The Children’s Home: “Rockin at Riverfest” Returns with a BANG

The Children’s Home: “Rockin at Riverfest” Returns with a BANG

On Labor Day, the area’s largest “party for a cause” was held once again alongside the resurrected WEBN fireworks on the Ohio River.

“Rockin’ at Riverfest” is the largest annual fundraiser for The Children’s Home. It fuels the more than 30 programs provided by the organization and serves nearly 15,000 children and families each year. The event consists of a gala, live and silent auction, premiere fireworks viewing and live entertainment held at Anderson Pavilion in Smale Park.

“We were blessed to have some amazing co-chairs who tirelessly advocated for the children and families who depend on us,” says John Banchy, president and CEO of The Children’s Home. “Their help was instrumental in convening many of Cincinnati’s leaders at our event who remain committed to the future of our Queen City. Together, we raised over $570,000 that will support Cincinnati’s most vulnerable populations.”

The event has increased in popularity every year and consistently sells out sponsorships from community partners and business organizations that support children and families. This year, nearly 400 attended one of the largest events of its kind since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We knew planning an event of this magnitude would be a challenge, especially since COVID has become part of the global vernacular,” Banchy says. “But we also know our supporters, friends, and leaders in the community remain devoted to our mission of service. This event is a huge part of fueling our programs as well as showcasing our work to fellow community leaders.”

This year’s event was co-chaired by Nick and Joelle Ragland with Mark and Sara Mercurio. Nick Ragland is co-chair of the board of directors for The Gorilla Glue Company, and Joelle Ragland is the owner of Cecitino Home, an interior design company. Mark Mercurio is president and CEO of The Gorilla Glue Company. Sara Mercurio is an assistant teacher at Montgomery Community Church’s preschool program. 

The event featured a short film showcasing the story of Jeremiah Phillips and the impact The Children’s Home has made on the young man and his family. At its conclusion, the room exploded in applause.

“Jeremiah and his family were gracious in sharing their Children’s Home story with our attendees,” says Roderick Hinton, chief administrative officer of The Children’s Home. “The standing ovation and well-wishes he received at the film’s conclusion illustrates the impact of our mission firsthand. Our programs change lives and “Rockin’ at Riverfest” is the signature event that fuels our programs. I’m grateful to everyone who attended or supported us online.”

“Rockin’ at Riverfest” was co-hosted by Steve Raleigh and Tanya O’Rourke from WCPO-9 On Your Side.

The Servant’s Heart Award, awarded in honor of the late Tad Lawrence, was presented to Dr. Robert Heidt Jr. and

Julia-Scripps-Heidt. The award is presented annually to the person or persons who embody Lawrence’s spirit of philanthropy by bettering the community through advocacy for the vulnerable populations served by The Children’s Home. 

“The Children’s Home has been woven into the fabric of Cincinnati since 1864,” Hinton says. “This event, and supporters like our co-chairs, our Board of Trustees, our gracious hosts from WCPO, and the other Cincinnati leaders, demonstrate the best qualities of the tri-state — neighbors coming together to serve one another when it’s needed most.”Next year’s event is scheduled for September 4, 2022.

The Children’s Home is located at 5050 Madison Road, Cincinnati Ohio 45227. For more information, visit or call 513-272-2800.

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