Put on your happy festival pants

When I stated last week that I would fill you in on some of the festivals taking place in Ohio this summer, little did I know what I was getting myself – and you – into.

Let me start out by saying that there are so many festivals with so many themes running every single weekend – you would actually have to work really hard at having a BORING WEEKEND. Seriously. Here’s the link:

Ohio Festivals, “Exploring Ohio’s Festivals One Funnel Cake at a Time” (love that!)

Hungry for something other than funnel cakes? There are festivals celebrating . . .

Yeah, I've used this picture before but I still think it's funny.

Yeah, I’ve used this picture before but I still think it’s funny.

Strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes and corn

Potatoes, cheese and various kinds of fish

Chicken, hot dogs, chili and ox roasts

Maple syrup, honey, popcorn and cookies

Kettering, a suburb south of Dayton, is hosting the crowd-pleasing Bacon Fest at the Fraze Pavilion on Sunday, August 17. Music and all things bacon? Yeah, baby.

Then there are the ethnic and heritage festivals . . .

No matter the nationality, it's still mostly about the FOOD.

No matter the nationality, it’s still mostly about the FOOD.

Look for a bevy of Greek, German, Italian and Latino events

Say yes to Czech, Serbian, Macedonian, Romanian and Hungarian

Don’t forget the Swiss, Lebanese, Celtic and Islamic

Or Russian, Scottish, African and Korean


There are festivals on rivers, like the Paddle Fest coming up soon in Cincinnati. There are festivals on the shores and islands of Lake Erie, including this weekend’s Pyrate Fest at Put-in-Bay Harbor. Aaaargh! (What does a pirate’s dog say? Aaaaaarf!)

Yellow Springs circa 1969 (hahahahaha!) thanks Yahoo! News

Yellow Springs circa 1969 (hahahahaha!) thanks Yahoo! News

Arts festivals – whether visual arts, dance or music – abound. I love the description of the Cyclops Fest taking place in Yellow Springs on September 13. The hometown of hippie-dippie Antioch College describes this event as an “Epic Festival of homemade goods, music, culture & DIY WONDERFULNESS.” I’m in! (Although the same weekend you may be tempted to go to the Skunk Fest in North Ridgeville, or maybe the Strut Your Mutt Canine Festival in Mansfield.

Man. Tough choices. So many festivals, so little time.

Roy, Dale and Trigger

Roy, Dale and Trigger

Some festivals honor native sons and daughters. A few that sounded fun are Wapakoneta’s Summer Moon festival, recognizing hometown boy Astronaut Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon. Then there’s the Annie Oakley Festival in Greenville and the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Festival in Portsmouth. Native Leonard Slye became the beloved TV cowboy and it’s really fun visiting this website (turn on your sound!) to hear Roy and Dale croon, “Happy Trails to You.”

Holy crap! Scary ATL Twins (photo by Terry Richardson). Bet they won't come to Twins Days.

Holy crap! Scary ATL Twins (photo by Terry Richardson). Bet they won’t come to Twins Days.




I’ll wrap up this festival report with a couple near my home in Northeastern Ohio. First, the annual, international Twins Days Festival is always held the first weekend in August in Twinsburg, southeast of Cleveland. This event draws twins and their families from all over the world and is the largest gathering of twins anywhere. There are activities just for registered twins, like a golf outing and Welcome Wiener Roast. But the public is welcome to join in for twin talent shows, the Double Take Parade and more.

And one I think I’ll attend on July 25 or 26 is Cleveland’s Burning River Fest. Sponsored by the Burning River Foundation, proceeds from this festival help fund the future sustainability of our local waterways. Music, food and floating pyres can be found on the land around the Coast Guard Station on Whiskey Island.

1969, Burning Cuyahoga River in Cleveland (photo from Bob of the Ozarks blog - thanks)

1969, Burning Cuyahoga River in Cleveland (photo from Bob of the Ozarks blog – thanks)

Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River actually did catch fire in 1969. I don’t know how it started, but a colorful oil slick covering what had become more industrial waste than water burst into flames and embarrassed everyone who lived here. World news jeered at Cleveland for the eight days – yeah, count ‘em – EIGHT – the river burned.

No sooner had the humiliation of Cleveland’s horrible pollution fiasco died down than new mayor Ralph Perk caught his hair on fire at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Cleveland Convention Center. This was actually a few years later, but it felt like yesterday as the media howled at Cleveland’s mayor catching himself on fire while using a welder’s torch to cut a ceremonial ribbon.


Uh, yeah. Perk was known as the Bad News Mayor (like Bad News Bear, get it?). His term from 1972-75 was a tough time for the city and I’m sure he did his best, but . . .

Did his wife really have to turn down an invitation to dine at the White House because she didn’t want to miss her bowling night?


That’s right. Swear to God. But I digress.

So no complaining about nothing to do in Ohio this summer, folks. And if you live in any other state in the country, I’m willing to bet you have a similar lineup in your own sweet spot of the world. I’d love to hear what’s going on where you live – cool or a little cuckoo. Leave your comments here.

Roy Rogers memorabilia is the focus of the festival. I want this plate!

Roy Rogers memorabilia is the focus of the festival. I want this plate!

And as Roy and Dale would say, happy trails to you until we meet again.

About katemahar

Freelance writer and event planner by trade . . . mother/daughter/sister/friend . . . passionate traveler . . . compulsive reader
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6 Responses to Put on your happy festival pants

  1. Roy says:

    Hey Kate- what a cool list and wonderful story! I will check some of these out with my family this summer. Cleveland rocks! Thanks for the info and laughs. Roy

  2. ginny says:

    As always, you make me want to do whatever it is you’re explaining! look out summer, here we come!

  3. katemahar says:

    Today is the Wine Crawl for Wussies. Thanks, Pea – love you! Miss you!

  4. Chris says:

    You make me laugh no matter your subject. Who would have known there were so many festivals for so many special celebrations. I think I will pass on the Skunk one though. Please
    keep me posted on your plans!

  5. katemahar says:

    Thanks, Chris! We’ll have to go to one of these some day!

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