Over the years, the Purple People Bridge has—quite literally—bridged the divide between Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky residents through a variety of events. On June 22, the pastel-colored bridge will host Pure Barre’s annual Barre on the Bridge event, bringing together studios and clients from Kenwood, Mason, Oakley, the west side, and Ft. Wright. At 8:30 and 10:00 a.m., yoga mats will line the bridge and fitness fanatics will lift, tone, and burn each muscle group during a free full-body workout.
Pure Barre uses low-impact, isometric movements inspired by ballet techniques to create a 40- to 50-minute strength workout. But low-impact doesn’t mean the workouts are slow-paced. A typical studio class involves movements choreographed in sync with the tempo of an upbeat playlist. This energy is only elevated by the atmosphere on the Purple People Bridge during the event. Kelly Newman, owner of Pure Barre Ft. Wright, describes it as a “tangible energy that everyone can feel.” Kendra Northgard, co-owner of Pure Barre Cincinnati-Oakley, stesses that it’s an all-inclusive event. “Pure Barre brings together people from all different ages, fitness levels, and backgrounds,” she says.
All five studios have participated in the event since its start in 2016. Last year, more than 1,500 people got their shake on at Barre on the Bridge, earning each studio the Largest Pop-Up Class of the Year award (for the third consecutive year) out of 500 studios nationwide. This year, the studio owners are expecting an even larger turnout. “For the Cincinnati community to [only] have five studios and be able to have such a great turnout and such a large event, I think that just says a lot [about the community],” says Sarah Celek, co-owner of Pure Barre Cincinnati West. “[Cincinnati] is a lot more health- and fitness-driven than some people would imagine.”
Celek will bring her eight years of teaching experience to the bridge for the 8:30 a.m. session, followed by Cincinnati West instructor Lindsey Verst-Wilson at 10:00 a.m. Owners and instructors from the other four studios will filter throughout the bridge to demonstrate moves for attendees.
This year’s event includes a new charitable spin: Each Pure Barre studio will accept donations to five different charities. Ft. Wright will donate to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati, Kenwood to Teen Challenge Cincinnati Women’s Home, Mason to Mission2Move, Oakley to The Aruna Project, and Cincinnati West to SPCA Cincinnati. While this has sparked a bit of friendly competition among the owners, the Barre on the Bridge event is all about coming together to have fun. “So often today, gyms and other fitness boutiques are competing against one another,” says Heather Sohns, owner of Pure Barre Mason. “[Barre on the Bridge] is about unity and a fun competition.”
Several local businesses will also join the fun this year. Show up early to get your hair done at Paragon Salons’ braid bar, or browse FENNOfashion’s mobile accessory boutique while refueling with a cold drink from Rooted Juicery + Kitchen or Urbana Cafe. Other vendors include Arbonne, Athleta, Juice Plus+, Lash Bar, OXZGEN, and StretchLab.
This year, Barre on the Bridge falls on the same day as Cincinnati’s Pride Festival. In the spirit of the festival, each studio has encouraged its clients to wear different colored tank tops, which are designed specifically for the event. “I love that we get to show support for Pride as well as raise awareness for each charity,” says Anna Zimmerman, owner of Pure Barre Kenwood. “The overall goal of the event is to empower individuals.”
Where: Purple People Bridge
When: 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m.
What to bring: Yoga mat (or towel), water, socks, and enthusiasm