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Splashing required: 10 free and fun Columbus splashpads




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.

Also, how old is too old to horseplay in one of these? ….asking for a friend.

Ballantrae Community Park

6350 Woerner Temple Road, Dublin

Are we in Colorado? Haha, no silly! That’s just the expert landscaping at Ballantrae Community Park! This outdoorsy themed splash pad will have your kids begging for a watery, mountainous vaca.

Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. May 17 to Sept. 5.

Barnett Community Recreation Center Sprayground

1184 Barnett Road [Linwood], Columbus

Barnett Community Recreational Center Sprayground will have your kids jumping with joy!

Hours: noon-7 p.m. daily.

Bicentennial Park in the Scioto Mile

233 Civic Center Drive [Downtown], Columbus

Enjoy some sweet relief from the summer heat right in the heart of downtown. Parents, while your kids romp through the sprinklers, be sure to take in the beautiful Scioto Mile view!

Hours: 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. daily, mid-April to mid-October. Special events may alter operating hours.

Blackburn Community Recreation Center Sprayground

263 Carpenter St. [Olde Towne East], Columbus

Turn your kid loose on this sprayground and you’ll be staring down at least two hours alone with the book you’ve been trying to read for years.

Hours: noon-7 p.m. daily.

Easton Town Center

3900 Easton Station, Columbus

In the South District’s Town Square, just south of Brio Tuscan Grille, sits a little agua oasis just begging to be played in. For ages 8 an under.

Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday between June 5 and Aug. 28 but it closes at 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays for the weekly Sounds on the Town Concert Series.


Hilliard’s Station Park

4021 Main St., Hilliard

Make sure to pack a lunch because this will definitely be an all-day affair. These super sonic water jets are so smart that they dance to the music. Lounging area available for parentals!

Hours: 8 a.m.-10 p.m. daily as of mid-May.

Indian Mound Community Recreation Center Sprayground

3901 Parsons Ave. [South Side], Columbus

Aren’t all those brightly colored shapes so inviting? How could your kid resist?!

Hours: noon-7 p.m. daily.

North Bank Park in the Scioto Mile

311 W. Long St. [Arena District], Columbus

While it may be smaller than the rest, don’t underestimate North Bank Park’s ability to cool you off on a smokin’ hot day.

Hours vary based on pavilion rental periods.

Polaris Fashion Place

8781 Lyra Drive, Columbus

You drug your kids through your shopping spree, they deserve a splish-splashy release. Unleash them on the water fountain near Benihana and Cantina Loredo on the east side of the mall to earn some mommy/daddy brownie points.

Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday.

Village Green Park

47 Hall St., Powell

Colorful buckets that dump water on your head? Yeah, we’re sold and we’re sure your kids will be, too.

Hours: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.

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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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