSURE MAPS: Click here to view closures during BLINK // Click here to view closures for the BLINK parade WHERE SHOULD I PARK? HOW DO I GET AROUND?This is where it can be tricky if you’re driving in. BLINK is not designed as a “drive-thru” event. It is meant to be enjoyed outside a vehicle. Attendees are urged to make the most of public transit and find parking on the blocks and neighborhoods surrounding the event site (not in the event site itself). There are several Metro park-and-ride locations across the city, including Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, Cincinnati State and Northern Kentucky University.BLINK is designed around the Cincinnati Bell Connector Streetcar route, which will remain open during the event – and will be free to ride after 4 p.m. during BLINK’s four nights of light. But be warned, the streetcars are expected to be extremely crowded. Walking might be your best option. NOTE: Electronic scooters will be geo-fenced to reduce speed and turned off near and within the BLINK event venue, where riding them is prohibited. To find a spot to park near you, click here. IT STARTS WITH A PARADEA parade will kick off BLINK 2019 at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The parade will move south on Vine Street in downtown Cincinnati, from Eighth Street to Rosa Parks Street and West Freedom Way at The Banks.

The parade will feature more than 3,000 participants and groups from across the city and beyond, lighting up the streets with luminous floats, puppets, musicians and performers. World-renowned chef Jean-Robert Cavel will be the event’s grand marshal. WHAT ARE THE MUST-SEE ATTRACTIONS?Out of the 100+ installations, it’s tough to pick favorites. It’s all new in 2019, and there will be several sleepers that emerge as crowd favorites throughout the event. We have our eye on the iconic Cincinnati structures that are set to glow. The Roebling Bridge, for starters, is set to glow and “sing,” organizers say.

“Rumble: A contemporary voice for the bridge that sings” is set to bring the bridge to life. Officials with Masary Studios have created a musical and lighting score for the bridge, the culmination of a multi-month endeavor. “re:Fraction” at the Genius of Water statue at Fountain Square also looks to be an early crowd-pleaser, with light adding color and movement to one of Cincinnati’s most iconic symbols. The Architects of Air Dodecalis Luminarium in Washington Park was a big hit in 2017. It has been redesigned and is — again — slated to thrill, offering dazzling mazes and winding paths at the popular Over-the-Rhine park. This installation is ticketed.

Other installations that have caught our eye include The World’s Largest Disco Ball, Energy Cycle, Entropy, Glass Fabric and Justice, Cincinnatus 3D, Light Streams and Neon Flux. THE DOWNTOWN ZONELet’s get into the various zones of BLINK. The central zone — the Downtown Zone — is a haven for projection lighting. Jammed between Central Parkway and 3rd Street, this zones has staggering 12 light projections and eight installations. Most of these attractions line Main and Walnut streets (again, following the streetcar tracks) and Central Parkway. Some of the highlights may be “re:Fraction” on Fountain Square, “The Portal” on the Contemporary Arts Center and “Glass Fabric and Justice” on the courthouse.

THE OTR ZONECincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood is actually broken up into two zones, for the sake of BLINK. The OTR Zone refers to the area between Liberty Street and Central Parkway, spanning from Sycamore to Elm streets. Thirteen installations and eight projections will take over Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. The most densely-populated area is around Washington Park. That’s where you’ll find the Architects of Air Dodecalis Luminarium (as listed above) in addition to five other installations and two light projections. Crickets will sing inside of Music Hall (literally) and the nearby Memorial Hall and Cincinnati Shakespeare Company will include projection mapping on Elm Street. Main street is littered with light projections and installations and The Art Academy of Cincinnati looks to be a hotspot for BLINKers.

THE FINDLAY MARKET ZONEThe second Over-the-Rhine zone is a haven for murals. Sixteen new murals will adorn the facades of buildings in this zone, just north of Liberty Street and surrounding the historic Findlay Market. Again, follow the streetcar tracks in this zone, as the action is along both Elm and Race streets.In addition to the murals, three installations and six light projections are located throughout the area.

THE BANKS ZONEYou don’t have to walk much to check out The Banks Zone, with nine installations and three projections along the banks of the Ohio River. Smale Riverfront Park will be the hotspot for BLINKers, overlooking the glowing Roebling Bridge amid of sea of shining installations.

Light projections — HUEmanity and Dreams Etched in Stone — will light up the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and a mural on the facade of Great American Ball Park.

THE COVINGTON ZONE BLINK is moving into Kentucky this year, with the iconic Roebling Bridge connecting the cities of Cincinnati and Covington.The Covington path will be a bit different — there are no streetcar tracks, after all — but it follows a walkable path. Most of the magic will happen around Madison Avenue. Covington will include a whopping 13 projections, along with five projections and a mural.

WHAT ABOUT THE MUSIC? It’s not just a light show. BLINK will also include a massive and diverse music lineup across six stages. More than 80 entertainers will take the stage over all four nights. National recording artist Grouplove will play a free Friday night show. Other featured acts include Redfoo, Pomegranates, Dudley Taft, Ernie Johnson from Detroit, The Cincinnati Opera, Willie Jones, Sun Seeker, Bendigo Fletcher, Young Heirlooms, Telehope, Rob Fetters, Harbour, Jess Lamb, JSPH, Carriers, Maria Carrelli, All Seeing Eyes, Lauren Eylise, Multimagic, Elementz, Dinosoul, Cincinnati Music Accelerator Buskers and many more.The music will play across six stages. Those stages include: Wellness Your Way Rivercenter Stage (10 East Rivercenter Boulevard, Covington, Kentucky): Click here for the full lineup.7th Street Covington Stage (26 West 7th Street, Covington, Kentucky): Click here for the full lineup. AARP Freedom Way Stage (10 Freedom Way East, Cincinnati): Click here for the full lineup. Belterra Court Street Stage (30 East Court Street, Cincinnati): Click here for the full lineup.Elder Street Stage (1801 Race Street, Cincinnati): Click here for the full lineup.Findlay Market Biergarten Stage (1654 Central Parkway, Cincinnati): Click here for the full lineup. WHAT ABOUT FOOD AND DRINK?Yes. Food, Pepsi products, water and alcoholic beverages are available in multiple locations throughout the event.You’re also downtown Cincinnati — and there is no shortage of bars and restaurants. WHAT’S THERE TO DO OUTSIDE OF BLINK HOURS?There is plenty to do before and after the show, including BLINK-affiliated events like Artist Talks. There are also several guided tours of the BLINK grounds. Here’s a full list of daytime events. Organizers also encourage BLINK attendees to visit any of the city’s restaurants, bars and nightclubs for BLINK’s afterglow. HOW IS THE WEATHER LOOKING? Thursday will be a gorgeous night to walk around town. Expect temperatures around 70 degrees. Friday may be a bit dicey. The evening hours will see temperatures around 70 degrees, but rain showers will arrive by Friday evening — look for scattered showers after 7 p.m. The showers will not be heavy, but pack a raincoat…just in case. Saturday should be dry by the evening hours, but pack a coat! Colder air will take over, and temperature will plummet — expect temperatures only in the upper 40s or 50s by Saturday afternoon and evening. Sunday will be clear and cool with highs expected in the mid/upper 60s. Sunday night to close out BLINK it will be in the mid 50s.WHAT ABOUT SECURITY? As an expanded BLINK is being pulled together ahead of its big debut Thursday, police are planning an enhanced presence.They expect 1.5 million people to dive right into the immersive art and light show.Officials said they have a plan to keep everyone safe. Cincinnati police said there will be extra officers everywhere you go throughout the five zones.They said you will be able to see some of the officers, but there will be some you won’t see.

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