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12 summer festivals in the (614)

Mitch Hooper

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Get out your CamelBaks and fanny packs. It’s Festival Season in the (614). Here’s a list of events you won’t want to miss.

Nelsonville Music Festival | June 6-9 | Robbins Crossing Historic Village (Hocking Hills) | Price: $80-$350
Death Cab For Cutie will be headlining the 15th anniversary of Nelsonville Music Festival and this weekend offers the chance to listen to national, regional, and local musicians.

The Midwest Summerfest | June 8 | Express! Live | Price: $49-$69
It’s a trip back to the old school days of rap and hip-hop as DMX and Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony will headline the Midwest Summerfest. Where our dogs at?! Woof! Woof!

The Columbus Arts Festival | June 7-9 | The Scioto Mile | Free
With live music from local performers, food trucks, and local craft beers all on the riverfront, The Columbus Arts Festival is the perfect way to kick off your festing season. It’s great for families as the Activity Village offers hands-on experiences, and music lovers will have the chance to hear performers on five different stages throughout the weekend. And if you’re looking to step into the digital world of festivals, be sure to stop by the Virtual Reality tent for adventures to channel your favorite character from Ready Player One.

Buckeye Country Superfest | June 8 | The Ohio Stadium | Price: $49.50-$399.50
Country superstars George Strait and Blake Shelton are set to put on a stellar show, and plenty of other heavy hitters are performing as well including Chris Janson and Midland.

Creekside Jazz & Blues Festival | June 14 | Creekside District (Gahanna) | Price: $10-$650
This annual family-friendly weekend will keep the live jazz tunes going for 90+ hours with more than 50 bands scheduled to perform on the five available stages.

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Grove City Wine & Arts Festival | June 14-15 | Grove City Town Center | Free
This wine festival is for the local vino lover as it will exclusively feature Ohio-made wines as well as local art, entertainment, and of course, some food trucks to go along with all that sipping.

Columbus Pride Parade & Festival 2019 | June 14-16 | Bicentennial and Genoa Park | Free
In its 50th year of celebrating LGBTQ+ social and self-acceptance, legal rights, and progress, On the 15th, Stonewall Columbus Pride Parade steps off from Goodale Park to march down High Street. This year, the Grand Marshall is none other than Nina West. Get ready to spread the love, it’s Pride Month!

Columbus Food & Wine Fest | June 21 | Battelle Riverfront Park | Free
Enjoy wine tastings of wines from across the country as you watch live cooking demonstrations and sample some of the best cuisine the Midwest has to offer.

Ohio Wings & Beer Festival | June 22 | Ohio Expo Center & State Fair | Price: $25-$55
With craft beers coming from local favorites like Columbus Brewing Co. and Zaftig Brewing, and wings from places like Pecan Penny’s and Red Door BBQ, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better duo in the city limits this weekend.

Outlaw Music Festival | June 23 | Nationwide Arena | Price: $45-$210
Country icon and rebel Willie Nelson will be headlining the Outlaw Music Festival along with The Avett Brothers, Alison Krauss, and Old Crow Medicine Show.

Community Festival | June 28-30 | Goodale Park | Free
Everyone’s favorite community weekend is back and ready for another year of scantily-dressed visitors, live music, delicious food, and plenty of booze. ComFest is the perfect kick-back as you are free to check out the vendors, listen to some comedy shows, or just simply take a nap on the lawn on a warm summer day. Truly, the only wrong way to do ComFest is to skip out.

Tequila Fest Columbus 2019 | June 29 | Woodland’s Backyard | Price: $40-125
One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor! Have fun soaking in all things tequila at Woodland’s Backyard to round out an eventful June.

millennial | writer | human

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Ultimate Columbus Summer Bucket List

614now

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Hello and welcome to summertime! Today is the longest day of the year—plenty of time for you to sit down with your family and/or friends to map out your bucket list for this summer. Or…you could get a start on ours!

We’ve put together the ultimate list of summer activities in Columbus to ensure you have a summer full of fun. Just remember to wear sunscreen!

