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Mostly Free Summer Festivals Calendar

By Emily Begley · June 12th, 2013 · Summer Guide
summerguide_larosasballoonglowLaRosa's Balloon Glow

Newport Italian Fest: With authentic Italian food and live music, this festival includes cooking and pizza-eating contests, games, kids’ rides and a family photo booth showcasing the history of Newport’s Italian families. 5-11 p.m. June 13-14; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. June 15; noon–9 p.m. June 16. Free. Newport Riverfront, Newport, 859-292-3666, newportitalianfest.com.

The Original Creative Festival: Crafters have access to a world-class buyers’ market featuring the latest supplies, classes and gadgets. Browse materials from more than 40 vendors and view more than 250 quilts on display. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. June 13-14; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 15. Registration $8 per day; $16 three-day pass. Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road, Sharonville, pcmexpo.com. 

Washboard Music Festival: Arnett Howard kicks off a large and diverse musical lineup. Other activities include crafts from Appalachian artisans, a quilt show and free tours of the Columbus Washboard Company. View antique tractors and a car show 5-9 p.m. June 14. Kids will enjoy free rides and entertainment from puppeteer Grandpa Cratchet. 5-10 p.m. June 13; noon-11 p.m. June 14-15. Free. 1 E. Main St., Logan, Hocking Hills Region, washboardmusicfestival.com.

Jungle Jim’s International Beer Fest: The International Beer Fest features 350 beers from 100 different breweries. Discuss all things beer with brew masters and taste rare drinks. 7-10 p.m. June 14-15. $40 Friday; $45 Saturday; $15 non-drinkers. Oscar Event Center, Jungle Jim’s International Market, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, 513-674-6000, junglejims.com/beerfest.

OTR Performs: Enjoy family-friendly arts programming and performances weekly. 7-9 p.m. Sundays. Through Aug. 25. Free. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, washingtonpark.org.

Goettafest: MainStrasse Village celebrates their annual Goettafest with three days of food, shopping, games, crafts, entertainment and, of course, goetta. Try Goetta Balls, Goetta Gumbalya, Goetta Chili, Goetta Chedda Cheese — goetta any way you can imagine it. If you’ve never had goetta, now is the time to try it. 5-11:30 p.m. June 14; noon-11:30 p.m. June 15; noon-9 p.m. June 16. Free. Mainstrasse Village, Covington, mainstrasse.org.

Concerts at Fountain Square/Washington Park: Downtown’s Fountain Square and Over-the-Rhine’s Washington Park have jam-packed summer music lineups, featuring everything from Reggae, Americana and Hip Hop to Bluegrass, Indie Rock and Jazz five nights a week. Free. Visit washingtonpark.org and myfountainsquare.com for details and line-ups. 

Date Night Movies: Every Saturday watch a new film drive-in/sit-in style on the civic lawn at Washington Park. 9-11 p.m. Saturdays. Through Aug. 17.  Free. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, washingtonpark.org.

Cincinnati Juneteenth Festival: This nationwide festival celebrates the end of legal slavery in America. A family-friendly event, there will be entertainment, historical and cultural attractions, children’s activities and food. There will also be a special Father’s Day concert on June 16. Noon-9 p.m. June 15; 2-6 p.m. June 16. Free. Daniel Drake Park, 5800 Red Bank Road, Kennedy Heights, juneteenthcincinnati.org.

The City Flea: Cincinnati’s monthly urban curated flea market takes over Washington Park with craft and vintage vendors, food trucks and more. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 15; July 13; Aug. 17. Free. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, thecityflea.com.

Dance Under the Stars: Every Tuesday, head to Washington Park for an evening of dance and dance instruction. Find styles from Afro-Caribbean to Salsa to Square Dancing. 7-9 p.m. Tuesdays. Through Sept. 3. Free. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, washingtonpark.org.

Margarita Madness: Kick off summertime with a celebration of the unofficial cocktail of the season: the margarita. Hang out with CityBeat at Newport on the Levee, sip on some delicious drinks and browse our Summer Guide. It’ll be a margarita throw-down as participating vendors compete to make the best margarita. 5:30-9 p.m. June 19. $20. Newport on the Levee, Newport, tinyurl.com/margmadness.

Pride Week: Cincinnati’s 40th annual Pride celebration kicks off with a reception at the Contemporary Arts Center 5:30-7:30 p.m. June 19, followed by a week and a half of events. Some of the highlights of Pride — the Pride Parade and Pride Festival — take place June 29. The parade, which starts at 2 p.m., goes through downtown and ends at Sawyer Point, where live performances from the likes of Penny Tration, The Slippery Lips and headliner Debbie Gibson will commence. Get full event details at cincinnatipride.org.

