Sunday, August 12, 2001

Fish fest called a hit in Newport

By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — Two days into its three-day run, the Great Inland Seafood Festival appears to be a hit after crossing the Ohio River from Cincinnati to Newport.

        Crowds are up slightly from a year ago, said sponsor Marc Wertheim, who moved the festival to Newport for the first time in the event's 15-year history because he said it was too expensive to have it on the Cincinnati side of the river.

        Mr. Wertheim said he expected Saturday's attendance to top 75,000. He predicted overall three-day attendance to be around 175,000, up from about 125,000 from a year ago.

[photo] Curtis Haskins of Roselawn prepares Maine lobster for Coldiron Concessions on Saturday at the Great Inland Seafood Festival in Newport.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
| ZOOM |
        Early Saturday evening, southbound traffic on Interstate 471 backed up on the Daniel Carter Beard Bridge as people made their way to the festival. Construction on ramps leading to and from Fort Washington Way added to the delay.

        “We are pleased with the attendance so far,” said Mr. Wertheim, adding that Friday's night crowd of 22,800 exceeded last year's Friday night turnout.

        The festival takes place along Newport's Riverboat Row, between the Taylor-Southgate and L&N bridges, near the Newport Aquarium.

        “The access and the parking are better in Newport because of all the construction going on in Cincinnati,” Mr. Wertheim said.

        This year's festival offered a triple treat for Bruce Walton of Springfield and Audrey Phillips of Columbus, Ohio. They took in the festival, the river and the Newport Aquarium.

        Britt Krebs, a volunteer for Washington Platform Restaurant in Cincinnati, said the festival location made little difference to him.

        “People come because they know certain restaurants are here,” Mr. Krebs said. “We are famous for Creole Gumbo and people will come no matter which side it's on.”

        Sidney Freeman of Bond Hill said the Newport version was similar to Cincinnati's except for the lack of seating.

        “In the park in Cincinnati we had benches to sit on. Here, it's just the grass,” Mr. Freeman said.

        Next year, Mr. Wertheim promises to spread the festival on both sides of the river with a riverboat taxi service shuttling back and forth.

        “The river taxi service will be more than just transportation,” he said. “It will be a part of the festival with a band on the boat.”

       The Great Inland Seafood Festival continues noon-10 p.m. today. Information: 684-4722.


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