Friday, May 18, 2001

Maifest expecting 150,000

Pioneer Days village also anticipating large crowd

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Two Kenton County festivals begin today — Maifest in Covington's MainStrasse Village and the Erlanger Pioneer Days Spring Frolic at Silverlake Park.

        Organizers of the 22nd annual Maifest expect 150,000 people at the festival, which opens at 5 p.m. today and continues through Sunday night.

        The second annual Pioneer Days Spring Frolic hosts senior citizens and about 350 Northern Kentucky students today. It opens to the general public at 10 a.m. Saturday and ends Sunday night.

[photo] Claude Nettles of Louisiana We're Cookin' of Baton Rouge stirs a pot of jambalaya in Goebel Park at the Maifest kickoff.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
        Billed as one of the top 20 events in the Southeast, Maifest revolves around the German tradition of welcoming the first spring wines.

        During its three-day run, Maifest is expected to generate $3.5 million for Northern Kentucky's economy, said Gary Dirheimer, festival chairman.

        “The hotels generally book quite a few rooms,” Mr. Dirheimer said. “People will eat lunch, go to the festival, and maybe visit a tourist attraction like the Newport Aquarium. A lot of people also stop on their way out for gas or to pick up fast food.”

        Spread over four city blocks along the Sixth Street promenade, Philadelphia Street and Goebel Park, the Maifest celebration features 26 food booths; musical entertainment including German bands, rock 'n' roll, blues, and country and western music; a midway featuring a Ferris wheel and other rides; and 85 to 90 arts and crafts booths — including 30 that are new since last year — selling jewelry to lawn ornaments.

   What: MainStrasse Village Maifest 2001
   When: 5 to 11 p.m. today, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday
   Where: Covington's MainStrasse Village along the Sixth Street promenade, Philadelphia Street and Goebel Park
   Special features: Amusement Midway sells an “all you can ride” ticket for $12 from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
   Event parking: The Westin Hotel in Cincinnati; the IRS parking lot at 4th and Johnson Sts. in Covington, the Jillian's parking lot in Covington, the Covington city parking lots at Seventh St. and Scott Blvd. and at Third and Greenup Sts., the Covington city parking lot at the River Center complex and the Fifth Third parking lot in Fort Wright at Dixie Hwy. and Sleepyhollow Rd.
   Maifest's free shuttle service will run throughout the festival and make stops at each of the above parking lots.
   Information: Call a 24-hour special events line at (513) 357-MAIN.
   What: Erlanger Pioneer Days Spring Frolic at Silverlake Park
   Where: Silverlake Park on Kenton Lands Road
   When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday Special features: Crafters, food and entertainment for the whole family. Pioneer village hosted by Ole' Cantuckee Primitives
   Information: (859) 727-7955
        Among the new offerings: a crafter from the Virgin Islands who sells handcrafted toe rings.

        “We hope everyone comes to Maifest and enjoys themselves,” said Covington Police Spc. George Russell, who is coordinating security for the event. “Just keep in mind that it's a family atmosphere.”

        Plainclothes police and uniformed officers on foot and on bikes will patrol the festival area from Fifth to Seventh streets, and from Interstate 75 to Johnson Street, as well as alleys and streets just outside the barricaded festival area.

        As in the past, police will circulate throughout the festival to guard against underage drinkers, Spc. Russell said. Bars and restaurants will not be able to sell beer from their windows but, unlike at last year's Maifest, customers will be allowed to carry their drinks onto the festival grounds.

        To help cut down on litter, beer at the booths run by nonprofit organizations will be sold in 32-ounce hard plastic steins, Mr. Dirheimer said. This year, there also will be five “low alcohol” booths selling drinks such as Jack Daniels Country Cocktails.

        About 75 to 80 portable toilets will be set up on the festival grounds, and another 20 can be brought in if needed, Mr. Dirheimer said.

        This year, the Mansfield Liederkranz Dancers will return after an absence of several years, and new food booths include offerings from Teez Sports Cafe in Over-the-Rhine, Kinder Haus C & J Catering of West Chester and El Pueblito's Mexican restaurant in Florence.

        Each day, volunteers will staff a hot line at the MainStrasse Village Association offices to answer questions and concerns from MainStrasse residents and businesses from about an hour before Maifest opens to an hour after it ends. Others can call (859) 491-0458 with any festival-related concerns.

        The main focus of the Erlanger Pioneer Days Spring Frolic at Silverlake Park will be a pre-1840 pioneer village hosted by the Ole Cantuckee Primitives.

        Food and arts and crafts will be sold, American Indians Sherry Summer Wind and John Shadow Eagle will visit, and an Indian drummer group will perform at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

        “It's just to show everybody what a typical day was like in the 19th century,” said Kathy Cahill, community development coordinator for the city of Erlanger. “You can see the games the kids played and the food they ate.”


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