2017 Summer Entertainment Guide: June

Chris Gaitten and Jillian Span Hofbauer
Twenty One Pilots lead singer Tyler Joseph


The Columbus Arts Festival is the summer's boldest unveiling. The vibrant conglomeration on the riverfront also provides a debut for rising local talent through the Emerging Artist program. This year's group features 14 newcomers; check out the impressionistic oil paintings of Brittni Hall and see Peter Ahn's wanderlust captured in radiant, lucid photographs. Free. June 9–11.

The only bank indicted after the 2008 financial crisis was family-owned, the nation's 2,531st largest; this is the story told by “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” a documentary at the Film Festival of Columbus. The four-day fest will screen numerous movies, including the popular Ohio Shorts, one of which will earn an Audience Choice Award on June 18. $10–$15 per film, $50–$75 VIP passes. June 15–18.

The Wex Drive-In series is slightly misleading; blankets and lawn chairs have replaced rows of family sedans on OSU's pedestrian plaza. But the carefree enjoyment of nighttime movies on the big screen hasn't waned, and this year's trio of rock concert documentaries—“Gimme Shelter” (June 15), “Wattstax” (July 20) and “Sign o' the Times” (Aug. 17)—offers plenty of entertainment for music-lovers and moviegoers alike. Free.

For fans of classic cinema, the CAPA Summer Movie Series packs 25 selections into eight weeks. They range from moviemaking's early years (“The Freshman,” 1925) to nostalgia-inducing Gen X blockbusters (“Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” 1989). The series also includes a special presentation of “The Shining” by local broadcasting legend Fritz the Night Owl. $5 per screening. June 16–Aug. 6.

This year marks the 25th anniversary for the Worthington Arts Festival, a two-day event at the Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center. To commemorate the silver anniversary in style, peruse the shiny jewelry created by vendors like Alfred Huntley, Deborah Woolfork and David Behle, who crafts pieces from vintage silverware. Free. June 17–18.


Not meant for the faint of heart, the Midwest Haunter's Convention at the Greater Columbus Convention Center will keep attendees on the edge of their seats as they mingle among some of the Halloween industry's spookiest entertainers and enthusiasts. Watch gruesome characters come to life at the Masquerade Party and Body Art Fashion Show held Saturday at the Hyatt Regency. $15–$330. June 9–11.

With an estimated 500,000 people in attendance in 2016, organizers hope for another record-breaking year at the 2017Columbus Pride Festival as the event moves to Bicentennial Park. Unite with other supporters in the spirt of equality during a full weekend of festivities that includes the annual parade, which will begin Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in the Short North. Free. June 16–

If art, live music and some of the best people-watching in the city aren't reasons enough to get you out for Columbus' annual celebration of community diversity, perhaps a new brew is. Ram Restaurant and Brewery and Actual Brewing have teamed up to create a specialComFest beer to help you wet your whistle as you check out the attractions at Goodale Park. The beer will be available on Saturday at the three ComFest beer tents, but you also can find it at the Actual and Ram taprooms throughout June. Free. June 23–


The Grove City Summer Sizzle Concert Series is like scanning satellite radio, flipping through genres from disco to zydeco. Each Friday in the George Edge Music Park, a new band offers listeners a sample of a different style, whether it's The Conspiracy Band's jazz and R&B (June 23) or the contemporary Celtic music of The Ladies of Longford (Aug. 18). Free. May 26–Aug. 18.

It's hard to imagine a more relaxing Friday evening than at Rhythm on the River—kicking back in Bicentennial Park and enjoying the scenery while listening to great music, from bluegrass to soul. This year’s lineup includes The Blind Boys of Alabama (June 2), The Fabulous Thunderbirds featuring Kim Wilson (June 23), The Seldom Scene with Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper (July 14) and an alfresco performance by BalletMet (Aug. 25). Free. June 2–Aug. 25.

Technically summer begins June 21, but the concert season hits high gear early thanks to the CD102.5 Summer Kickoffwith Portugal The Man and Electric Guest on June 10. That's only one of the concerts coming to Express Live this summer: Brit Floyd (July 15); Echo & the Bunnymen with Violent Femmes (July 19); My Morning Jacket (Aug. 10); and Young the Giant with Cold War Kids (Sept. 10). Price varies.

Columbus may not immediately evoke Southern twang and cowboy hats, but Buckeye Country Superfest proves there are plenty of fans to fill the Horseshoe for the annual mega concert. This year's fest features the usual mix of up-and-comers and certified stars, such as Miranda Lambert, the Zac Brown Band and Kenny Chesney. $40–$250. June 10–11.

The Creekside Blues and Jazz Festivaldelivers on its namesake styles and then some, offering many genres of local musicians, like Willie Phoenix, Angela Perley & the Howlin' Moons, fo/mo/deep and the Will Freed Band with John Popper of Blues Traveler. It's hardly all music, though, as the festival also includes paddleboats, a family fun zone, amusement rides, craft beer tastings and plenty of food. $7–$21. June 16–18.

Here comes Common on the Commons: Building on the success of last year's collaboration with rapper Nelly, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra will host hip-hop artist Common on July 15 during its Picnic with the Pops series. It's one of several can't-miss dates, including a tribute to Prince (June 17) and Patriotic Pops featuring the Harmony Project (July 1). $25, kids $10. June 17–July 29.

