Ezz Fest and Groundbreaking at Laurel Park

On Saturday, October 9, 2021 at 10am, all are invited to join in celebration of the official groundbreaking for the Ezzard Charles statue honoring the life and legacy of World Heavyweight Boxing Champion and favorite son of Cincinnati’s West End. The statue and plaza is to be erected and dedicated in Laurel Park in 2022. Following the groundbreaking ceremony, join the fun of the 4th Annual Ezz Fest—the West End’s arts, athletics, and music festival that celebrates Ezzard Charles’ contributions to the West End’s rich history.

About Ezz Fest

The Seven Hills Neighborhood House, West End Community Council, Cincinnati Parks, and Cincinnati Parks Foundation are proud to bring back an in-person celebration of the festival this year. Ezz Fest was started in 2018 as a community celebration honoring Ezzard Charles. Participants will enjoy a community picnic, live music, boxing activities, a family fun area, local vendors, food, and beer for purchase from MadTree Brewing. This free festival will be fun for all ages.

Ezz Fest Sponsors:
Seven Hills Neighborhood Houses
Cincinnati Parks Foundation
Cincinnati Parks
FC Cincinnati
The Maschmeier Boys and Girls

About the Ezzard Charles Statue

Through the generosity of the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr. Foundation—as well as several other community partners—the bronze statue and plaza commemorating the life and legacy of Cincinnati’s World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Ezzard Charles, will soon be realized in the heart of the West End.

The statue is to be erected within Laurel Park along Ezzard Charles Drive in the West End of Cincinnati. Local artist John Hebenstreit, known for the Black Brigade monument in Smale Riverfront Park, began sculpting the 13-foot statue of Ezzard Charles in 2017. CHAATRIK Architecture & Urban Design is designing the plaza.

The Ezzard Charles statue project prompted a revitalization of Laurel Park, including the sculpture, 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.

Thank you to the Ezzard Charles at Laurel Park Donors:

Heavyweight Champion

Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile Foundation


CHAATRIK Architecture & Urban Design
CPF Emerging Leaders
Ernst & Young
FC Cincinnati Foundation
Greater Cincinnati Foundation
Jewish Cincinnati Bicentennial
MadTree Brewing
Montgomery Inn/Dean Gregory
PNC Charitable Trust
Mike Ruehlman
Perfetti Van Melle


LaRosa’s Inc.
The Maschmeier Boys & Girls
Jim Messner
Dr. O’Dell M. Owens


Andrew & Shanna Barton
Harry & Natalie Cappel
Cincinnati Bell
Adam & Rebecca Coleman
Fay Dupuis
The E.W. Scripps Company
Fifth Third Bank
GE Foundation
Tom Hankinson
Scott Kohlhepp
Scott Oyler
Rosemary Schlachter
Taft Law
Thornton Family Charitable Fund
Brian Tiffany


Andrew Van Sickle
John Hebenstreit
Kailah Ware
Jason Snell
James Cunningham III
Ezzard Charles II
Bill Dettloff
Mike Ruehlman
Jaipal Singh