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Thursday, September 15, 2016

How To Merchants & Music: Everything You Need To Know To Prepare For The Day

FTM's Jessica Duke getting some free FTM publicity off of the back of the stilt-walkers. FTM file. 
Only a week away, the 13th annual Merchants & Music Festival on September 24 is fast approaching. It's the day the Renaissance Board works on tirelessly the entire year to bring our community a day of fun and music while promoting local merchants. It's our day to bid farewell to summer and one of the biggest productions Fort Thomas has to offer.

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I remember last year being so excited for Bret Michaels. I planned a big party at my house and raided the Dollar Tree for every glow stick they had so I could make a trail through the woods leading to the Fort for my guests to find their way to and from throughout the day. It was awesome. The party was a success, the day was beautiful and we got to see friends, relax, socialize and listen to some great tunes.

Let's make this year great too!

It's a big task booking talent. 

We have seen some nationally acclaimed acts the past 12 years, and this year is no exception. The Brothers Osborne was recently nominated for 2 CMA awards for best vocal duo and best new artist plus they spent the summer opening for Miranda Lambert. The Kentucky Headhunters are Grammy Award winners, and Sundy Best have topped the Billboard charts. And, how about the Danny Frazier Band? I remember seeing him right out of high school at the River Saloon at Covington Landing; they are great!

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So what do you need to know to prepare for the big day? 

Let's start on where to park. If you don't live adjacent to the park and have a lot of glow sticks on hand or are fortunate enough to be good buddies with someone who lives across from the park with a long driveway (Thanks, Larry!), there will be public parking in the Stables parking lot, 1038 S. Ft. Thomas Ave.; the Armory, 950 Cochran Ave., or on-street parking. Those spots will fill up fast so if you aren't the early bird (Festival starts at 1 p.m.), Executive Transportation is providing free shuttles continuously from 3 p.m. until 1 a.m from South Hills Medical Building, 525 Alexandria Pike; the KLH Building, 1538 Alexandria Pike; and the Fort Thomas Plaza, 90 Alexandria Pike.

A taxi/Uber booth will be located directly across from the Tower for those who have too much fun, and transportation will be on hand throughout the night. As always, we encourage you not to drink and drive.

What should you bring? Let's start with what you CAN NOT bring. Do not bring firearms, drones, bicycles, coolers or illegal substances. These items are not allowed. And, as much as my beloved Finley loves a good festival, dogs or pets are also not allowed.

The Fort Thomas Police Department is our official security for the day/evening and will be enforcing these rules.

You CAN bring foldable chairs and blankets. And, while the event is free to attend, I recommend bringing cash, lots of cash because there will be tons to do. Local food booths will be set up as well as a Jim Beam booth, beer from West Sixth Brewery and wine from local wineries. Let's also not forget to go shopping at several local artisan shops in the marketplace area.

Other things to consider bringing are sunscreen, a poncho and an umbrella in the event of inclement weather, but let's hope that doesn't happen. Check the weather the night before, and dress accordingly.

While some of you were hoping for a giant slip and slide to be set up on the hill leading to the amphitheater as requested from a recent Facebook poll, I am sorry to report that will not be happening. However, there is going to be an awesome, new and improved Kids Zone to keep the younger attendees busy all day. This is where that cash is going to come in handy!

Our fearless leader, Mark Collier, recommends getting there early for the kids and says if you're lucky enough to have grandparents who double as babysitters, have them stagger their arrival time so they can take the kids home if you want to stay for the headliners. I guess we know what Mark's parents are doing that night.

See you at the after party, Mark!

For those craving their familiar Bud and Miller Light and a good time afterward, our three local watering holes will be open the entire day and will be ready for the after party at midnight when the festival ends.

Fort Thomas Pizza & Tavern will be serving full menu until late night as well as pizza by the slice all day, then live entertainment at night. The Olde Fort Pub has regular bar service and a DJ/Karaoke until close. The Midway Cafe will be featuring an acoustic performance by Eric Daniels on the front patio during the day and music by Rootbound that evening.

Here's directions to 900 Cochran Ave., Ft. Thomas, event location:

From KY:
Take I-275E to 471N via exit 74B
Take Exit 2 toward Fort Thomas
Turn Right onto Alexandria Pike
In .9 miles Turn Left onto S. Fort Thomas Ave.
In .6 miles destination will be on the right.

From OH:
Take I-471S into KY
Take Exit 2 toward Fort Thomas
Turn Left onto Alexandria Pike
In .9 miles Turn Left onto S. Fort Thomas Ave.
In .6 miles destination will be on the right.

Stay tuned next week for a list of food vendors and band lineup and times.

1 comment:

  1. Would appreciate some mention of handicapped parking.It's a wonderful event but we don't attend because we are not aware of wheelchair access.