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Big Fest Energy: 12 festivals happening in July

Mitch Hooper



In June, you survived ComFest and you marched proudly in the Pride Parade. Good for you! You definitely earned your June festival badge (*badges sold separately). But now it’s July, and it’s time for another go around in the city. With arts and music festivals in anywhere from Yellow Springs to the Hilltop, here’s what you can’t miss this month.

JULY 6-7: The 5th Annual Gnarbeque Music And Arts Festival | Woodland’s Backyard

In its fifth installment, the Gnarbeque Music and Arts Festival is bringing a wide collection of musicians, artists, and DJs, to Woodland’s Backyard. With CD102.5, Snarls, and many other local music favorites, this year promises to be the biggest yet.

JULY 6: Springfest 2019 | Yellow Springs

Just to the south of the city is Yellow Spring’s popular Springfest featuring national and regional music, an arts market, and local craft beer by the cupful. The family-friendly event is a great getaway for a day in the sun.

JULY 11 – AUGUST 15 21st: Annual Heritage Music Festival | Mayme Moore Park

The month of July kicks off The King Arts Complex’s Heritage Music Festival where Thursdays offer live music. The lineup will feature blends of different musical acts as well as feature acts like The Quan Howell Project.

JULY 12-14: GoodGuys PPG Nationals | The Ohio State Fairgrounds

The smell of race fuel and gasoline will fill the air at the Fairgrounds as the classic hot rods and vehicles roll in for the weekend. Check out some of the most eye-grabbing cars from across the country, meet their owners, and sit in on some of the events like time trial races.

JULY 12-13: North Market Ohio Wine Festival | The North Market

Featuring wines straight from Ohio, the North Market Ohio Wine Festival is your chance to sample your way through a variety of options. Your admission ticket gets your 10 wine tastings to start, but the real challenge will be figuring out if you should get 10 or 20 more sample tickets. And to balance out all that alcohol intake, the North Market merchants will be open until 9 p.m. during the two-day festival.


JULY 13: Summer Jam West: Peace Train | Westgate Park

This free and family-friendly arts festival in Hilltop is an all-day affair on Friday. Take your little ones to check out the professional chalk artists or let them run wild with chalk creations of their own. With local music and art installations being hung around throughout the community, this is a celebration of Hilltop.

JULY 13-14: Westerville Music & Arts Festival | Heritage Park

Step out of the city and into the suburbs as Westerville hosts its annual music and arts festival. The two-day festival features The Reaganomics on Friday as well as food and booze vendors and family-friendly activities.

JULY 19-22: Jazz and Rib Festival 2019 | The Scioto Mile

Back for another three days in the city is the Jazz And Rib Festival on The Scioto Mile where you can bask in the sounds of jazz, and the stains of barbeque sauce. Bring a lawn chair, extra napkins and towelettes, and maybe even a backup shirt. You can never be too safe!

JULY 20: Sommerfest (II) | Germania

Fröhlicher Sommer! That (should) say happy summer in German… don’t quote us on that, though. What you can quote us on is an abundance of German-themed treats at Sommerfest like big mugs of hefeweizen or the iconic cream puffs. And if you’re feeling competitive, try your luck in one of the Stein hoist competitions.

JULY 25-AUGUST 6: The Ohio State Fair | The Ohio State Fairgrounds

Deep fried everything, cows made of butter, and a star-studded lineup of entertainment: welcome to the State Fair! This year brings in comedian Gabriel Iglesias as well as country superstars Toby Keith and Hank William Jr., plus who doesn’t want to go check out all the cute barnyard animals?

JULY 27: What? Fest | Location: 400 West Rich

Of the summer festivals in July, What? Fest is perhaps the youngest with its humble beginnings just last year. The arts and music forward festival features an intimate setting at 400 West Rich along with several musical acts ranging from a variety of genres.

JULY 27: 2X2 Hip-Hop Festival | 3440 W Broad St.

This festival is for the hip-hop and rap heads living in Columbus. The 2X2 Hip- Hop Festival will feature rappers, graffiti artists, and plenty of food trucks. Whether you’re into breakdancing or MC battles, 2X2 will supply the heat.

millennial | writer | human

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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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