A Cincinnati community festival is kicking off this weekend with the groundbreaking for a statue of Cincinnati hero and world heavyweight boxing champion Ezzard Charles.
Organizers say in a release that the statue will honor the “life and legacy of World Heavyweight Boxing Champion and favorite son of Cincinnati’s West End, Ezzard Charles.” With donations from the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr. Foundation and several other community partners, the 13-foot statue should be fully in place by 2022.
John Hebenstreit, who also designed the Black Brigade monument in Smale Riverfront Park, began sculpting the statue in 2017, the Cincinnati Parks Foundation says. The plaza surrounding it will be designed by CHAATRIK Architecture & Urban Design.
The Foundation says this project also launched a revamp of Laurel Park, where the statue will be located. They say this involved “the planting of over 100 new trees, the installation of benches, wayfinding signage, a progressive web application (app) and fitness routes, free public WiFi, and an accessible plaza for all to enjoy.”
While the statue might not be ready until 2022, you can enjoy the fourth-annual Ezz Fest this weekend. The celebration begins at 10 a.m. Oct. 9 in Laurel Park.
Cincinnati Parks says the festival began as a celebration of boxer Charles in 2018 and this year will include "a community picnic, live music, boxing activities, a family fun area, local vendors, food, and beer for purchase from MadTree Brewing."
Find a full list of activities, hours and vendors here.
Admission is free and organizers say the festival is fun for all ages. Laurel Park is located at 500 Ezzard Charles Drive, West End.
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