Summer is in full swing, and so are the festivals in and around the Columbus area! Our festival edition of Best Bets highlights several during July that are family friendly.
Columbus Food Truck and Cart Fest 2012 It's a foodie's heaven: More than 50 area food trucks will gather at the Columbus Commons on Friday, July 13. From 12 noon to 10 p.m., the family can experience the food-truck trend that has been making waves in Columbus (turn to page 36 for our Eating Out with Kids review to learn more!). Columbus Commons, 160 S. High St., Downtown, columbusfoodtruckfest.com Lancaster Festival Each year, the city of Lancaster celebrates the arts during its namesake festival. Various locations around Lancaster showcase the different art forms, and this year brings big-name musicians like LeAnn Rimes and Rolling Stones tribute band Satisfaction. The Lancaster Festival is July 18-28, and prices for performances and activities vary. Don't miss the Festival Fair Day on July 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Lancaster Fairgrounds. Kids under 13 get in free, and admission is $5 for all others. City of Lancaster, 117 W. Wheeling St. (ticket office), Lancaster, 740-653-8700, lanfest.org Jazz & Rib Fest Downtown Columbus is bursting with activity during this three-day celebration of jazz music and tasty ribs. Visit the Riverfront July 20-22 to see a myriad of live performances, and taste eats from more than 20 different rib burners (they come from all over the continent, including Canada!). Admission is free for all, and the festival runs 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday. Downtown Columbus Riverfront, 614-645-7995, hotribscooljazz.org Pickerington Violet Festival Stop and smell the flowers at the annual fest that celebrates Violet Township. Events and activities include a parade, musical performances, a car show and a beer garden (for Mom and Dad!). Check out the Violet Festival July 25-28. Admission prices vary by day and time, but range from $3-$5 for adults. Children under 12 are free. Victory Park, 100 Lockville St., Pickerington, 614-524-4758, violetfestival.org Ohio State Fair At this Central Ohio summer staple, you'll find so many fried foods you won't even know where to begin! The Ohio State Fair is back once again, starting July 25 and running until Aug. 5. There's plenty to do: See the farm animals, explore the carnival rides, listen to live music and take a walk around the fairgrounds. The fair hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day (except the final evening, when it closes at 8 p.m.). Admission costs $10 for adults, $8 for children ages 5-12 and seniors 60 and older, and kids under 5 are free. Ohio Expo Center, 717 E. 17th Ave., North Side, 614-644-3247, ohiostatefair.com