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Commentary: Asian, Latino, Dublin Irish Festivals to offer Columbus cultural options during summer

Courtesy of Red Hot Chilli Pipers

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.

The city is home to a variety of ethnicities, many of which hold cultural celebrations year-round. These events easily help to broaden your horizons and give you a better sense of the world without having to travel outside of Columbus. Here you’ll find a sampling of some of the cultural festivities being held in and around the city throughout the summer.

Asian Festival: May 25-26

Scheduled to take place over Memorial Day weekend, this event is set to feature a little bit of something from all of the basic cultural areas. There will be a smattering of distinctive Asian foods including Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Cambodian, Vietnamese and Indian cuisine offered throughout the weekend, according to the festival’s website. If you consider yourself a foodie, this delectable cultural blowout is not to be missed.

If the variety of food offered seems overwhelming, you can still immerse yourself in the culture the Asian Festival offers in many other ways. There are a slew of exhibits and performances scheduled, including live martial arts demonstrations, art showings and even games like Sepak-Takraw (kick volleyball) that will provide a quick taste of Asian culture.

The Asian festival is a free event and provides free parking in designated lots with shuttle rides to and from the event. If you have tried to park anywhere in Columbus, it should be obvious that all of these things combined make for a true luxury in our busy city. 

The festival is scheduled for May 25-26 at the Franklin Park Conservatory, 1777 E. Broad St. Though the complete schedule of weekend entertainment has not yet been published, the festival is slated to run from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. each day – perfect timing to swing by before or after work and become a world traveler for a day.

Festival Latino: Aug. 10-11

For a spicier cultural experience, Festival Latino is the perfect destination. As the name suggests, Latin American heritage will be celebrated throughout the event with various performances and traditional cuisine offered by food vendors. This festival is especially family friendly, featuring an area just for kids with several hands-on activities for the younger crowd. I’m almost tempted to attend the event solely for this – personally, I’m a huge fan of the sing-alongs and soccer skill challenges scheduled for children at this festival.

Not only are several musical artists slated to perform during the festival’s two-day period, but cultural dance groups will also have a chance in the spotlight. Among those entertainers slated to appear are musical artists Tony Vega and Obie Bermudez, as well as the dance groups Grupo Caribe and El Corazon de Mexico Ballet Folklorico. Several DJs are also scheduled to spin Latin-infused music all weekend for the crowd to shake and shimmy to, meaning this festival can be as interactive as you make it.

Festival Latino is a free event scheduled to occur Aug. 10-11 in Genoa Park, located at 303 W. Broad St. It is scheduled to run from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. both days, so there shouldn’t be any excuses for missing out on this wealth of culture. Paid parking will be made available at several locations near the venue.

Dublin Irish Festival: Aug. 2-4

The luck of the Irish will be featured in Columbus long after St. Patrick’s Day has passed in the form of the Dublin Irish Festival. This event is slated to feature a variety of activities that take a look back at traditional Irish culture, musical performances and of course beverage tastings of the finest whiskey and beer around.

Hands-on learning is a major part of this festival, and there will be workshops throughout the weekend to teach those in attendance how to knit or create chainmail. If that’s not your thing, feel free to take part in music lessons instead, as long as you can provide your own instrument. No matter where your interests lie, the Dublin Irish Festival probably has something to help you broaden your artistic horizons. A slew of musical acts will also be gracing this festival, such as Gaelic Storm, Brock McGuire Band and the Red Hot Chilli Pipers. 

A variety of food will be featured through different vendors, but don’t worry if traditional Celtic cuisine isn’t your cup of tea – American foods will also be around. According to the website, some of the food vendors include Big Bamboo Concessions, Alien Corn, Claddagh Irish Pub and The Snack Wagon. So whether you want corned beef and Irish grog or a greasy plate of fair fries, you’re covered.

The Dublin Irish Festival is scheduled to occur Aug. 2-4 in Coffman Park at 5200 Emerald Parkway in Dublin. Tickets are $7 for students if purchased before Aug. 1, or $8 when purchased at the gate of the venue. A valid ID is needed at the gate.

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