Every town in Ohio does something, and most do at least one thing well. Then they host a festival to celebrate that thing - an entire weekend, for example, dedicated to blueberries, brats or banana splits.
Every town in Ohio does something, and most do at least one thing well. Then they host a festival to celebrate that thing - an entire weekend, for example, dedicated to blueberries, brats or banana splits. Officially, Ohio's the Buckeye State. In reality, we are the state of quaint seasonal celebrations, complete with delicious food, small rides, crafts, cover bands and parades. Here's a handful of fests happening through August within a two-hour drive from Columbus. For a full list of gatherings, click to ofea.org.
Newark Strawberry Festival
Distance: 40 miles
Shortcakes and other strawberry concoctions will be enjoyed as Central Ohio residents stroll the midway, listen to live music and await results of the Miss Strawberry Contest.
Banana Split Festival (Wilmington)
Distance: 63 miles
Wilmington claims to have invented this dessert, and the festival website says it all: "We will not back down from our claim! Ohio reigns supreme when it comes to the banana split!"
Washboard Music Festival (Logan)
Distance: 50 miles
This music extravaganza celebrates the influence of the washboard on zydeco, jug-band music and Dixieland jazz. As if you really needed another reason to drive through the Hocking Hills.
Lodi Sweet Corn Festival
Distance: 100 miles
The most Ohio-y of crops gets proper respect during this shindig, which will feature all the common festival trimmings plus the Sweet Corn Race at 8:30 a.m. Saturday to burn off all the melted butter.
Frog Jump Festival (Valley City)
Distance: 125 miles
Mark Twain would be proud of this salute to the athletic ability of amphibians. The daylong celebration, held in the Frog Jump Capital of Ohio, will include opening remarks from Mayor Ribbit.
Lexington Blueberry Festival
Distance: 61 miles
Like most fruit festivals, this tribute to the noble blueberry will feature blueberries and many things made of, from or with blueberries. Also, there will be helicopter rides.
Bucyrus Bratwurst Festival
Distance: 66 miles
Calling itself the Bratwurst Capital of America, Bucyrus hosts a four-day homage to encased meat, during which the brats are roasted by an open fire and the lemonade is squeezed fresh daily.
Distance: 11 miles
In terms of festival volume, zucchini gets less love than most other garden staples. Props to this South Side community for recognizing the many merits of summer squash.