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There’s a festival almost every weekend in southeast Ohio this summer. Deciding which one to visit might be a challenge ... or it might be as easy as following your nose to Marietta, your ears to Coshocton, or turning your eyes to the Hocking Hills that surround Nelsonville.
Brick Street BBQ
You can get a whiff or a taste of what’s cooking if you attend the Brick Street BBQ in Marietta, the first stop on the 2011 Ohio Triple Crown barbecue competition.
Sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, last year’s cook-off and festival near the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers attracted 39 teams from Ontario to Florida, New York to Illinois.
Categories include chicken, ribs, pork, brisket, and overall. The judges, who award cash prizes, have the tough job. The festival-goers, who decide the "people’s choice," have the easy part — tasting.
Music and plenty of other activities round out the event.
The details: June 10-11, downtown Marietta (Washington County); free; 740-373-0894, brickstreetbbq.com.
Band Organ Rally
It’s not often that you come across a convention of organ grinders and music-box collectors, but Coshocton will play host to a major event for the second time in five years.
The Music Box International Society, which holds its annual Band Organ Rally in a different location each year, was so smitten with historic Roscoe Village in Coshocton in 2008, that it’s coming back for the 2011 celebration of the "happiest music in the world."
The gathering will include hand-cranked, paper-operated tabletop music boxes; organettes; hurdy-gurdys; monkey organs; a trailer-mounted calliope and a fairgrounds band organ; plus some or all of the following: Musical clocks, singing bird boxes, player pianos, nickelodeons, musical snuff boxes, and automatons.
Roscoe Village, a restored 1830s canal town on Rt. 16 is a festival in itself.
The details: July 15-16, Roscoe Village, Coshocton (Coshocton County); free; 740-622-9310, roscoevillage.com.
Parade of the Hills
If you enjoy a good parade and family fun, hightail it to Nelsonville where there will be three parades during the four-day Parade of the Hills festival.
Committee member Tom Schmitz said the festival, which attracts up to 50,000 people a year, prides itself on having "quality entertainment, being family-oriented and clean. You won’t have any worries about putting the kids on the rides we have here."
The festival also will include the official Ohio State Fiddling Contest, which "attracts fiddlers from all over Ohio and several surrounding states," Mr. Schmitz said. The competition will take place in historic Stuart’s Opera House.
The details: Aug. 17-20, Public Square, Nelsonville (Athens County); free; 740-753-3525, paradeofthehills.org.
Other noteworthy festivals:
Festival of Flags: May 26-29, more than 2,000 flags, free entertainment, rides, crafts, dog show, history exhibits, karaoke and a quilt show; Oak Hill (Jackson County); free; oakhillfestivalofflags.org.
Gold Wings & Ribs Festival: June 3-4, motorcycle tours, a parade, bling for your Honda or Harley, cookie-stacking, pickle-spitting, and hog-calling contests (the John Hunt Morgan Civil War battlefield is nearby); downtown Pomeroy (Meigs County); free; 1-877-634-4726, goldwingsandribs.com.
Washboard Music Festival: June 16-18, home of the Columbus Washboard Co., the music is nonstop and free. Played with and without washboard, varieties include dixieland, blues, swing, hot jazz, jug band, bluegrass, Creole, old-time country, ragtime, and Celtic; Logan (Hocking County); free; 740-380-3828, washboardmusicfestival.com.
106th Ohio Hills Folk Festival: July 6-9, farm museum, country store, Quaker meeting house, free nightly entertainment and music; Quaker City (Guernsey County); 740-679-2704, ohiohillsfolkfestival.com.
20th annual LilyFest: July 8-10, 3 acres of gardens, ponds and garden sculptures; plant sales, art, question-and-answer sessions with master gardeners, food and music; Rockbridge (Hocking County); admission: free; lilyfest.com.
Ohio Brew Week Festival: July 8-16, with more than 100 craft brew beers from Ohio breweries, a home-brew competition and cooking contest; Athens (Athens County); fee varies; 740-591-8707, ohiobrewweek.com.
Foothills Blues & Arts Festival: Aug. 26-27, Music, art and food for all ages; on a farm in rural Pomeroy (Meigs County); free; foothillsmusic.org.