If you think arts festivals are just crowded vendor tents full of breakable items, the city's largest such event might change your mindset.

The 55th annual Columbus Arts Festival, produced by the Greater Columbus Arts Council, kicks off today along the Scioto Mile. In addition to more than 300 artists and craftspeople selling their creations, the event offers numerous hands-on art activities-many of them free-from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The popular Children's Gallery allows kids age 12 and younger to buy artwork for $5 or less.

Unique this year is a chance to see artist Daniel McCauley assemble his metal dinosaur T-REX Delilah outside COSI. The 11-by-30-foot sculpture will join COSI's new dinosaur collection just outside the front entrance. Festival-goers can meet and talk with McCauley at noon and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, see the Event Spotlight from our June issue.