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Serious fun(ds): How A&F Challenge combines festival with fundraiser




Crafting, archery, a check up with a cardiologist, and a campfire sing-a-long; the daily agenda for a camper at Flying Horse Farms in Mount Gilead Ohio might not be completely typical, but for the kids who attend, it’s often the best week of summer.

Flying Horse Farms is part of the SeriousFun Children’s Network, which lets kids with serious illnesses–including cancer, heart disease, blood disorders, and other medical conditions–attend camp every summer, at no cost to kids or their families.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co.  raises money to support Flying Horse Farms and SeriousFun’s other 15 camps around the world by hosting the annual A&F Challenge at its New Albany headquarters.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. Associate Anna Ankenbauer, who manages the A&F Challenge, described the event as a “fundraiser meets festival.”

On September 7, Abercrombie’s campus will transform for a camp-inspired evening, complete with archery, hot air balloon rides, a zipline, “Camp Fitch” for kids, and an optional 5k.

Improving on the food that summer camp is known for, local food trucks will be onsite, with unlimited drinks and munchies included in the $75 ticket.

The event includes a full night of music, featuring performances by Fitz and the Tantrums, and Judah and the Lion.

Anna Ankenbauer, who spearheads the camp, first volunteered as a counselor at Flying Horse Farms in 2016. She was, in her words, a little nervous.

“I was terrified, to be completely honest… [but] once I got there, Flying Horse Farms is magical,” she said. “it’s honestly one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life.”

Ankenbauer spent her week with the 7-8 year old girls. “It’s really a jam-packed week filled with pretty much everything you can imagine at summer camp, from canoeing to fishing to singing and dancing before and after mealtimes… I totally forgot about everything else except hanging out and playing with these kids.”

Each week, Flying Horse Farms brings in volunteer doctors specializing in campers conditions, who work alongside the camp’s regular full-time medical staff.

During heart week, for example, the head  cardiologists from Cleveland Clinic Children’s and Dayton Children’s hospitals are on-site.

Campers are able to receive treatment for their illnesses while also getting a week to experience summer camp. All activities are adaptable so that all campers can participate, even if their illnesses would normally prevent them from doing so.

Ankenbauer said she was impressed by the way camp staff made everyone feel comfortable.


“At mealtimes, you know, if one kid has to take medicine, everyone’s taking medicine, everyone’s taking a vitamin. We’re all living this together.”

Abercrombie & Fitch Co.’s partnership with SeriousFun started in 2011, when some employees decided to volunteer at Flying Horse Farms.

This caught the attention of the company’s philanthropy committee, who learned that SeriousFun’s international sites aligned with the company’s global footprint.

In 2016, the company made a five year, $15 million commitment to the cause. It also sends over 100 employees to volunteer at SeriousFun camps around the world every summer, covering their travel expenses and time off.

Being a camp counselor for a week forces adults out of their comfort zones. Ankenbauer recounted the first time one of her campers caught a fish.

“Little did I know that at Flying Horse Farms they have the tradition where you have to kiss the fish.” They call it “catch, kiss and release,” and the tradition applies to counselors and campers alike. Ankenbauer was glad to do whatever it took—even kissing fish—to make sure her campers had a fantastic week.

“Being able to spend time with these little girls—to watch them transform from being afraid and nervous and reserved into like dancing and singing little girls on the stage by the end of the week—is incredible,” she said.

For campers, the impact of camp lasts long beyond their week at Flying Horse Farms.

“I feel like camp has given me the strength to rise,” said 15-year-old camper Marin Henry. “It has given me the power to do things I never would have done. It has given me the guts to have a voice. Camp is the happiness in the world. It’s my anchor.”

Campers’ parents report improvement in their children’s self-esteem, confidence, independence and social skills following their week at camp.

Many campers attend the A&F Challenge, and you may also find them running the 5K right beside you, as Henry did last year. Ankenbauer wants you to know that you (yes, you!) are cordially invited to attend.

“The Challenge is an amazing event for the Columbus community to come to. We’d love to host as many people from around the city as we can. There’s something for every age, and, I mean, ultimately, you’re partying for a cause. All of the fundraising and all of the efforts go back to SeriousFun,” she said

In that case, Columbus, party on 

The A&F Challenge will be held September 7 at Abercrombie & Fitch Co. headquarters in New Albany. To register or to make a donation to SeriousFun, visit

By  / (614) August, 2018

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614NOW Survival Guide: Jazz & Rib Fest

Mike Thomas



With hours of free live music and over a dozen vendors of amazing smoked foods at your disposal, the Jazz & Rib fest is one of the signature events of summer in Columbus.

A festival of this scale offers so much to enjoy, which means it’s also easy to get overwhelmed. Unpredictable weather. Crowds. The ever-present threat of itis. What’s a Jazz & Rib-lover to do?

Never fear, 614NOW is here with another summer festival survival guide. Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to jazzy, pork-nap bliss.

Weather the storm (or heat)

July weather in Columbus can be unpredictable, so you’ll want to be prepared for whatever mother nature throws at you. With near-record heat in the forecast this weekend, be sure to pack an extra bottle or two of water or your favorite sports drink. High temps bring the potential for popup thunderstorms, so a cheap rain poncho in the back pocket is a clutch move.

