Central Ohio festivals and attractions


Food, wine, violets and jazz are just a few of the highlights of summer festivals in central Ohio. Start mapping out a course for outdoor fun.

Utica Sertoma Ice Cream Festival: May 26-28, ice cream, crafts, contests, live animal exhibitions; Velvet Ice Cream Ye Olde Mill, Utica (Licking County); $5 per car;

Asian Festival: May 26-27, Asian cultural activities, food, games and more; Franklin Park, Columbus (Franklin County); free, 614-451-3550,

Columbus Arts Festival: June 1-3, juried art vendors, continuous entertainment, food; along the Downtown riverfront, Scioto Mile and Bicentennial Park, Columbus (Franklin County); free, 614-224-2606,

Dublin Irish Festival (25th Anniversary): Aug. 3-5, authentic Irish art and cultural exhibits, Irish dancing, music, sports, food and beverages, and kids area; Coffman Park, Dublin (Franklin County); $10 (children 12 and under are free), 614-410-4545,

Origins Game Fair: May 30-June 3, game vendors, demonstrations, open gaming, industry award ceremonies; Greater Columbus Convention Center, Columbus (Franklin County), $10 a day ($15 per family) general admission, 614-255-4500,

Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival: June 15-17, music, rides, vendors, food; Mill and Granville streets and Creekside Plaza Park, Gahanna (Franklin County); $4, 614-418-9114,

North Market Food and Wine Festival: July 13-15 June 13-June 15, food and wine; North Market, Columbus (Franklin County); $5, 614-463-9664,

Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival: Aug. 17-18-19, exhibits, contests, midway, parade, free tomato juice; Huber Park, Reynoldsburg (Franklin County); free, 614-866-4888,

Greek Festival: Aug. 31-Sept. 3, cultural exhibits, dancing, music, food, art, cathedral tours; Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Downtown Columbus (Franklin County); $5 (free for children 12 and younger), 614-224-9020,

West Jefferson Ox Roast: Sept 1-3, food, parade, entertainment, crafts; Garrette√Park, West Jefferson (Madison County); free; 614-879-8818,


A sampling of popular summertime activities and events compiled by Dispatch staff members.



Description: A 50,000-square-foot water park including an interactive-adventure area for young children, body slides, an activity pool with water basketball, and a fast-paced tube ride

Location: Cherry Valley Lodge, 2299 Cherry Valley Rd., Newark (Licking County)

Open: operating hours vary (check Web site for details)

Admission: $12 (Monday through Thursday) and $22 (Friday-Sunday and holidays), or free for children younger than 2

Parking: free

Least-busy days: weekdays

Wheelchair access: yes

Tickets/information: 1-800-788-8008, 740-788-1200 or


Description: A 60,000-square-foot park, including an area with two small slides for young children; a 40-foot-tall interactive play area with a water cannon, four slides and a 1,000-gallon tipping bucket; and an activity pool with basketball hoops

Location: 4560 Hilton Corporate Dr., Columbus (Franklin County)

Open: year-round

Admission: all-day pass $23.95 (Monday through Friday), $29.95 (Saturday and Sunday), or $21.95 after 4 p.m.; spectator pass $9.95; call for park hours and day-pass sales

Parking: free

Least-busy days: Tuesday and Wednesday

Wheelchair access: yes

Tickets/information: 1-877-33-SPLASH, 614-868-1380 or


Description: The state’s premier fair, including entertainment, livestock competitions, rides, youth organizations, agriculture, natural resources and creative and fine arts

Location: Ohio Expo Center, I-71 and E. 17th Avenue, Columbus (Franklin County)

Open: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 25 through Aug. 4 and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 5

Admission: $10 at the gate for those ages 13 to 59, or $8 for senior citizens 60 and older and children 5 to 12; free for children 4 and younger; special discount days throughout fair run

Midway wristbands: for unlimited rides, $22; $1 coupons for individual rides available. One coupon required for most “kiddie” rides, two for each “spectacular” and “super kiddie” ride, three for “super spectacular” rides

Parking: $5

New attractions: “Aussie Kingdom” featuring marsupials from Down Under; a log flume ride, James Johnson’s World Record Balloon Stunt Show and a mobile Name That Tune game show.

