A guide to weekend getaways across Ohio Summer road trips


With just 14 fleeting weekends comprising summer, now is the time to plan a weekend road trip.

Staff report

With just 14 fleeting weekends comprising summer, now is the time to plan a weekend road trip.

Ohio offers a packed schedule full of food, music and history events – all within an easy drive.

Without leaving the state, visitors can pilot a space ship, see gridiron greats, hang out with movie stars, savor cinnamon pancakes and everything strawberry, craft an epic duct tape creation and dance to the music with family and friends.

“Tourism research shows that festivals and events are one of the top drivers of travel in Ohio,” said Matt MacLaren, director of TourismOhio. “Ohio’s festivals are as dynamic and diverse as our state, offering the perfect excuse to stay an extra night or two.”

Here’s a list of reasons to road trip in the Buckeye state. For more, go to Ohio.org.

ONLY IN OHIO

Summer Moon Festival, Wapakoneta (July 18 - 21)

50 years ago, Neil Armstrong, a Wapakoneta native, made history by taking humankind’s first steps on the moon. The yearlong festivities will reach a peak at the Summer Moon Festival with family-friendly activities from bed races to a moon-pie eating contest taking place in downtown Wapakoneta, the Armstrong Air & Space Museum and the Armstrong Airport. Visitors can expect a celebration to remember, with ’60s-themed events, rocket launches, a new Moon Menu Trail and more.

Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival, Canton (July 26 - 28)

Celebrating the induction of new enshrinees Champ Bailey, Pat Bowlen, Gil Brandt, Tony Gonzalez, Ty Law, Kevin Mawae, Ed Reed and Johnny Robinson, this incredible football celebration will feature more than 18 events attracting nearly 700,000 people to Canton. In addition to football legends, visitors will find hot-air balloons, the Fashion Show Luncheon, Grand Parade, photo contest, drum corps contest, concerts and more. This year kicks off the 100th anniversary of pro football.

The Shawshank Redemption 25th Anniversary Celebration, Mansfield (Aug. 16 - 28)

Get busy living with a screening of “The Shawshank Redemption” in the Renaissance Theatre, where “Shawshank” originally premiered in 1994. As part of this special anniversary event, attendees will be able to meet some of the film’s celebrities at the Ohio State Reformatory, and the annual Shawshank Hustle 7K route will take runners past several of the film’s locations. This celebration is the perfect excuse to try out the Shawshank Trail and visit 16 famous filming sites on your own. Most anniversary events will be ticketed.

MUSIC

Nelsonville Music Festival, Nelsonville (June 6 - 9)

A Billboard-proclaimed “best kept secret of the U.S. music festival circuit,” NMF will be celebrating its 15th year in 2019 with more than 60 musical acts across genres on multiple stages. Death Cab For Cutie, Marvis Staples, Tyler Childers, The Breeders and Mandolin Orange are just a sampling of the talent that will be heard throughout the hills of southeast Ohio.

Cincinnati Music Festival Presented by P&G, Cincinnati (July 25 - 27)

Held on Cincinnati’s scenic riverfront in Paul Brown Stadium, this 58-year-old fest will have visitors dancing to R&B, jazz, soul and hip-hop. Performers include Mary J Blige; Maxwell; Earth, Wind & Fire; Slick Rick and many more. The festival draws tens of thousands of fans from all over the Midwest and South.

Festival Latino, Columbus (Aug. 10 - 11)

The streets surrounding Genoa Park in downtown Columbus will be closed so festivalgoers can dance and listen to the lively music of national and international artists, along with Ohio-based Latino musicians. The free celebration also offers cultural workshops, a visual artists’ showcase, children’s area and delicious Latin-American cuisine.

TASTY

Port Clinton Walleye Festival, Port Clinton (May 23 - 27)

What could be better than Memorial Day weekend on the shores of beautiful Lake Erie, known as the “Walleye Capital of the World.” More than 130 food vendors come together to feed walleye-loving festival goers as they enjoy free live concerts, the Kids’ Fishing Derby, Grande Parade, carnival rides and the Walleye 5K Run & Walk.

Troy Strawberry Festival,Troy (June 1 - 2)

The mouthwatering aroma of strawberries fills the air, and Troy turns red as residents and businesses paint strawberries on their driveways. Strawberry doughnuts, cookies, pie, jam and pretty much any berry-infused food you can imagine is available for festivalgoers. There will be plenty to do as well with the queens pageant, talent competition, junior golf tournament, Strawberry Classic Run and Berry Bike Tour, a pie-eating contest and more.

Marietta Sweet Corn Festival, Marietta (July 19 - 20)

The Marietta area, and visitors who love sweet corn, come together to celebrate the rich agricultural history of this historic Ohio city. Try your hand at corn hole, challenge a friend to the corn-eating contest, take the kids on the merry-go-round before getting their face painted, stroll through the antique tractors and gas engines, enjoy interacting with animals at the petting farm and so much more. Free live music will be part of the entertainment throughout the festival.

ARTSY ADVENTURES

Columbus Arts Festival, Columbus (June 7 - 9)

The riverfront park on Columbus’ Scioto Mile is transformed as more than 260 artists come together for one of the state’s best arts festivals. Find one-of-a-kind works including drawings, ceramics, digital art, jewelry, glass, fiber, metal, leather and more. The event is family friendly with activities including a meet-and-greet with the Art Shark, Hands on Art, a children’s gallery and the Grass Patch Theatre. Performance headliners include Anderson East, BalletMet and Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus.

Duck Tape Festival, Avon (June 13 - 15)

What better way to celebrate Fathers’ Day weekend than with his favorite fix-all? Better yet, work with dad to enter one of the many Duck Tape competitions. Highlights of the festival include a Duck Tape parade with floats and characters made of colorful duct tape, a silent dance party and Duck Tape sculptures placed throughout the festival grounds. Attendees can also enjoy making a craft, live entertainment, rides, food and a kids’ play area.

Y-Bridge Arts Festival, Zanesville (Aug. 2 - 3)

Entering its 11th year, the Y-Bridge Arts Festival in historic downtown Zanesville welcomes a variety of contemporary artists and craft vendors along with an array of live entertainment, food, beverages and hands-on activities. Visitors of all ages will be able to meet more than 75 artists at this premiere southeastern Ohio cultural event. Where else can you cross a bridge and stay on the same side of the river?

SHIPS AHOY

Cleveland Tall Ships Festival, Cleveland (July 11 - 14)

Step aboard, or stare from the shore, at some of the grandest ships of yore. Festivities begin July 11 with a dramatic Parade of Sail, displaying 10 traditionally rigged sailing vessels. Visitors can board and tour the amazing ships; attend educational and sail training programs; enjoy live entertainment, historical exhibits, food and drinks. This year’s fleet includes vessels homeported as far away as Maryland, with crews from the United States, Canada and New Zealand.

Toledo Lighthouse Waterfront Festival, Toledo (July 6 - 7)

More than 50 of the area’s finest nautical artists and crafters come together for this annual festival. Take a boat ride to see the lighthouse from the water; enjoy live entertainment and lighthouse story telling for the kids; or explore craft areas with everything from lawn decor to sea-glass art and baked goods. Visitors can also kayak, paddle board and canoe around the festival area.

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