Riverfest rules set for downtown, Devou

Familiar restrictions for fireworks display address safety, traffic, parking

COVINGTON, Ky. – Large crowds will again flock to the riverfront and viewing spots around Covington to watch the 47th annual Labor Day weekend fireworks on Sunday, Sept. 3, so the City and its Police Department are putting in place familiar restrictions designed to ensure safety and orderly traffic flow.

The rules address issues like road closures, parking, alcohol, skateboards, motorized scooters, and glass containers and are similar to those from previous years, with minor changes.

The rules apply in Devou Park and what’s called the downtown Riverfest Impact Area – the area north of East Fourth Street between the Licking River and Madison Avenue, with a contiguous section from Madison to Johnson Street along West Rivercenter Boulevard (see attached map).

Police Chief Brian Valenti stressed the enormity of the event.

“Riverfest brings thousands of people to the riverfront and other locations with a view of the river,” Valenti said. “We ask for everyone’s patience as they navigate the pedestrian-filled roadways. Our goal is to have a fun and safe event so patrons can return for years to come.”

The Covington Police Command Center for what’s called the Western & Southern/WEBN Fireworks will be located once again at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center, at the corner of Madison Avenue and Rivercenter Boulevard.

To help people with disabilities access the Impact Area, police will have a cart and driver on site. People who need this service should contact the Command Center at (859) 760-7018 when they arrive Sunday.

The fireworks display starts at 9 p.m. For more information about the display and the corresponding events in Cincinnati, see Western & Southern/ WEBN Fireworks.

Covington road closures for Sunday, Sept. 3

  • All streets north of East Fourth Street from Madison Avenue to the Licking River will be closed to vehicular traffic at 6 p.m.
  • The Roebling Suspension Bridge will close at 6 p.m. to both vehicles and pedestrians. The Clay Wade Bailey Bridge will close to vehicles at 6 p.m. and pedestrians at 8 p.m.
  • The Fourth Street Bridge to Newport will close at 8 p.m.
  • Madison Avenue will remain open to allow access to public parking lots and garages until they are full or 6 p.m., whichever occurs first. Once the parking lots and garages are full, Madison will be closed to through traffic north of Fourth Street. Exceptions will be made for TANK buses, invitation holders to the Metropolitan Club, and hotel guests with room keys and parking passes.
  • Access to Devou Park, Kenton Hills, and The Bluffs will be restricted beginning at 2 p.m. to residents and their guests only.
  • Streets inside of the Impact Area will not reopen and residents and guests will not be permitted to exit the Impact Area in a vehicle until pedestrians have safely cleared out and Covington Police determine that it is safe to do so. This may take up to an hour after the fireworks are completed. (The fireworks begin just after 9 p.m. and last for about 30 minutes.)


The following areas within the Impact Area will be posted as “No Parking, Tow Away Zones.” Vehicles parked in these areas will be towed starting at 7 a.m. Sunday, including next to parking meters:

  • Riverside Drive.
  • Rivercenter Boulevard.
  • Garrard Street between East Second Street and Riverside Drive.
  • Kennedy Street between East Second Street and Riverside Drive.
  • Shelby Street.
  • Scott Boulevard north of East Fourth Street.
  • Greenup Street north of East Fourth Street.
  • East Third Street east of Madison Avenue.
  • Park Place.
  • Court Street.
  • Surface lots along the floodwall on Rivercenter Boulevard between Madison Avenue and Johnson Street and below the Roebling Suspension Bridge.
  • Grass areas in Devou Park.

All vehicles parked in garages and parking lots located in the Impact Area will not be permitted to leave until pedestrian traffic has cleared and Covington Police have determined that it is safe for vehicle traffic.

Alcohol & other restrictions

  • Alcohol is prohibited on City property and in public places at all times. All coolers and beverage containers are subject to inspection and will be checked at designated checkpoints.
  • Anyone wishing to bring alcohol to a private event must have it in the Impact Area before 6 p.m. After 6 p.m., police officers will not allow anyone – including residents – with alcohol to enter the Impact Area.
  • Glass containers, bicycles, skateboards, pets, roller blades, roller skates, fireworks, and motorized scooters (such as Lime, Bird etc.) are all prohibited in the Impact Area.
  • Motorized vehicles or scooters are also not permitted on floodwalls.
  • Swimming in both the Ohio and Licking Rivers is prohibited during Riverfest.
  • Mooring along the Covington shoreline is prohibited.
  • Vendors (without Special Event Permits) are not permitted to enter the Impact Area. (Applications for those Special Events Permits must be received 45 days in advance of the event day, by the way.)