Least-busy days: Tuesday through Thursday

Wheelchair access: yes

Tickets/information: advance $6 tickets available through Aug. 5 at participating AAA, Kroger and Ticketmaster outlets; all-day wristband vouchers, $19, available at Kroer stores and Ticketmaster outlets through July 24; 614-644-FAIR,


Description: A 22.7-acre water park — adjacent to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium — featuring 15 water slides, a wave pool, an action river, a lazy river, private cabanas and a kiddie play pool

Location: 4850 W. Powell Rd. (Delaware County)

Open: daily, operating hours vary May 24 through Aug. 26, Sept. 1-3 (call for details)

Admission: $32.99, or $24.99 for children 2 to 9 and senior citizens 60 and older; free for children younger than 2

Parking: $7

New attractions: ZOOMPASS, a new slide reservation system will allow you to bypass riders waiting in line, giving you more time to enjoy all the other park amenties; and exclusive new entrance for season-pass holders near the wave pool.

Least-busy days: weekdays

Wheelchair access: yes

Tickets/information: available at the park, AAA, Columbus-area Kroger stores and online; 614-645-3550, 1-800-MONKEYS,


Actors’ Theatre

Description: 31st season of Shakespearean plays and classics

Location: Schiller Park in German Village, 1000 City Park Ave., Columbus (Franklin County)

Performances: Robin Hood (May 24 to June 24), The Merchant of Venice (June 28 to July 29), The Servant of Two Masters (Aug. 2 to Sept. 2); all shows 8 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays

Admission: free

Seating capacity: 1,000 on the amphitheater lawn (take your own chairs and blankets)

Wheelchair access: yes

Running time: about 2½ hours

Information: 614-444-6888,




Description: Proceeds from the annual event benefit the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

Location: Hoover Y-Park, 1570 Rohr Rd., Columbus (Franklin County)

Performances: July 18: James King Band, Don Rigsby and Midnight Call, Dale Ann Bradley, Larry Stephenson Band, the Gibson Brothers, Bill Yates and the Country Gentlemen Tribute Band, Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out, Shawn Camp and Mike Bub; July 19: Balsam Range, Nothin’ Fancy, Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, Lou Reid and Carolina, Marty Raybon and Full Circle, Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out, the Grascals, Johnson Mountain Boys; July 20: Rarely Herd, New Found Road, Danny Paisley and Southern Grass, David Parmley and Continental Divide, Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice, J.D. Crowe and the New South, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver with the Centerville Alternative Strings, Lonesome River Band, Old Friends (J.D. Crowe, Doyle Lawson, Paul Williams); July 21: MACC Children’s Band, Darrin and Brooke Aldridge, Lost and Found, Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers, Ronnie Bowman, Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time, Mighty Haggard, Blue Highway, the MACC Opry — “Murder on Music Row” with Carl Jackson, Bradley Walker, Jerry Salley, Larry Cordle and more, SteelDrivers

Parking: free

Tickets: $35 to $105; half-price for children 11 to 15; free for children 10 and younger accompanied by a parent. Tickets available at Bluegrass Musicians Supply, 614-443-3558 or 1-800-753-2583; at Ticketmaster outlets (1-800-745-3000) or; by calling 740-548-4199; or at the gate. Camping: $5 a day.

Information: 740-548-4199,


Description: New urban park in Downtown Columbus featuring nine acres of green space, a $5 million performance stage, restrooms, a cafe and a carousel.

