Feature: Ohio Homecoming

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From the July 5, 2012 edition

Ohio Homecoming began two years ago in Cleveland as a way to prove that Ohio is awesome.

“We started it in Cleveland right after the Forbes magazine article came out that said Cleveland was the most miserable place to live,” managing partner Alonzo Mitchell III said. “A lot of people got upset, but nobody got upset enough to do anything.”

Mitchell and his team swung into action, booking Cleveland native Kid Cudi for a concert that attracted more than 10,000 people. Last year they repeated themselves with a massive event featuring Cleveland natives Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Machine Gun Kelly, plus special guest Drake.

Now the festival is doubling up. Before they throw Cleveland’s 216th birthday party (get it?) later this month, they’re bringing the fun to Columbus this weekend as part of the city’s official 200Columbus bicentennial activities.

A closer look at this weekend’s events:

300 Deep Bicentennial Community Volunteer Project

11 a.m. Thursday at Grace Brethren Church, Westerville

Organizers are hoping to attract 300 volunteers to hang doorknob flyers at North Side homes to spread the word about the city’s new recycling program. The first 300 to show up get a free ticket to Ohio Homecoming activities.

DJs in the Park After Dark

8 p.m. Thursday at Genoa Park, Downtown

Eight of Ohio’s top DJs will each take a turn on the decks behind COSI, including hip-hop legend Mix Master Ice, Columbus hip-hop pioneer BHB, Park Street staple DJ Corrupt, Power 107.5’s DJ Giovanny, O-Gee’s DJ Patrick, hip-hop entrepreneur Dommy “Huge Deal” Styles, MJ the DJ and DJ Prospect. Additionally, Homage will sell T-shirts from a pop-up shop, and graffiti artist Giovanni Santiago will paint a mural live on stage.

S.T.O.M.P.N. to the Ballot Bicentennial Greek Step Show

6 p.m. Friday at Genoa Park, Downtown

In an event sponsored by the National Pan-Hellenic Council of Columbus, local fraternities and sororities will compete in stepping, “a rhythmic form of communication that invites and incites crowd participation from all corners,” with prizes and scholarships on the line. (Watch R. Kelly’s “Happy People” video to see for yourself.) The event doubles as a voter registration drive.

Battle for Ohio Celebrity Charity Basketball Game

12 p.m. Saturday at St. John Arena, Campus

Coach Ron Stokes’ #TeamColumbus, featuring Evan Turner, Scoonie Penn, Samaki Walker and other Columbus natives, will face Clark Kellogg’s #TeamCleveland, featuring David Lighty, Dallas Lauderdale and Tristan Thompson, for bragging rights and charity donations. Columbus backs OSU Life Sports, while Cleveland supports Greater Cleveland Fisher House.

Ohio Homecoming’s Bicentennial Concert

7 p.m. Saturday at Bicentennial Park, Downtown

In a change-up from the event’s usual hip-hop focus, funk veterans Sugarfoot’s Ohio Players will headline Saturday’s show by the Scioto.

“I think it’s going to be a very diverse and unique crowd,” Mitchell said. “We’ll get older people that we don’t normally reach, and the younger people can kind of get a feel for what music really is.”

An after-party at The Vault, 35 E. Gay St., begins at 11 p.m.