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The summer season in Toledo will be ablaze with festivals.
June through September, the city and its suburbs are ripe with celebrations of music, art, culture, and heritage. With so many festivals, multiple events are sometimes scheduled for the same weekend.
“There can be anywhere from four or five, small to big [events], on any given weekend,” said Cathy Miller, director of tourism for Destination Toledo, Inc., the area’s convention and visitors bureau. “It’s kind of endless.”
In addition to the celebrating, the festivals also bring in lots of business and exposure for the city.
“The German American Festival can bring in 30,000 people alone, and the Rib-off probably brings in more than that,” Miller said. “I’ve met people from as far [away] as Germany at these festivals, and they’re coming here and staying the night, shopping, and eating at restaurants. It’s great business. It’s a boost to our economy.”
Here’s a list of some of the area’s most popular festivals and events over the next 14 weeks. For a more comprehensive list, visit dotoledo.org
● Ohio Bike Week, May 30-June 8. Two-wheelers will converge on Sandusky County along the Lake Erie shore for rides, parties, live music, and more; this motorcycle-centered bash is free, but there are charges for concerts and other activities; 419-502-0022; ohiobikeweek.com.
● Old West End Festival, June 7-8. This popular neighborhood festival is spread out over 25 blocks, drawing tens of thousands of people to the gentrified neighborhood just west of downtown Toledo. It combines an art fair, tours of historic homes, a parade, a beer pavilion, yard sales, antique car show, and vendors; free, except for the home tour; toledooldwestend.com.
● Holland Strawberry Festival, June 11-15. It’s all about strawberries at this annual festival, which features a pageant, bake-off, amusement rides, entertainment, a parade, baseball tournament, and three-mile run; 7807 Angola Rd., Holland; hollandstrawberryfestival.org.
● Whitehouse Cherry Festival, June 12-14. The three-day event in Whitehouse Village Park in the downtown area will feature carnival rides, animal performances, games, a pie-eating contest, fireworks, and more; free, but tickets are required for the rides; whitehouseohiochamber.com.
● 49th Annual Crosby Festival of the Arts, June 27-29. This annual summer event is a celebration of nature and art in a variety of media. More than 200 artists will showcase their work in beautiful Toledo Botanical Garden, alongside live entertainers and food vendors; Toledo Botanical Garden, 5403 Elmer Dr.; admission $8 for adults, free for children 12 and younger; 419-536-5566, toledogarden.org.
● Red, White & Kaboom!, July 4. Watch as fireworks light up the sky over Toledo and the Maumee River in celebration of Independence Day. The fireworks show is synchronized to music, and area restaurants and vendors will be on site with food and drinks. Several local musical acts will perform live shows; free; Promenade Park in downtown Toledo.
● Lagrange Street Polish Festival, July 11-13. Billed as Toledo’s largest street festival, it offers guests ethnic food, music, contests, and demonstrations of Toledo’s strong Polish heritage in the Lagrange neighborhood in North Toledo; general admission $4 on July 13 and 14, and $2 July 15, with children 8 and younger free both days; polishfestival.org.
● Toledo Lighthouse Festival, July 12-13. This waterfront festival at Maumee Bay State Park features boat rides and tours of the lighthouse (if the weather permits), sand castles on the beach, children’s activities ,and music by the Toledo Symphony Concert Band and the Steel Drum Band from Toledo School for the Arts. More than 50 artists and crafters will showcase and sell works that include hand-made jewelry, yard art, and clothing; tours $40; toledolighthousefestival.com.
● African American Festival, July 18-20. This festival continues to grow every year, with more than 15,000 in attendance in 2013. The 10th annual festival will celebrate the history, health, and education of the African-American community. Events include a prayer breakfast, parade, entertainment, vendors, rides, and other children’s activities; University of Toledo Scott Park Campus; $10 for adults age 19 and over before 5 p.m. and $12 after 5 p.m.; $8 for Toledo Urban Federal Credit Union members with membership card, and $5 for children up to age 18 and seniors age 65 and older; toledourban.com.
● Northwest Ohio Rib-off, Aug 7-10. Thick smoke from grills and smokers will cloud the air at Lucas County Fairgrounds as grill masters from across the nation compete for a win at the 31st annual event. The musical lineup includes American funk band War, Ted Nugent, and Dennis DeYoung featuring the Music of Styx; Tickets for War are $6 in advance, $10 at the gate, and $22.50 for VIP seating. Ted Nugent tickets are $8 in advance, $12 at the gate, and $29.50 in advance for VIP seating. Tickets for Dennis DeYoung: The Music of Styx are $7 in advance, $10 at the gate, $25 in advance for VIP.
● Toledo Hibernian Irish Festival, Aug. 8-9. This Irish party in the park is highlighted by Irish bands, Jiggs dinner and other Irish foods, and Irish dancers; Promenade Park, downtown Toledo; aohtoledo.com.
● Balloonfest, Aug. 8-10. Hot-air balloons will soar above Emory Adams Park in Findlay at this festival, which also includes a classic car show, parades, and other activities; free; flagcityballoonfest.com.
● Maumee Summer Fair, Aug. 15-16. Held on the tree-lined streets of historic uptown Maumee, this two-day affair kicks off with a Taste of Maumee, including 15 Maumee area restaurants, a kid’s fun zone, and live bands. A parade with the Maumee High School marching band starts the festivities, which also include dance groups, classic cars, imaginative floats, singers, pets, and costumed children on bikes. Other highlights include arts and crafts booths, a Bow Wow Bash for the dogs, vendors, and a variety of other entertainment; maumeeuptown.com.
● Swanton Corn Festival, Aug. 16. “Follow the Yellow Corn Road” to Swanton Memorial Park for games, food, antique cars, a parade, music, vendors, and, of course, corn; free, but there are costs for some games, food, and other events. Parking $2; swantoncornfest.com.
● Birmingham Ethnic Festival, Aug. 16-17. A celebration of the East Toledo neighborhood’s rich Hungarian culture will take place on Consaul Street. Highlights include traditional Hungarian dishes, arts and crafts exhibits, music, and dancing; $12 for adults and $5 for children under age 12; birminghamethnicfestival.wordpress.com.
● German American Festival, Aug. 22-24. German music, foods, and beverages are the stars of this festival, one of Ohio’s oldest ethnic festivals and one of its largest. It also includes a Hummel look-alike contest; Oak Shade Grove, 3624 Seaman Rd., Oregon; admission $7 per person; gafsociety.org.
● Milan Melon Festival, Aug 30-Sept. 1. The event will include an auto display, parade, arts and crafts, and — most importantly — melon-flavored ice creams and sherbets; downtown Milan; free; 419-499-2498, milanmelonfestival.org.
● Greek-American Festival, Sept. 5-7. The 44th Greek-American Festival, sponsored by the parishioners of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, will include Greek food, pastries, and dancing. Guests can browse through the Greek boutique, learn about Greek culture, Greek language, visit religious education booths, watch cooking demonstrations, and tour the beautiful Byzantine Cathedral; Admission: $5 Friday and Saturday and $2 Sunday. Children age 12 and under free with an adult; holytrinitytoledo.com.
● Black Swamp Festival, Sept. 5-7. Fine art displays will line Main Street in downtown Bowling Green as more than 100 artists and more than 60,000 spectators gather for this annual event, which also features live music; free; blackswamparts.org.
Contact RoNeisha Mullen at: email@example.com or 419-724-6133.
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