Location: E. Rich and S. High streets, Columbus (Franklin County)

Performances: May 24 (7 p.m.): Michael McDonald; May 25 (7 p.m.): Columbus Alive Summer Music Tour (local musicians)

Parking: $5 for underground parking off S. 3rd Street and in City Center garage between E. Main and S. High streets; metered parking nearby

Tickets: free



Description: Home to the Columbus Crew MLS soccer team, the stadium doubles as a concert venue that seats up to 30,000 people.

Location: 1 Black & Gold Blvd., Columbus (I-71 near E. Hudson Street) (Franklin County)

Performances: Aug. 5 (7:30 p.m.): Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan

Parking: $5 to $15

Tickets: $25 to $60 at Ticketmaster outlets (1-800-745-3000) or

Information: 614-447-2739,


Description: Located in the Arena District, the outdoor amphitheater has a seating capacity of 4,500.

Location: 405 Neil Ave., Columbus (Franklin County)

Performances: May 23 (7 p.m.): Primus, Gogol Bordello; June 1 (6:30 p.m.): Foster the People, sold out; June 5 (7 p.m.): the Shins; June 8 (7 p.m.): Girl Talk; June 13 (7 p.m.): Avicii; June 15 (7 p.m.): Fitz and the Tantrums; June 19 (6:30 p.m.): Dream Theater with Crimson ProjeKct; June 23 (6 p.m.): Counting Crows; June 26 (6:30 p.m.): Modest Mouse; June 30 (6:30 p.m.): Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang; July 10 (6 p.m.): Everclear, Sugar Ray, Gin Blossoms, Lit, Marcy Playground; July 13 (5:30 p.m.): Sublime with Rome, Cypress Hill, Pepper; July 14 (3 p.m.): QFM96 Budweiser Wing Zing with Bachman & Turner; July 25 (6:30 p.m.): O.A.R.; July 27 (7 p.m.): Heart; Aug. 4 (6:30 p.m.): Wilco; Aug. 8 (6:30 p.m.): 311, Slightly Stoopid; Aug. 23 (6:30 p.m.): Darius Rucker; Sept. 2 (6:30 p.m.): Daryl Hall & John Oates

Parking: on area lots

Tickets: $15 to $59 at Ticketmaster outlets (1-800-745-3000) or

Information: 614-461-5483,


Description: Casual outdoor performances featuring the Columbus Symphony and guest artists; reserved and lawn seating available.

Location: Columbus Commons, E. Rich and S. High streets, Columbus (Franklin County)

Performances: (all shows 8:15 p.m.) June 15: Three Dog Night; June 16: the Temptations; June 23: Idina Menzel; June 30: Patriotic Pops; July 7: Music of Led Zeppelin; July 14: Dennis DeYoung — The Music of Styx; July 21: Peabo Bryson; July 27-28: the Ohio State Marching Band

Parking: $5 for underground parking off S. 3rd Street and in City Center garage between E. Main and S. High streets; metered parking nearby

Tickets: $23 ($25 at the gate), or $8 for children 3 to 14

Information: 614-228-8600, 614-469-0939,


Description: Family concerts, featuring the Columbus Symphony, include picnicking and pre-concert activities for the younger set.

Location: Columbus Commons, E. Rich and S. High streets, Columbus (Franklin County)

Performances: (all shows at 8 p.m., pre-concert activities at 6:45 p.m.), June 22: Teddy Bear’s Picnic; July 6: Symph-o-ny-doo-dah; July 20: Pajama-rama

Parking: $5 for underground parking off S. 3rd Street and in City Center garage between E. Main and S. High streets; metered parking nearby

Tickets: $12, or $8 for children 3 to 14, free for children 2 and younger

Information: 614-228-8600, 614-469-0939,



Description: The museum is known for its collection of late 19th- and early 20th-century American and European modern art and its regional collections, such as the largest public collection of woodcarvings by Columbus folk artist Elijah Pierce and the world’s largest repository of paintings and lithographs by Columbus native George Bellows.

