It’s a fun annual event, and it has been held almost every year since 1915—it’s Price Hill Day at Coney Island, coming soon. Every July a fairly large number of current and former Price Hill residents (plus a few from Westwood and elsewhere on the west side) head east to the amusement park on the river for a day of swimming, amusement park rides, picnics, games, and friendly get-togethers.
Though the event is smaller these days than it was in the 1940s and 1950s, when half the neighborhood emptied out to head for the park, it’s still one of the biggest neighborhood events of the year—in Price Hill and at Coney Island—with 500 to 600 tickets sold each year.
The Price Hill Businessmen’s Association, which became the Price Hill Civic Club, began the tradition of Price Hill Day almost a century ago, and at that time it was a really big affair. There was a parade the night before, and the King and Queen of Price Hill were crowned, to reign at Coney Island the next day.
It has always been held on a Wednesday, because traditionally, local shops and businesses always closed on Wednesday afternoon. And in the beginning of the last century, Coney Island was simply a picnic grove, no swimming pool or amusement park rides.
Price Hill residents packed baskets of food for picnics, and the Businessmen’s Association organized games and contests. They made their way by streetcar to the Public Landing, where they boarded the Island Queen for a trip up river to Coney Island. And it was always just a little cooler down by the river.
Coney Island closed in 1971, and the Price Hill Civic Club tried to keep the event alive at Kings Island for a year or two, but it just wasn’t the same in the bigger park. So Price Hill Day moved to Strickers’ Grove, a small amusement park in Ross, Ohio, for nearly 30 years, and in that smaller venue, there were again picnics, booths set up by various Price Hill organizations, and fun, games, and camaraderie.
In 2000, the Price Hill Civic Club decided to stop sponsoring Price Hill Day, but since it was a tradition with an 85-year history at that point, the Price Hill Historical Society decided to keep the day alive. Coney Island had reopened some years previously, with some of its old rides as well as Sunlite Pool, and so the PHHS moved the day back to its original location.
Tickets are sold in advance for Price Hill Day at Coney Island, usually for about half of the regular admission price. This year, advance tickets for Price Hill Day are just $13 for ages 4 and up, and $4 for ages 2 and 3. (Children under 2 are free.) Though the event is now much smaller than it was in the days when half the neighborhood emptied out to head for the park, it’s still one of the biggest neighborhood events of the year—in Price Hill and at Coney Island—with 500 to 600 tickets sold each year.
No matter what the weather, people will start heading out to Coney Island around midday on July 20 to take part in a great neighborhood tradition that is nearing its 100th anniversary, not something many community picnics achieve. Tickets for Price Hill Day are available through the Price Hill Historical Society (513-251-2888).