What you need to know if you are going

One of Columbus’ most beloved outdoor festivals is revived and ready to go after its enforced two-year hiatus.

The Columbus Arts Festival kicks off at 11 a.m. Friday and runs until 5 p.m. Sunday.

“We’re excited to be back — and I think people are excited to see us again,” said Jami Goldstein, vice president of marketing, communications and events for the Greater Columbus Arts Council, which organizes the festival.

Barring thunderstorms and high winds (which have plagued a few festivals in the past) or another severe COVID-19 outbreak (which caused the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 festivals), the 2022 Columbus Arts Festival is expected to run smoothly and delight the nearly 500,000 people expected.

Before you head downtown, here’s what you need to know.

Take the COTA bus to get to the Columbus Arts Festival.

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Columbus Arts Festival: opening hours, how to get there

The festival takes place in a one-mile downtown loop along the Scioto River, with artist booths also placed on the Main Street and Rich Street bridges.

Festival times: From 11 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Friday, from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Artist booths must close at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, but artists have the option, and many choose, to stay open later.

Visitors can access the site:

• By car (garage and parking lot with parking meter are numerous)

• By bus (COTA will be running all weekend with stops along High and Front streets throughout downtown)

• By bike (bike racks are available but take a padlock). Bicycle parking is available in gated lot 400 W. Rich, just west of the big local music scene. There is also a CoGo bike rack in Bicentennial Park.

• And on foot.

The festival is free, of course, but visitors should be prepared to purchase artwork, food, and drink.

Festival staff respectfully ask visitors not to bring animals onto the grounds.

Rhode Island ceramist Dwo Wen Chen enjoys exhibiting his work.

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Art booths

Artists from 36 states and one artist from Ontario, Canada will exhibit and sell their wares. Visitors will find paintings, drawings, glass works, sculptures, photographs, jewelry, fiber works, multimedia pieces and more.

In addition to the artists who participated in the festival, a number of Central Ohio artists will show and demonstrate their work in the Big Local Arts Village.

Shadowbox Live will perform at the festival.


Performances of music, drama, dance, poetry and more will continue throughout the festival’s opening hours on three stages: the Bicentennial Park Stage (including Momentum Dance at 5:30 p.m. and Shadowbox Live at 8:30 p.m. on Fridays, the large local Stage stage (including Laura Camara at 6:30 p.m. and The Deal Breakers at 9:30 p.m. Saturday; and the Cultural Arts Center stage (including the Black Women Rise Poetry Collective from 7 p.m. On Saturday, pop-up performances, including the Ohio Story Workshop, will take place at Washington Avenue and Rich Street.

Many food trucks will be available.

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Food and drink

There are no food tents this year, but there will be plenty of food trucks – up to 40 offering, for example, barbecue, tacos, donuts, lobster and cream puffs. Drinks will include lemonade, water and beer from beer vendor Rhinegeist. Proceeds from beer sales are one of the ways the Greater Columbus Arts Council pays for the arts festival. All beverage stands will have antibacterial stations.

What’s new

“Film at the Fest” will show films all day and into the evening Friday and Saturday on an LED screen at Genoa Park, 303 W. Broad St. Documentaries and other films will be screened during the day along with family-friendly features scheduled for Friday and Saturday Disney’s animated film “The Hundred and One Dalmatians”, released in 1961, just before the very first Arts Festival, will be presented on Saturday evening.

Also new is the Rhinegeist beer garden and the return of Shadowbox Live performances.

The Children's Art Gallery is a popular feature of the Columbus Arts Festival.

Don’t miss

One of the festival’s oldest and most popular features is the Children’s Art Gallery, where kids can purchase a donated piece of art from a festival artist for $5 or less. Parents do not go into the tent with them, but children can get help to buy volunteer works.

Also for the youngest, practical artistic activities will be offered on Saturday and Sunday.

Kayaking and canoeing will also be available on the Scioto River from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It’s free and on a first-come, first-served basis.

One of the most popular entertainments of the 2019 festival was the Artist Wrestling League, “where live art and wrestling collide.” (You must see it.) They will come back.

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Learn more about parking

There are numerous parking structures, metered spaces on surrounding city streets, and surface land on the east and west sides of the river. You can even reserve your parking space via the ParkColumbus website: https://bit.ly/3NWXCqh. The link will show garages near the Scioto Mile. Not all of these garages may be available during the festival. For those with a disabled parking plaque, marked spaces are available on the east side of Civic Center Drive between Town and Broad streets.

Closed roads

The following streets will close at noon on Wednesday and reopen at 6 a.m. on Monday.

• South Civic Center Drive/South Second Street, from Broad Streets to Mound

• South Civic Center Drive from Mound to Main Streets (open to local traffic)

• Main Street (Rich Street west of the river) from the east side of Lucas to Front Street

• Washington Boulevard, from Main Streets to Broad Streets

• Rich Street (Town Street west of the river) from the east side of Lucas to Front Street (local traffic only starting at McDowell)

• Noble Street east side of South Second at South Civic Center Drive

• Jewett Alley from Mound to Main Streets

• Town Street from Front Street to Civic Center Drive

• Belle Street from State Streets to Main Streets

• Starling Street from the city to the main streets

• Street closures are subject to change.

• Broad Street will remain open throughout the event.

Need more information?

Entertainment schedules, a map of the grounds, a list of artists and their mediums and more are available on the festival website: www.columbusartsfestival.org. This will serve as a digital guide to the festival. The only paper guide available this year will be a pocket map. The festival wants to be green.

Next year

The 2023 festival has already been scheduled – June 9-11 at the same location by the river. “We’ll probably be here forever,” Goldstein said.

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