Location: 480 E. Broad St., Columbus (Franklin County)

Open: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday

Admission: $10, or $8 for senior citizens 60 and older and students 18 and older with valid I.D., $5 for those 6 to 17, free for children 5 and younger, free for everyone on Sundays, and in July and August

Parking: free, behind the museum

Special exhibits: “The Radical Camera: New York’s Photo League 1936-1951,” a collaboration between , the Columbus Museum of Art and the Jewish Museum in New York City, boasting nearly 150 vintage photographs by the Photo League that record the effects of poverty, war, racial inequality and social injustice (through Sept. 9); “Marvelous Menagerie: An Ancient Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel,” explores the artistry of Ancient Rome (through Jan. 13)

Wheelchair access: yes

Information: 614-221-4848, 614-221-6801,


Description: A hands-on science center featuring several permanent exhibits that cater to a wide range of ages, and an Extreme Screen theater.

Location: 333 W. Broad St., Columbus (Franklin County)

Open: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday (May 30 through Sept. 5); Family Friday Nights ($9.95 after 5 p.m. the last Friday of each month)

Admission: $16.95, for those 13 and older, or $15.95 for senior citizens 60 and older and $11.95 for children 2 to 12

Parking: $5 (cash only)

Special exhibits: “Water,” explores where our planet’s water is, how it’s used and how to become better stewards of this resource. The exhibit offers hands-on and interactive elements, videos, wall panels, models, specimens and live animals (through Sept. 3).

Wheelchair access: yes

Information: 614-228-2674, 1-888-819-COSI,


Description: The complex features the cultural and historical contributions of African-Americans.

Location: 867 Mount Vernon Ave., Columbus (Franklin County)

Open: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. The gallery is open from 1 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Admission: free

Parking: free, at the Garfield entrance

Special exhibits: “SPEAK! Women Sharing Voices Thru Art,” features works — including painting, photoggraphy, sculpture, jewelry, textiles and design — by Creative Women of Color that capture the strength, passion and power of African-American women (through Aug. 25 in the Elijah Pierce Gallery).

Wheelchair access: yes

Information: 614-645-5464,


Description: The center focuses on connecting visitors with the state’s history; Ohio Village is a recreated Civil War-era community.

Location: 1982 Velma Ave., I-71 and E. 17th Avenue, Columbus (Franklin County)

Open: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays; Ohio Village: same hours June 2 through Sept. 2

Admission: $10, or $9 for senior citizens 60 and older, $5 for children 6 to 12, free for children 5 and younger; Ohio Village included in the admission price to the center.

Parking: free

Special exhibits: “The War of 1812: Ohio on The Frontline,” including artifacts and archival materials that showcase Ohio’s pivotal place in this war (July 4 through Dec. 30); “The American Soldier — A Photographic Tribute from the Civil War to Iraq,” including photographs from nine wars, starting with the Civil War clashes in the nation’s heartland to the fighting in the streets of Baghdad (through May 28); Ohio Village: “Glorious Fourth” is an afternoon of old-fashioned family activities celebrating the nation’s independence, including a grand procession, patriotic speeches, Muffins baseball, a concert by the Ohio Village Singers, dancing, a brass band concert and more (noon to 5 p.m. July 4)

Wheelchair access: yes

Information: 614-297-2300, 1-800-686-6124,


Description: The center offers dance and music performances as well as films and special exhibits.

Location: 1871 N. High St. at 15th Avenue, Columbus (Franklin County)

Open: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday

Admission: $5, free admission every Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. and on the first Sunday of each month.

Parking: nearby garages

Special exhibits: “Alina Szapocznikow: Sculpture Undone, 1955–1972,” includes a selection of the late Polish artist’s wide-ranging sculptures (through Aug. 5); “Omer Fast: 2001/11,” juxtaposes two video installations — 5000 Feet Is the Best (2011) and CNN Concatenated (2002) prompt thoughts about storytelling, authenticity and authorship as well as the fast pace at which real experiences become part of history (through Aug. 5); “Ernst Caramelle”, the artist’s geometric forms transform the lower lobby with delicate, watercolor hues (through July 1).

