Things to See and Do in Columbus in September

Breakaway Music Festival, Obetz Zucchini Festival, Ohio Cup and more top our end-of-summer list of events for September.

Columbus Monthly staff
"To Feel Something That Was Not of our World"

To Feel Something That Was Not of Our World, Opens Aug. 28 

Pizzuti Collection 

Nina Khatchadourian became fascinated as a child with the saga of the Robertson family, whose 38 days adrift at sea in a lifeboat were recounted in the book, “Survive the Savage Sea.” To create the work in this exhibition, the first at the Columbus Museum’s Short North outpost since it closed in March 2020, the artist interviewed a family member over a corresponding period of 38 days and created an immersive experience that seeks to recreate the family’s journey. $5; free on Sundays.  

Divinely Aligned: A Visual Study on Purpose, Through Oct. 30 

All People Arts 

This exhibition, created in collaboration with Art Aligned, invites visitors to contemplate their purpose by viewing a showcase of diverse artists’ interpretation of the concept. Both All People Arts and Art Aligned are nonprofit organizations aimed at amplifying the impact of local art and increasing its accessibility. Free. 

A Bridge to Uncertainty, Through Oct. 2 

Beeler Gallery, Columbus College of Art & Design 

Some of the works in this solo show by Johnathan Payne were created while the artist was living in the former home of Aminah Robinson as the first recipient of the Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson Residency. The works include large-scale, geometric comic abstractions, constructed paintings and mixed media works on paper. Concurrently on exhibit at the Beeler this fall is a group show by Bianca Beck, Tamara Gonzales and Christina Forrer. It’s a consideration of how we collectively reset ourselves after COVID-19. 

BLM, Through Dec. 11 

Joseph V. Canzani Center Atrium, Columbus College of Art & Design 

This exhibition features some of the more than 200 #ArtUnitesCbus murals that were painted on plywood throughout Columbus following the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in 2020 and the protests that ensued. The initiative, created by the GCAC and CAPA, employed Columbus-based artists to make murals addressing such subjects as support for the Black Lives Matter movement; tributes to Black individuals killed by police; and broader messages of love, hope and unity. Free.  

“Noises Off,” Sept. 2–19 

Garden Theater 

There’s no attribution for the blurb on Short North Stage’s website calling this “the funniest farce ever written,” but SNS, which actually produced an in-person (if recorded) play during the depths of the pandemic by quarantining the actors together, is well-situated to bring out the humor in a play “about a manic menagerie of itinerant actors rehearsing a flop called ‘Nothing’s On,’” $15–$55. 

Transformation, Sept. 2–26 

(Not) Sheep Gallery 

Taos-based artist Izumi Yokoyama’s work places human struggle in the context of nature. The artist will be at this one-person show of her line drawings on Sept. 4 and will sign copies of her picture book, “The Jackdaw and the Doll,” written by John Biscello. Free. 

Breakaway Music Festival, Sept. 3–4 

Two months after the Crew—or whatever their name is—opened their new stadium, their old home turf will host the two-day Breakaway show. The 2021 lineup includes DJs and electro-heavy acts like Kygo, Illenium, Gryffin and Sofi Tukker, as well as rapper 24KGoldn and singer Chelsea Cutler. $109.99 and up,  

Obetz Zucchini Festival, Sept. 3–6 

The lure of BrewDog’s zucchini beer alone will draw some people to Fortress Obetz for Labor Day weekend. There’s also a car show on Friday, country band Big & Rich plays Sunday night, and Cincinnati Circus performers will entertain kids on Monday. The big surprise: a blast of late ’90s rock nostalgia on Saturday, as Kevin Griffin of Better Than Ezra, Mark McGrath from Sugar Ray and Emerson Hart from Tonic—aka Ezra Ray Hart—hit the stage to play their respective bands’ hits together. Free admission,  

Columbus Caribbean Festival, Sept. 4

Delaware County Fairgrounds

Delaware will take on a Carnival-like atmosphere when the Caribbean Festival returns for a fourth year. (Last year’s edition was canceled due to the pandemic.) This year’s event will feature music, dancing, food and contests celebrating the cultures of Jamaica, Antigua, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean nations. The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. both days, with camping available.

