Summer in Columbus: Festival Fun

Written by Seamus Kelleher.

There’s no shortage of things to do in Columbus, Ohio, and that’s especially true in the summer. It seems that when it heats up, so does the city’s vibrant, diverse personality. There are several great festivals to celebrate the rich history of the city, and the eclectic cultures and characters keep it so unique.

Check out some of the awesome events taking place in and around Columbus this summer, and be sure to circle a few to attend—you won’t be disappointed!

Rock on the Range

May 19-21, MAPFRE Stadium
For three days in May, Columbus Crew SC’s MAPFRE Stadium becomes the center of the Rock & Roll universe. This festival draws an energized, raucous crowd of 40,000 each day into the stands and on the field of the 20,000-seat soccer stadium to rock out to some of the biggest names in music. This 3-day festival sells out every year.

Columbus Asian Festival

May 27-28, Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
This two-day cultural event began in 1995 to celebrate the rich and diverse histories of Columbus’s significant Asian population. Come check out ethnic exhibits, eat a wide range of Asian foods, watch traditional Asian sports competitions such as Ping-Pong and Sepak-Takraw, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the continent’s music and dance. This event draws about 100,000 each year, and it’s free!

The Memorial Tournament

May 29-June 4, Muirfield Village Golf Club

One of the PGA tour’s most storied events, this golf tournament brings out the best players in the world. The spectacle of sport was founded by Ohio legend Jack Nicklaus and is played at Muirfield Village Golf Club. The internationally-acclaimed course designed by ‘The Golden Bear’ himself is a must-see for any sports fan. The weeklong event runs from Monday through Sunday, with Monday through Wednesday serving as practice rounds, and tournament play running from Thursday to Sunday. There are attractions for kids, too, like a youth golf clinic, a dedicated autograph area where they can meet their favorite pros, and a treasure hunt around the course.

Columbus Arts Festival

June 9-11, Scioto Mile
This yearly, 3-day event takes place along the beautiful, newly-transformed Scioto Mile. This year’s festival will feature over 275 nationally-acclaimed artists, live music, food vendors and a 5K run for the arts. If you think you’ve seen it all in art, there are some unique surprises in store. Explore out-of-the box installations made from metal, sand, fiber, leather and more. Take a jaunt along the river with friends and family and soak in all the beauty Columbus has to offer.

Buckeye Country Superfest

June 10-11, Ohio Stadium
Buckeye Country Superfest is aptly-named. It really is a superfest, packing Ohio Stadium’s 102,000-seat venue with fans of country’s biggest names like Zac Brown Band, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert and many more. There are one and two-day tickets available for purchase. If you’re a fan of country, you won’t want to miss out on this one.

Columbus PRIDE Festival

June 16-18, Scioto Mile
The Columbus PRIDE Festival draws 300,000 visitors yearly to celebrate the diversity and inclusiveness of this great city, making it the largest pride event in the Midwest. The festival includes a downtown parade on Saturday, over 175 vendors, live music and a family area where kids can play. This event is a great time for people of all backgrounds to come together and appreciate what makes Columbus a great place to visit and live.

Red, White & BOOM!

July 3, Downtown Columbus
Red, White & BOOM! is the largest fireworks display in Ohio and an excellent way to kick off your Fourth of July weekend. The event draws over 400,000 people downtown each year, so you’ll want to get there early to grab a good spot. The fireworks aren’t the only attraction – there’s a whole day of fun in store. The parade starts at 6pm, with kids’ activities at Columbia Gas’ Children’s Park from noon-8pm, and The Arena District’s ‘Taste of BOOM.’ Fireworks starting at 10pm!

Jazz & Rib Fest

July 21-23, Downtown Columbus
Few things go together as perfectly as jazz music and barbecue. This three-day event takes place along both sides of the newly-revitalized downtown riverfront in West Bank, Bicentennial and Genoa Parks. Come enjoy three days of the tastiest BBQ and the finest jazz around, served up by pit masters and renowned musicians alike. Bring your appetite! 20+ teams from across the U.S. will be competing for the “Best Ribs” crown. Last year, Porky-N-Beans from St. Lucie, Florida, took home bragging rights. Rounding out the top 3 were Texas Outlaws from Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and Jack on the Bone from Massillon, Ohio.

Ohio State Fair

July 27-Aug. 6, Ohio Expo Center
Come celebrate the best of the Buckeye State at the Ohio State fair, located just off I-71 at the Ohio Expo Center, the same location it’s been held since 1886! This annual event that includes live music from rock n’ roll and country recording artists, agricultural exhibits, competitions and amusement rides for the kids. Have you ever seen the NBA Finals trophy sculpted in butter? How about Star Wars’ Darth Vader? These are just two butter-based sculptures you’d find in years past, a fun tradition that’s been going on since 1903. The state fair draws about one million attendees each year, so you know it’s got to be good!

Dublin Irish Festival

Aug. 4-6, Dublin
Columbus suburb Dublin has played host to this cultural festival for the past 28 years. The Dublin Irish Festival celebrates the rich Irish tradition with live entertainment across seven stages, featuring 65 acts and more than 535 performers. Think you’ve got what it takes to win a contest for reddest hair, greenest eyes or most freckles? Come check out the largest three-day Irish Festival in the world.

Columbus Food Truck Festival

Aug. 18-19, Scioto Mile
Wrap up the summer with one final festival! The 7th annual Columbus Food Truck Festival will take place over two days in mid-August. It’s being held at a new location this year — Bicentennial Park on the Scioto Mile, across the Rich Street Bridge. The festival will feature more than 60 of Ohio’s best food trucks and live music across two stages. Catch a bite to eat from favorites like Mikey’s Late Night Slice or Buckeye Donuts, or cool off with a scoop of ice cream from Graeter’s or Jeni’s. The event is family-friendly and fun for all ages. Oh, and it’s free!

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