Wheelchair access: yes

Information: 614-292-0330,


Description: An interactive history, science, technology and art learning center where people of all ages can have fun and be inspired.

Location: 55 S. 1st St., Newark (Licking County)

Open: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday

Admission: $7, or $5 for senior citizens 55 and older, $3 for children 2 to 17, free for children 1 and younger

Parking: free, on-site

Special exhibits: “Made by Hand,” two and three-dimensional works of organic hand-felted art (through June 9); “56 1st Street,” featuring the works of glass artist Josh DeWall, an artist in residence (through June 9)

Wheelchair access: yes

Information: 740-349-9277,




Description: The Cleveland Indians’ International League affiliate plays in the heart of the Arena District, Downtown.

Location: Huntington Park, 330 Huntington Park Lane, Columbus (Franklin County)

Home games: May 20-22 vs. Scranton/Wilkes Barre; June 5-8 vs. Buffalo; June 9-12 vs. Charlotte; June 22-25 vs. Lehigh Valley; June 26-29 vs. Norfolk; June 30-July 1 vs. Toledo; July 6-8 vs. Indianapolis; June 16-19 vs. Louisville; July 24-27 vs. Toledo; July 28-31 vs. Rochester; Aug. 10-12 vs. Indianapolis; Aug. 14-17 vs. Durham; Aug. 22-24 vs. Toledo; Aug. 30-Sept. 1 vs. Louisville

Admission: $6 to $10, or $3 to $7 for senior citizens and children 12 and younger

Parking: various lots within a 10-minute walk of the stadium

Wheelchair access: yes

Tickets: available at the Clippers office, 614-462-2757; through Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000; or online

Information: 614-462-5250,



Description: An original franchise of Major League Soccer, “America’s hardest-working team” has been a frequent playoff qualifier.

Location: Columbus Crew Stadium, One Black & Gold Blvd., Columbus (I-71 near E. Hudson Street)

Home games: May 26 vs. Chicago Fire; June 30 vs. Real Salt Lake; July 14 vs. Sporting Kansas City; July 21 vs. D.C. United; Aug. 11 vs. Toronto FC; Aug. 15 vs. Los Angeles Galaxy; Aug. 25 vs. New England Revolution; Sept. 1 vs. Montreal Impact

Admission: $22 to $46 in advance, $22 to $48 on game day, group tickets $15 to $30 (minimum of 20)

Parking: ample parking, $10, on Ohio Expo Center grounds

Wheelchair access: yes

Tickets: available at Crew office, 614-447-2739; Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000

Information: 614-447-2739,



Description: Many of the best golfers in the world come to Dublin to play in the event that Jack Nicklaus started in 1976.

Location: Muirfield Village Golf Club, 5750 Memorial Dr., Dublin (Franklin County)

Dates: May 28 to June 3

Admission: $155 (all-tournament badge), $30 (all three practice rounds); free for 12 and younger when accompanied by paying adult; 18 and younger free Wednesday (Junior Golf Day)

Parking: main lot is off Dublin Road near the sixth tee; overflow parking is available in the Ashbaugh Road lot. Complimentary shuttles transport patrons between the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and the tournament grounds main gate Thursday through Sunday. Shuttles operate from 7 a.m. until one hour after the conclusion of play. Tune radio to 1610 AM for daily traffic, parking and weather information.

Tickets: badges available by calling 614-889-6712; or online

Information: 614-889-6712, 1-877-MTBADGE,



Description: A 1/3-mile semi-banked oval track plays host to weekend warriors and NASCAR pros.

