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COV’s Authenti-CITY Award goes to very authentic indeed Ron Padgett who knows how to ‘dress up’

Fifth in series of five

To mark National Economic Development Week, the city of Covington is presenting the first-annual “Authenti-CITY Awards” to acknowledge five places, events, people and organizations that make The COV an authentically cool city in the Tri-State.

The City staff will be presenting the award, a certificate, balloons and goat-shaped cookies to five winners each day this week.

Today’s winner is Ron Padgett.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in Ron’s case, a single image of the Covington resident adorned in full, elaborate get-up would demand the use of at least TEN thousand words. His costumes (we use more adjectives below) not only break the Internet but deplete the thesaurus.

But let us back up and start from the beginning. . .

Padgett adopted a more conservative look to accept his award at The Standard.

Padgett is a Realtor who is heavily engaged in the region, serving on an array of quasi-governmental boards and task forces and chairing fund-raisers for organizations like the Cincinnati Opera, Baker Hunt Art & Cultural Center, and The Victorian at Riverside (formerly the Covington Ladies Home).

But he also, as he told one magazine writer, strives to live by this philosophy: “Life is hilarious, don’t be afraid to laugh at it.”

Which brings us to this: Ron dresses up.

He dresses up for Halloween … for galas … for the Kentucky Derby (see Forbes magazine) … for magazine photo shoots … and almost any other occasion. But what got the region’s attention happened during the pandemic – when Ron held backyard and foyer fashion shows that he posted on social media to bring cheer and amusement (and not a small bit of astonishment) to all who followed, day after day.

Covington Economic Development Director Tom West, right, and Neighborhood Services Director Ken Smith, center, laugh at Ron Padgett’s “acceptance speech.” West and Smith were on the Authenti-CITY awards committee.

We say “astonishment” because these aren’t just ANY costumes. Typically these are elaborate, fabulous, detailed, exquisite, and – dare we say – “immaculate” personas that defy description (or at complicate it a bit).

Think Marie Antoinette. Queen Elizabeth I. A Parisian socialite. Marilyn Monroe. Marlene Dietrich. Salvador Dali.

In sum: high-fashion pageantry, haute couture, commedia dell’arte, and Venetian masquerade.

But don’t take our word(s) for it: Explore some of his Instagram posts with the hashtag #literallyhanginginmycloset

“To my fellow nominees,” Padgett said, “I just want to say, ‘Nice try.’”

Did we say Ron dresses up?

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