Summer Festivals Guide: Weird Ohio Festivals

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Excess is best during Ohio's summer festival season - a time when you're able to immerse yourself completely in the celebration of something that you only somewhat enjoy the rest of the year. Here's a look at some of the more unique celebrations happening this season.

For a full list of festivals, visit

Banana Split Festival

June 10-11 in Wilmington

Miles from Columbus: 66

In short: Eating ice cream is serious business in this small town that claims to have invented the banana-based summer favorite. The highlight of the weekend is Ohio's biggest, baddest banana-split bar.

Washboard Music Festival

June 16-18 in Logan

Miles from Columbus: 50

In short: Dixieland, blues, swing, bluegrass, Creole, country and other genres still rely on washboards, the only musical instrument that can also clean your clothes. This weekend of music, rides and games gives you another reason to hit the Hocking Hills.

Gene Autry Days

June 25-26 in Kenton

Miles from Columbus: 77

In short: The Kenton Hardware Company produced more than six million Gene Autry cap guns, and the town continues to honor the singing cowboy with a look-alike contest, Western collectible display and championship quick-draw match.

Ohio Tobacco Festival

Aug. 25-28 in Ripley

Miles from Columbus: 104

In short: Tobacco is still a livelihood and legacy in this Ohio River town. The shindig promises country entertainment and tobacco-worm races, one of the wackiest offerings in the festival world.

Wellston Coal Festival

Sept. 6-10 in Wellston

Miles from Columbus: 82

In short: How does one make coal cool? Throw a party with Coal Miner Olympics, karaoke, square dancing, tractor shows and lawnmower races. For one week each year, anthracite is awesome.

Avon Heritage Duct Tape Festival

June 17-19 in Avon

Miles from Columbus: 128

In short: Home to the standard-setting Duck brand, Avon likes to remind the rest of the world that no one knows more about duct tape. During the festival, citizens take pride in making costumes, clothes, designs and parade floats out of the all-purpose adhesive.

Marion Popcorn Festival

Sept. 8-10 in Marion

Miles from Columbus: 48

In short: Scientists keep finding new uses for the corn that blankets Ohio's rolling countryside. Marion keeps things simple by popping a few million kernels and serving them at an activity-laden midway.