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Commentary: Columbus offers various events devoted to food throughout summer months

Dan Salter / For The Lantern

Regularly scheduled Spring Semester classes will soon be over. Some students are going to leave Columbus for the summer, but the city will continue to thrive throughout the break. Each week, I’ll highlight an aspect of entertainment scheduled to take place in Columbus this summer.

Eating has always been something that brings people together, and there is no better way to bring together a city as large as Columbus than by devoting entire celebrations to food. I’m not talking about grabbing any plain old lemonade shake-ups or deep-fried concoction-on-a-stick at an overcrowded state fair. Instead, why not try attending one of the many festivals that focus on bringing food and drink to the Columbus area in new and exciting ways? 

Market to Market Bicycle Adventure

Though this isn’t a festival per se, this bike tour offers riders both a chance to explore the wonderful city of Columbus as well as support the local food industry. 

Scheduled for May 4, almost immediately after finals end, this could be the perfect chance to unwind from any school-related stress, especially if your reason for remaining in the area is to take even more classes during Summer Term. Riders are able to begin the trail at either participating location, the Short North’s North Market or Worthington’s The Hills Market, and will receive breakfast starting at 8 a.m. They’ll also receive a shirt commemorating the event and a “backpack filled with goodies and coupons from both locations with up to $50 worth of savings on Ohio foods,” according to the North Market’s website. A much deserved scoop of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams will be received upon completion of the tour. All of these treats are included in the cost of the event, which is $15 if registered in advance and $20 if at the door. 

Just make sure you know how to ride a bike.

Grandview Digfest 

If you’re over 21 and looking for something to do this summer that involves alcoholic beverages, why not keep it classy with a trip to this festival? Set to include “local craft brewers, micro-distilleries, Ohio wines and liqueurs,” according to Digfest’s website, this spirit festival is scheduled for June 15, beginning at 4 p.m., with last call at 9:45 p.m.

Cheaper is generally better for college students, and you can make this event as inexpensive as you want – entrance is free, while drinks can be purchased from various vendors with special tickets. The website is also sure to mention that an ATM will be available for use at the cash-only event since, so if you’re usually freewheeling with your credit card, it might be better to take cash out in advance and leave the card at home.

Jazz and Rib Fest

The blazing heat of July shouldn’t have you too worried this summer, since an entire weekend is scheduled to be dedicated to the cool sounds of jazz, as well as delicious ribs. This is a combination I never would have thought of, but this annual event, which began in 1979, is worth checking out.

From July 19-21 the Jazz and Rib Fest will take over various stretches of space in the Arena District of Columbus. The event is set to begin at 11 a.m. each day it takes place, while closing times vary.

This is another event where admission is free, so even if you don’t want to pay for the food you can attend and listen to the various performers without spending a dime. While the performers have yet to be announced for this year’s festival, various artists will appear across three stages during the three-day event. 

So unless you have a personal vendetta against all things jazz or rib-related, this festival has something for you.

Columbus Food Truck Festival

Do you love food so much, but can never decide what you’re in the mood for? Say hello to the Columbus Food Truck Festival, a two-day event in its second year scheduled to occur Aug. 16-17 at the Columbus Commons in Downtown Columbus. The festival will feature more than 40 Ohio food trucks, according to its website, which means you can create your own mix of foods to sample without ever having to leave the venue.

As if that wasn’t enough of a reason to go, both days of the festival will feature more than just food. There will also be live entertainment and special events like arts and crafts happening from the time the festival begins at noon until it closes at 10 p.m. each day.

If you’re like me, your eyes are bigger than your stomach and you’ll want to try every single thing you see there, which can be both a blessing and a curse. Attend at your own risk.

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