Hamilton’s busy weekends beginning to become the norm

Thousands of people expected to visit the city’s core.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Hamilton will see one of its biggest event weekends so far this year featuring events that collectively will draw thousands of people to the city’s urban core.

And this is starting to become the norm, said organizers of some of those events.

From Friday to Sunday, Hamiltonians and visitors will be able to celebrate Municipal Brew Works’ eighth-anniversary party that runs all three days, enjoy a Friday night RiversEdge concert, the annual Saturday morning FamilyPromise of Butler County’s Dot Dash 5K, and the monthly Hamilton Flea at Marcum Park.

“We’re trying to coordinate a little more amongst groups,” said Adam Helms, Hamilton’s director of Resident Services, about the RiversEdge concert series.

“Years ago, when we were just getting our footing and we were trying to do something in Hamilton, we had a bunch of people doing different things, and now we’re really coordinating or collaborating. We’re trying to work with surrounding businesses or different events and see if there’s an opportunity to have a great weekend in Hamilton.”

This is the maturation of Hamilton’s redevelopment, where a decade ago there was maybe one thing happening. Today, any given weekend may have multiple activities for people to make a choice on which event to attend ― or simply decide to make a day of it at multiple events.

“Once we got RiversEdge into a groove, other things started popping up, other people wanted to do events, and it’s more about how we can complement each other now or how can we help out,” said Helms of the concert venue that opened in 2013. “It’s really great collaboration between businesses and event organizers, so we’re talking to each other instead of everybody doing their own thing. It’s a good working group. It’s something not every community has, so it’s great to work with people who want to see Hamilton as the entire city do something cool on the weekends.”

Municipal Brew Works co-owner Jim Goodman said giving people too much to choose from “is a great problem.”

“Considering where we were 10 years ago, we are getting into a situation where multiple events are happening at the same time, especially during the warmer months,” he said. “The good thing about Hamilton businesses is most businesses are focused on collaboration not competition, and how can we bring more people into the city. It’s that mentality that makes these ‘problems’ not much of a problem at all.”

He said that even if there’s not an event happening, there are a host of restaurants, bars and shops to visit.

This weekend will start with MBW’s anniversary party on Friday afternoon, which includes a first responders fundraiser. Soon after that kicks off, the RiversEdge concert begins with Crowe Boys opening for Maggie Rose, which offers free and VIP ticket options.

Helms said RiversEdge had a “strong crowd” on a Wednesday with several hundred at its first concert of the season two weeks ago. Last week, on a Thursday night, they had about 1,000 to 1,200 concert-goers. Friday will see even more, Helms predicts, as Maggie Rose is a known commodity with a new album out.

“There is a lot to look forward to on Friday,” he said. “It should be a good time.”

Saturday will be the weekend day with the most options as MBW will have three bands playing all day, but not before the FamilyPromise Dot Dah 5K starts that morning at 8:30 a.m. Pre-race registration ends Friday, though they can take day-of registrations.

The 2024 season’s second Hamilton Flea will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Marcum Park, right after the 5K and as the Municipal Brew Works party is happening up off Riverfront Plaza.

Known commonly as The Flea, the second Saturday monthly event that runs from May to September and is described as a curated, urban artisan market. Vendors will be set up in the park but patrons are encouraged to walk the area to visit the shops along the nearby High/Main corridor, all of which is in the Hamilton DORA district.

While all of these events provide an economic impact to the city, The Flea, similar to RiversEdge, has become an economic driver for Hamilton as there is an increase in visitors coming into the downtown and urban core. Organizers have said while people are drawn to The Flea, they also migrate to that High/Main corridor featuring shops and restaurants.

The two large economic drivers will happen on the same day as Helms said next month’s Flea on July 13, which ends at 4 p.m., will roll into the RiversEdge Jared’s Jam four-band concert, which starts at 5 p.m. that weekend.

“It’s going to be a pretty jam-packed weekend,” said Goodman, whose brewery will end this weekend’s festivities with the continuation of its anniversary party, as well as the monthly homebrew club at Municipal’s Spooky Nook location. “There’s certainly a lot going on, and how cool is that, though?”

Goodman recalls before Hamilton’s renaissance and resurgence, he would about how he and his wife, Laura, would drive through to leave downtown because there was nothing to do.

“Now I can’t tell you the last time we left Hamilton on a weekend to go somewhere else because there’s always something to do or someplace to visit, whether it’s good food, or good music or just good atmosphere, there’s certainly a place in Hamilton for all.”

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