Unless you own a boat—which sounds nice until you realize someone has to drive the thing home, on the river, in the dark—the first thing you have to do is pick a state. For some, this is a question of hometown loyalty. For most, it’s about the party.
The Ohio side has more riverfront infrastructure—namely the Serpentine Wall at Sawyer Point. The huge, curvy concrete steps set between the Taylor-Southgate and Purple People bridges are ready-made for sprawling public events. All day before the fireworks, Sawyer Point and Yeatman’s Cove are home to Riverfest, an assemblage of performing bands, family activities, and food vendors. The Kentucky side isn’t as heavily programmed, which for many is a huge selling point. But be advised that it may be something of a bummer to watch the festivities from afar. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have friends in high places—that is, access to a rooftop/deck/penthouse looming somewhere close to the action—your choice is clear.
Our vote? We might be biased, but we say stick to Sawyer Point. The big fireworks barge is moored directly across from the Serpentine Wall, and you can claim your spot there with a blanket (and perhaps some duct tape, à la WKRP’s Les Nessman) as early as 6 a.m. on the day of the show, if you want to be insane about it. If you arrive at a more civilized hour, expect a dense crowd with a celebratory atmosphere that draws loyal fireworks-watchers year after year. Down with the rest of the groundlings you can hear the booms, see the smoke, and—for better or worse—smell the smells. It’s life’s rich pageant at its finest.
2015 Western & Southern / WEBN Fireworks, Sept 6, noon–10 p.m., webn.com
Originally published in the February 2014 issue
*This post has been edited to update 2015 event dates and details.