By Jim Knippenberg
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Homeowners and apartment dwellers with a view of Cinergy Field are gearing up for the big boom: Whipping up breakfast casseroles. Ordering pastries and extra bloody Mary mix. Chilling champagne and, in at least one case, getting the hot tub in shape.
It's all for Sunday's 8 a.m. implosion - the last 37 seconds in the life of Cinergy Field and a thunderously good excuse to squeeze in one more party in the already crowded holiday season.
"Isn't it though?" asks caterer Jeff Thomas. "By now, there are so many parties people are starting to walk around like zombies. It's time to take a day and sleep right through it."
Well, almost time.
"It is a very busy time of year for parties, but this is also a once-in-a-lifetime sight and such a wonderful excuse to throw one," says Covington businessman David Herriman, whose Riverside Drive home is eye-level with Cinergy. He's dubbed his party the Breakfast Blast.
DON'T MISS IT
Go to Cincinnati.com for updated coverage before, during and after Sunday's implosion of Cinergy Field. There will be live reports from 5:30 a.m. until 10 a.m. on the latest traffic and weather conditions, real-time video from inside and outside the stadium and more.
"Let this go without a party? Not a chance. When are you going to see something like that again?" asks real estate broker Judie Guttadauro, who has 30 people assembling on the 22nd floor of One Lytle Place, east of Cinergy.
In addition to the private parties, some groups are throwing fund-raisers or using the blast to do something nice for their supporters. The International Visitors Council (IVC) has 50-60 paying $25 a head to come to its 36th floor Carew Tower headquarters, which has 15 windows facing Cinergy. The Children's Home of Northern Kentucky has invited supporters and board members to join residents on its hilltop lawn in Covington's Devou Park.
Elsewhere, in homes without a view, there's no telling how many will party in front of the TV. Police and safety officials continue to insist that the best - and most convenient - view will be from home. Channels 5, 9, 12 and 19 will broadcast the boom and, no doubt, replay it throughout the day.
Hosts are planning classic breakfast foods spiked with bloody Marys, mimosas and plenty of coffee. Many are cooking, and that's fine with John Adams of Benson's catering. "There are a million parties the night before, so you know all the caterers and servers will be out half the night packing up. Calling them in too early might be difficult.
"Me, I'm just staying overnight here (One Riverboat Row) but the staff will have to be here by 5 a.m. to get food ready by 7:30."
Caterer Anne Lisbon is expecting her Elegant Fare staff in by 3 a.m. The company's special Implosion Breakfast includes Banana Strawberry Blast (a smoothie of bananas, strawberries, yogurt and vodka), Lava Toast (French toast stuffed with blueberries), Cherry Bombe Turnover, Smooooldering Applewood Cured Bacon and Dynamite Huevos Rancheros. "We'll have to prepare it and be out of here by 5:15," Ms. Lisbon says.
Other caterers, Jeff Thomas for example, will have the food ready to go the night before, so all his manager has to do is deliver it and heat it. "It's such an ungodly hour and we have all kinds of parties on the 28th, but I'm only doing one implosion breakfast.''
Sunday's partying will start super early because of anticipated traffic snarls and street closings: No streets will close in Kentucky, but in Cincinnati, Third Street and south to the river between Broadway and Elm closes as early as 2 a.m. Sunday, the Suspension and Taylor Southgate bridges about 6 a.m., Fort Washington Way and Interstate 71 (from the Norwood Lateral south) about 7:30 a.m. The river also closes between Interstate 471 and Brent Spence Bridges at 7:30 a.m.
All of which means parties that begin as early as 6:30 a.m. Or maybe 7 p.m. Yes, as in the night before.
"I have at least 40 people coming for the Blowout Brunch," says Karen Bishop, whose hillside home in Newport has a sweeping view of the riverfront. "As I was inviting people, some said, `Why don't we just come Saturday night and stay up?' I said, `Sure,' we'll just party longer.'
"I think I have about 10 overnighters. ... We really love throwing parties, but we've never had one this early. We've had people leave at that hour, but never arrive."
She and husband, Mark, will serve traditional breakfast fare with signature Cinergy names such as Icky Shuffle Eggs, Homerun Hash Browns, 4192 Goetta, Johnny Bench Quiche, Red Legs Bloody Marys and 1975 World Championship Champagne.
OK, the big boom - 37 seconds of kapowie and 20 minutes of settling dust - and the party's over, right? "Oh no," Ms. Bishop says. "We'll be going all day."
Mark Kallick and partner David Moore have the same view as the Bishops, only higher up the hill. "I've been committed to a party ever since I heard about the implosion,'' says Mr. Kallick. "We have three decks and they all have a dead-on view of Cinergy.''
They are telling guests to come really casual - sweat pants, even jammies - and to bring a bathing suit. In December? "One of the decks has a hot tub that will seat eight," he explains.
Giving a party at 7 a.m. - it's not even light yet for heavens' sakes - is a new experience for many of the party givers.
"Normally you don't want people in your home at 6:30 a.m., but it's so damn early, I think it's kind of a cool twist," says Mr. Kallick.
To aid early risers, Ms. Guttadauro will serve bloody Marys and aspirin starting about 7, "even though I've never in my life been up at that hour."
Says Mr. Herriman: "I've never even been tempted to throw a party at that hour. I'm pretty sure I don't know enough people who would get up at 7 if they weren't blowing something up."
Others are not fazed by the time. Diana Cucci, IVC's program co-coordinator and the staffer in charge of Sunday's party, has an uncle flying in and he's already told her he doesn't care if it's at 8 a.m. or even 4 a.m., he'll be there.
Ms. Bishop's brother, a warrant officer at Fort Campbell, is such a Cinergy fan that when he was in for the Bishops' fireworks party on Labor Day weekend he jogged from Newport's 10th Street to Cinergy so he could touch it one last time.
"You think 7 is going to bother him? He'd be up at 2 if he had to," Ms. Bishop says.
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