Columbus, Ohio – The Buckeye State is home to some of the country’s premier summer festivals and celebrations of small-town Americana, and offers a number of ways to get in a festive mood this summer. Whether you’re interested in grooving to the foot-stomping sounds of Celtic song and dance or feeling the power of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds as they zoom above your head, this year’s Ohio festival lineup can’t be missed.
Following is just a sampling of amazing summer festivals celebrating music, the arts, culture and chapters of American history. For more fun, budget-friendly travel ideas close to home, check DiscoverOhio.com, follow us on Twitter@DiscoverOhio or “Like” the Ohio Tourism Division on Facebook at www.facebook.com/discoverohio.
Festival Fun for the Whole Family
Check out the riverboat town for the sweet, family-friendly Marietta Sweet Corn Festival, July 16 – 17. Enjoy hot buttered Ohio sweet corn served fresh on the cob and piping hot. Bring the whole family to experience a wide variety of delicious foods, prepared by local restaurants, or participate in events for all ages, such as cornhole tournaments and historical re-enactments. Pet your favorite farm animal, experience a fun hayride or tour Marietta’s historic downtown along the Ohio River. Highlights of this year’s event include live performances from local and regional performers Matt First Band, The Faculty and Todd Burge and the Odd Urges.
Check out the festival that’s sure to leave you seeing double (and possibly triple) at the Twins Day Festival, Aug. 6 – 8. Every year, more than 2,000 sets of twins, triplets and multiples gather in Twinsburg for the Double Take Parade, live entertainment, fireworks and more, making this the world’s largest annual gathering of twins and one of Ohio’s most unique festivals.
Wilkommen! Bucyrus is known for its German-rich heritage and the aroma of brats as they sizzle on a grill at the annualBucyrus Bratwurst Festival, Aug. 19 – 21. Known for its authentic bratwurst makers, Bucyrus welcomes the whole family for some open-fire-roasted bratwurst, parades, art shows, rides and games. Also, make sure to stick around to see which Bucyrus-native is crowned the Bratwurst Festival Queen and cheer on riders in the best “wurst” bicycle race!
Groove to Your own Beat
Macy’s Music Festival is a two-night extravaganza of R&B, jazz, hip-hop and soul in the heart of Cincinnati and dates back to 1962. From July 30 – 31, this larger-than-life music experience features national acts including Charlie Wilson, Maze (featuring Frankie Beverly), En Vogue, Jill Scott and more. Clap your hands, stomp your feet and discover why Macy’s Music Festival is more than just a concert!
Known as one of the biggest and best Irish festivals in the country, the Dublin Irish Festival (Aug. 6 – 8) provides an authentic Irish experience without traveling to the Emerald Isle. More than 60 musical acts from the United States and Ireland liven up seven stages and feature bands performing different styles of Irish music. Discover Ireland’s traditional instruments while learning to play the fiddle or tin whistle. Other highlights include Celtic sports, hands-on workshops, an area to research your genealogy and a 10th-century authentic Irish village.
This year’s Lebanon Blues Festival (Aug. 7) isn’t just a celebration of blues music, though there will be eight different blues bands rocking the live entertainment stage. Check out live performances from No Saints No Saviors, Bryan Lee, Robin Lacy and DeZydeco, and Them Bones. Make sure to channel your inner dragster and check out the Blues, BBQ and Bumpers car show for delicious barbeque and 150 classic road warriors like hot rods and roadsters. Best of all, admission is free.
Celebrations of Art and Culture
Celebrate the end of American slavery and fight for the continuing struggle for freedom at the Juneteenth Cincinnati festival in beautiful Eden Park, July 19 – 20. This free festival features a unique parade of flags of the African Diaspora, speeches from Frederick Douglass and President Lincoln re-enactors. Check out live entertainment featuring music genres such as jazz, gospel, blues, reggae and R&B and be inspired by performers as they dance to these beats rooted in African-American culture.
Check out the two-day Zanesville Y-Bridge Arts Festival, Aug. 6 – 8, and watch as Zanesville’s famous Y Bridge is transformed into a stunning outdoor gallery showcasing multi-media artwork and fine contemporary crafts from more than 50 artists. Additional highlights include live entertainment and gourmet treats from local restaurants. Enjoy pottery, blacksmith and fiber arts demonstrations and a children’s activity area for the little ones in the family.
Revel in the bright colors, delicious food and hip-swinging music of central Ohio’s Hispanic culture at the Festival Latino in Columbus’ Genoa Park, Aug. 14 – 15. The perfect way to heat up the summer, this amazing festival features multiple stages of continuous salsa, cumbia, meringue, norte ño and banda music. Sample traditional Latin fare, dance to the beats of a Mexican mariachi band or peruse the marketplace for Ecuadorian crafts and Mayan jewelry.
Calling all History Buffs!
Witness the majesty of the Tall Ships festival when it returns to Cleveland July 7 – 11 for a sailing spectacle of historic proportions. This four-day historical celebration includes spectacular vessels representative of maritime history from the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 to Great Lakes trading schooners, Baltimore Clippers and more. A family-friendly event, the festival offers live entertainment and a children’s play area. Visit the maritime marketplace and tour these magnificent ships to learn more about their history and how they operated.
Check out the Summer Moon Festival in Neil Armstrong’s hometown of Wapakoneta July 15 – 17 and test your sleuthing skills at the moon rock hunt or visit the kid-friendly, rocket-building demonstration. One of the most unique and fun activities during the festival is the moon pie eating contest where contestants battle to see who can down the largest combination of chocolate and marshmallow heaven. Other highlights include wiener dog races, festival rides and live music entertainment from regional acts.
Join aviation enthusiasts from around the country to celebrate Dayton’s aviation heritage during one of the country’s leading air shows. At the Vectren Dayton Air Show, July 17 – 18, feel the adrenalin rush as the world-renowned U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds make a return appearance and push their F-16 Fighting Falcons to the limit in a display of speed, skill, power and precision. The event also showcases world-class aerobatic champions, military jet demonstrations and entertainment for everyone.