Paddlefest: This family-friendly event features live entertainment, cardboard boat races and a kayak fishing contest. Kids will learn about paddling, recycling, Zumba and more during Thursday’s Kids Outdoor Adventure Expo. Five bands perform Friday during the Ohio River Music & Outdoor Festival. Join an 8.2-mile float trip, 11-mile canoe and kayak race and five-mile race Saturday. 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. June 20; 10 a.m.-11:30 p.m. June 21; 6:30 a.m.-2:30 a.m. June 22. Various registration fees. Coney Island Park, 6201 Kellogg Ave., Anderson, ohioriverpaddlefest.org.

WestFest: The West Side’s largest street festival, with two music stages, a classic car show, craft tent, beer garden, kids’ zone and a ton of food vendors. 1 p.m.-midnight June 22; 1-10 p.m. June 23. Free. Downtown Cheviot, westsidestreetfest.com.

RoeblingFest: The annual event celebrates the ingenuity of architecture, art, engineering and history in Cincinnati. There will be food from local restaurants, beverages, live music, an art show and sale, and multiple tours, including a tour along historic Riverside Drive and the Daniel Carter Beard House. Additional attractions include historical impersonators, photos, artifacts and children’s activities. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. June 22. Free. Roebling Bridge, Park Place between Scott and Greenup streets, Covington, roeblingbridge.org.

Panegyri Greek Festival: The 39th annual Panegryi takes over the grounds of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Finneytown with authentic Greek food, imported Greek wine, Greek music, Greek dancing and rides. Start with a gyro, grab a glass of Sitia Crete White and end with a baklava sundae. 5-11 p.m. June 28; 3-11 p.m. June 29; 1-8 p.m. June 30. $2. 7000 Winton Road, Finneytown, 513-591-0030, holytrinity.oh.goarch.org.


LaRosa’s Balloon Glow: Hot air balloons light up the sky in addition to music, family fun and Coney’s classic rides.

Admire as many as 20 balloons of every color followed by a Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks display at 10 p.m. 5-11 p.m. July 3. Free admission; $8 parking until 2 p.m., $10 parking after 2 p.m. Coney Island Park, 6201 Kellogg Ave., Anderson, 513-232-8230, coneyislandpark.com. 

Northside Rock N’ Roll Carnival: Hoffner Park transforms into a Fourth of July beer garden with live music, fire breathers, carnival sideshows and neighborhood fun. 5 p.m. July 3. Free. Jacob Hoffner Park, 4104 Hamilton Ave., Northside, northsiderocks.com.

Independence Day Parade and Festival: Catch a 10 a.m. parade from Sycamore Jr. High School to Montgomery Park, where family-oriented music, games and refreshments begin at 11 a.m. The celebration continues 2 p.m. with Montgomery Pool’s Splashtacular event featuring races, games and prizes. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. July 4. Free. Montgomery Park, 10101 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, montgomeryohio.org.

Northside Fourth of July Parade: An over-the-top parade in one of Cincinnati’s most eclectic neighborhoods. Parade organizers work to invite and involve people from all corners of the community as both participants and viewers. Expect drum lines, neon, glitter and a ton of red, white and blue. A family-friendly Northside Family Fun Festival will take place in Jacob Hoffner Park (4104 Hamilton Ave.) directly after the parade. Noon July 4. Free. Parade travels along Hamilton Avenue, Northside, northsidejuly4.com.

Red White & Blue Ash Fireworks: Celebrate the Fourth with food, carnival rides and three stages of live music starting at 2 p.m. Festivities lead up to a Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks display at 10 p.m. 4-10:35 p.m. July 4. Free. Plainfield and Glendale-Milford roads, Blue Ash, blueashevents.com. 

Newport Motorcycle Rally: Come out for fireworks, games, food, live entertainment, contests and prizes. Motorcycle show registration 11 a.m. Saturday; the best-looking bikes will be awarded prizes at 5 p.m. Noon-11 p.m. July 4; 5-11 p.m. July 5; noon-11 p.m. July 6; noon-7 p.m. July 7. Free. Newport Riverfront, Newport, 859-912-2509, newportmotorcyclerally.com.

Bunbury Music Festival: This year’s headliners at Sawyer Point are Fun., MGMT and The National. Additional acts include Walk the Moon, Tegan and Sara, Chairlift, We Are Scientists, Cake, Belle & Sebastian, Yo La Tengo and more. Shows start at 2 p.m. daily July 12-14. $55 one-day; $110 three-day; $295 three-day VIP. Sawyer Point/Yeatman’s Cove, 750 E. Pete Rose Way, Downtown, bunburyfestival.com.

Queen City Sausage Festival: Pay homage to Cincinnati’s sausage-making history by tasting creative dishes including metts, brats and goetta. Also enjoy live music and games. 5-11 p.m. July 12; noon-11 p.m. July 13; noon-9 p.m. July 14. Free. Newport Riverfront, Newport, 513-541-5581, queencitysausage.com. 

