The Go-To Guide: Central Ohio Fairs and Festivals

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent
Circleville Pumpkin Show

Editor's note: For the most up-to-date version of this list, go to

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

May 19-20

Delaware Arts Festival

Sandusky Street between Spring Street and Central Avenue, Delaware;

Numerous vendors will be part of the 45th annual event, which also includes children's activities and entertainment.

May 26-27

Asian Festival

Franklin Park, 1755 E. Broad St. (Near East Side), Columbus;

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.

May 26-28

Utica Sertoma Ice Cream Festival

On the grounds of Velvet Ice Cream and the Energy Cooperative, 11324 and 11339 Mount Vernon Road, Utica;

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;

Performers include a mix of local and national acts. This family-friendly event boasts a children's area with various hands-on activities.

June 8-10

Columbus Arts Festival

Scioto Mile, Downtown Columbus;

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.

June 15-17

Columbus Pride Festival

Bicentennial Park, 233 Civic Center Drive, and Genoa Park, 303 W. Broad St., (Downtown) Columbus;

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.

June 15-17

Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival

Creekside Park & Plaza, 117 Mill St., Gahanna;

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.

June 16-23

Pickaway County Fair

Pickaway County Fairgrounds, 415 Lancaster Pike, Circleville;

June 22-24


Goodale Park, 120 W. Goodale St. (Victorian Village), Columbus;

Formally known as the Community Festival, ComFest is primarily a music event, but children's music and activities are offered.

June 22-23

Powell Festival

Village Green Park, 47 Hall St., Powell;

Fireworks close out this family-friendly city event. Expect to find entertainment and a children's area with rides, games and other activities.

July 7-14

Madison County Fair

Madison County Fairgrounds, 205 Elm St., London;

July 14-21

Franklin County Fair

Franklin County Fairgrounds, 4100 Columbia St., Hilliard;

July 14-15

Westerville Music & Arts Festival

Heritage Park, 60 N. Cleveland Ave., Westerville;

The 45th annual event will have children's activities, music, artwork from Westerville students and an array of artists and craft vendors.

July 19-28

Lancaster Festival

Multiple venues, Lancaster;

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.

July 20-22

Jazz & Rib Fest

Scioto Mile, Downtown Columbus;

Billed as Columbus' largest free outdoor music festival, the event appeals to music and barbecue lovers and also offers children's activities.

July 22-28

Union County Fair

Union County Fairgrounds, 845 N. Main St., Marysville;

July 25 to Aug. 5

Ohio State Fair

Ohio Expo Center & State Fair, 717 E. 17th Ave., Columbus;

July 27-28

Canal Winchester Blues & Ribfest

Historic Downtown Canal Winchester (centered around High and Waterloo streets);

Music, food and children's activities are the hallmarks of this street celebration.

Aug. 3-5

Dublin Irish Festival

Coffman Park, 5200 Emerald Parkway, Dublin;

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.

Aug. 4-11

The Hartford Fair

Hartford Fairgrounds, 14028 Fairgrounds Road, Croton;

Aug. 11-12

Festival Latino

Genoa Park, 303 W. Broad St. (Downtown), Columbus;

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;

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

Greek Festival

The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 555 N. High St. (Arena District), Columbus;

Central Ohioans flock to this festival to sample Greek food and culture. Children's activities also are offered.

Aug. 31 to Sept. 3

Obetz Zucchinifest

Fortress Obetz, 1841 Williams Road, Obetz;

The village of Obetz organizes this squash-themed festival, which offers family-friendly entertainment, rides, food, a parade and a car cruise-in.

Sept. 1-3

Canal Winchester Labor Day Festival

Historic Downtown Canal Winchester (centered around High Street);

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;

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.

Sept. 3

Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival

Northam Park, 2070 Northam Road, Upper Arlington;

This city event features various arts and crafts vendors, entertainment and hands-on arts activities.

Sept. 7-9

Columbus Oktoberfest

Ohio Expo Center & State Fair, 717 E. 17th Ave., Columbus;

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.

Sept. 8

Old Hilliardfest

Centered around Main Street in Old Hilliard;

Artists, art activities, music and children's games and rides all are part of this street fair.

Sept. 15-16

Arts in the Alley

Town Center, Grove City;

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.

Sept. 15-22

Delaware County Fair

Delaware County Fairgrounds, 236 Pennsylvania Ave., Delaware;

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.

Sept. 29-30

Columbus International Festival

Franklin Park Adventure Center, 1755 E. Broad St. (Near East Side), Columbus;

This multicultural event, in its 63rd year, serves up food, music and other performances, a Parade of Nations and children's activities.

Oct. 5-7

Columbus Italian Festival

St. John the Baptist church, 720 Hamlet St. (Italian Village);

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.

Oct. 7-13

Fairfield County Fair

Fairfield County Fairgrounds, 157 E. Fair Ave., Lancaster;

Oct. 17-20

Circleville Pumpkin Show

Covers more than nine city blocks around the Pumpkin Show office, 159 E. Franklin St., Circleville;

Consider it a pumpkin-palooza. This wildly popular event boasts seven parades, pumpkin contests and pageants as well as vendors, rides and entertainment.