CLEVELAND, Ohio – What’s your favorite flavor of festival?
There are strawberries in Troy, tomatoes in Reynoldsburg and bratwurst in Bucyrus. And that’s just for starters.
Ohio’s summerlong season of fun (and food) kicks of this weekend, with a variety of fairs and festivals to please every palate.
Both small towns and big cities are hosting hundreds of events this summer, from the massive Ohio State Fair in Columbus to the diminutive Valley City Frog Jump Festival in Medina County.
Baseball fans can head to the Cy Young Days in Newcomerstown while football fans won’t want to miss the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony, where Browns great Joe Thomas will receive his gold jacket.
There are washboards in Logan, hot air balloons in Coshocton and pirates (Arr!) on Put-in-Bay.
We’ve put together a list of some of the state’s most popular, most fun and most eccentric upcoming fairs and festivals, starting with this weekend’s Port Clinton Walleye Festival. For a more comprehensive list of Ohio festivals, see ohiofestivals.net or ofea.org.
May 25-29, Waterworks Park
Port Clinton’s 42nd annual Walleye Festival features a kids fishing derby, parade, carnival rides, concerts and more than 130 vendors on the scenic Lake Erie shore. Information: portclintonchamber.com/walleye-festival
June 3-4, throughout downtown
A Troy tradition since 1977, the festival features a strawberry pie eating contest, Little Miss and Mr. Strawberry Pageant, strawberry doughnuts, shortcake and lots more. Information: troystrawberryfest.com
June 8-10, Coshocton County Fairgrounds
The centerpiece of this festival features nearly two dozen balloons floating above bucolic Coshocton County. Other activities: music, food, fireworks and more. Information: coshoctonhotairballoonfestival.com
June 9-11, along the downtown riverfront at Scioto Mile
More than 200 professional artists will set up shop along the downtown riverfront area in one of the state’s largest art festivals. Also: three stages of entertainment, art demonstrations and more. Information: columbusartsfestival.org
June 15-17, downtown Logan
Home to the Columbus Washboard Company, Logan comes alive with traditional washboard music and more during this three-day fest. Also: art, music, company tours and more. Information: loganwashboardfestival.com
June 16-18, Mercy Health Stadium
Avon, home to Duck Brand tape, calls itself the duct tape capital of the world – and the city sets out to prove it every June. The annual festival features tape-created art and fashion, plus a Saturday morning duct tape parade. Information: duckbrand.com/duck-tape-festival
June 17-18, Steubenville
Celebrate classic crooner Dean Martin in his hometown, with tribute artists, a classic car cruise-in, art show and Rat Pack Dinner Show. Also: trolley rides around the “City of Murals.” For information: visitsteubenville.com
June 23-25, downtown Put-in-Bay
Eye patches are encouraged at this annual weekend event, with a pirate parade, costume contest, performances and more. Information: visitputinbay.org/event/put-in-bay-pirate-fest/
June 23-25, downtown Newcomerstown
Former L.A. Dodgers pitcher Eric Gage is the parade marshal at this year’s Cy Young Days Festival, held in the hometown of the former baseball great. Other activities: vintage baseball, a cornhole tournament and more. Information: cyyoungdaysfestival.com
July 14-16, downtown Kelleys Island
The Chamber of Commerce’s annual Island Fest features a parade, fireworks, music, craft vendors and more. The island is accessible via ferry from Sandusky and Marblehead. Information: kelleysislandchamber.com/events/2023/07/14/chamber-events/island-fest/
July 18-23, throughout Wapakoneta
Celebrate pioneering astronaut Neil Armstrong in his hometown, with live music, a Moon Market, space games and extended hours at the Armstrong Air & Space Museum. Information: summermoonfestival.com
July 23, Mill Stream Park
A frog-jumping contest is the centerpiece of this family-friendly affair; bring your own amphibian or rent a loaner for $5. Information: frogjump.valleycity.org
July 28-30, Greenville
Darke County’s favorite daughter is celebrated in her hometown every July, with shooting contests, a parade, wiener-dog races and more. Information: annieoakleyfestival.org
July 23-Aug. 6, Canton
July 26-August 6, Columbus
One of the largest state fairs in the country, the Ohio State Fair features a little something for everyone – carnival rides and concerts, livestock shows and pig races, funnel cakes and deep-fried everything. Fair headliners this year include Clint Black, Third Eye Blind, Ludacris and Kidz Bop. Information: ohiostatefair.com
Aug. 4-6, downtown Toledo
An All-Jeep Parade, off-road obstacle course and vendor midway are centerpieces of this annual celebration of all things Jeep held throughout Toledo. Information: toledojeepfest.com
Aug. 4-6, Twinsburg
Reynoldsburg, east of Columbus, bills itself as the Birthplace of the Tomato and made the tasty fruit the centerpiece of an annual festival in 1966. The festival features carnival rides, concerts, kids activities and lots and lots of tomatoes. Information: reytomatofest.com
On a sandy Lake Erie beach in Ashtabula County, a group of more than 1,000 reenactors act out D-Day every August, in what is considered the world’s largest reenactment of the fateful World War II battle. Visitors can watch it all unfold (free reserved tickets required). Information: ddayohio.us
Bucyrus, about 30 miles west of Mansfield, bills itself as the Bratwurst capital of the world, and it makes a strong case every August. The annual festival features rides, a beer garden and lots of grilled sausage. Information: bucyrusbratwurstfestival.com
Cincinnati, Aug. 17-20
The 35th annual reunion, celebrating Black family life, features a parade, city heritage tour, job fair, concerts and more. Information: myblackfamilyreunion.org
It’s a sweet way to end the summer – with overflowing scoops of cantaloupe ice cream and watermelon sherbet, both long-time favorites at the Melon Festival in Milan, just south of Sandusky. Festival events also include a grand parade, beautiful baby contest and car show. Information: sites.google.com/view/milanmelonfest/home
Note: We’ve ending our list on Labor Day Weekend, but there are plenty of treats in September and October, including the Marion Popcorn Festival, Sept. 7-9; the Mantua Potato Festival, Sept. 8-10; and the Ohio Pawpaw Festival, Sept. 15-17.
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