Connect with those who mean the most to you while tasting local foods, exploring art in urban gardens, listening to amazing music or laughing over your own ice cream or duct tape creations. For more opportunities, visit ohio.org and the Calendar of Events.
Banana Split Festival, June 9-10 (Wilmington)
Get your sweet tooth fix at the nation's only Banana Split Festival! Enjoy free concerts, a classic car cruise-in, baseball tournament, Lickety-Split 5K, crafts, rides, eating contest and more at this 1950s and 1960s themed festival. Be sure to show off your creative talents at the build-your-own banana split booth.
Crazy Cardboard Boat Regatta, July 15 (West Chester)
After countless hours of crafting their boats from cardboard, tape and glue, teams will try their creations on the water. Contestants will attempt to race their boats around the lake at Voice of America Metro Park. Sink or swim, participants and onlookers will get plenty of laughs cheering on their favorites!
Cincinnati Music Festival, July 27-29 (Cincinnati)
Each year in July, Paul Brown Stadium changes from a professional football gridiron into a premier concert venue hosting two days and nights of world-class jazz, R&B and blues performers. Dine, dance, shop and bop to this year's lineup including Usher, Mary J. Blige, Fantasia, Anthony Hamilton and more.
Coshocton Hot Air Balloon Festival, June 8-10 (Coshocton)
Fly up, up and way in a beautiful hot air balloon this year during at the Coshocton Hot Air Balloon Festival! The festival features an array of flying hot air balloons, tethered balloon rides, balloon night glow, carnival rides, food vendors, crafts and games at the Coshocton County Fairgrounds. Concerts will take place on Friday and Saturday nights along with a firework show. Bring the whole family or get a group of friends together - admission and parking are free!
Lilyfest, July 14-16 (Rockbridge)
For art, crafts and flower lovers, Lilyfest is the ultimate in fun and beauty! Held annually at the Bishop Educational Gardens in picturesque Hocking Hills, the festival features work by more than 70 artists in a juried art show. Multiple stages for live music ranging from Celtic and guitar to New Age and Indian flute, will serenade visitors each day as they stroll the artistically designed gardens.
Sunflower Festival, July 28-30 (Frankfort)
Visit downtown Frankfort for a weekend of family fun, including a sunflower show, princess pageant, car show, grand parade, delicious food, a kiddie tractor pull and live entertainment. If you have a green thumb, bring your homegrown sunflowers to compete for best arrangement, tallest sunflower, most blooms, most unusual, prettiest and more! Or, get your team together for the ultimate game of tug-o-war.
Rhythm on the River, June 2, 23, July 14, Aug. 25 (Columbus)
Taking place at the Bicentennial Park Performing Arts Pavilion, Rhythm on the River features free performances this year by: The Blind Boys of Alabama (gospel), The Fabulous Thunderbirds featuring Kim Wilson (southern rock/blues) and The Seldom Scene (bluegrass). A perennial local favorite is the final performance of the summer featuring Ballet Met alfresco with the city of Columbus as a backdrop. Picnic beneath the stars and enjoy food vendors and amazing live performances!
Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival, June 16-18 (Gahanna)
This family festival features the best blues and jazz music in Ohio with five stages and more than 90 hours of live music. More than 35,000 people from across the country travel to Creekside to hear the hottest bands, paddleboat down the creek, make crafts with their kids and dine at one of several local restaurants.
Lancaster Festival, July 19-29 (Lancaster)
Started in 1985, the Lancaster Festival celebrates the best orchestra music in Central Ohio. This ten-day event focuses on music, art and community by bringing together people to enjoy orchestra performances and more. During this festival, enjoy the local attractions in Fairfield County, including boutique shopping, exciting nightlife and restaurants and beautiful museums.
Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure (GOBA), June 17-24 (Findlay)
Cyclists from across the country and beyond flock to Ohio each year to ride 50-miles each day through some of the state's most scenic areas and small towns. This year, the statewide bicycle adventure takes place in Northwest Ohio starting from the Hancock County Fairgrounds in Findlay then looping through Tiffin, Upper Sandusky, Bellefontaine and Kenton. There will be plenty to see and do along the way from caverns to part of the Shawshank Trail and fields of poppies to castles. Advance registration is required.
Crosby Festival of the Arts, June 24-25 (Toledo)
Enjoy artwork by 230 artists during this weekend in the gorgeous Toledo Botanical Garden. Taste cuisine from local chefs and listen to live musical entertainment throughout the weekend. Four full bars along with adult ice cream & shakes will tempt attendees. Children's activities will take place in the Children's Artistic Playhouse. To be among the first to see and purchase art, plan to attend the Preview Party on Friday evening.
Island Fest, July 14-16 (Kelleys Island)
An annual festival packed with summer family fun, Island Fest features a waterfront craft fair, live entertainment, DJ-hosted street dances, a parade and fireworks. Plan now to spend an Island Fest weekend combined with Lake Erie water fun from kayaking and fishing to lounging on the beach or overnighting in a yurt.
Parade the Circle, June 10 (Cleveland)
For 28 years, the Cleveland Museum of Art has thrown a lively, free summer celebration on Wade Over in University Circle. Watch as University Circle lights up with color, music and eclectic art. Artists from all over the world come to display their bright costumes, handmade masks, giant puppets, stilt dancers, floats and more. Circle Village, presented by University Circle Inc., will feature activities, entertainment and delicious food.
Avon Heritage Duck Tape Festival, June 16-18 (Avon)
What better way to celebrate Father's Day weekend than with his favorite fix-all -- duct tape?! Better yet, work with dad to enter one of the many duct tape competitions. Highlights of the festival include a Saturday morning Duck Tape parade with floats and characters made of colorful duct tape, a Duck Tape fashion show and Duck Tape sculptures placed throughout the festival grounds. Attendees also may enjoy making a craft to take home, a scavenger hunt, live daily entertainment, rides, food, kids play area and more.
Headlands BeachFest, July 22 (Mentor)
Take off for Mentor, Ohio, and visit the beaches of Headlands Beach State Park. This family-friendly party includes a Master Sand Sculpting Competition, kayaking and paddle boarding. Families can stroll along the beach, fly kites and participate in the games and music. Families can also help build a Puddle Duck Racer Sailboat and enter to win a boat of their own.