Annual event offers free family fun

The Columbus Arts Festival is back for the 56th year, bringing three days of culture and activities to the Scioto Mile.

Nearly 300 exhibitors will set up shop along the Downtown riverfront June 9-11, offering a mix of artistic items. Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. (Artist booths close at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.)

The festival also offers a variety of family-friendly activities, including live performances and hands-on stations. The Art Makes Columbus Activity Village (in front of COSI) offers the chance to make a T-shirt, design video games, learn about musical instruments and more. Most of the activities are free. The area will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Participating organizations include, Art Garden Studios, Columbus Crew SC, Flutterby Ceramics and Glass Axis.

The popular Children’s Gallery, open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday near the activities village, allows kids 12 and younger to purchase items donated by festival artists for $5.

And don’t miss the chance to meet the Art Shark, formally known as Arthur S. Hark, at the activity village or the Bicentennial Park fountain.