For me the only thing better than a lemon shake-up in summer, is sipping one while walking through the Columbus Arts Festival.
It is so close (June 9-11) that I can almost taste it. This truly is my favorite time of year. No matter what changes at the Festival (and there is always some change to be navigated) some things remain the same. No matter where the festival is located, or who our partners are, the convergence of quality art—visual and performing—at the of start summer is consistent and magical.
This year’s magic is brought to us by the more than 225 professional artists working in 15 mediums that were juried into the show. A Big Local Arts Village that includes a stage for Columbus-based musicians. The Genoa Park Main Stage, which will play host to a fashion show followed by headliner MojoFlo (Friday), Ghost Shirt followed by Chicago Trio Dehd (Saturday) and dance and theater performances throughout the weekend. Film at the Fest is back in a new location and the Word is Art & Acoustic Lounge is back by popular demand in the Priscilla R. Tyson Cultural Arts Center courtyard for all three days of the Festival.
Magic is also created by new partnerships. This year the Franklinton Arts District brings us Scribble, a live-painting event that is the baby sibling of the popular summer event Scrawl, and the Junto, the new boutique hotel on the peninsula, is hosting the Patron Party.
Last year Rhinegeist joined us as our beer garden partner. They didn’t just bring libations. They built out a total experience that included games and seating. Fun fact: the games were made at the brewery, which has its own woodworking shop. Like us, the folks at Rhinegeist like to look at a good thing and consider how to make it better. This year they have created a custom Columbus Arts Festival brew.
Named Sketch, the beer is a hoppy, refreshing pale ale with notes of citrus—perfect for summer. A team from GCAC even went down to help make the beer: separating wort, stirring in three different types of hops—I believe this falls under the category of “other duties as assigned.”
And, to truly keep it in the family, Columbus-based artist April Sunami was commissioned to create artwork for the Sketch promotional posters and tap handles. Sketch will be available on draft at the Festival and at bars that carry Rhinegeist on tap.
Of course, we won’t just have beer, and I am happy to say that all of our beverage providers this year are based in Ohio. High Bank Distillery is right here in Columbus and they are bringing three specially curated frozen cocktails with their signature vodka and whiskey. Graham + Fisk is bringing their fun Wine-In-A-Can in red, white, sparkling rose and sparkling Moscato (the company is based in Cleveland, the grapes are based in California). And, G&J Pepsi (a Pepsi franchise that has a production center in Columbus and headquarters in Cincinnati) is back as our non-alcoholic drink provider.
I am grateful to the financial support from our many sponsors that keep the Festival admission free for the community. Our sponsors and our amazing cast of volunteers make this welcome-to-summer event possible. Please visit our sponsor page and take note of these wonderful businesses.
I am counting down the days until June 9. I am picturing a warm summer night. I have just walked through the 225 plus artists’ booths (made more purchases than I planned), and now I am ready to sit and enjoy some wonderful music under the stars. I have a beverage in my Festival mug and something tasty from one of they many food trucks. Can you imagine a better day?
See you on the downtown riverfront.