Five HighBall events not to miss

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Every year, the team behind HighBall seeks to make Columbus' biggest Halloween block party even better, and this weekend's event - the seventh annual - is no exception.

"We're really focusing on the experience people have at the event," said Betsy Pandora, executive director of the Short North Alliance.

Planners have reorganized the positioning of the bars so traffic will flow better, for instance, and they've made it easier to enter the main gates for the event. In addition, credit cards will now be accepted at the admissions booth and drink stations.

"For Saturday night, we've created a grand entrance so you can walk your costume down a mini-runway as you enter from the north side of the HighBall gate," Pandora said. "There will be awesome photo opportunities."

Here are five HighBall highlights you won't want to miss.

Dia de los Muertos

Throughout the weekend, adjacent to the Main Stage

With support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Global Gallery will present Latino programming, including an elaborate cemetery installation on which people can make tributes to loved ones who have passed, and learn about the traditions surrounding Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). There will also be traditional Catrina face-painting on site by artists specializing in the art form, and puppets and street performers sprinkled throughout the crowd.

HighBall: On The Rocks Concert

6 p.m. Friday, Main Stage

New this year is HighBall: On The Rocks, a tribute concert featuring wild music, and even wilder fashion, hosted by Nina West and Johnny DiLoretto. This year's theme is a celebration of the music and fashion of "the Big '80s," so dig out your leather jackets, shoulder pads, leg warmers and hair-teasing combs for what promises to be a memorable evening. The all-star lineup kicks off with The Wet Darlings (8:10 p.m.) and features The Fabulous Johnson Brothers (8:45 p.m.), MojoFlo (9:30 p.m.) and Taylor Dayne (11:00 p.m.), whose videos basically defined the '80s glam look and sound. And did we mention that Lydia Loveless (10:00 p.m.) will perform what we can only imagine will be the most amazing, quirky set of '80s covers around?

2nd Annual HighBall Runway Run

5 p.m. Saturday, Main Stage

If you think running (or walking) a 5K is hard work, we dare you to try it in your most badass Halloween costume. Registration is $40 and includes admission to HighBall, a visor, one ticket to the Gateway Film Center, prizes for top finishers and best costumes, and discounted VIP party tickets.

Nina West

10 p.m. Saturday, Main Stage

Drag queen, comedian and fashionista Nina West will perform throughout HighBall, but don't miss her special Saturday night performance before the big Costume Couture Fashion Show.

Costume Couture Fashion Show

10:10 p.m. Saturday, Main Stage

The Costume Couture Fashion Show is the heart of HighBall. Ten local designers will show off three ready-to-wear looks and one over-the-top fantasy costume as they compete for a cash prize of $1,000. Judges Thomas McClure (CMH Fashion Week), Sherri Geldin (Wexner Center for the Arts), Suzanne Cotton (CCAD) and Vicki Bowen Hughes (Dress for Success Columbus) will score the designs and pick the winner. According to Pandora, the designers "have really embraced the idea of height and non-traditional materials in their costume-making" this year. Stick around after for the Public Costume Contest, where you can show off your own creation and compete for cash prizes.


Along N. High St., from W. Nationwide Blvd. to W. Goodale St., Arena District

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 24-25