Outdoor & Adventure

Bring a wallet if you're out for a walk in the Short North on the first Saturday in June from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. TheShort North Yard Sale is the city's largest, and last year more than 180 homes offered deals on everything from appliances to housewares to priceless trinkets. Free. June

On your mark, get set, strip! TheWorld Naked Bike Ridebares it all as a motley procession takes over the streets of Columbus for the eighth year. Riders wear scant clothing, body paint or nothing at all as a way to highlight the vulnerability of cyclists, the dependence on car culture and to celebrate bodies of all shapes and sizes. Donations encouraged. June

There are plenty of useless Guinness World Records—like Benedikt Mordstein's for fastest time to type a text message while performing head spins—but theWorld's Largest Swim Lesson at Zoombezi Bay has a worthwhile cause attached to its attempt. The event at the Wild Tides Wave Pool is part of a simultaneous global effort to build awareness of the importance of swimming lessons. $10, free for season pass holders. June


TheMemorial Tournament is as much a cultural happening as a sporting event—an ambitious socialite could crash all Muirfield's house parties and have the weekend of a lifetime without seeing a single putt. For the golfing crowd, the last three tournament champions and the world's current No. 1 golfer, Dustin Johnson, will compete in the tournament founded by the greatest golfer of all time, Jack Nicklaus. $35–$290 for weekly badges. June 1–

Come for the triathlon, stay for the massage at LewisCenter's Central Ohio Multisport Festival at the Mount Carmel Fitness and Health Center. The fest boasts various lengths of triathlons and hybrid races (like aquabike and stand-up paddleboard), but it also includes live music, a cookout and post-event massages to soothe the day's aches. $30–$115. June 3–

For more than 23 years, biking enthusiasts have lined the streets to enjoy the Tour de Grandview, which features more than 100 professional international cyclists racing through the leafy suburb. Residents host parties at homes along the route, and this year's race will also include a street party. $35–$45 to race, kids free. June 16.

Food & Drink

It was only a matter of time—Chicken & Beer Fest has arrived. With the proliferation of breweries and restaurants specializing in poultry, a festival dedicated to the two was inevitable. The inaugural event also promises live bands, games and family activities in a backyard barbecue atmosphere at Land-Grant Brewing. Free. June 3.

If spuds are more your thing, the Tater Tots and Beer Festival follows closely behind. Also a first-time event, the fest on the Columbus Commons will feature far more than the frozen-bag variety of tots, offering about eight different recipes included with admission, as well as approximately 40 beers on tap. $35–$75. June 11.

And count Grandview Digfest among the many local events dedicated to beer, but this festival includes the entire range of Ohio-made alcohol. Breweries will be present in Grandview Yard in large numbers, from Maumee Bay to Rhinegeist, as well as wineries, distilleries and makers of specialty liqueurs, like Tessora and Karate Cowboy. Free. June 17.

The London Strawberry Festival might take the prize for most contests. There are strawberry-centric competitions (both cooking and cake decorating), but that's far from all: Enjoy a talent show, toy-building, karaoke, window-decorating, poetry and awards for parade floats, motorcycles and cars, as well as the naming of an entire royal court of pageant winners. June 22–24.

The Summer Spike

Summer is a time for sun and sand, but with no beach nearby, Central Ohioans flock to the volleyball courts all season for tournaments and leagues.

Flannagan's – One of the oldest and largest venues, this Dublin bar also recently added The Fieldhouse, an indoor sand volleyball facility for year-round

Gatsby's – The Gahanna landmark has stricter rules and referees, a rarity, making it a better fit for serious players and corporate

Rule 3 – Beyond typical six-person teams, Pickerington's Rule 3 offers doubles on Sunday afternoons, four-person leagues on Tuesdays and four-person King of the Beach tournaments every

The VolleyPark – In the Forest Park neighborhood, this five-court facility hosts tons of weekend tournaments, including doubles competitions and a VolleyBeer Olympics

Woodland's Backyard – This Grandview complex offers large courts, four sessions of eight weeks a piece and both recreational and competitive

Spotlight Event

“This story starts in Columbus, Ohio …” said lead singer Tyler Joseph as he and drummer Josh Dun accepted Twenty One Pilots' first Grammy Award in February. The pair—who dropped their pants on stage as an ode to their younger days in Columbus watching the awards ceremony on TV in their underwear—are devoutly committed to their hometown, and this summer's Twenty One Pilots Tour de Columbus marks their triumphant return.

The band has spent the last two years on the road in support of Blurryface, which has sold more than 1.5 million albums and has spent in excess of 100 consecutive weeks on the Billboard 200. The five-date homecoming circuit mirrors their rise by way of shows at increasingly large venues on consecutive nights, from The Basement (June 20) to the Schottenstein Center (June 25). Fans have reciprocated their love, gobbling up every last ticket. After all, the biggest band from Columbus and the hottest rock band in the world are finally one and the same. Sold out. June 20–

Get Out of Town

Summer offers adventures and entertainment throughout Ohio, not just Columbus. Here are some of the top statewide getaways this season:

Nelsonville Music Festivalhas become a gem of the summer festival season—large enough to offer impressive acts and small enough to feel intimate. Nelsonville. June 1– 

Be a Trailblazer

Do you enjoy locally made goods, coffee, beer and doughnuts? Check out these comprehensive trails to sate your desire for each. (Assuming you said yes, though how could you not?)

Columbus Ale Trail: Volume Three of this ever-growing trail invites hop-heads to visit all 37 local breweries, collecting stamps to earn five tasting glasses and a flight

Columbus Coffee Trail:If caffeinated brew is more your speed, the Columbus coffee scene has grown substantially in recent years. Buy four or more drinks and receive a

Made in Cbus Trail: Local is now a way of life, and this tour offers the best shops for everything from T-shirts to soap to gin to jewelry to more

Butler County Donut Trail: To enjoy a trail devoted to breakfast dessert, travel to Butler County and bounce between Middletown, Oxford and West Chester to visit all