Eat Up Columbus, Sept. 4

Location TBA

Wear white, representing a fresh start, to this first outdoor edition of the annual dinner benefiting Freedom a la Cart, which offers employment and hope to survivors of sex trafficking and exploitation. The event locale will be revealed the night of.

Bike the Cbus

Bike the Cbus, Sept. 4–6

Throughout Columbus

The 13th annual philanthropic citywide ride, benefiting Remember Us Urban Scouts and presenter Yay Bikes!, has a dual format this year. In-person riders can use rest stops and SAG (support and gear) service along one of four marked routes ranging from 5 to 62 miles on Sept. 5; virtual riders can complete their independent ride anywhere, anytime between Sept. 4–6. Sign-up ends Sept. 3, but don’t wait that long if you want to do the in-person ride; only 200 spots are available.

Ohio Cup, Sept. 4–5 

Ohio History Connection’s annual ode to baseball takes fans back to before the pandemic—COVID or the 1918 flu—all the way to the 1860s. The Muffins, the local hosts of the annual tourney, play their home games at historic Ohio Village, which reopened to the public in July. Village admission $7–$13, which includes the Ohio Cup and must be reserved in advance online,  

Sundays at Scioto: Heidi Burson, Sept. 5 

Scioto Park, Dublin 

Ohio native Heidi Burson has shared her powerful voice and soulful style in two albums and at venues across the U.S. and Europe. Her show kicks off the September and October offerings of the annual Dublin outdoor concert series, which will include Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience (Sept. 12), Brazil’s B2Wins (Sept. 19), Dulahan (Sept. 26) and The Wildflowers (Oct. 3). Bring a blanket or lawn chair to enjoy these early-evening concerts. Free. 

“A Crane Takes Flight,” Sept. 10–11 

Ohio History Center 

This new play about the life of Hart Crane, written by Evolution Theatre director Mark Phillips Schwamberger, is described as a one-man, time-traveling dramatization of the Ohio-born poet’s genius and demons. Evolution continues its season Oct. 7–16 with “The Story of My Life” at the Abbey Theatre of Dublin. $15– $25. 

934 Fest, Sept. 10–11 

Milo Grogan’s nonprofit, volunteer-run 934 Gallery will hold its annual arts and music festival in person and streaming online. There will be murals, craft beer, food trucks and two stages with live performances; money raised goes to the gallery’s operation. Free,  

Bianca Del Rio

Bianca del Rio: “Unsanitized,” Sept. 13 

Davidson Theatre, Riffe Center 

Dubbed “The Joan Rivers of drag” by the New York Times, the sixth-season winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race is embarking on a 44-city standup comedy tour, her fifth. Del Rio is an author, podcast host, star of Netflix and Hulu movies, makeup-remover impresario and the first queen to headline at Carnegie Hall and Wembley. She hopes “Unsanitized” will be an antidote to all the “washing, wiping and covering” of the past year, and it’s a fair bet that her show will be unfiltered as well. $42–$227.

Eddie From Ohio, Sept. 17 

Lincoln Theatre 

They’re not really from Ohio, and they haven’t performed here in a decade, but the energetically acoustic sound of this Virginia-based foursome is just right for the Six String Concerts series’ return to live performances. The concert, a coproduction with CAPA, kicks off a full 2021–2022 lineup for the singer/songwriter series, including “An Evening with Suzzy Roche and Lucy Wainwright Roche” ($26) at Franklin University Oct. 22. $34.  

Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival, Sept. 17–19 

Gahanna’s big yearly bash moved from June to September to allow for more vaccinations and proper safety precautions. As usual, the festival will take place at Creekside Park.  

Eric Church at Nationwide Arena, Sept. 18 

This country star’s concert is the first one scheduled at Nationwide since Dan + Shay’s show on March 8, 2020—more than 18 months earlier. Church is a fitting artist to return to the stage, as he’s been preaching that vaccinations are the key to getting live music back. Here’s hoping people listen. $39 and up,  

Fashions of Our Times, Sept. 18 

Decorative Arts Center of Ohio 

Four Ohio-based designers will be featured in this runway show inspired by the Decorative Arts Center’s current exhibition of costumes from the Paramount Pictures Archive. Tracy Powell, Celeste Malvar-Stewart, Dom Susi and Xuena Pu will show and discuss designs that respond to the Hollywood looks, which will be on view at the center until Jan. 21. Admission to the museum is free; tickets for the runway show are $60–$65, and the workshop prices vary. 

