Everybody knows I love a good party. It’s in my DNA. I live for them. My favorite indulgences in life include cocktail dresses, curated DJ remixes, photo books, swag, flashing lights, and all that glitters. That’s just me.
So, I’ve had couple of good days in the last week or so.
In case you don’t know, Cincinnati is hosting the 2015 All-Star Game. Everybody who is anybody with the MLB is in town, and they’ve brought along a host of Hollywood celebs, national journalists, socialites, and musicians to help them celebrate baseball’s annual party for the best in the league. People in Cincinnati knew this thing would be epic. I don’t think people realized how epic, though. Cincinnati last hosted the 1988 game, so a lot of city leaders had a reference for what to expect.
But a lot has changed since then–and in a good way.
First, the city herself has expanded and grown. No longer is this a medium-sized Midwestern city somewhere between Atlanta and Chicago. The last ten years in particular have been very successful, including a complete downtown rebirth and the revitalization of several historic neighborhoods. Cincinnati looks better than she has in a long time. Second, the events around the game have expanded. Four days of parties, events, fan experiences, and more lead up to the main event. The MLB takes steps to make sure this is a time guests won’t forget, and this year Cincinnati civic leaders and volunteers expanded on the idea by adding beautification projects, private events, free festivals, and more to the roster.
It has all added up to something I still can’t believe.
Saturday night kicked off my All-Star experience. Sean and I had tickets to the All-Star Concert, a free event at Paul Brown Stadium that featured Demi Lovato as the headliner and Rixton as the opening act. We sat in the club seats, walked in with no expectations, and left having had one of the best nights of our lives. Demi, by the way, can sing the heck out her songs. Her energy and genuine appreciation of the experience matched her voice. We loved it.
Sunday, we made our way to the All-Star Block Party. This free party started early and went all afternoon in the lead up to the MLB Futures Game and the Celebrity Softball Game. We navigated a fun and enthusiastic crowd, then rode the zip line high above the crowd from the Freedom Center to GABP. Unforgettable.
But that didn’t compare to Sunday night.
Inside the old Cincinnati Enquirer warehouse on the outskirts of downtown, party planners and event promoters were working hard to transform the building into the hottest, most exclusive nightclub party that I think Cincinnati has ever hosted. The MLB All Star Bash followed up the official gala and the afternoon games. You had to be on a list (or know someone) to get inside the party. Everyone dressed their best. A red carpet outside greeted VIP members. Inside, the alcohol flowed and the food came free. VIPs and celebrities had special sections on risers. Party promoters handed out special shirts and hats while the DJ mixed music worthy of Los Angeles or Las Vegas.
No one paid a dime.
About 11 PM, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis took the stage. I stood about 200 feet away from them, and the venue wasn’t huge, so this might have been the most intimate concert I have ever attended. They pushed the crowd to new levels of energy, playing all their major hits and upcoming singles. Everyone in this crowd fed off it. And then, around 1:30AM and just when it seemed the night couldn’t get better, Snoop Dogg took the stage. He needs no introduction. I am sure you can guess what happened next.
People in Cincinnati will be talking about this party for years. I wasn’t the only one in the crowd calling this weekend one of the best this city has ever had. I walked out with two hats, a shirt, and an iPhone charger–all just for attending.
Spotted in the crowd– David Gregory, Rob Riggle, Barry Larkin, Billy Hamilton, and more.
The best part is–the game is still two days away. There’s more to come tonight as the city hosts the Home Run Derby, and the main event happens Tuesday night. If you live in Cincinnati and haven’t had a chance to experience the All-Star game in some way, I encourage you to do it. You can find a list of free events and more right here. You won’t be sorry. The Queen City is a great hostess, and everyone’s invited to the party.