This family-friendly showcase celebrates its 45th anniversary.

The Westerville Music & Arts Festival isn't just about great tunes. The event, held in scenic Heritage Park, is an opportunity for families to spend time together while visiting with neighbors and making new friends. It's also a great place to peruse the work of local and national artists who work in a variety of mediums.

The picturesque park offers shady trees for families to sit under and a pond to walk around, said Matt Lofy, festival manager and marketing and communications manager for the Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce. “It's the ideal setting for a festival,” he said. “The music creates the perfect soundtrack.”

The family-friendly, two-day event features 30 local musicians and entertainers and more than 20 food trucks. An art show will showcase everything from painting and photography to ceramics and sculpture. The festival invites children to display their work in a Youth Art Exhibit and creates a special area for Central Ohio artists. The event, which typically attracts about 16,000 people, also is dog-friendly.

Children who are inspired by the professional artists or are just ready for a break can visit the arts and crafts tent hosted by the Westerville Parks & Recreation Department. There, kids will have the opportunity to make several projects they can take home with them, said Laura Horton, the department's program manager. “We enjoy being out there and providing something for the kids to do,” she said. “You see lots of families coming to the festival, lots of neighbors socializing. We like to be a part of it.”

In celebration of the festival's 45th anniversary, organizers have planned a special concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Everal Barn. The concert will feature Shucking Bubba along with a new element in the festival's lineup: beer sales. For the first time, city officials are permitting alcohol, but only during the Saturday evening performance, Lofy said. It's a unique addition to the anniversary event—especially given Westerville's history as the “Dry Capital of the World” until May 1998, when voters approved the city's first alcohol sales since the 1850s.