Summer Guide: Oddball festivals

Meryl Williams
Great Columbus Duck Race

While Columbus is home to approximately 8 million (rough estimate) music festivals this summer, there are still plenty of events that don't require ear plugs. A slew of beer and food festivals are happening in the area from June to August, along with a few more niche events. Check out what's happening in Central Ohio this summer that isn't necessarily centered around a headlining band. Several of them even benefit local charities, so you can feel good about spending your money and a few hours of your weekend.

Kale & Ale Festival

It's okay to drink beer in the middle of the day as long as you're having it with some vegetables, and this festival has you covered. Chefs from local restaurants like The Crest, Rockmill Tavern and Banana Leaf will be cooking up dishes alongside local brewers like Land Grant, Seventh Son and Four String, with nearly 40 craft beers to choose from. Local charity partner Freedom A La Cart, an organization that provides support for local survivors of human trafficking, will get 8 percent of proceeds from the festival.

Genoa Park

2-6 p.m. Saturday, June 2

303 W. Broad St., Downtown

Chicken and Beer Festival

The debut of this event went so well last year, organizers have decided to bring it back for 2018, but in a new location. Get your beer and a variety of chicken dishes at West Bank Park and enjoy games for the whole family. Admission is free, and a portion of event proceeds from sales will benefit Franklinton Preparatory Academy's Adopt A Student Program.

West Bank Park

Noon-9 p.m. Saturday, June 2

181 Washington Blvd., Franklinton

Country Living Fair

WhileCountry Living magazine already hosts a September event in Columbus, the June fair is a new addition to the summer line-up for the city. The event provides visitors with more than 200 booths of antiques; vintage, upcycled and hand-crafted goods, as well as live demonstrations and an opportunity to meet the editors of the publication. Be sure to scout out the Harvest and Gourmet Market.

Ohio Village

June 15-17

800 E. 17th Ave., North Side

Italian Heritage Summer Festival

The Irish tend to get the glory in Dublin, but new to 2018, the Italians are taking their shot. At this festival, you'll run into some amazing wines and Italian beers, plus more sausage sandwiches and gelato than you could possibly eat over the course of three days in July. There will also be music representing several regional styles, plus dancing.

Coffman Park

July 13-15

5200 Emerald Pkwy., Dublin

Franklin County Youth Lemonade Festival

This July, you can cool off with some lemonade made by the hardest-working kids in Franklin County. Middle and high school entrepreneurs at the festival will spend several weeks from May through July learning business skills in marketing and sales, culminating July 14 in a county-wide lemonade sale. On July 15, a picnic and best taste competition will happen at Brobst Park.

Saturday, July 14, all over Franklin County;

Sunday, July 15, at Brobst Park

5355 Winchester Pike, Canal Winchester, Shelter #2

Film Festival of Columbus

Now in its seventh year, this festival brings together movie lovers and creators to show off the great work being done in the medium by folks around the world. The festival also wants to raise awareness about Columbus and Central Ohio as a great area in which to make movies. Submissions are currently being accepted, so maybe you can finally finish your masterpiece before the festival's final deadline of June 22.

Gateway Film Center

August 8-11

1550 N. High Street, South Campus

Columbus Summer Beer Fest

Winter Beer Fest is great, but its sunnier, outdoor counterpart is a must-add to any Columbus summer bucket list. Trade tickets for tastings of beer from breweries all around — last year's summer beer list boasted nearly 300 different brews. Because you'll need it, be sure to grab grub from one of several food trucks on-site. Non-alcoholic beverages are also available, and most vendors accept both cash and credit. Avoid drinking and driving (and failing to find a parking spot) and take public transit or a cab/rideshare to this huge event.

Express Live

Saturday, August 11

405 Neil Ave., Arena District

Great Columbus Duck Race

In partnership with the Columbus Food Truck Festival, a fundraiser for the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital is happening at Genoa Park. Enjoy children's activities, entertainment and watch thousands of rubber ducks race to the finish line — and maybe win big. The racer duck that finishes first wins its owner $5,000, with more cash prizes for second and third places. While you don't need to be present to win, seeing this race in person sounds like a lot more fun. Ducks are available for sale now.

Genoa Park

11 a.m. activities, 5 p.m. race

Saturday, August 18

303 W. Broad St., Downtown