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Top 7 Things to do at the Columbus Arts Festival

Taijuan Moorman Taijuan Moorman Top 7 Things to do at the Columbus Arts FestivalThe Columbus Arts Festival returns Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to the Scioto Mile. (Photo by Em Hammett, courtesy of the Columbus Arts Festival)
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Every year, Downtown Columbus is taken over by the Columbus Arts Festival, a three-day event that showcases local and national painters, photographers, sculptures, and mixed-media artists, along with live performances for the whole family to enjoy.

Most will spend this weekend casually browsing the artist markets and catching a performance or two, but there is a lot more to the Columbus Arts Festival than that. Check out a list of the top things to do at the festival, from grabbing a brew at the new Beer Garden, to hand-on activities and a children’s gallery.

1. Check out the ABC6 Bicentennial Stage

Photo by Greg Bartram, courtesy of the Columbus Arts Festival

This year on the main stage, you’ll hear music from locals like Zoo Trippin’ and Yesterday Kids, as well as national acts like Tigue and G. Love. The stage will also feature a variety of genres from alternative, pop, R&B, jazz, and hip-hop acts. If that’s not enough, the festival will have three other music stages, plus spoken word and dance performance stages.

2. Visit the Dance and Theater Stage

Photo by Greg Bartram, courtesy of the Columbus Arts Festival

The Dance and Theater Stage will feature performances from local theater groups like MadLab Theatre, Imagine Productions, and the Columbus Children’s Theatre, as well as dancers from cultures all over the world, including cloggers, Latin and Celtic dancers, and breakers.

3. Stop by the Local Craft Beer Garden

Columbus seems to have a new brewery popping up every week, and this year the Columbus Arts Festival will make good on the trend with the Local Craft Beer Garden. The Beer Garden will feature brews from Seventh Son Brewing, BrewDog, Columbus Brewing Company, and Four String Brewing Company, and can be found on Washington Blvd. between Town and Rich Streets.

4. Kayak on the Scioto River During Riverfest

Photo via Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission website

The festival takes place right on the Scioto River, and what better way to experience the riverfront than with Riverfest? Kayaking and canoeing on the river will be offered Saturday and Sunday of the festival, just walk right up or book an appointment ahead of time.

5. See the Festival Artist in Residence at the Patron Party

Another activity as part of the festival is the Patron Party at the Cultural Arts Center, which has been opened to the public as a ticketed event this year. The event is sold out, so for those who already have tickets, you’ll enjoy a night of food and drinks, as well as artist in residence Stephanie Lüning and her installation Painting in Progress: An Art Action. Lüning is set to create one of the pieces for the installation live during the party.

6. Make Some Interesting Finds at the Artist Market

Photo by Greg Bartram, courtesy of the Columbus Arts Festival

Over 270 artists will feature work at the festival, including painters and sculptors, as well as artists working with less conventional materials like fiber and wood. This is the perfect time to not just browse, but chat with the artist about their work and inspiration, or make a purchase—no matter your budget.

7. Get Crafty at the Hands-On Activities Village at COSI

Photo by Sally Sugar, courtesy of the Columbus Arts Festival

This year the hands-on activities village will take place at COSI, but will still feature all of the family fun of years past. Local cultural organizations will help festival goers make musical instruments, paint flower pots and totes, and get their face painted.

Also located in the hands-on village is the children’s art gallery, a kid-sized gallery where kids can purchase their own art, at $5 or under.

What else are you looking forward to at the Columbus Arts Festival? Leave a comment below!

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