Arts in the Alley, Sept. 18–19 

Grove City 

After a year’s pause, the annual music and arts festival, which had become one of the area’s biggest, returns to the streets and alleys of Grove City with a cornucopia of artists, crafters and vendors, plus musical entertainment, kids’ activities and a parade. Free. 

Jacqueline Humphries: jHΩ1:), Sept. 18–Jan. 2 

Wexner Center for the Arts 

For four decades, New York painter Jacqueline Humphries has worked to revitalize the language of abstract art. This fall, the Wex will mount her first large-scale museum exhibition, filling the galleries with 30 large paintings created in the last seven years, a period when the artist was focused on incorporating elements of digital communication such as the QWERTY keyboard, emojis, logos and CAPTCHA in her work. The exhibition will include an installation created in response to the Wex’s architecture. Check the website for events related to the show. $7–$9; free admission Sundays and Thursdays after 4 p.m. 

Short North Tour of Homes & Gardens, Sept. 19 

Short North

While interest in magnificent homes soared during the pandemic, the action was mostly online. Not anymore, as many Columbus groups have brought back their annual home tours, including the Short North Civic Association, which puts on the Short North Tour of Homes & Gardens. This year’s installment, however, isn’t business as usual. Organizers have chosen to focus on nine outdoor spaces, including gardens, lawns, terraces, pools and patios. The self-guided walking tour begins at 10 a.m. at Thurber Village shopping center, 777 Neil Ave., where participants can pick up programs and tickets at the registration and will-call desk. Early-bird tickets cost $20, while day-of tickets are $25. A rooftop preview party ($100) is slated for Sept. 18, featuring hors d’oeuvres and an open bar. 

Reservoir Litter Cleanup, Sept. 19–Oct. 4

Area reservoirs

The city of Columbus’ watershed management team invites volunteers to pick up litter along the shores of Hoover, O’Shaughnessy and Griggs reservoirs during this two-week period. Bagged litter will be collected and tracked; submit photos to be entered in a prize drawing.

“In Search of a City,” Sept. 21  

Short North Stage 

The Johnstone Fund for New Music brings together poet Scott Woods with the Mark Lomax Trio for a one-time journey mixing jazz and poetry to discover what Columbus could be. Check the Johnstone Fund’s Facebook page for additional programs this season. Free. 

Fashion Week Columbus

Hat Day, Sept. 24

Franklin Park Conservatory

The 20th iteration of this annual fund-raising luncheon and celebration of extraordinary hats, from elegant to excessive, will be a special anniversary event. Funds raised benefit FPC’s youth education and outreach programs.

Fashion Week Columbus, Sept. 26–Oct. 2 

Multiple locations

This weeklong celebration of local style offers exposure to emerging designers and gives attendees a much-needed opportunity to put on something swanky. This year’s headlining designer was still under wraps at press time (at right: a look from 2019 headliner Christian Cowan), but participants include Xantha Ward, Gerardo Encinas and Tiffany Moon, and venues include Gravity and The Joseph.

Julien Baker

Julien Baker, Sept. 28

Newport Music Hall

The singer will perform songs from her latest album, Little Oblivions, when she comes to town. On her third record, Baker navigates her struggles with addiction, religion and relationships over the course of 12 songs. This time, though, she’s swapped her acoustic guitar and piano for a full-band sound, creating lush musical backgrounds (she played all the instruments herself) for her intensely personal songwriting.

Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, Sept. 30–Oct. 3 

Various locations and online 

The annual citywide cartoons and comics expo includes screenings, exhibits, talks and demonstrations. This year, the festival will be a mix of in-person and online events. Featured guests will include Chris Samnee (“Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters”), Cathy Guisewite (“Cathy”), Victoria Jamieson (“Roller Girl”), Shary Flenniken (“Trots and Bonnie”) and many more. Free. 

This story is combination of the "Summer Entertainment Guide" from the June 2021 issue, and the "Datebook" and "Fall Arts Guide" from the September 2021 issue of Columbus Monthly.

Correction: The online version of this story has been updated with the correct the spelling of Johnathan Payne's first name and the closing date of his show at CCAD, which is Oct. 2.