The City of Covington is putting in place familiar restrictions designed to ensure safety and orderly traffic flow as large crowds will again flock to the riverfront and viewing spots around Covington to watch the annual Labor Day weekend fireworks on Sept. 5.
The rules address issues like road closures, parking, alcohol, skateboards, motorized scooters, and glass containers and are similar to those put in place in previous years. Last year’s festival was canceled on the river because of the pandemic.
The rules apply in Devou Park and what’s called the downtown Riverfest Impact Area – the area north of East Fourth Street between the Licking River and Madison Avenue, with a contiguous section from Madison to Johnson Street along West Rivercenter Boulevard (see attached map).
“The purpose of these regulations is simple: Keeping the public safe, and trying to mitigate the disruption,” said Covington Police Sgt. Donald Strange Jr., who supervises the Traffic Unit. “Riverfest brings a lot of people downtown and to viewing areas, and we just want things to run smoothly.”
Police Chief Rob Nader stressed the enormity of the event.
“Riverfest is yearly the largest event on Covington’s Ohio riverfront each year, returning from last year’s relocation to the Kentucky Speedway due to COVID-19 concerns,” Nader said. “In ‘normal’ years it brings large crowds, and we are expecting an even larger gathering of spectators packed into our new Covington Plaza, so with the public’s cooperation in following these rules, we can do much to ensure Riverfest remains a fun event that keeps everyone safe.”
The Covington Police Command Center for the Western & Southern/WEBN Fireworks will be located once again at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center, at the corner of Madison Avenue and Rivercenter Boulevard.
To help people with disabilities access the Impact Area, police will have a cart and driver on site. People who need this service should contact the Command Center at 859-409-8509 when they arrive Sunday.
The fireworks display starts at 9 p.m. For more information about the display and the corresponding festival in Cincinnati, visit webn.iheart.com.
Road closures for Sunday, Sept. 5
• All streets north of East Fourth Street from Madison Avenue to the Licking River will be closed to vehicular traffic at 6 p.m.
• The Roebling Suspension Bridge and the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge will be closed to all traffic beginning at 6 p.m.
• The Fourth Street Bridge to Newport will close at 8 p.m.
• Madison Avenue will remain open to allow access to public parking lots and garages until they are full or 6 p.m., whichever occurs first. Once the parking lots and garages are full, Madison will be closed to through traffic north of Fourth Street. Exceptions will be made for TANK buses, invitation holders to the Metropolitan Club, and hotel guests with room keys and parking passes.
• Access to Devou Park, Kenton Hills, and The Bluffs will be restricted beginning at 2 p.m. to residents and their guests only.
• Streets inside of the Impact Area will not reopen and residents and guests will not be permitted to exit the Impact Area in a vehicle until pedestrians have safely cleared out and Covington Police determine that it is safe to do so. This may take up to an hour after the fireworks are completed. (The fireworks begin just after 9 p.m. and last for about 30 minutes.)
The following areas within the Impact Area will be posted as “No Parking, Tow Away Zones.” Vehicles parked in these areas will be towed starting at 7 a.m. Sunday, including next to parking meters:
• Riverside Drive.
• Garrard Street between East Second Street and Riverside Drive.
• Kennedy Street between East Second Street and Riverside Drive.
• Shelby Street.
• Scott Boulevard north of East Fourth Street.
• Greenup Street north of East Fourth Street.
• East Third Street east of Madison Avenue.
• Park Place.
• Court Street.
• Surface lots along the floodwall on Rivercenter Boulevard between Madison Avenue and Johnson Street and below the Roebling Suspension Bridge.
• Grass areas in Devou Park.
All vehicles parked in garages and parking lots located in the Impact Area will not be permitted to leave until pedestrian traffic has cleared and Covington Police have determined that it is safe for vehicle traffic.
Alcohol & other restrictions
• Alcohol is prohibited on City property and in public places at all times. All coolers and beverage containers are subject to inspection and will be checked at designated checkpoints.
• Anyone wishing to bring alcohol to a private event must have it in the Impact Area before 6 p.m. After 6 p.m., police officers will not allow anyone – including residents – with alcohol to enter the Impact Area.
• Glass containers, bicycles, skateboards, pets, roller blades, roller skates, fireworks, and motorized scooters (such as Lime, Bird etc.) are all prohibited in the Impact Area.
• Motorized vehicles or scooters are also not permitted on floodwalls.
• Swimming in both the Ohio and Licking Rivers is prohibited during Riverfest.
• Mooring along the Covington shoreline is prohibited.
• Vendors (without Special Event Permits) are not permitted to enter the Impact Area.
For more information and questions regarding Riverfest 2021, contact Police Sgt. Donald Strange Jr. at (859) 292-2252, Monday through Friday.
City of Covington