Location: 1841 Williams Rd., Columbus (Franklin County)

Events: NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Saturdays through Sept. 1; May 26: Jegs CRA All-Star Tour Memorial; June 2: Super Late Models; June 9: NASCAR All American Series Stock Cars; June 16: NASCAR All American Series Stock Cars; June 30: Firecracker Championship (50-lap NASCAR late-models); July 7: NASCAR All-American Series Stock Cars; July 14: NASCAR All-American Series Stock Cars; July 21: 150-Lap NASCAR K and N Pro Series; July 28: 29th Annual John Nuckles Memorial; Aug. 4: NASCAR All-American Series Stock Cars; Aug. 11: Amazing School Bus Figure Eight; Aug. 18: NASCAR All-American Series Stock Cars; Aug. 25: Kid’s Night; Sept. 1: Labor Day Championship

Admission: $12 to $18; or $4 to $5 for children 4 to 11; free for children 4 and younger; special-event pricing varies

Parking: free

Wheelchair access: yes

Tickets: at the gate only

Information: 614-491-1047,


Description: The National Hot Rod Association owns the facility, which has a concrete-and-asphalt racing surface.

Location: 2650 National Rd. S.W., Hebron (Licking County)

Events: Weekly racing with special events including T-100 Wednesday Nights and Blitz Friday Night Street fights/NHRA Street Legal (selected Fridays through Sept. 14); May 20: Mo-Power Event; May 27: NHRA Junior Dragster Challenge; June 3: NTR Spring Breakout; June 10: NHRA Ohio State Championship; June 23-24: Spring Nostalgia Nationals; June 29-July 1: JEGS Foundation Buckeye Open Midwest Jr. Super Series; July 6: Goodguys Friday Night Drags; July 14: 25th annual Night of Thunder; July 19-22: NHRA Lucas Oil Regional Buckeye Fuel Wars; Aug. 3-4: 9th annual BPG Buick Horsepower Nationals; Aug. 5: Summit NHRA King of the Track; Aug. 9-12: 32nd annual MOPAR Nationals; Aug. 17-18: OHSAA CC Invitational; Aug. 24-26: Big Dollar Bracket Race; Aug. 31-Sept. 2: 34th annual NMRA Ford Expo

Admission: varies

Parking: free for most events

Wheelchair access: yes

Tickets: available at the gate

Information: 740-928-5706,



Description: The 5/8-mile harness track is one of the fastest in the nation.

Location: 6000 S. High St., Columbus (Franklin County)

Season: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays (post time 6:30 p.m.), May through Sept. 8; special events: 1 p.m. post time May 28, 5:30 p.m. post time June 9, 1 p.m. post time July 4, “Back to the Track” night 6:30 p.m. post time July 14, and “Ohio Super Night” 6:30 p.m. post time Sept. 8; simulcasting daily

Admission: free

Parking: free

Wheelchair access: yes

Information: 614-491-2515,



Description: The 85-year-old zoo boasts more than 9,400 animals representing 680 species and sits on 582 acres (100 are developed), plus a golf course and water park.

Location: 4850 W. Powell Rd. (Delaware County)

Big attractions: Stingray Bay, an 18,000-gallon saltwater pool with more than 40 cownose and southern stingrays, will open in June as as part of Jungle Jack’s Landing near Zoombezi Bay. Visitors will be able to touch the stingrays and watch them swim. New zoo animals include Hank, a male elephant who came to the zoo last winter, and orphan moose calves from Alaska. Polar Frontier, a 1.3-acre habitat that opened in 2010, lets visitors see swimming polar bears and brown bears in nose-to-nose viewing tanks.

Open: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily May 26 through Labor Day

Admission: $14.99, or $10.99 for senior citizens 60 and older (half-price Tuesdays), $9.99 for children 2 to 9, free for children younger than 2; Wednesdays are half-price for Franklin County residents

Parking: $7

Wheelchair access: yes; rental: $13, or $32 for motorized scooter; single-stroller rental: $9, or $13 for double

Information: 614-645-3550,