The smoke began to clear over the river and was blowing north towards downtown engulfing the skyscrapers and skyline in a haze. "That was it?" I muttered to Venkman and Seicer. We had been waiting all summer since we had discovered our super secret fireworks viewing spot and all we had to say was: "That was it?"
For me, Summer had ended two weeks ago when I had gone back to school, but for many around this area summer comes to a close at the end of labor day weekend with the traditional WEBN Riverfest fireworks. For others the end of summer can be signified with the oncoming start of football season. I started Labor Day weekend by taking up famous local blogger 5chw4r7z's offer to watch the final Bengals pre-season game from the roof of his building, Parker Flats.
As the sun descended and the game began we took in the view of the surrounding area, including everybody's favorite abandoned brewery which will play a bigger part in this story later.
More views from the roof of Parker Flats:
The Bengals were successful in defeating the Colts second and third strings 38 - 7. Will they be any good this season? I don't know, but I do know that Parker Flats and 5chw4r7z have a great view:
In my line of work Labor Day weekend is a big deal. In my five years at my current employer I've never once had the Sunday before Labor Day off and as a kid had never seen the annual WEBN fireworks in person, just on television and in photographs. Everyone spoke about them as if no other fireworks show could compare.
For the first time I had the day of Riverfest off. I met Venkman in Clifton where we hopped on the #18 Metro to Government Square.
Walking from the square to Sawyer Point I noticed that traffic and the crowds were not as bad as everyone had made them out to be.
Venkman and I crossed the Taylor-Southgate bridge to see if the top of our super secret fireworks viewing point could be seen in the distance.
The day before some of my photographs and this website were featured in an article by the Cincinnati Business Courier regarding the abandoned Hudepohl Brewery, a location that has been documented on this website before. The city of Cincinnati is currently seeking to file chargers against the owners of the property who have let the crumbling structure become a public nuisance.
“The site is horrendous,” Forman said. “The fire department has exhausted all their patience. They’ve been dealing with this for years. What we fear is that someone, a firefighter, a homeless person or one of these urban explorers, is going to enter that building and plummet to their death.” - Assistant Cincinnati Prosecutor Keith Forman, Cincinnati Business Courier 9/4/09
When we had explored the old brewery back in the summer we decided that the rooftop would make an excellent spot to see the WEBN fireworks from. So as the various parties fighting over the building's fate took a break for the holiday weekend, we once again climbed to the top of Mt. Hudepohl.
The sun began to set, the view was spectacular, the fireworks neared and we realized we had forgotten a radio.
The iHeartRadio application on my Blackberry would have to substitute for a "boom box." Test shots were fired into the air. These preliminary rounds exploded just behind the Cincinnati Enquirer building, just out of our line of sight. Nothing to worry about though, we figured the real fireworks would ascend well above the test ammunition and city skyline into the night sky.
Paratroopers feel from the sky and the countdown began. The theme song from "Terminator" played over the small cell phone speakers and the first fireworks flew into the air. "Son of a Bitch!" I shouted as we realized our worst fear had come true. The fireworks were concealed behind the skyline, our vantage point sucked.
As the first few minutes of the show took place, all we could see was smoke and the flashing lights and colors of the exploding shells. The occasional burst would ever so slightly peek over the Enquirer building.
Ten minutes into the show our view got even worse. The buildup of smoke prevented us from getting any more chances at clear shots and really prevented us from seeing any hint of the show.
Not soon after the radio announcer proclaimed a thank you to all the sponsors and informed the listeners the show was over. "That was it?"I muttered to Venkman and Seicer. We didn't even know the grand finale had occurred and the show seemed like it was much shorter than the "30 minutes" everyone had been talking about. Despite our less-than-perfect vantage point, it seemed the WEBN fireworks were not as cracked up as they were made out to be. After talking to some friends and reading the latest article on The Phony Coney, it seems this years show was really scaled back. The Provost of Cincinnati issued a call to bring back a larger show and second barge in the aftermath of the fireworks.
To the folks at WEBN and Clear Channel who were apparently responsible for this crappy show...we salute you:
We retreated to the Queen City Disco secret hideout to enjoy Jimmy John's and a six pack of Hudey Delight, paying tribute to the abandoned Hudepohl Brewing Company and drawing our summer of exploring to a close. Here's to exploring in the fall, winter and new year.
To the readers of Queen City Discovery: I'd love to be able to photograph these fireworks from an awesome perspective next year. If anyone would be willing to let some photographers have access to their own super secret fireworks viewing spots we would greatly appreciate it and be willing to return the favor (I.E. Bring food or make you a large print of one of the photographs that would be taken.) Shoot me an email if you have any ideas/advice on places to photograph the fireworks from.
Thanks for reading,
- Gordon Bombay
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