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Published: Friday, 2/21/2003

Riverboat extravaganza

Paddlewheel boats will be featured during the city's Tall Stacks festival along the river. Paddlewheel boats will be featured during the city's Tall Stacks festival along the river.

Cincinnati is stacking up special exhibitions and a riverboat extravaganza to celebrate the Ohio Bicentennial.

The Tall Stacks Music, Arts, and Heritage Festival from Oct. 15-19 will be the main event. More than 500,000 spectators are expected to gather along the Ohio River, festival marketing director Karen Bender said.

The festival is named for the tall smokestacks on 15 steamboats from around the Midwest that will parade up the river and be open for tours.

Hamilton County's Bicentennial bell casting will take place at the Tall Stacks festival, which will feature live blues and jazz bands. An interactive exhibit will describe the African-American experience in Cincinnati and a timeline will tell the story of fine arts in the region.

History lovers will find more tales of yore at the Cincinnati Museum Center. The “Liberty on the Border” exhibit, open from April through September, will use photographs, videos, old military uniforms, and antique weaponry to chronicle the Civil War's effect on southern Ohio.

“It deals with the history of the Civil War from the perspective of what was, at that time, the West,” said John Fleming, a Museum Center vice president. “The Ohio River served as the border between North and South.”

A special exhibit at the Cincinnati Art Museum provides glimpses of contemporary Ohio. Until the end of April, the museum is showing “Panoramic Ohio: Photographs by Thomas R. Schiff.”

Mr. Schiff was a Cincinnati entrepreneur who enjoyed photography as a hobby.

The 75 pictures in his Ohio collection depict scenes from around the state.

The “State of Eight” traveling exhibit on Ohio presidents, which was on display earlier in Fremont, will stay at Cincinnati's William Howard Taft National Historic Site from July through October.

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