Go berry picking

Nothing tastes better than something you’ve worked for. And nothing tastes sweeter than something picked right from the dirt. Don the sun hats and sturdy shoes because we’re about to put you to work for your fruit! Here are more than 20 farms offering U-pick berry programs for strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and peaches in central Ohio.

Support local growers at neighborhood farmers’ markets

Do you know where your produce is from? Odd are if you don’t purchase them straight from a farmer, you’ve got no clue. Fuel your summer with goods pulled right from central Ohio dirt at local farmers’ markets!

Score a beer mug at ComFest

Besides epic memories, the best takeaway from ComFest is always the brightly-color plastic beer mug. Just remember to drink responsibly! Click here to read about the recent drama that went down with ComFest.

Celebrate freedom at Red White & Boom

Columbus’ biggest Fourth of July celebration will be returning to downtown on July 3 for the largest fireworks display in the Buckeye State. Arrive early for the parade and stay late for the party!

Spend a day at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

This one is an absolute must. There’s nothing like a warm summer day spent taking in the amazing animals at one of the best zoos in the country. Make sure to wave at the polar bears for us!

Gaze at the stars at John Glenn Astronomy Park

The John Glenn Astronomy Park is dedicated to sparking an interest in science, learning, and exploration by sharing with visitors the wonders of the sky, both day and night. Make sure to plan a trip to JGAP on a clear night to gaze at the wonderment of our universe.

Take in an outdoor movie

NightLight 614, a 21+ social outdoor film series on the banks of the Scioto featuring some of Columbus’s Best local food trucks, and craft beer & wine. Easton’s Movies by Moonlight series is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a lineup bigger and better than ever!

NightLight 614

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Spend a day at the drive-in

Since the 1950s, the South Drive-In at 3050 S. High St. has been Columbus premier destination for late night, big screen movie showings under the stars. And since the 1970s, it’s been the largest central Ohio location for…flea markets? Yes, indeed. Click here to read more!

Eat as much ice cream as humanly possible

Ice Cream is a pillar of summer. But where to begin? We think this list of the best alt ice cream shops in Columbus would be a sweet place to start.

Chow down at the Jazz & Rib Festival

If you’re not elbow-deep in BBQ sauce at least one time this summer, you’re not eating correctly. There is absolutely no better place to put your manners aside and let your carnivorous nature shine than at the Jazz & Rib Festival. Hot ribs, cool jazz.

Stay afloat at Trapper John’s

Leash up the pooch and buckle up your life jacket for an afternoon at Trapper John’s Canoe Livery! Enjoy canoeing, kayaking and tubing on the State and National Scenic Big Darby Creek.

Chill on some patios

Ditch the AC for once and take advantage of these few fleeting months when Ohio offers a tolerable climate. We’ve got dog-friendly patios, High Street patios, NW Columbus patios, seven perfect patio pairings, and, of course, the best drinking patio as voted on by you!

Grab the perfect pic at a rooftop bar

Columbus is quickly becoming a rooftop bar city. With the recent additions from Lincoln Social, Juniper, and VASO, we’ve got eight high-up drinking establishments you need to patronize this summer.

Bonus: All The Way Up: My experience at Lincoln Social rooftop

Lincoln Social

Have the perfect picnic

The grass is lush, the butterflies are flying, and the sun is shining—the perfect al fresco dining experience. We’ve put together pairings of the city’s top places to fill up your basket accompanied by the best nearby park for the picnic of your dreams!

Sing along to a free show at Columbus Commons

Each summer, the Columbus Commons is your destination for free live music. From local bands like Doc Robinson, to national acts like Boyz II Men, the outdoor amphitheater is where you need to be.

Pitch a tent

The campers, RVS, and pop-up tents will be returning to the outdoors this summer, serving as a home away from home for those looking to escape the city for a few days. It’s time to get outdoors, enjoy nature, roast some marshmallows over the fire, and get off the grid if not for a couple moments of bliss.

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Cannonball into a pool

Leave your layers and insecurities at home, because it’s time to give the pool whatever body you’ve got! Just remember to pack the good snacks, okay? Click here for 30 Columbus pools to beat the heat.

