The Go-To Guide: Central Ohio's Top Fairs and Festivals

Julanne Hohbach
A child rides the mini Ferris wheel at the 2018 Franklin County Fair.

Central Ohio has enough annual fairs and festivals to fill an entire summer calendar—and some of fall, too. There are cultural celebrations, arts offerings, music festivals and even a handful of annual events themed around produce. Literally, there is something to fit every taste and budget, especially since many of the offerings are free.

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 notable exceptions.

To suggest an event we should consider adding to our list, send an email to 


June 6-9

Nelsonville Music Festival

Robbins Crossing historic village on the campus of Hocking College, 3301 Hocking Parkway, Nelsonville;

The large lineup of performers includes a mix of local and national acts. This family-friendly event boasts a children’s area with various hands-on activities. Admission is free for those 12 and younger.

Click here for our past coverage of the event. 

June 7-9

Columbus Arts Festival

Scioto Mile, Downtown Columbus;

Browse the works of more than 270 arts and crafts vendors, catch live performances, take a photo with the Art Shark and let the kids take advantage of hands-on art stations and a Children’s Gallery. Admission is free.

Click for our past coverage of the event in 2019 and 2016

June 14-15

Columbus Pride Festival

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

The Saturday parade through Downtown is one of the highlights of this annual event supporting the LGBTQ community. This year’s grand marshal is drag queen Nina West. Upper Arlington native and Grey’s Anatomy star Jake Borelli will host a Tea Dance on Friday. A variety of performances are scheduled, and a family area offers children’s activities.

June 14-16

Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival

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

This event is a hotbed of top-notch music but has lots for kids, too. The festival, in its 21st year, boasts 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. Visitors also can kayak on Big Walnut Creek and catch magicians and other non-musical performers.

Click here for our past coverage of the event.

June 15-22

Pickaway County Fair

Pickaway County Fairgrounds, 415 Lancaster Pike, Circleville;

June 21-22

Powell Festival

Village Green Park, 47 Hall St., Powell;

Fireworks close out this free city event. Expect to find live music and a children’s area with rides, games and other activities.

June 28-30


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

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


July 7-13

Madison County Fair

Madison County Fairgrounds, 205 Elm St., London;

July 11-13

Picktown Palooza

Olde Pickerington Village, centered around North Center Street and Town Square Drive,

This event, in its third year, has live music, games and inflatables, a 5K and kids fun run, a car and bike show, and a children’s area for ages 12 and younger.

July 13-14

Westerville Music & Arts Festival

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

This Westerville tradition, in its 46th year, hosts a variety of artists and crafters, as well as children’s activities, music and artwork from Westerville students. The Reaganomics will perform Saturday evening.

July 13-20

Franklin County Fair

Franklin County Fairgrounds, 4100 Columbia St., Hilliard;

Click here for our past coverage of the event.

July 17-27

Lancaster Festival

Multiple venues, Lancaster;

This popular Fairfield County staple is a music and arts showcase that usually draws at least one national act. This year’s family concert, Video Games Live!, takes place July 25.

July 19-21

Jazz & Rib Fest

Scioto Mile, Downtown Columbus;

Billed as Columbus’ largest free outdoor music festival, this annual event appeals to music and barbecue lovers and also offers some children’s activities.

July 21-27

Union County Fair

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

July 24 to Aug. 4

Ohio State Fair

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

Click here for our past coverage of the event.

July 26-27

Canal Winchester Blues & Ribfest

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

It’s the 10 anniversary for this street celebration, which offers up live music, food vendors and children’s activities. Admission is free.


Aug. 2-4

Dublin Irish Festival

Coffman Park, 5200 Emerald Parkway, Dublin;

Celebrate all things Irish at this popular cultural event, in its 32nd year. Family-friendly offerings include performances and storytimes for children, Kids Highland Games on Saturday, crafts, play areas and inflatables. Children enjoy watching the dogs in the sheep-herding demonstrations, too.

Aug. 4-10

The Hartford Fair

Hartford Fairgrounds, 14028 Fairgrounds Road, Croton;

Aug. 8-10

Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival

Huber Park, 1520 Davidson Drive, Reynoldsburg,

The Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival is back after taking a hiatus in 2018. The event, which started in 1966, celebrates the city’s claim to fame as the birthplace of the tomato. The festival offers live music, a car and bike show, rides and a children’s area for ages 10 and younger.

Aug. 10-11

Festival Latino

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

Ohio’s largest Hispanic/Latino festival features plenty of music, dance and visual, and families can take advantage of organized children’s activities. The CAPA-organized event is free.

Aug. 28-30

Sweet Corn Festival

Historic Lions Park, 2900 Chautauqua Blvd., Millersport;

About 200,000 ears of corn on the cob are served here each year, but visitors to this free event also will find concerts, rides, animals and games. This year’s headliners are 1980s country music stars Ronnie Milsap and John Anderson.

Click here for our past coverage of the event.

Aug. 30 to Sept. 2

Greek Festival

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

Greek food and culture are the main attractions at this popular annual event. Children’s activities and cathedral tours also are offered.

Aug. 30 to Sept. 2

Obetz Zucchinifest

Fortress Obetz, 1841 Williams Road, Obetz;

This free, squash-themed festival is organized by the village of Obetz. Family-friendly entertainment, rides, food, a parade and a car cruise-in are among the highlights.


Aug. 31 to Sept. 2

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. This year’s event also will feature animals from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and COSI Science Spots.

Aug. 31 to Oct. 27

Ohio Renaissance Festival

10542 E. State Route 73, Waynesville;

A 30-acre reproduction of a 16th century English village houses entertainment (such as jousting and sword fighting), arts and crafts, games, rides and hands-on activities. The event runs on Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day, with a different theme each weekend.

Click here to read our past coverage of the event. 

Sept. 2

Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival

Northam Park, 2070 Northam Road, Upper Arlington;

This free city event, in its 53rd year, features arts and crafts vendors, entertainment and hands-on arts activities for children.

Sept. 6-8

Columbus Oktoberfest

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

This longtime Columbus staple moved to September last year. A celebration of all things German—food, culture and beverages—it also features a Kinderplatz children’s area, with inflatables, crafts and entertainment. The children’s parade is Sunday afternoon.

Sept. 14

Old Hilliardfest

Centered around Main Street in Old Hilliard;

Live music (including some by and for children), art activities, artists and children’s games and rides all are part of this free street fair hosted by the Hilliard Civic Association.

Sept. 14-21

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. 19. The All-Horse Parade steps off at 3 p.m. Sept. 8.

Sept. 21-22

Arts in the Alley

Town Center, Grove City;

A parade kicks off the music and arts festival at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. The event, organized by the Grove City Chamber of Commerce, also offers entertainment and a children’s area.

Sept. 28-29

Columbus International Festival

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

This free multicultural event, in its 64th year, serves up food, music and other performances, a Parade of Nations, children’s activities, and arts and crafts.

Oct. 6-12

Fairfield County Fair

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

Oct. 11-13

Columbus Italian Festival

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

Visitors come for the focus on Italian food and culture, which is rounded out by entertainment and children’s rides. The Columbus Day Italian Parade and High School Marching Band Competition takes place at 1 p.m. Oct. 13.

Oct. 16-19

Circleville Pumpkin Show

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

This wildly popular event clogs exit ramp traffic and boasts seven parades, pumpkin contests and pageants as well as vendors, rides and entertainment.

Click here for our past coverage of the event.