Fireworks fans arrive early; houseboats already moored on Ky. side

Fireworks fans arrive early; houseboats already moored on Ky. side (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - The crowd was already starting to build Wednesday afternoon, August 31, on the Ohio River for an annual end-of-summer tradition.

The first houseboats staking out prime fireworks viewing spots were already moored on the Kentucky side. The boat people who create their fireworks flotilla every year really love them. Not only were they there four days early, they had been there awhile.

For 200 years or more, the natives have watched as settlers come downriver and set up camp. So the arrival of the annual fireworks fleet was expected. It was up to 11 boats by Wednesday morning.

Pete Beltramo and Steelaway were in the first wave and got there early. John and Mary Ann Boorn and their dog, Charlie, live on the river and love it, 51 weeks a year.

John said, "We always go away for the weekend. This particular weekend we go away."

That particular weekend the house boaters can't stay away. Beltramo had been there for the last 14 Riverfests, Jo Ann Dolwig for more than 20. And they say it's fun. Turning a riverbank into a front yard takes a bit of whimsy. Bonds and friendships are built fighting to stay afloat and not adrift.

Fighting the current is a full-time job in addition to their day jobs. It’s all for the best seat for the best party and best fireworks show of the year. And Sunday night, they made it clear Wednesday, they will not be watching the Local 12 broadcast.

But if people who don’t own houseboats want a great view of the fireworks and don't have the inclination to camp out for weeks or fight the crowd, they'll be on Local 12 Sunday night. Broadcast starts with a special at 9 p.m.

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