Downtown businesses see mixed impacts from culinary event

Thousands flocked to the streets of downtown Saturday for the kick off of the Taste of Cincinnati.

"These festivities, it brings everyone back downtown," Mitch Clemons said. "It's what we're trying to do."

While people packed Fifth Street, some questioned how the event would impact businesses off the main drag.

"I would assume it would draw business to this area more than other businesses," Aubrey Morrison said.

Morrison drove down from Dayton Saturday with one thing on her mind: the Fifth Street Festivities. She says beyond that, she was unsure of what area businesses had to offer.

"I honestly have no idea," she admitted. "We didn't really look into much except this festival."

"Right now it's about shrimp and beer," Clemons said.

"Of course they're going to do that!" Danielle Baskin said. "But as far as shopping, I don't know."

Baskin works at a clothing shop just blocks from the event. She says business was slow Saturday.

"It's bringing people down here, and they are looking," she admitted. "But as far as coming in, not too much so."

With hundreds walking by though, she kept hoping.

"Maybe when it's over they'll come back."

Sure enough, that is just what happened minutes later.

"Just passing through to the taste but we've been in here a couple of times," explained window shopper turned customer Guerlande Weathers.

Weathers picked up some shoes for her little one, picking up the store's bottom line.

"I don't come downtown often myself," she said. "That's why I'm here, because of the Taste [of Cincinnati]."

"I think we're pretty much business as usual downtown," shared Nada's General Manager Allie Shaw.

At Nada they say the event is about exposure to downtown, but with sun exposure Shaw says business tends to die off when the day winds down.

"I think people kind of get their fix in the sunshine and want to go home a little bit earlier than normal," she said.

The event will continue Sunday May 29th from noon until midnight and pick back up Monday from noon to 9 p.m.

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