Columbus shines with family activities throughout the summer. Here are some favorite family festivals and special events.
June and July Events
Early June: Columbus Rose Festival
3923 N. High Street
Columbus, OH 43214
Located in Whetstone Park, Columbus’ Park of Roses hosts the annual Rose Festival. Giving visitors the opportunity to experience the beauty of 13-acre garden that contains more than 11,500 rose bushes and 350 varieties of roses. From 10am-8pm, the festival features commercial vendors, educational exhibits, workshops of plant care, entertainment and food. Roses and other plants, as well as crafts, garden items and yard decorations are also for sale. If you can’t make it in June, the park is open year round, but the best viewing time to see the myriad of colors is mid-June to mid-September. Admission to the festival and the garden is free
Early July: Independence Day Festival
Downtown Columbus Riverfront
Columbus, OH 43228
Have the entire family join in the fun of the Independence Day Red, White and Boom celebration. The free festivities include music, sports, and food. Entertainment begins at 10am and fireworks, featuring the biggest Grand Finale in the Midwest, begin at 10pm at Veteran’s Memorial
Late July: Columbus Jazz & Rib Fest
Spring and Long Streets
Columbus, OH 43215
Two dozen ribbers compete for top honors in the largest free rib festival in the world, in the Arena District. An equal number of live jazz performers provide extra ambiance. Listen to fusion, Latin, R&B, and rock music as you create your own family panel of judges. Who makes the best ribs? Celebrating their 30th Anniversary in 2009, the festival is open 11am-10pm on Friday and Saturday, and 11am-8pm on Sunday. Admission is free.
Early to Mid August: Ohio State Fair
Ohio Expo Center
717 E. 17th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43211
Over 150 years old, the Ohio State Fair, one of the most prestigious in the country, boasts fun for all ages! Youths competing in agricultural, livestock, fine arts & crafts competition provide entertainment for everyone, along with food, animals, and exciting rides. The festival includes a wide variety of daily activities such as the Sales of Champion Livestock Auction, All-Ohio State Fair Band, and an all-star concert line-up including Kelly Clarkson, Rascal Flatts, and Dierks Bentley among others (most concert events require separate tickets). Admission is $10/adults (ages 13-59), $8/children and seniors (ages 5-12, 60+); and children under 5 are free. Hours: Daily, 9am-10pm, Commercial Exhibit Buildings, 10am-9pm, Youth Discovery Center & Rhodes, 8am-8pm. All other exhibit buildings, 9am-9pm.
Early August: Dublin Irish Festival
5600 Post Road
Dublin, Ohio 43017
Nearby Dublin, Ohio takes its name seriously and hosts one of the biggest Irish festivals in the US every summer. This year, 100,000 people are expected to visit over the festival’s three days. They come for the live music and dance, storytelling, marketplace, and Irish food. Kids play in the Wee Folk Area, where they can try traditional musical instruments or take step-dancing lessons. Admission is $10 per day for adults (ages 13-59), $7 for seniors, and free for children 12 and under. An adult full-weekend pass costs $23, but it must be purchased in advance online. Hours: Friday 4pm-midnight, Saturday 11am-midnight, and Sunday 11am-9pm.
Early August: Pearl Alley Growers’ Market Festivals
Columbus, OH 43228
Pearl Alley Market provides quality produce all summer long from June until October, but on festival days, popular downtown restaurants, gift vendors, and live bands get in on the act, too. Expect lots of merchants and free food! Check the website for market locations, festival days and regular market days and hours.
Mid-August: Family Fun Flicks
Columbus, OH 43215
Rhythm on the River is presenting Family Fun Flicks during certain nights in August. Families can enjoy fun, interactive games followed by an outdoor movie, like 2008’s Horton Hears a Who or Nim’s Island. Admission is free.[ NOTE: This event has been temporarily closed due to limited resources.]
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