Let the kids loose at splash pads around town

Splashpads: Free and fun water spraygrounds without the worry of deep bottoms or high dives. We don’t know about you but to us, that seems like a home run, nay, grand slam. This summer, diversify your cool down routine by hanging at one of Columbus’ many exciting splashpads.

Awe at the beauty of Franklin Park Conservatory

Did you know Admission to Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is FREE to all residents of Franklin County, the first Sunday of every month, before 5 pm. And did you know FPC has a farmers’ market? Plan your trip now!

Stop and smell the roses at the Whetstone Park of Roses

The Whetstone Park of Roses is just begging for you to stop and smell. It’s the perfect place to pitch your hammock, take photos, and to enjoy the beauty of one of the largest public rose gardens in the U.S.

Sunbathe at Alum Creek Beach

It may not be the white sand beaches of Mexico, but we’ll take what we can get. This public beach can be your seaside vacation if you have an imagination and tons of salty pretzels. A beach is a beach, right?!

Take your dog for a dip

We can’t be sure what dogs dream, but we’d imagine it’s a lot of neon yellow tennis balls, frisbees, bones, and playing fetch in ice cold water. Make your pup’s dream come true this summer with these awesome places to take your dog for a dip.

Walnut Woods Metro Park

Eat 10 cent hot dogs at a Clippers Dime-a-Dog Night

Dime-a-Dog Nights are an important staple of summer, especially on the firework nights. But you can’t go into this eating excursion without a game plan! Check out our Columbus Clippers Dime-a-Dog Night Survival Guide to expertly navigate your hot dog hay day.

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Local Alex Coleman making the most of opportunities with Columbus Destroyers

Mitch Hooper

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“I love being here. These are my streets, this is my city.”

Alex Coleman is a Columbus local. He grew up right here in the city and attended Eastmoor Academy High School. Throughout school he maintained 4.0 GPA and led his team to the state championship. Though they ultimately lost that game, he was named the MVP. Everything seemed primed for a successful career on the field and he had hoped for that scholarship offer from Ohio State, but that offer never came. Looking back on it now, Coleman, now a wide receiver for the recently relaunched Arena Football League team the Columbus Destroyers, said that was fuel to his fire to work harder, but through trials and tribulations comes perspective.

Photos: Brian Kaiser

The AFL is unlike most leagues in sports. With the setup of the field literally butting up to the stands, the fans are able to get in on the action as close as safely possible. In between plays or before kick offs, fans can chat with the athletes on the field. If a football makes it into the stands, the lucky person who caught it is now going home with a free souvenir—try that at an Ohio State game and you’ll have an usher tackling you like Joey Bosa in no time. And after the games, fans can stick around to go on the field and meet the team. If your little one is especially into sports, imagine the look on their face as they play catch with a player on the team. There’s no question here: the AFL is more than just football—it’s a community builder. And that’s why Coleman is taking his opportunity to return home so seriously.

“I come from a hard-working family, but we didn’t know anything about athletics,” Coleman explained. “When you look for some type of figure to motivate you and push you in the right direction, I think that’s where I fell short coming out of high school.”

He committed to Ashland University and eventually transferred to Capital University where he kept that same mentality for maintaining school and athletics, and graduated with a degree in Communications Studies, balancing the act of academics and athletics without a mentor. Now that he’s back in the city that helped shape him, he’s looking to serve as that role model he needed when he was growing up. It’s a way to break the chain for him and others growing up in similar situations—a method for nurturing the next generation.

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“Everybody loves a Cinderella story, but it’s often not like that,” Coleman said.

(And for the record, even Cinderella had the help of a fairy godmother. Didn’t think you’d see this factoid in a sports story, did ya?)

