Celebrating the End of Summer Cincinnati Style
Photography provided by iHeartMEDIA
Greater Cincinnati will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Western & Southern/WEBN fireworks on September 4. What started years ago as a birthday party for the radio station has become an annual tradition.
“It’s a great event to celebrate the end of summer by getting both sides of the river together for what we feel is the best fireworks-to-music show in the country,” says Chuck
Fredrick, region president of iHeartMEDIA Cincinnati, which owns WEBN.
“I think it’s one of those special things you get in Cincinnati that you don’t get everywhere else,” says John F. Barrett, chairman, president and CEO of Western & Southern Financial Group.
Western & Southern believed in the event enough to become the title sponsor when the opportunity became available last year. “A half-million people make the effort to show up for the event,” Barrett says. “I think it’s one of those traditions that is very important to the citizens of Cincinnati. That’s why we stepped up.”
Fredrick gratefully acknowledges the company’s generous support. “Thanks to Western & Southern, we can continue to offer the region a memorable event that serves so many.”
The fireworks are an asset to the community in many ways. “Not only is it a free event for the community, many charities, organizations and clubs benefit as well,” Fredrick says. “It’s one of the top fundraising events in the region.”
Headlining that effort is the Rubber Duck Regatta, which benefits the Freestore Foodbank. “This will be the 22nd year for the regatta,” Fredrick says. “We raised roughly $1.1 million last year with the regatta.”
There are many other lower profile beneficiaries as well. “Because of the event, we are able to raise money not only for the Freestore Foodbank, but also for many other charities, organizations and clubs, which do fundraising events along the Cincinnati and Kentucky sides of the river,” he says.
For those involved, the Western & Southern/WEBN fireworks is more than just an event, it’s a part of an investment in our community. “Making our area a great place to live, work and play is the continual theme of what we offer,” Fredrick says.
“We try and put our money toward the things that make Cincinnati the best place possible to live,” Barrett says. “We believe our investment in this area is so important because our people live here, and we want to recruit others to come here.”
The organization’s contribution to the community is significant. “The percent of income we give is one of the highest in the nation,” Barrett says. “Over the last five years, we’ve given 50 million dollars.”
Fredrick applauds Western & Southern for their efforts. “They truly are the gem of the region. The good they do in our community is very impactful.”
Western & Southern sponsors an extensive list of annual events that helps the community: Walk MS, Ride Cincinnati, Western & Southern Open, Western & Southern Thanksgiving Day Race and the Crib of the Nativity in Eden Park.
“Pretty much every month Western & Southern is participating in some fantastic event that raises monies for great charities, organizations and clubs,” Fredrick says.
“These are important events for the city,” Barrett says. “People value them, so you want to keep them going.”
In addition to money, it takes a significant amount of time to keep the Western & Southern/WEBN fireworks running smoothly. “It takes a lot of creativity, time and partnership with John Barrett and his team at Western & Southern, Joe Rozzi with Rozzi Famous Fireworks, and our team here at iHeartMEDIA Cincinnati,” Fredrick says.
“Every day, we are doing something with the fireworks,” he says, “whether it’s sponsorship selling, involvement in the community with charities, or handling the day-to-day of the event.” He credits Cincinnati Parks and the local municipalities – fire, police, Coast Guard – for their vital roles. “Without their teamwork, the event would obviously not come off.”
All that hard work will culminate the Sunday before Labor Day when a half-million people come together to celebrate one last blast of summer.
“It’s great for the community,” Fredrick says. “There’s not an event in our region that pulls both sides of the river together like the Western & Southern/WEBN fireworks.”
Western & Southern Financial Group is located at 400 Broadway, Cincinnati, OH 45202. For more information, call 866.832.7719 or visit their website at www.westernsouthern.com.