The Go-To Guide: Central Ohio Fairs and Festivals
Editor's note: For the most up-to-date version of this list, go to columbusparent.com/fairsandfestivalsguide.
For many families, the abundance of special events is one of the best parts about living around Columbus.
Fairs and festivals become plentiful this time of year, and most have offerings for children. We've compiled a list of some of the more popular family-friendly warm-weather events that Central Ohio has to offer.
Because of the number of options, we've generally limited the listings to multiday events, with a few notable exceptions. Those below also had been finalized by our press time.
To suggest an event we should consider adding to our list, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Delaware Arts Festival
North Sandusky Street between William Street and Central Avenue, Delaware; delawareartsfestival.org
The 44th annual event features numerous vendors as well as entertainment and children's activities.
Franklin Park, 1755 E. Broad St. (Near East Side); asian-festival.org
The Dragonboat races, an annual part of the Asian Festival since 2010, occur May 21 at West Bank Park, 181 Washington Blvd., Columbus.
Utica Sertoma Ice Cream Festival
On the grounds of Velvet Ice Cream and the Energy Cooperative, 11324 and 11339 Mount Vernon Road, Utica; sertomaicecreamfestival.com
The three-day festival kicks off with a parade in town, starting and ending near Utica High School, at Maple Avenue and Jefferson Street.
Nelsonville Music Festival
Robbins Crossing historic village on the campus of Hocking College, 3301 Hocking Parkway, Nelsonville; nelsonvillefest.org
This family-friendly annual event features a children's area with numerous hands-on activities in addition to a concert lineup of local and national acts.
Columbus Arts Festival
Scioto Mile (Downtown); columbusartsfestival.org
A wide array of artists and craft vendors are complemented by offerings for kids, including hands-on art stations and a Children's Gallery.
Columbus Pride Festival
Bicentennial Park, 233 Civic Center Drive, and Genoa Park, 303 W. Broad St. (Downtown); columbuspride.org
The two-day festival supporting the LGBTQ community includes a Saturday parade. Last year, a family area with activities was open Friday night and Saturday; details on this year's event had not been announced as of mid-April.
Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival
Creekside Park & Plaza, 117 Mill St., Gahanna; creeksidebluesandjazz.com
The event, in its 19th year, boasts an extensive musical lineup as well as a Family Fun Zone at Veterans Memorial Park (73 W. Johnstown Road) with children's activities, music education and rides.
Pickaway County Fair
Pickaway County Fairgrounds, 415 Lancaster Pike, Circleville; pickaway.com
Goodale Park, 120 W. Goodale St. (Victorian Village); comfest.com
The Community Festival, as it is formally known, offers a weekend full of music—some of it geared to children—as well as kids' activities.
Village Green Park, 47 Hall St., Powell;festival.cityofpowell.us
This city event touts family-friendly entertainment as well as rides, games, kids' activities and fireworks.
Madison County Fair
Madison County Fairgrounds, 205 Elm St., London; madisoncountyfairoh.com
Westerville Music & Arts Festival
Heritage Park, 60 N. Cleveland Ave., Westerville;westervillechamber.com/pages/musicartsfestival
This annual event showcases artwork from Westerville students and offers music and children's activities interspersed with traditional vendors and crafters.
Franklin County Fair
Franklin County Fairgrounds, 4100 Columbia St., Hilliard; fcfair.org
Multiple venues, Lancaster; lancasterfestival.org
This event showcases arts and music, including a few big-name acts and often a family-friendly concert as well.
Jazz & Rib Fest
Scioto Mile (Downtown); hotribscooljazz.org
The festival showcases hot ribs, cool jazz and some children's activities.
Union County Fair
Union County Fairgrounds, 845 N. Main St., Marysville; ohiounioncountyfair.org
July 26 to Aug. 6
Ohio State Fair
Ohio Expo Center & State Fair, 717 E. 17th Ave.; ohiostatefair.com
Canal Winchester Blues & Ribfest
Historic Downtown Canal Winchester (centered around High and Waterloo streets); bluesandribfest.com
This street celebration, as it's billed, offers music, food and children's activities.
