Belle of Cincinnati back for another cruise

Published 10:16 am Thursday, June 18, 2009

It will be a night of gourmet dining and dancing under the stars as the Belle of Cincinnati makes a return visit this summer for another Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization fundraiser.

The CAO is bringing back the highly successful cruise it sponsored last year where patrons got to travel down the Ohio River in the early evening to see the sun set over Greenup, Ky., making a return trip in time to watch a full moon illuminate the Ironton skyline.

This year the cruise date is Friday, July 24. Boarding time is from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Center Street boat landing with the cruise starting at 7.

One of the new features will be serving hors d’oeuvres during the boarding time. And as before there will be a cash bar to accompany the appetizers.

Patrons can take in the scenery from any of three enclosed decks as they dine on a six star buffet. On the menu will be honey glazed ham and breast of chicken supreme with white cream sauce as the entrees accompanied by green beans with caramelized onions, glazed baby carrots, parsley new potatoes and three grain rice medley with pecans and golden raisins. There will also be a fresh mixed garden salad and assorted dinner rolls. Desserts will feature New York style cheesecake and apple pie with caramel sauce.

As the sun starts to set over the village of Greenup, Ky., the Belle will slowly turn back to Ironton. That’s when the music and dancing start up with a special ensemble on each of the three decks. On tap will be The Fugitives with their 50s and 60s rock blend; Joe Freeman’s bluegrass band; and Louie McNeal blues combo. Patrons can mix and match their musical entertainment, taking in all three or just dancing away to a single favorite.

“We want them to enjoy all three bands and the river views,” Joan Terry of the CAO said.

Then as the Belle slowly drifts back to shore and the docking ropes are secured, the evening still goes on because everyone can stay on board for an extra hour, laughing, chatting, dancing and taking in the views — another new feature for this cruise.

“Last year people liked to mingle and didn’t want to get off,” Terry said.

Reservations can be made by contacting Terry at the CAO by phone at 532-3534 or in person at 305 N. Fifth St. Deadline is July 17 and tickets will be mailed out starting July 1. There will be no tickets sold after July 17.

General tickets are $100 per person; single reserved are $125 or a reserved table for eight is $1,000. General boarding allows patrons any table on any deck that is not reserved.

Forms can also be downloaded from the CAO’s Website at www.ilcao.org and returned.

“It is a fund-raiser. It is just to help so many of our programs. Not all of our programs are completely funded,” Terry said. “It does make a difference in a lot of people’s lives.”