By Lacey Luce

The Columbus Arts Festival, powered by American Electric Power, is coming back to the downtown riverfront tonight through Sunday. After many years enjoying this annual event, I’ve come to observe some archetypes amongst our Festival goers.

The Power Shopper: Whether they are buying wearables, something to place in their home or gifts, what this Festival goer cares about is finding the high quality craftsmanship that will earn them an “oooh where did you GET that?” This uber shopper likes to support local artists but also appreciates the opportunity to explore work from way beyond the 614, artists they may only get to see once a year.

Power Shopper Pro Tip: Buy a Friends of the Festival VIP pass, which will give you a safe place to store bags, shuttle service to your car, air-conditioned restrooms, and a VIP tent sponsored by PNC with refreshments and shade to rest between shopping sprints, and.


The Watcher: You’ll find this Festival goer kicking back at one of the six stages with a cold beverage enjoying a show—from dance and theater to spoken word to live music. In the watcher’s opinion, the only thing better than sitting in the shade watching a performance is being served White Castle sliders while listening to the Columbus Symphony (which is happening on Sunday).

Water Pro Tip: Scout out the beer tents ahead of time, invest in a Arts Fest beer mug and grab a guidebook for stage schedules.


The Doer: As the name suggests this Festival attendee needs to get their hands dirty. Their first stop will be the Sign Your Art tent where they will create art on a tile that may later be included in a citywide art project. They will enjoy the activities village no matter what their age. You’ll also find them at the Big Local Arts tent, checking out the demos and chatting up the artists.

Doer Pro Tip: This year add to your “to-do” list a little boating. Thanks to MORPC’s Riverfest, kayaks and canoes will be available (visit their site for more info).


The Parental Unit: This Festival goer has wee ones in tow. Their first stop will be the Columbus Makes Art Activities Village where they will make art and hit up the Children’s Gallery—kid shoppers only, no adults allowed. Once the Parental Units have stocked up on food and drink, they will sit down to watch the Grass Patch players and on Saturday you might find them getting their groove on with the Shazzbots at the ABC Main Stage. And, of course, where there’s an Art Shark you’ll find wee ones with their Parental Units.

Parental Unit Pro Tip: If your little ones are extra little be sure to check out the Columbia Gas of Ohio Family Safety & Care center offered in partnership with the Columbus Diaper Coalition, which will offer an air-conditioned space for changing and nursing.


The Art Fan: The Art Fan is the quintessential festival goer. They want to experience all the things. They are most likely to volunteer at the festival. They will balance shopping with resting at a stage and enjoying a performance. You’ll know the Art Fan because they will take a photo with the Scioto Mile deer, Art Shark, the big #CbusArtsFest frame and in front of the Sign Your Art tent with their newly completed tile.

Art Fan Pro Tip: Go see the lighted art installation Structural Circumstances E.G. 2 a 24’ x 8’ replica of a mobile home made from multicolored, transparent plexiglass built just south of the fountains on the east side of Bicentennial Park by Christabel and Stephen Wagner.

The Columbus Arts Festival is June 9-11 at the downtown riverfront. Festival Hours: Friday, June 9 from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Saturday, June 10 from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Sunday, June 11 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information: www.columbusartsfestvial.org.

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