In case you hadn't heard, Columbus is celebrating its bicentennial in 2012. To wish Columbus a happy birthday, Parent has drummed up 200 reasons why this fair city is a great place to raise a family.

200 REASONS WHY COLUMBUS IS A GREAT PLACE TO RAISE A FAMILY Slip into September with our list: 161. Buckeye Football Saturdays: They're baaaaack! 162. Apple picking: Which also means apple cider, apple pies, bobbing for apples and lots more apple-oriented family fun. 163. Hocking Hills: Did you read about visiting this Central Ohio treasure in last month's issue? 164. Ohio autumn weather: Admit it. Autumns around here make summer and winter bearable. 165. Oktoberfest: Yes, we know it's in September. We're just more efficient with celebrating our autumn months. 166. New Albany Classic: An epic event for an epic cause. 167. Delaware's All-Horse Parade: More than 500 horses in one parade. It's pretty darn cool (and we love cheering for the pooper scoopers). 168. The Somali community: Did you know Columbus is home to the second largest one in the U.S.? 169. Jack Hanna's Fall Fest: Another fab event at our fabulous Zoo! 170. High-School Football Friday Nights: A true Central Ohio tradition. 171. Hayrides: Yet another true Central Ohio tradition (bring your own Zyrtec, though). 172. The Governors' Cup: Will our Columbus Clippers be able to win three in a row? 173. Vintage Base Ball: Speaking of baseball, we host the Ohio Cup this month; it's a huge tournament for vintage "base ball" teams. History + sports = very cool. 174. Columbus College of Art & Design: Their weekend art classes for kids and teens are amazing! 175. Ohio Historical Society: Cool setting, creative programming, great history. 176. The Greek Festival: Celebrating yet another of Central Ohio's vibrant communities with great food, music and dancing. 177. Longaberger Baskets: How many other parts of the world have a basket-shaped building? None. And they celebrate their Heritage Days festival out in Frazeysburg this month, too. 178. Grove City's Arts in the Alley: An awesome arts festival celebrating its 33rd year! 179. Columbus Blue Jackets: Hope springs eternal because we're True Blue (Jackets) fans! 180. Franklin Park Conservatory's Glass Pumpkin Patch: This promises to be amazing, just as FPC's glassblowing facility always has been. 'TIS ALWAYS THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY Columbus arts educator, author and all-around inspiration Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld shares her wisdom about getting the whole family off to the right start this school season: Where, o, where did our summer go? Time zips by and before we can count to 10, autumn is upon us! We think of summer, sizzling as it was, as a time to relax more, get outdoors more, read those books we put off all year, catch outdoor picnics, festivals and concerts, enjoy the summer holiday festivities and try to have as much FUN as possible. These are excellent lessons and experiences to put in our hearts and minds as we put ON our warmer sweaters and jackets. The time is ALWAYS right for fun times, needed sorely by grown-ups and ESPECIALLY by our children. We all achieve and learn more effectively when we feel safe, relaxed and engaged in activities that delight and interest us. Don't we? I fear that too many adults and children associate summer with light-hearted, play-full, free-spirited memorable moments and September reminds us to put those frivolous weeks behind us and settle down to REAL life - the return of stress. We need to start re-worrying in September - schools, tests, super-programmed kids, deadlines, benchmarks, homework. The list leaves me listless! Can we make time in this new season upon us to treasure those few minutes of walking, talking together, listening to music we all love, reading a book together (not for an assignment, but for the joy of it), doing our exercises together so we keep strong, attending a park program where we look for owls or sing around a campfire? Can we KEEP simple, delightful fun times throughout these seasons that are so often accompanied by worry? Worry is contagious and many of our children catch it from us. No one learns well in a climate of anxiety and stress. So the words of wisdom for our new season are reminders of warm, happy, carefree, joyful, playful summer times. Make room in our packed calendars for daily doses of fun! Happy September! -Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld IT'S BACK ­- COLUMBUS PARENT'S WIN THE COVER CONTEST! Beginning Sept. 10, you will be able to submit a photo of your child to enter him or her in Columbus Parent's most popular contest - the annual Win the Cover contest. This year, we'll accept one photo entry per child (no larger than 2 MB in size) via our website, ColumbusParent.com. The photos submitted do not have to be taken by a professional (and, frankly, we prefer if they aren't). Entries will be accepted from noon on Monday, Sept. 10 until noon on Monday, Sept. 24. Our staff will then select 20 finalists for the public to vote on from Oct. 1-22. The top five vote-getters will be announced on Oct. 24. The winner will be selected by Columbus Parent's professional staff and photographed to appear on our December cover. Stay tuned to our website, ColumbusParent.com, and our Facebook page (Columbus Parent Magazine) for more information!