The Go-To Guide: Central Ohio Fairs and Festivals
Editor's note: For the most up-to-date version of this list, go to columbusparent.com/fairsandfestivalsguide.
The arrival of May signals the end of school and—just as significantly—the start of festival season.
Central Ohio families have plenty of events to choose from between now and the end of October. From county fairs and produce-themed events to cultural celebrations and music festivals, there's something for every taste and budget.
It's worth noting that two longtime fixtures on the summer scene won't be around this year. The New Albany Classic Invitational Grand Prix & Family Day has been discontinued after 20 years. And the Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival is taking a hiatus for 2018.
We've compiled a roundup of some of the area's most popular family-friendly seasonal events. Because of the sheer number of options, listings are generally limited to multiday events, with a few exceptions. Those featured also had been finalized by our press time.
To suggest an event we should consider adding to our list, send an email to email@example.com.
Delaware Arts Festival
Sandusky Street between Spring Street and Central Avenue, Delaware; delawareartsfestival.org
Numerous vendors will be part of the 45th annual event, which also includes children's activities and entertainment.
Franklin Park, 1755 E. Broad St. (Near East Side), Columbus; asian-festival.org
Since 1995, the Asian Festival has featured food, culture, games and performances. The Dragonboat races will be held May 20 at West Bank Park, 181 Washington Blvd., Columbus.
Utica Sertoma Ice Cream Festival
On the grounds of Velvet Ice Cream and the Energy Cooperative, 11324 and 11339 Mount Vernon Road, Utica; sertomaicecreamfestival.com
A parade through town kicks off the festival. The route starts and ends near Utica High School, at Maple Avenue and Jefferson Street.
May 31 to June 3
Nelsonville Music Festival
Robbins Crossing historic village on the campus of Hocking College, 3301 Hocking Parkway, Nelsonville; nelsonvillefest.org
Performers include a mix of local and national acts. This family-friendly event boasts a children's area with various hands-on activities.
Columbus Arts Festival
Scioto Mile, Downtown Columbus; columbusartsfestival.org
Adults will enjoy browsing more than 270 arts and crafts vendors, while kids can take advantage of hands-on art stations and a Children's Gallery.
Columbus Pride Festival
Bicentennial Park, 233 Civic Center Drive, and Genoa Park, 303 W. Broad St., (Downtown) Columbus; columbuspride.org
A Saturday parade is one of the highlights of the festival, which supports the LGBTQ community. Last year, family and teen areas with activities were open Saturday afternoon; details on the 2018 event had not been announced as of mid-April.
Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival
Creekside Park & Plaza, 117 Mill St., Gahanna; creeksidebluesandjazz.com
The event celebrates its 20th year with an extensive lineup of local and national acts. A Family Fun Zone at Veterans Memorial Park (73 W. Johnstown Road) has children's crafts and activities, music education and rides.
Pickaway County Fair
Pickaway County Fairgrounds, 415 Lancaster Pike, Circleville; pickaway.com
Goodale Park, 120 W. Goodale St. (Victorian Village), Columbus; comfest.com
Formally known as the Community Festival, ComFest is primarily a music event, but children's music and activities are offered.
Village Green Park, 47 Hall St., Powell; festival.cityofpowell.us
Fireworks close out this family-friendly city event. Expect to find entertainment and a children's area with rides, games and other activities.
Madison County Fair
Madison County Fairgrounds, 205 Elm St., London; madisoncountyfairoh.com
Franklin County Fair
Franklin County Fairgrounds, 4100 Columbia St., Hilliard; fcfair.org
Westerville Music & Arts Festival
Heritage Park, 60 N. Cleveland Ave., Westerville;westervillechamber.com/pages/musicartsfestival
The 45th annual event will have children's activities, music, artwork from Westerville students and an array of artists and craft vendors.
Multiple venues, Lancaster; lancasterfestival.org
This popular event is a music and arts showcase that usually draws at least one national act. There often is a family-friendly concert as well.
Jazz & Rib Fest
Scioto Mile, Downtown Columbus; hotribscooljazz.org
Billed as Columbus' largest free outdoor music festival, the event appeals to music and barbecue lovers and also offers children's activities.
