Editor’s Letter June 2024: Summer Nights

Cincinnati Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief on the magic of those sweet summer evenings.
Illustration by Lars Leetaru

There are certain sounds I associate with summer nights: the incessant white noise of crickets, of course, but also exploding fireworks, kids squealing in the neighbor’s yard, crowd noise or music spilling out of a far-off stadium, the rev of a car roaring down an unseen street. How about the summer smells like charcoal grills, fresh-cut grass, or a nighttime rainstorm rolling in? And nothing tastes like summer more than soft-serve ice cream and a chunk of watermelon (preferably not at the same time).

We aren’t able to capture those three senses in a print magazine, unfortunately, so we celebrate the season this month (“Summer Nights”) with the tools at our disposal: images and words. I especially love the opening spread photograph of the couple watching the river and the world float by—I can imagine the sounds of the river lapping the shore, maybe the riverboat tooting its horn or the Reds crowd cheering, and crickets chirping nearby. Sometimes you just need a warm evening, a blanket, and stars in the sky to make everything feel right.

Then again, sometimes you need a detailed itinerary to get the kids out of the house or to wrangle your friends into meeting up. This issue offers a ton of suggestions for the planners among us—from outdoor movies, concerts, and Hamlet performances to new attractions at the American Sign Museum, the Cincinnati Open, and Kings Island. Maybe it’s time to finally do one of those ghost tours or try your hand at pickleball. It’s definitely time to give Summerfair, Juneteenth Festival, and Riverfest another visit.

I’ve heard that sound and smell are particularly good at bonding with emotional information in your brain to form strong memories, but the reality is that our best memories combine all of the senses. My all-time favorite summer spot is the beach, with the sound and smell of the ocean, the squishy feel of the sand, the salty taste on everything, and the amazing sights.

Maybe one of these years we’ll add a scratch-n-sniff swatch to our summer issue. Or somehow insert a sound doohickey so when you open a page in the summer section you hear crickets. So many crickets.

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