Festival season is finally upon us and the Columbus area has a lot going on this summer.
From annual traditions to new, highly anticipated events to some off-beat festivities you’ve never heard of, there’s a festival for just about everything. Can’t make it to all the festivals? Make sure you hit up the 10 best ones, as chosen by NBC4 viewers. (Looking for a schedule of all the summer festivals? Tap or click here.)
When: July 20 – July 22
Where: Scioto Mile, Columbus
The annual Jazz and Rib Fest on the Scioto Mile takes the top spot in festivals for NBC4 viewers. This yearly tradition features only the finest in music and barbecue. This year, 23 award-winning barbecue teams will compete for the bragging rights of “Best Ribs.”
When: June 22 – June 24
Where: Goodale Park, Columbus
Coming in second among NBC4 viewers is everyone’s favorite Community Festival, more commonly known as ComFest. The festival celebrates everything counter-culture, eschewing corporate involvement and supporting the collective good for all people. Whether you’re going to check out the local artisans, see unique performances or just enjoy some top-notch people watching, you’re definitely in for a good time.
When: June 8 – June 10
Where: Scioto Mile, Columbus
Art, music, performances, food trucks, local beer…what more could you ask for? The Columbus Arts Festival comes in at No. 3 on NBC4 viewers’ list of favorite festivals and it’s easy to see why. This year, the festival will feature more than 270 artists from across the country, a beer garden serving craft beers from local breweries, and two stages featuring both national headliners and local bands.
When: Aug. 17 – Aug. 18
Where: Bicentennial Park and the Scioto Mile, Columbus
Coming in a solid fourth place is the Columbus Food Truck Festival. Columbus happens to have one of the best food truck scenes in the country, and more than 70 mobile food vendors from all over Ohio will be at this year’s festival. Click or tap here to see a list of our favorite Columbus-based trucks. If you’ve never been to the food truck festival, make sure to hit it up this year!
When: June 15 – June 17
Where: Scioto Mile
Now in its 37th year, the Stonewall Columbus PRIDE Festival draws nearly 500,000 visitors and is one of the largest pride events in the Midwest. The festival features a ton of vendors, live music, performances and a parade. Whether you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community or consider yourself an ally, this is one event you won’t want to miss.
When: Aug. 3 – Aug. 5
Where: Coffman Park, Dublin
It’s no surprise that the world’s second-largest Irish celebration made the list. The annual festival features more than 65 acts and 535 performers, so there’s plenty for you to take in. This year, internationally renowned Celtic rock band Gaelic Storm will be headlining the festival Friday night, and the Young Dubliners are also performing. Check out the full list of performers here.
When: July 3
Where: Downtown Columbus
Celebrate the Fourth of July the way it’s meant to be celebrated: with the largest fireworks display in Ohio. More than 400,000 people flock to downtown Columbus every year, a huge change from the event’s humble beginnings in Bicentennial Park back in 1981. The annual event features the Ford Oval of Honor Red, White & BOOM! Parade, the Columbia Gas’ Children’s Park, Party on the Park, and of course the most recognized fireworks display in the Midwest. (Can’t make it this year? Don’t worry — you can still catch the spectacular sights right here on NBC4!)
When: May 26 – May 28
Where: Energy Cooperative and Velvet Ice Cream Co., Utica
Nothing says summer like an ice cream cone, and the Utica Sertoma Ice Cream Festival has ice cream aplenty! Every Memorial Day weekend, Utica celebrates everything ice cream with kids’ contests, ice cream eating contests, more than 90 local artisans, pony rides, a classic car show and live entertainment.
When: May 26 – May 27
Where: 1755 E. Broad St., Columbus
Explore food, dance, sports and music from all across Asia at the annual Columbus Asian Festival. The event draws more than 100,000 visitors every year and features martial arts demonstrations, live music, dance performances, yoga and more.
When: July 14 – July 15
Where: Heritage Park, Westerville
Now in its 45th year, the Westerville Music & Arts Festival is one of the best outdoor juried arts festivals in the Buckeye State. This year, the festival features more than 30 local musicians and entertainers, amazing food from more than 20 food trucks and vendors and so much more. On Saturday, the festival will have a special anniversary concert featuring Shucking Bubba. (Bonus: Vendors will also be selling beer at the festival this year!)
Looking for a complete list of awesome festivals in central Ohio? Tap or click here.