Columbus is a city known for its festivals. From Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend every year, there’s at least one festival taking place each weekend, and often many more. Unfortunately, this year, due to public health concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19, we won’t have much opportunity to celebrate in person. However, many of the city’s exciting celebrations are finding new ways to engage the community through virtual and modified celebrations.
We’ve gathered a list of how you can still take part in this year’s festival season and will continue to update as more information comes available.
Delayed from its annual Fourth of July date, the DooDah parade returns to the streets of the Short North on Saturday, Sept. 19. This year's theme, dubbed pandemic at the disco, will focus on "roasting the pandemic." This year's parade will be vehicles only, starting at 1 p.m. at the corner of Buttles and Park. Spectators and participants are encouraged to wear masks and maintain social distancing, and join an online after party following the event. Find more details here.
Cartroon Crossroads Columbus
Thought the annual Cartoon Crossroads Columbus (CXC) will take place online this year, it still promises the same high level of programming and talent that participants have come to expect. The first round of CXC 2020 guests has been announced, including Shing Yin Khor (THE AMERICAN DREAM? A JOURNEY ON ROUTE 66), Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Connor (HARLEY QUINN), Vita Ayala (MORBIUS, MAGIC: THE GATHERING: CHANDRA) and Faith Erin Hicks (ONE YEAR AT ELLSMERE, PUMPKINHEADS); as well as underground cartoonists Diane Noomin (DIDI GLITZ, TWISTED SISTERS), Kim Deitch (REINCARNATION STORIES, THE BOULEVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS), and the authors of SUNNY SIDE UP, Jennifer and Matt Holm, who are sure to be a favorite of kids and families. The festival's events will all be streamed live and available for download on the CXC website, and a full program schedule and guest list will be released closer to the event.
HighBall Halloween is going virtual, but the streamed event will still feature fan favorites such as Nina West, The White Castle Costume Couture Fashion Show, MojoFlo, Virginia West and the West Family and NBC4's Monica Day and Matt Barnes. There will also still be competitions for cash prizes as part of the Out of the Closet Virtual Public Costume Contest - so don't keep those costumes tucked away! Stay tuned for more updates at HighBallColumbus.org.
Arnold Sports Festival Virtual Expo
Certainly, Ohio shocked the world in early March with the cancellation of the 3-day Arnold Fitness EXPO, which annually features 1,000 booths and 200,000 attendees. Now, in an effort to support the sponsors and exhibitors, the Arnold Virtual EXPO was created so the community can still connect and have access to the amazing products, services and offers typically found at the Arnold Sports Festival!
Arts Fest in Place
The Columbus Arts Festival has gone virtual with its Columbus Arts Festival in Place! Kick off the weekend as you traditionally would with a Patron Party in Place by tuning into the Arts Festival Facebook page at 5 p.m. on June 12 for a special video to start the festivities. Follow the announcement with a virtual or socially distant gathering using recipes from Patron Parties past, cocktail recipes from Middle West Spirits, Cultural Arts Center Zoom backgrounds and more. Then, throughout the weekend, continue the fun by shopping 2020 exhibiting artists, exploring the best of the big local arts tent, listening to musical performances and participating in the Chalk Art Challenge.
Stonewall Columbus Pride Celebration
Pride looks different in 2020, and though the Stonewall Columbus Pride Parade has been moved to Oct. 3 (see below), the weekend the festival was originally scheduled to take place will be used to ensure the voices of the black members of the LGBTQ+ community are uplifted, heard and at the center of all discussions. On Saturday, June 20, Stonewall Columbus will host a pop-up market for black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs in Columbus, as well as holding space for community organizations to share resources along with space for #BlackVoices programming to include discussions led by our black LGBTQ+ community. On Sunday, June 21, the Columbus Pride Committee will be working to support the LGBTQ+ Unity March on Columbus for Black Lives, which will begin at noon at the Ohio Statehouse and end at Stonewall Columbus, where there will be a safe space for people to come together as a community and learn more about resources available from various community organizations along with free mental health and stress reduction services on-site.
Find out more ways to celebrate Pride here.
Attendees of the annual Community Festival, affectionately referred to as ComFest, will still have the opportunity to enjoy the sights and sounds typically associated with the event in a virtual capacity. Virtual ComFest will feature performers, workshops, street fair vendors and community organizations so those who make the festival possible will still be supported in 2020. Follow updates at the ComFest Facebook page or at comfest.com.
Red, White & BOOM!
This summer, instead of an in-person gathering of 450,000 spectators, Red, White & BOOM! will become a multi-day television and digital event looking back over the years of the tradition of parades honoring veterans and the largest fireworks show in the Midwest! The four-night television campaign will air from Wednesday, July 1 – Saturday, July 4 on NBC4 and each show will have a different theme highlighting the best stories of Central Ohio’s annual celebration. The first of these will feature the stories of local veterans inducted into the Ford Oval of Honor. Plus, throughout the event, Red, White & BOOM! will show the best fireworks shows over the course of its storied history.
Check out smaller community celebrations here.
Westerville Music & Arts Festival
Beginning July 11
The 47th annual Westerville Music & Arts Festival will take place online this year. Kicking off on July 11, the date the in-person festival was scheduled to take place, attendees will be able to view artwork and enjoy live music from scheduled performers online throughout July.
The Memorial Tournament, Presented by Nationwide
The Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, a PGA TOUR event, has moved to July 14-19, and though originally planned to be the first PGA tour event to welcome back fans, it has since made the decision to be for players and personnel only.
Learn what other Columbus sports are coming back in July here.
Dublin Irish Festival
July 31 - Aug. 2
The 33rd Annual Dublin Irish Festival gathering has canceled its in-person event, but will offer some fun ways to celebrate Irish culture and heritage virtually the weekend the festival had been planned. Check here for updates on Celtic cooking, concerts, arts and more.
Check out other virtual events taking place throughout the summer here.
Viva Festival Latino!
In lieu of Festival Latino 2020, CAPA will be hosting a week-long, Latin-American online experience called Viva Festival Latino. Each day, Aug. 3-9, check out the Festival Latino website or Facebook page for a series of online cultural events and activities. More details coming soon!
Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival
Though the traditional Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival can’t go on as planned, an #altLDAF2020 has been put in place to keep the tradition alive. A free drive-in concert will kick off the weekend on Friday, Sept. 4, featuring Appalatin. Then, the community is invited to join a Tour des Arts on Labor Day, from 10 a.m. to noon, in which local UA visual and performing artists will place, create and perform art in their yards or on their front porches for all to enjoy. Drive, bike or walk this route to see Upper Arlington transformed by talented artists.