Park it

The official Jazz and Rib fest website has all the info you’ll need to get where you’re going, and even offers some tips on where to park. While parking at meters, in downtown garages, and at COSI will be in play, it’s good to remember that public transit might be the cheapest way to get in and out. For those with the means, an Uber or Lyft could be preferable to navigating crowded and expensive event parking—plus you’ll probably leave the fest too full of rib meat to drive anyway.


Line ’em up

You’ve made it to the fest, and now you’re faced with the hardest choice you’ll make this weekend: which ribs should you get? Two main factors to keep in mind: long lines may indicate a top-notch vendor, but obviously you’ll be waiting longer. Tents with short lines offer a quick fix, but could be a dice-roll when it comes to flavor.

Our advice: let your hunger guide you. If you see a favorite BBQ joint or a place offering your go-to regional style, a wait in line could be well worth it. If you’ve spent an hour circling the block for an open meter and arrive to the fest with ravenous hunger for smoked meats, hop in the shortest line you see. General consensus is that all participating vendors are pretty good, so wherever you end up you’ll probably be satisfied.

Yeah, cat! Dig those smooth grooves

If you only come for the ribs, you’re missing half the fun. The 2019 Jazz & Rib fest has secured a stellar lineup of artists ranging from smooth jazz favorites Norman Brown and Brian Culbertson, to local standouts Kinfolk and The Huntertones.

But The can’t-miss musical event of the weekend comes care of the Soul Rebels, who will be accompanied by founding member and spiritual leader of the legendary Wu-Tang clan, the one and only GZA.

Check out the fest’s full lineup of artists and schedule, and plan your time in rib lines accordingly.

The 2019 Jazz & Rib Fest takes place Friday, July 19, 2019 through Sunday, July 21 at Bicentennial Park. The event is free to attend.

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The Weekend Lookout: 3 can’t miss events for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

Mitch Hooper



Did you enjoy your festival break last week? I sure hope so because the festivals are back in action this weekend and you have some catching up to do. With everything from cavity-inducing craft beer pairings to setting your new 5K personal record time, here’s what you can’t miss this weekend.

P.S. Don’t forget about Restaurant Week July 15-20!


Jazz & Rib Fest 2019 @ The Scioto Mile

All weekend you can enjoy the sounds of jazz and the stains of barbecue at the Jazz & Rib Fest. Including the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, this music festival will feature The Squirrel Nut Zippers, The Rebel Souls, and many more. Just be sure to keep a few wet naps handy throughout the day.

Sommerfest @ Germania Singing & Sport Society

Join the Germania Society for a night on the patio filled with bier, German entrees, and more bier! Test your endurance in the stein holding contest, or test your speed with a personal stein drinking contest. Just be verantwortlich (responsible).

Free Movie Night: How To Train Your Dragon @ Columbus Commons

Load up the kiddos in the car (or just come as your dragon loving self, we don’t judge) with blankets and lawn chairs to set up in the Commons for a free flick. How To Train Your Dragon is a comical animated movie, and it answers the lifelong question of how do you train your dragon?



The Peach Truck @ Weiland’s Market

Pour up a strong cup of coffee and head over to Weiland’s Market bright and early to score some of the freshest peaches in Ohio. The market opens at 8 a.m., and the lines will probably start filing in around 7:59 a.m.

Sours, Sorbets, & Donuts @ Wolf’s Ridge Brewing

Start Saturday right with sour beers courtesy of Wolf’s Ridge and donuts courtesy of The Drunken Donut. The donut pop-up will be running from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. while the rest of the brewery will be doing flight pairings with sours and sorbets. For $12, your flight will include Grapefruit Sorbet with Terre du Sauvage; Blue -Strawberry & Rhubarb Sorbet with Strawberry Swimming in the Mangrove; and Black Cherry Sorbet with Swimming in the Mangrove.

Beer & Ice Cream @ Nocterra Brewing Company

So maybe starting your weekend before noon isn’t in your wheelhouse—that’s fine. Starting at 2 p.m., Nocterra will be partnering up with the Ice Cream Cart to serve up scoops alongside your pints. If you can’t tell, we really want you to forget the diet you’re on for the weekend.


Michael Bublé @ The Schottenstein Center

Michael Bublé is back on tour after a long break from it all and he’s stopping off in Columbus. Don’t miss your chance to be serenaded by the smooth singing icon himself.

$10 Beer Flights @ Parsons North Brewing Company

Four mini glasses of beer for only $10? Sunday Funday has never been so affordable. Drink up! The deal is only on Sundays.

Ohio State Ross Heart Hospital 5K @ Ohio State (411 Woody Hayes Dr.)

This is why we were pushing donuts, ice cream, beer, and sorbet on you so heavy for Saturday and Sunday. Burn off those extra calories for a great cause as proceeds benefit heart disease research at Ohio State Davis Heart & Lung Research Institute.

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Be a canine counselor during Franklin County Shelter’s dog vacation week




It’s a miracle that we are lucky enough to experience Restaurant Week and Shelter Vacation in one week! From July 15-19, the Franklin County Dog Shelter & Adoption Center is giving you the opportunity to foster a dog, learn more about him or her, and see if you’re the perfect match for an adoption—it’s like a sleep-away camp for pups!

Shelter Vacation will feature adoptable dogs that have been at the shelter for at least one month, putting them in a better position to move out of the shelter and into their forever homes.


Interested in this unique opportunity to brighten the life of a furry, four-legged friend? check out the adoptable dogs here, then contact Andrew at [email protected]

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