Summer Arts Festivals in Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio is a city that offers a bounty of summer festivals and special events designed to appeal to just about every age and range of interests from the Jazz & Ribs Fest to all kinds of musical concerts at varied indoor and outdoor venues to a variety of festivals celebrating different cultures and ethnicities. Some of my own personal favorite summer festivals are those with an artsy and eclectic slant, so I shall offer a few details about several Columbus, Ohio Summer 2009 arts festivals.

The Columbus Arts Festival is an annual outdoor event that takes place near downtown Columbus in early June each year. June 5, 6, & 7 2009 will mark the 45th year for the Columbus Arts Festival. Fine artists from all over the United States will congregate in the Discovery District, a zone of arts and commerce situated near the Scioto Riverfront, the Columbus Museum of Art, and other unique area attractions. Stroll the area and peruse distinctive glass art, textile art, pottery, painting, and more while also being treated to entertainment offered by local musical acts and poets. The Columbus Arts Festival hours are Friday and Saturday from 11:30 A.M. until 10:00 P.M. and Sunday from 11:30 A.M. until 6:00 P.M. Although you will need some spending money if you plan to park in the area, dine at the festival, or purchase some fabulous art, browsing the wares at the Columbus Arts Festival is free.

Another longtime favorite Columbus, Ohio festival, which is also free with the exception of food and personal artsy crafty purchases is Comfest. This eclectic and fun-filled festival sprawls across the pretty green grounds of Goodale Park in the Short North area, offering a quirky assortment of booths peddling arts and crafts and local grassroots politics, a delicious variety of food vendors, and multiple stages lined up with all kinds of local musical acts and other performers. With its distinctive vibe of freedom and community activism and its focus on local live music of all flavors, Comfest has a truly unique appeal, so much so that many festival-goers like to spend the whole weekend there. The motto for the 2009 Comfest is 'Party with Purpose' and it's a byline that makes sense. This festival has been happening since 1972, it is not supported by any corporate sponsors, and it is largely run by a team of committed and passionate volunteers. The 2009 Comfest is scheduled to happen Friday through Saturday, June 26th-28th.

Can't get enough one-of-a-kind handmade art created by indie artists, crafters, and artisans? In that case, you might be especially interested in Craftin' Outlaws, a relatively new Columbus arts festival aka alternative craft fair. 2009 will mark the 5th annual Craftin' Outlaws event; date and venue still TBA. Previous year's incarnations have happened in mid-August at various local venues, usually a hipster-y bar-like locale. For example, last year's incarnation was hosted in the downtown Columbus area at BOMA (Bar of Modern Art), a distinctive and sophisticated eatery slash drinkery slash dance club within an architecturally impressive old church. The event's lucky attendees cold amble up to the bar and buy themselves a tasty libation and then amble through rows and rows of art arts & crafts tables, featuring distinctive wares ranging from the artsy to the kitschy to the vintage to the fine art gems. Handcrafted jewelry, hand dyed baby clothes, homemade soaps, quirky plush toys, nifty paper goods, delightfully peculiar paintings, and divine mixed media shrines are just some of the goodies to be discovered at Craftin' Outlaws. Craftin' Outlaws offers free admission and is open to all ages.

For even more of an alternative arts & crafts fix, check out a similar and more ongoing event called Artisan Sundays, hosted at Columbus Ohio's own downtown North Market, every first and third Sunday of the months from May to October. More handcrafted goodness in another wonderfully unique setting, Artisan Sundays are also available to all ages and absolutely free to browse. Better yet, make a purchase or two for yourself or to bestow as distinctive gifts and support independent art and commerce in the process.

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