With the approach of summer and warmer weather, a fun Toledo tradition has returned, as reinvigorated as its downtown location. The 16th annual Rally by the River events made a successful launch in Promenade Park last week with a kickoff appearance by area favorite Pat Dailey. And CitiFest has an impressive lineup of talent still to come, starting tonight at the annual Rock, Rhythm, & Blues Festival with a band that's performing for its second generation of fans - Blood, Sweat, and Tears.
To give downtown workers extra time to get casual before flocking to the festivities, CitiFest has changed rally times from 5-9 p.m. to 6-10 p.m. No more rush to get to the party before it ends. There will also be a positive break this year for responsible beer drinkers 21 and older.
Two years ago CitiFest was hit with a violation for unwittingly selling beer to minors. Last year rally-goers could buy a brew but had to drink it in roped-off beer gardens. This year, drinkers who can prove their age will receive wristbands so they can walk around with their suds.
Working with the Ohio Liquor Control Commission, rally organizers vow to keep a vigilant watch for violators. Training sessions were held for staff and volunteers, and special emphasis will be put on detecting underage drinking and fake IDs.
The enhanced scrutiny should not only help eliminate past problems but promote an improved atmosphere for the downtown festivals. That should boost attendance.
Busy on Fridays? Try Wednesday “Rock the Docks” nights in July at Festival Park.
It is indeed refreshing to witness downtown Toledo come alive again with grand renovations and new additions such as the Mud Hens ballpark. Along with new eateries and entertainment options, the popular Rally by the River dates give local residents plenty of reasons to rediscover a downtown in exciting transformation.
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