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Top Spots: 10 can't-miss fall festivals in central Ohio

CENTRAL OHIO (WCMH) - With Labor Day behind us, fall has unofficially begun!

While summer festivals generally get all the attention, there are plenty of great festivals happing in autumn too: from the legendary Circleville Pumpkin Show to the Marion Popcorn Festival to HighBall Halloween, this season is full of spooky, kooky, spectacular fun. I asked NBC4 viewers what fall events they just can’t miss, and here’s what they said:

Circleville Pumpkin Show

When: Oct. 17 – Oct. 20

Where: Circleville

The annual Circleville Pumpkin Show is the most anticipated event of the season for NBC4 viewers, and it’s easy to see why. It literally does not get anymore fall-like than four days of pumpkin EVERYTHING. From the weigh-in to the parade to the delicious pumpkin treats from Lindsay’s Bakery, this is the can’t-miss fall festival. Tap or click here for the festival schedule.  

Columbus Oktoberfest

When: Sept. 7 – Sept. 9

Where: Ohio Expo Center

Prost! While this year’s festival is a couple weeks earlier than in previous years, there is still plenty of fun to be had. Celebrate German heritage with food, music, dancing and, of course, beer! This year’s festival features the annual Brat Trot, a craft beer garten serving beer from craft brewers all over the state, and much more. Admission is free, parking is $10, and you can get food and drink tickets in strips of 10 for just $10.  Tap or click here for more information.

HighBall Halloween

When: Oct. 26 – Oct. 27

Where: Short North Arts District

This ain’t your college Halloween party — HighBall Halloween is the country’s most elaborate costume party, marrying runway couture with the culture of the Short North Arts District. This year’s party will feature a fabulous tribute to the Spice Girls, a public costume contest, street performances and of course the Battelle Costume Couture Fashion Show. Columbus drag icon Nina West and NBC4’s own Monica Day and Matt Barns will even be hosting many of the main stage events.

Marion Popcorn Festival

When: Sept. 6 – Sept. 8

Where: Marion

The world’s largest popcorn festival will take over Marion this weekend, and it’s an event you won't’ want to miss. More than 250,000 visitors flock to the festival each year to enjoy everything popcorn, live entertainment and much more. This year, 80s-tribute band Stranger, Pop Evil and Lonestar will headline the festival.

Scarecrow Festival

When: Sept. 14 – Sept. 16

Where: Downtown Washington Court House

Put on your flannel shirt, grab a straw hat and get your fall on at the annual Scarecrow Festival in Washington Court House. The three-day festival will feature rides, food, arts and crafts, a petting zoo and more! This year, 90s country music star John Michael Montgomery will perform Saturday night.

Italian Festival

When: Oct. 5 – Oct. 7

Where: 270 Hamlet St., Columbus

Celebrate Italian culture, music and food at the 2018 Italian Festival. This year’s festivities include a parade, cultural events, a bocce ball tournament, live music, cooking demonstrations and much more. Tickets are $5 at the door and kids 12 and under get in free with the purchase of an adult ticket. Tap or click here for more information.

Creekside Hops & Vines Fest

When: Sept. 22 from 6pm to 11pm

Where: Creekside, Gahanna

Welcome the new season the right way at the fifth annual Creekside Hops & Vines Fest. Central Ohio’s best breweries, wineries and distilleries will be on hand as well as Local Cantina (free tacos!), Barrel and Boar and more. Admission is $55 and includes 16 tasting tickets and free food from local restaurants. If you’re not drinking but are going with someone who is, you can snag a designated driver ticket for just $30.

Boo at the Zoo

When: Oct. 19 – 21; Oct. 26 – 28

Where: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Calling all boos and ghouls: central Ohio’s favorite family-friendly Halloween festivities will be back for two weekends at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Special regions in the zoo will be all dressed up for the spooky-kooky holiday. This merry-not-scary celebration encourages both children and their parents to dress up (adults may not where anything that covers their face). Event details are still being finalized, so be sure to check the Columbus Zoo’s Adventure Tracker for more information as it gets released.

Creepside

When: Oct. 27

Where: Creekside, Gahanna

Put on your costumes, dress the kids up and head over to Creeksie Park & Plaza for a spooktacular afternoon. There will be live music, games, activities, a haunted trail, trick or treat with local organizations, and lots and lots of candy.

Ohio Renaissance Festival

When: Weekends from September through October

Where: Harveysburg

Okay, I know — it’s definitely not central Ohio, but the Ohio Renaissance Festival makes the perfect weekend trip, and everyone should go at least once (even if it’s only for the turkey legs). The festival takes place on 30 acres that have been transformed into a 16th Century English village. There are nearly 100 shows every day, more than 150 unique arts and crafts shop, savory food, games of skill and human-powered rides for festivalgoers of all ages. If you’re into cosplay, be sure to check out their schedule of themed weekends. They have everything from Time Travelers’ Weekend to Pirates Weekend to the Barbarian Invasion. If you’re taking the kids, you might want to hold off until the weekend of Oct. 27: Kids under 12 get in free and can trick or treat throughout the village!


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