Dublin Irish Festival
Coffman Park, 5200 Emerald Parkway, Dublin; dublinirishfestival.org
This event, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, has numerous options to entertain kids, including special performances and stories, crafts, Kids Highland Games, play areas and inflatables.
The Hartford Fair
Hartford Fairgrounds, 14028 Fairgrounds Road, Croton; hartfordfair.com
Genoa Park, 303 W. Broad St. (Downtown); festivallatino.net
Ohio's largest Hispanic/Latino event has a lineup of artistic and musical performances as well as children's activities.
Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival
Huber Park, 1520 Davidson Drive, Reynoldsburg; reynoldsburgtomatofestival.org
In addition to tomato-themed events, other offerings include arts and crafts, music and children's activities.
Aug. 30 to Sept. 2
Sweet Corn Festival
Historic Lions Park, 2900 Chautauqua Blvd., Millersport; sweetcornfest.com
Around 200,000 ears of corn are served here each year, but contests, games, concerts and rides also are part of the fun.
The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 555 N. High St. (Arena District); columbusgreekfestival.com
This longstanding local tradition, celebrating its 45th anniversary, gives visitors a look at Greek food and culture. Children's activities are available.
Canal Winchester Labor Day Festival
Historic Downtown Canal Winchester (centered around High Street); cwlaborday.org
The event, which dates to 1920, serves up food, entertainment, games, rides and two parades, including one for kids.
Sept. 2 to Oct. 29
Ohio Renaissance Festival
10542 E. State Route 73, Waynesville; renfestival.com
Travel back in time to a 16th century English village at this festival, which is open on Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day.
Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival
Northam Park, 2070 Northam Road, Upper Arlington;uaoh.net/ldaf
This city event includes various vendors, plus entertainment for adults and children as well as arts activities.
Centered around Main Street in Old Hilliard; oldhilliardfest.org
This art and street fair also offers music and games and rides for kids.
Arts in the Alley Music and Arts Festival
Town Center, Grove City;gcchamber.org/arts-in-the-alley
A parade at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 16 kicks off the event, which offers arts and crafts vendors, entertainment and a Kids Fun Street.
Delaware County Fair
Delaware County Fairgrounds, 236 Pennsylvania Ave., Delaware; delawarecountyfair.com
The Little Brown Jug, part of harness racing's triple crown, takes place in conjunction with this event. The All-Horse Parade will take place at 3 p.m. Sept. 10.
Ohio Expo Center & State Fair, 717 E. 17th Ave.; columbusoktoberfest.com
This celebration of all things German features PNC Kinderplatz, with crafts, entertainment and inflatables. A children's parade steps off at 4 p.m. Sept. 24.
The New Albany Classic Invitational Grand Prix & Family Day
4584 Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road, New Albany; thenewalbanyclassic.com
This fundraiser for the Center for Family Safety and Healing, held at the estate of Les and Abigail Wexner, will celebrate its 20th anniversary. Part equestrian showcase, part family festival, event highlights include a signature concert, children's activities, inflatables and rides.
Columbus Italian Festival
St. John the Baptist church, 720 Hamlet St. (Italian Village); columbusitalianfestival.com
The festival, which began in 1980, offers a taste of Italian food and culture with entertainment and children's rides. A parade and marching band competition gets underway at 1 p.m. Oct. 8.
Fairfield County Fair
Fairfield County Fairgrounds, 157 E. Fair Ave., Lancaster; fairfieldcountyfair.org
Circleville Pumpkin Show
Covers more than nine city blocks around the Pumpkin Show office, 159 E. Franklin St., Circleville; pumpkinshow.com
This pumpkin-focused extravaganza offers seven parades in addition to vendors, contests, rides and entertainment.
Columbus International Festival
Celeste Center at the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair, 717 E. 17th Ave.; columbusinternationalfestival.org
This multicultural event includes food, music and other performances and children's activities.
Nov. 17 to Jan. 7, 2018
Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival
Ohio Department of Natural Resources Park at the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair, 717 E. 17th Ave.; ohiolanternfestival.com
This traveling exhibit, which made its Buckeye State debut last year, is returning to Columbus, according to the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair calendar. The focus on Chinese culture includes lantern displays, performances and vendors.