Celebrate Independence Day, Plus Concerts, Theater, Arts and More Things to Do in July

From the return of Red, White & Boom to a Raphael exhibit to festivals and concerts, there's lot of entertainment on tap.

Columbus Monthly
Topiary Takeover runs through Sept. 11 at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Comeback Spotlight: Red, White & Boom, July 1 

Downtown Columbus 

Organizers of the annual Downtown Independence Day spectacular Red, White & Boom have been waiting a few years to celebrate the event’s 40th anniversary—two years, to be specific. In 2020 and 2021, the event was canceled because of the pandemic. 

“This is our 40th presentation of the event,” says co-executive director Shawn Verhoff. “We’ve been joking that we are 39 and holding for the last two years.” 

This year, though, Red, White & Boom is back with the goal of bringing Central Ohioans together physically to celebrate a holiday intended for all of us. “There’s a sense of camaraderie around the Fourth of July,” Verhoff says. “We celebrate all of America. We celebrate our independence. We celebrate being able to get together, to stand side by side with everybody else in the community: 400,000 people together in the permitted area.” 

Although the event always climaxes with a fireworks display at 10 p.m., attendees will have plenty to see and do throughout the day. More than 100 food and beverage vendors will be featured in the Boom Street Festival, opening at 11 a.m., while the Ford Oval of Honor and Red, White & Boom Parade, with between 80 and 100 floats, will kick off at 5:30 p.m. at the Main Street Bridge. Two stages—the Long Street stage and Bicentennial Park stage—will be home to numerous entertainment acts, including Zone 3, Shotgun Eddie, Cherry Blonde and Phoenix Rising (artists subject to change). 

As for the fireworks, organizers have had plenty of time to make sure that this year’s display is one to remember. “We’re using Zambelli Fireworks,” Verhoff says. “They call themselves the first family of fireworks, and they really are the biggest and best fireworks company in the country. They’ve been working with us over the last three years, developing the soundtrack and bringing in as much new material as we can.” 

Verhoff expects that Central Ohioans will be eager to return to the event, but for those who prefer to watch without a throng of spectators around them, organizers have you covered. “If you want to get a little bit smaller crowds, you can go out to Berliner Park; you can see it in Goodale [Park],” Verhoff says. “And then we also broadcast it on television.” Free or $125 VIP tickets, redwhiteandboom.org —Peter Tonguette 

Topiary Takeover, Through Sept. 11 

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens 

Inspired by the flora and fauna found at UNESCO Natural World Heritage sites, this exhibition features 25 animal-shaped topiaries that use plants to mimic the colors and textures of fur, skin, scales and feathers. Creations include sea creatures of the Great Barrier Reef, American bison from Yellowstone National Park and other topiary designed, constructed and grown entirely by the conservatory’s horticulture and exhibitions staff. fpconservatory.org 

Doo Dah Parade, July 4 

Short North 

If you prefer your Independence Day celebrations to be more satirical than solemn, the Doo Dah Parade—which, in a fulsome expression of the First Amendment, sends up political leaders and just about everybody else—might just be for you. The route begins at noon on Park Street in the Short North. Free, doodahparade.com 

Dublin Independence Day Celebration, July 4 

Dublin 

Residents and visitors can honor the founding of the nation with a parade in downtown Dublin followed by entertainment and fireworks at Dublin Coffman High School. Free, dublinohiousa.gov/independence-day-celebration 

New Albany Independence Day 5K, July 4 

Market Square, New Albany 

The race, 10 years old, supports New Albany Symphony’s programming and educational outreach throughout the year. The orchestra also donates a portion of race proceeds to nonprofit performing arts groups in the community. na5krace.com 

Angela Perley

Angela Perley, July 8 

Natalie’s Grandview 

Hard to categorize—folk, alt-country and “’60s-tinged psychedelic rock” are just a few of the ways her music has been described—Hilliard native Angela Perley toured constantly with the Howlin’ Moons following the release of Hey Kid in 2014, playing to ever-larger crowds at ever-larger venues. But COVID-19 stopped all that in 2020. Since then, she’s been at home, creating new work. Fans will be glad to see the local star back on the stage. nataliesgrandview.com 

“Waiting for Waiting for Godot,” July 14–31 

Red Herring Theater Co. 

Dave Hanson’s comedy focuses on two understudies hanging around backstage during a production of “Waiting for Godot,” Samuel Beckett’s existential masterpiece. It’s an absurdist riff on an absurdist play about life, death and wasting time—in other words, pretty much the perfect story for a pandemic. Show up early to make the experience more meta. redherringtheater.org 

Raphael: The Dresden Tapestries, July 15–Oct. 30 

Columbus Museum of Art 

Six monumental tapestries, woven in the 17th century from “cartoons” created by Raphael, will be the centerpiece of an exhibition that traces the old master’s influence on Renaissance and baroque art. The show will include works by Rubens and Poussin as well as drawings by Raphael himself. columbusmuseum.org 

The Hell is Real match returns to town July 17 as the Columbus Crew face off against FC Cincinnati.

Columbus Crew vs. FC Cincinnati, July 17 

Lower.com Field 

More than halfway through the 2022 season, the Hell is Real rivalry will finally play out on the pitch rather than on social media. The Columbus Crew will square off against FC Cincinnati at Lower.com Field, the only match between the two bitter foes in Central Ohio this year. A victory would mean a lot to Crew fans, who haven’t had much to cheer about in recent months. And with their beloved team looking like they might miss the playoffs again this year, a second consecutive win over Cincinnati would offer some joyful relief—and perhaps even generate a meme or two. columbuscrew.com 

Lancaster Festival, July 21–30 

Lancaster 

Fairfield County will be awash in arts events and resonating with music for close to two weeks for this year’s edition of the longstanding festival. Highlights include Rick Springfield on July 23 and Lady A on July 30, both accompanied by the world-class Lancaster Festival Orchestra. Prices vary, lancasterfestival.org 

AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, July 22–24 

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 

If you’re into vintage motorcycles, you’ll want to vroom-vroom over to what is billed as the nation’s largest motorcycle swap meet, which also features assorted races, including pit bike racing, motocross and hare scrambles. All of the action takes place at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington. $20 to $75, vintagemotorcycledays.com 

Buckeye Country Superfest, July 23 

Ohio Stadium 

The annual event is calling all country music fans to Ohio Stadium, where artists Luke Combs, Cody Jinks, Zach Bryan, Kameron Marlowe and Morgan Wade are set to perform. $74.49 and up, schottensteincenter.com 

The Community Cup, July 29 

Fortress Obetz 

This one-day athletic challenge, presented by the Columbus Foundation, is open to companies of all sizes. Collaborate or compete with co-workers, connect with other companies and get a head start by earning points through donations to local charities. community.columbussports.org/cup 

Columbus Food & Wine Festival, July 29–30 

Behind Hyde Park in the Short North 

If your idea of a good time involves wine, food and live entertainment—and whose doesn’t?—you won’t want to miss this festival, which pairs, among other activities, red wine and rock music on Friday and, for families, story time and shortcakes on Saturday. Free, columbusfoodwine.com 

The National Veterans Memorial and Museum will host Eat Up Columbus on July 30.

Eat Up Columbus, July 30 

National Veterans Memorial and Museum 

Dress up in white and support survivors of human trafficking by attending Freedom a la Cart’s annual signature fundraiser. This year’s event, held on World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, will take place on the roof of the National Veterans Memorial and Museum. freedomalacart.org/eat-up