St. Rita Fest: What started as visiting day for St. Rita’s students in 1916 has turned into one of the longest running festivals in the area. There will be raffles, live entertainment and the festival’s famous turtle soup. 7-11 p.m. July 12; 4-11 p.m. July 13; 4-10 p.m. July 14. $2. 1720 Glendale Milford Road, Evendale, 513-771-7600, srsdeaf.org.

Second Sunday on Main: A monthly, themed Over-the-Rhine street festival held the second Sunday of every month. Find local crafters, vendors, food and beer. Noon-5 p.m. July 14; Aug. 11. Free. Main Street between 13th and Liberty streets, Over-the-Rhine, secondsundayonmain.org.

Warren County Fair: Food, games, rides, tractor pulls, live harness racing, livestock shows and sales, barn yard displays, zoo animals, pony rides, musical groups, corn hole tournaments, talent shows, karaoke and a parade with hot air balloons. Noon July 16; 8 a.m. July 17-20. $5 Tuesday-Wednesday; $8 Thursday-Saturday. 665 North Broadway, Lebanon, warrencountyfairohio.org.

Macy’s Kids, Cultures, Critters & Crafts Festival: A day of family-friendly fun celebrating culture through music, art, dance and more. 9a.m.-6 p.m. July 17. $1. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale, 513-961-1870, learningthroughart.com.

Kentucky Art Outpost: Admire paintings, glass, ceramics, jewelry, photographs and crafts at this celebration of Kentucky art. 5-9 p.m. Fridays; noon-9 p.m. Saturdays; noon-7 p.m. Sundays. July 19-21 and July 26-28. Free. World Peace Bell Park, Fourth and York streets, Newport, 859-655-7700, kentuckytourism.com. 

Butler County Fair: Providing education and entertainment since 1836. Look for livestock shows, fresh food — honey, cake, candy, preserves, etc. — judging, art shows, a demolition derby, parade, tractor pull and more. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. July 21; 8 a.m.-8 p.m. July 22-24 and July 26; 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m. July 25; 9 a.m.-3 p.m. July 27. $7, includes parking. Butler County Fairgrounds, 1715 Fairgrove Ave., Butler County, 513-892-1423, butlercofair.com.

Greater Anderson Days: More than 40,000 people attend this weekend, which includes live music from local bands, games, rides, a plethora of food on “food row” and fireworks. 5-11 p.m. July 26-27; 5-10 p.m. July 28. Free. Beech Acres Park, 6910 Salem Road, Anderson, andersonparks.com.

Macy’s Music Festival: Embrace R&B, Jazz, Hip Hop and Soul in the Queen City at this two-night musical event. Artists include Fantasia, R. Kelly and Cincinnati’s own Bootsy Collins. 7:30 p.m. July 26-27. $48. Paul Brown Stadium, Downtown, 800-452-3132, macysmusicfestival.com.


Glier’s Goettafest:  Embrace the region’s love of goetta by trying out the meat in a variety of dishes. Goetta reubens, pizza, omelets and more will be available in addition to games, music and rides. 5-11 p.m. Aug. 1-2; noon-11 p.m. Aug. 3; noon-9 p.m. Aug. 4. Free. Newport Riverfront, Newport, 859-291-1800, goettafest.com. 

World’s Longest Yard Sale at MainStrasse Village: Bargain hunters, unite: Towns along the Highway 127 Corridor will hold a joint yard sale stretching from Covington to Gadston, Ala. Visit more than 300 family-friendly attractions along the 450-mile route, involving Country music, horses and Civil War history. Aug. 1-4. Free. MainStrasse Village, Covington, mainstrasse.org, 127sale.com. 

Cincy Blues Fest: Big names in blues including Reba Russell Band and Nikki Hill draw fans to the riverfront. Proceeds benefit the Blues in the Schools Program, which strives to keep the blues alive for other generations. 5 p.m.-midnight Aug. 2; 4 p.m.-midnight Aug. 3. $15 Friday, $20 Saturday, $25 two-day pass, $5 children 13-18, children 12 and under free. Sawyer Point, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Downtown, cincybluesfest.org.

OTR Community Festival: This annual neighborhood festival features fundraising raffles, games, face painting, live entertainment and a talent show for kids. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 3. Free. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, washingtonpark.org.

Lebanon Blues Festival: Eight Blues bands — including Jimmy D Rogers, Them Bones, The Bluebirds, The Scotty Bratcher Bands and more — plus barbecue, a deluxe beer garden and a bumper cars show. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Aug. 3. Free. Downtown Lebanon, 513-588-0321, lebanonbluesfestival.org.

Shakespeare in the Park Tour: Cincinnati Shakespeare Company presents Romeo & Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream during their 2013 Shakespeare in the Park Tour. Catch free performances at local community parks and venues throughout Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky; visit cincyshakes.com for specific dates and venues. Open seating available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Aug. 3-29. Free. 513-381-2273, cincyshakes.com. 

