The long-standing festival that celebrates the arts and the Olde Towne East neighborhood will be bigger and badder this year.

The long-standing festival that celebrates the arts and the Olde Towne East neighborhood will be bigger and badder this year.

Candice Watkins, the fest's organizer, said the multi-stage event is enlarging its Parsons Avenue stage and putting it under a tent. The dance floor there will be bigger as well, and perhaps more attendees will take advantage of it after visiting the new bar that will be set up nearby.

"We're trying to spread it out a little bit, and get more musicians and artists in," Watkins explained.

As always, the festival will lead off on Friday evening with a thank-you party for ComFest volunteers. Saturday will feature a street fair, art-car collection, music and dance performances, and a mile-long children's parade.

The festival will honor local jazz legend Gene Walker during a jam Sunday afternoon, and that evening blues singer and harmonica player Grady Champion will take the stage.

Nearby patios

Indian Oven

427 E. Main St., Downtown

614-220-9390

indianoven.com

Practically unnoticeable from Main Street, the patio at Indian Oven is tucked under two rows of trees. Take a seat in the shade and enjoy a glass of Indian wine or a liquor-infused Mango Lassi - essentially an alcoholic milkshake. To cool down, order a dish of homemade mango ice cream or fruit custard.

AWOL Bar

49 Parsons Ave., Old Towne East

614-621-8779

awolbar.com

The inside of AWOL might look like a typical dive bar, but the patio out back resembles a tropical paradise. A waterfall sculpture subtly divides the large courtyard in two. On one side is a wrap-around bar, which offers excellent happy hour specials such as $2 well drinks. The other side has a rainbow of umbrellas, tables and chairs, and the mostly gay, mostly male clientele relaxing there ranges in age from early 20s to middle age.