Union County Fair
Union County Fairgrounds, 845 N. Main St., Marysville; ohiounioncountyfair.com
July 25 to Aug. 5
Ohio State Fair
Ohio Expo Center & State Fair, 717 E. 17th Ave., Columbus; ohiostatefair.com
Canal Winchester Blues & Ribfest
Historic Downtown Canal Winchester (centered around High and Waterloo streets); bluesandribfest.com
Music, food and children's activities are the hallmarks of this street celebration.
Dublin Irish Festival
Coffman Park, 5200 Emerald Parkway, Dublin; dublinirishfestival.org
Celebrate all things Irish at this 31-year-old event. Family-friendly offerings include children's performances, storytimes, Kids Highland Games, crafts, play areas and inflatables.
The Hartford Fair
Hartford Fairgrounds, 14028 Fairgrounds Road, Croton; hartfordfair.com
Genoa Park, 303 W. Broad St. (Downtown), Columbus; festivallatino.net
CAPA organizes this event, which is Ohio's largest Hispanic/Latino festival. Music, dance and arts fill the bill and families can take advantage of the children's activities.
Aug. 29 to Sept. 1
Sweet Corn Festival
Historic Lions Park, 2900 Chautauqua Blvd., Millersport; sweetcornfest.com
Corn on the cob is the big draw (about 200,000 ears are served each year), but visitors also will find concerts, animals, games and rides.
Aug. 31 to Sept. 3
The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 555 N. High St. (Arena District), Columbus; columbusgreekfestival.com
Central Ohioans flock to this festival to sample Greek food and culture. Children's activities also are offered.
Aug. 31 to Sept. 3
Fortress Obetz, 1841 Williams Road, Obetz; obetzzucchinifest.com
The village of Obetz organizes this squash-themed festival, which offers family-friendly entertainment, rides, food, a parade and a car cruise-in.
Canal Winchester Labor Day Festival
Historic Downtown Canal Winchester (centered around High Street); cwlaborday.org
A Labor Day parade is the centerpiece of the event, which started in 1920. Attendees will find entertainment, games, food and rides.
Sept. 1 to Oct. 28
Ohio Renaissance Festival
10542 E. State Route 73, Waynesville; renfestival.com
A 30-acre reproduction of a 16th century English village houses entertainment, arts and crafts and hands-on activities. The event runs on Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day.
Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival
Northam Park, 2070 Northam Road, Upper Arlington; uaoh.net/ldaf
This city event features various arts and crafts vendors, entertainment and hands-on arts activities.
Ohio Expo Center & State Fair, 717 E. 17th Ave., Columbus; columbusoktoberfest.com
The 2018 event is earlier than in years past. A celebration of all things German, it also features a Kinderplatz children's area, with inflatables, crafts and entertainment. The children's parade is Sept. 9.
Centered around Main Street in Old Hilliard; oldhilliardfest.org
Artists, art activities, music and children's games and rides all are part of this street fair.
Arts in the Alley
Town Center, Grove City; gcchamber.org/arts-in-the-alley
A parade kicks off the music and arts festival at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 15. The event also offers entertainment and a children's area.
Delaware County Fair
Delaware County Fairgrounds, 236 Pennsylvania Ave., Delaware; delawarecountyfair.com
The fair is known for The Little Brown Jug, part of harness racing's triple crown; Jug Day is Sept. 20. The All-Horse Parade steps off at 3 p.m. Sept. 9.
Columbus International Festival
Franklin Park Adventure Center, 1755 E. Broad St. (Near East Side), Columbus; columbusinternationalfestival.org
This multicultural event, in its 63rd year, serves up food, music and other performances, a Parade of Nations and children's activities.
Columbus Italian Festival
St. John the Baptist church, 720 Hamlet St. (Italian Village); columbusitalianfestival.com
The focus here is on Italian food and culture, augmented by entertainment and children's rides. The festival typically hosts a parade and high school marching band competition; details for 2018 had not been announced as of mid-April.
Fairfield County Fair
Fairfield County Fairgrounds, 157 E. Fair Ave., Lancaster; fairfieldcountyfair.org
Circleville Pumpkin Show
Covers more than nine city blocks around the Pumpkin Show office, 159 E. Franklin St., Circleville; pumpkinshow.com
Consider it a pumpkin-palooza. This wildly popular event boasts seven parades, pumpkin contests and pageants as well as vendors, rides and entertainment.