Hamilton County Fair: Visit the 158th annual Hamilton County fair, sponsored by the Hamilton County Agricultural Society, for impressive flower and produce shows, rides, festival food and a demolition derby. There will also be a farm animal exhibit, exotic petting zoo, dog show, cow milking demo, baking exhibit and more. 4-11 p.m. Aug. 7-9; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Aug. 10; noon-10 p.m. Aug. 11. $5. Hamilton County Fairgrounds, 7801 Anthony Wayne Ave., Norwood, 513-761-4224, hamiltoncountyfair.com.

Great Inland Seafood Festival: An annual festival featuring premium seafood dishes and music. 6-11 p.m. Aug. 8-9; noon-11 p.m. Aug. 10; noon-9 p.m. Aug. 11. Free. Newport Riverfront, Newport, greatinlandseafoodfest.com. 

Taste of OTR: This new festival features all of the delicious edibles Over-the-Rhine restaurants have to offer, as well as musical entertainment, dancers, performers, artists and more. Proceeds benefit and raise awareness for Tender Mercies, a nonprofit transforming the lives of homeless adults with mental illnesses. 11 a.m. Aug. 10. Free. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, tendermerciesinc.org.

Wild About Wine: Join the zoo for an evening of wine tastings, held in various locations throughout the park, featuring wine sampling, food-by-the-bite from local restaurants, live music, a silent auction and up-close animal encounters. Proceeds from events benefit the Lindner Center for the Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW). 6:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 15. $40. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale, 513-961-1870, cincinnatizoo.org.

Indie Craft Market: Indie bands and etsy-esque craft vendors converge on Fountain Square. Noon-11 p.m. Aug. 19. Free. Fountain Square, Downtown, myfountainsquare.com.

PAWS-A-PALOOZA: Food, beer and bands accompany this educational event by PAWS, a no-kill, nonprofit animal shelter. Learn about animal welfare while kids get tips on animal safety. An obstacle course and agility demonstrations are perfect for pets. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 17. Free. Corner of Manchester and Verity Parkway, Middletown, 513-422-PAWS, pawsapalooza.weebly.com.

Midwest Black Family Reunion: The 25th annual Midwest Regional Black Family Reunion brings families together — more than 40,000 people — during this outdoor event and festival. Aug. 17-18. Free. Sawyer Point, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Downtown, midwestbfrc.com.

Taste of Blue Ash: Feast on food from local restaurants while enjoying live entertainment. Aug. 23-25. Free. Blue Ash Towne Square, 9520 Towne Square Ave., Blue Ash, blueashevents.com.

Germania Society Oktoberfest: The Germania Society’s 43rd annual Oktoberfest celebration claims to be the most authentic Oktoberfest in town. Enjoy German food, pastries, wine, schnapps, Jagermeister, dancing and music. 6 p.m.-midnight Aug. 23; 2 p.m.-midnight Aug. 24; noon-10 p.m. Aug. 25. Free. 3529 W. Kemper Road, Northgate, germaniasociety.com.

The Price Hill Cultural Heritage Fest: Celebrate where Price Hill has been and where it’s going with outdoor music, arts and food showcasing the variety of cultures represented in the neighborhood. 6 p.m. Aug. 24. Free. St. Lawrence Corner, Price Hill, culturalheritagefest.com.

Newport Downtown Car Show: See classic cars while sampling restaurant noshes and participating in a raffle. The best entries will be judged; last year, more than 200 classic cars were registered. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 25. Free. Monmouth St., Newport, 859-547-9329.

Guinness Oyster Festival: Raw and cooked oyster dishes await at this celebration of all things Irish. Live music and merchandise plus Guinness brand stout beer. 5-10 p.m. Aug. 31. Free. Fountain Square, Downtown, myfountainsquare.com.

Cruise-A-Palooza: A classic car show with hundreds of makes and models spanning decades of car design and production. Trophies awarded to the top 50 cars. Noon-4 p.m. Aug. 31. Free. Coney Island, 6201 Kellogg Ave., Anderson, 513-232-8230, coneyislandpark.com.

Ohio Renaissance Festival: Spend a Medieval day with Queen Elizabeth and more than 150 costumed characters in a 30-acre, recreated 16th century English village. There are daily shows, unique arts and crafts shops and giant turkey legs. 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. daily Aug. 31-October 20. $17; $9 children. 10542 E. State Route 73, Waynesville, renfestival.com.


Riverfest: Food, beverages and live entertainment on Riverboat Row will prelude Rozzi’s oldest and largest fireworks display choreographed to WEBN. Noon-10 p.m. Sept. 1. Free. Newport and Cincinnati riverfronts, WEBN.com.



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