Annual festival to celebrate 150 years of the Roebling Bridge

This summer's RoeblingFest will celebrate 150 years of the iconic bridge that connects Covington and Cincinnati.

The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge opened in 1867; it spans a record 1,057 feet across the Ohio River. Roebling, who was selected by the Covington-Cincinnati Bridge Company in 1846 as chief engineer to design and build the bridge, estimated the final cost of the project to be $1.8 million. Until 1963, it ran under toll collection, and 10 years later, the bridge was purchased by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It was recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1975.

RoeblingFest, an annual event that celebrates the history and architecture of the bridge, aims to bring people to Covington to witness the bridge and learn more about the surrounding area.

The event was started by the Roebling Point Business Association, in conjunction with the Covington-Cincinnati Suspension Bridge Committee, the organization that's dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the bridge. The CCSBC has been recognized for the decorative lighting that lines the bridge, which was installed in 1984.

Historic and educational tours, exhibits from local museums, presentations, arts and crafts exhibits and sales, dancers and other personalities, food and drinks, live music by DevouGrass and more will be a part of this year's event. All tours and presentations will be free, including the Historic Walking Tours of Covington and historical presentations from regional historians and Kris Roebling, a descendant of the bridge's architect.

A silent auction and raffle will be held to win a “Trip of a Trip” of the bridge (with more information to come later). Also included will be the annual RoeblingFest Photo Contest, where locals and visitors can submit their photos of the bridge. There will be calendars for sale for $12, featuring photos of the Roebling Bridge taken by the community.

One of the special aspects of RoeblingFest is Hands Across the Ohio, where people link hands from the Kentucky side of the bridge to the Ohio side — now 2,162 feet from shore to shore — around noon. This human chain includes local organizations, schools, residents, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. A photograph will be taken to document the entire chain on the bridge.

In contrast with previous years, the CCSBC sees 2017's RoeblingFest as more of a gala event, marking 150 years of the history, architecture and preservation of the Roebling Bridge.

RoeblingFest 2017 will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 17, at Third and Court streets, with attendance estimated to be anywhere from 1,000-1,200 people.

Information on the event can be found here as it becomes available.

Read more articles by Erin Pierce.

Erin Pierce is a contributing writer for Soapbox, and a recent graduate of Northern Kentucky University.
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