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Five Best City Fests

Columbus Art Festival

Photo by Greg Bartram

Browse locally made crafts at the Columbus Art Festival.

Columbus has quite a few festivals fit to entertain. Some of the favorites include the Columbus Art Festival, Jazz & Ribs, Latino Festival, The Ohio State Fair and the Dublin Irish Festival.

1. Columbus Art Festival
Create your very own clay pot and chow down on local eats, such as vegan desserts from Pattycake Bakery, at the Columbus Art Festival. Each year, more than 200 artists display and sell their work for three days in early June. Besides beautiful and varied art, there’s also live music and performances including poetry readings. Admission is free, and independent restaurants offer snacks at booths for a cost. Discovery District between Cleveland and Washington Avenues and Long and Gay Street, 614-224-2606.

2. Jazz & Ribs
This festival takes two Columbus favorites, jazz and ribs, and combine them in a summer celebration of food and music. Every July, Columbus’ Arena District along the river comes alive with the sound of live jazz and mouth-watering BBQ. Jazz musicians play from three different stages, and hot-off-the-grill rib stands (some 20+ vendors) are set against a city skyline backdrop. BBQ fanatics compete for best ribs bragging rights. Judges and professional critics decide who will bring home the number one prize, even visitors can cast a ballot. Take a blanket and spread out for a delicious summer picnic to the tune of great music. Arena District along Spring & Long Streets, McFerson Commons and North Bank Park, free admission, 614-645-3800.

3. Festival Latino
Held in Columbus’ Genoa Park, Festival Latino is a colorful local celebration of Latin culture in Ohio. Try a torta from Panaderia Oaxaquena and something with Colombian flavors from El Manantial Latino. Stop by booths in the marketplace such as Acapulco Crafts for clothing and jewelry, and be sure to visit Sumakta for authentic Andes crafts. Festival Latino is the largest Latin celebration in the state. For those who love Latin food, music and dancing, this is the festival to attend. Genoa Park, free admission, 614-469-1045.

4. The Ohio State Fair
An Ohio favorite since 1850, the Ohio State Fair attracts thousands of visitors annually. Besides classically delicious fried food, there’s livestock shows, creative and fine art exhibitions and a boxing competition. The yearly favorite is the butter cow, a life-sized cow statue made out of butter. Nature enthusiasts will not be disappointed by the fair’s eight-acre natural resource park that features a butterfly garden and kayaking. 717 17th Ave. E., call for admission prices, 614-644-3247.

5. Dublin Irish Festival
Dublin celebrates its Irish roots in early August with the Dublin Irish Festival. What started more than 20 years ago as a place for competing dancers to gather after dancing and celebrate Irish heritage has evolved into one of Ohio’s beloved celebrations of local culture. Set in Coffman Park over 29 acres of appropriate rolling green hills, today’s Irish Festival celebrates all things Ireland. With more than seven stages and 200 performers, there’s a show for everyone from traditional Irish step dancing to tartan–wearing rock bands and all the bagpipes in between. Come for reenactments of famous Irish myths including that of the last King of Ireland. Join in on Irish beer and whiskey tastings, and be sure not to miss the Dublin Irish Stout ice cream made by Columbus’ Jeni’s Ice Cream. 5620 Post Road, Admission $9-23, 614-410-4545.

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