For Coleman, actions speak louder than words. Throughout his career, he’s been told he’s too small for the wide receiver position, as he stands at 5-foot-9-inches tall. Recruiters and reports all said if he were a few inches taller, he’d be a must-grab for many universities. Instead of letting those words dictate his career, he’s out to prove them wrong. In the high school championship game where they lost, he stole the limelight with three touchdowns and the MVP trophy. Last season with the Carolina Havoc, there was some debate on whether Coleman should be in the starting lineup. The next game he scored four touchdowns—with the last one being the game winner. Coleman was solidified in the lineup, and the Havoc are now reigning champs of the American Arena Football league.

This mantra of  “do more, say less” finds a new chapter with his arrival in Columbus. Again, Coleman finds himself behind the eight ball vying for a starting position. For him, it’s not a matter of if, but when. And when that day comes, Coleman said he knows he’ll have to make the most of the opportunity because he never knows if it’ll be his last. That’s another sentiment Coleman is trying to drive home with young athletes as well. Whether it be injuries, grades, off-the-field antics, or simply just not making the cut, tomorrow is never promised in football. He said athletes have to be prepared for plan B, C, or even Z.

It’s easy to say something to a kid, but to actually be an example to them means even more,” Coleman explained. “Kids are much more mature in terms of their train of thought so a lot of kids are going to question me like, ‘Why should I do it if you didn’t?’ ”

Since arriving in Columbus, Coleman has been working with youth on the developmental side. While he sees the importance of coaching on the field, his interest is more in getting young people prepared with the fundamentals so they have the tools available to work efficiently. Not only does this help shape athletes for high school and beyond, it helps coaches recognize the players taking extra steps plus, gives a stronger foundation to build off. He’s also made a return to some of his old stomping grounds to give advice and expertise at Eastmoor High School, as well as Capital. Coleman said it only takes one person to start a change and create a village, and so far, it seems he’s on the right path.

The Columbus Destroyers play at Nationwide Arena. For more information on tickets plus the schedule, check out columbusdestroyers.com.

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20+ U-pick berry farms to enjoy fruits of your labor

614now

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Nothing tastes better than something you’ve worked for. And nothing tastes sweeter than something picked right from the dirt.

Don the sun hats and sturdy shoes because we’re about to put you to work for your fruit!

Here are more than 20 farms offering U-pick berry programs for strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and peaches in central Ohio.

U-pick Strawberries

  • Circle S Farms
    • 9015 London Groveport Rd. Grove City, OH 43123.
    • 614-878-9462 for hours and availability
  • Doran’s Farm Market
    • 5462 Babbitt Rd., New Albany
    • 614-855-3885 to check availability.
    • Hours: 8am- 7pm Mon-Thurs and 8am- 6pm Fri- Sun.
    • $2.29/pound
  • Granny B. Farms
    • 7201 Tucker Rd, Centerburg, OH 43011.
    • 614-668-5251.
    • Saturday-Tuesday from 9-6, weather and crop depending.
    • $3.50/quart or $24 per flat.
  • Hann Farms
    • 4600 Lockbourne Rd, Columbus, OH 43207
    • 614-491-0812.
    • Cash and check only
  • Mitchell’s Berries LLC
    • 9331 Mitchell Dewitt Rd. Plain City, Ohio
    • 937-243-0635
    • Monday from 8:30-11:30am as berries are available, call number above for additional picking times
    • $2.60/pound
  • Yutzy’s Farm Market
    • 6010 Converse Huff Rd, Plain City, Ohio
    • 614-873-3815
    • Call for availability of picking
    • $2.25/pound

U-pick Raspberries

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U-pick Blueberries

U-pick Blackberries

U-pick Cherries

U-pick Peaches

  • Lynd’s Blue Frog Farm
    • 5499 Sportsmanclub Rd., Johnstown
    • 740-927-8559
    • Projected u-pick season starts mid-July
  • Legend Hills Orchard
    • 11335 Reynolds Rd, Utica
    • 740-892-3090
    • Mon- Sat from 9am- 5pm and Sunday from 12- 5pm
    • Check availability on Facebook
  • Branstool Orchards
    • 5895 Johnstown Utica Rd, Utica
    • 740-892-3989
    • $1.50/pound
    • Mon- Satfrom 9am- 5pm and Sunday from 10am- 4pm
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