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Making the Best of Boom: 3 viewing spots for the fireworks

Mitch Hooper

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Each and every year the city of Columbus gathers round for a visual experience where lights and pyrotechnics illuminate the sky. It’s a chance for us to celebrate our independence from Mama England with a giant party and even bigger traffic lines. There’s no way to avoid the madness that is Red, White, and Boom—city streets are shut down, Uber surcharges skyrocket (no pun intended), and even if you decided to stay in, your neighbor and his box of M-80s have other plans for your quiet night.

Alas, there’s only one solution and it’s a cliché saying: if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. And if you’re going to do it, you’d better do it right. Here are three viewing options for enjoying Boom this year. And as always, be safe out there.

 In The Thunderdome

If you and a group of friends are looking to really take in Boom this year, booking a night at The LeVeque Tower is a solid option that can be split to make it more affordable. Not only is The LeVeque right in the heart of RWB, it potentially has one of the best views in the city. The high-rise hotel over looks the Scioto Mile, which is conveniently close to where the fireworks are actually set off. While everyone will be lugging around backpacks and bags, you’ll have the luxury of an upscale hotel room to take pit stops in. And once all the firework dust settles, you can simply walk back to your room, or The Keep (LeVeque’s elegant bar), instead of waiting in traffic for three and a half hours.

In The Splash Zone

When it comes to RWB, getting there early could be the difference between a good spot and a great spot. Alternatively, you can work smarter, not harder, and snag a kayak or stand-up paddleboard, or bring your own, to float down the Scioto Mile. Remember how The LeVeque is close? This is about as close as you can get beyond actually lighting the damn things. That being said, there are a few things to keep in mind. Police patrol the river quite frequently on the night of Boom so you’re going to need lights on your mode of transportation because they’ll be doing inspections for safety concerns and just for straight up visibility. (IMPORTANT: no booze in the boats!) Visit watercraft.ohiodnr.gov/lights to brush up on the rules and regulations before you head out.

In The Spirit Of Families

While part of Columbus will be focusing on chugging beers, and another part attempting to keep their sanity amongst all the crazies, there’s the final part that is simply just looking to take their little ones to a fireworks show. And this group isn’t looking to deal with drunken Boomers. If you fall in this category, The Scioto Audubon is a great option. Not only are outside fireworks and alcohol prohibited, dogs are permitted! The Audubon also offers more for the little ones to do, like a sand volleyball court, a rock climbing wall, and even a playground. Unfortunately, parking here might be a bit of a tricky situation, but I have a few tips for handling that.

Traffic Tips

So you decided to ignore this treasure trove of a story and went ahead with driving to RWB. I’m not mad. I’m just a little disappointed. Either way, before you dive headfirst into the traffic nightmare, here’s a few pointers.

Park far away and utilize transportation services like Bird and Lime Scooters, or public bicycles, to get to and from RWB.

Uber there, but don’t hail down an Uber to get home. Instead, walk a few blocks away from all the craziness and then call an Uber. Not only will they be able to pick you up faster, they won’t be stuck in the traffic exiting the event.

Stay at a hotel nearby. There are plenty of lodging options Downtown and a good majority of them offer overnight parking. Even if you aren’t able to see the fireworks from your room, a 15-minute walk back beats hours of traffic jams every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

millennial | writer | human

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614NOW Survival Guide: Jazz & Rib Fest

Mike Thomas

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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.

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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

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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!

Friday

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?

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Saturday

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.

Sunday

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

614now

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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.

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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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