Italian Festival Photo by Tim Perdue

Festivus for the Rest of Us

As summer winds to a close, festival season fires off the last of its pyrotechnics, one final hurrah dedicated to arts, culture, music, film, and everyone’s favorite frightful holiday. Here are some of the highlights:

For the Independent Artists (music & arts) – Fall gets off to a sizzling start with the Hot Times Festival held September 5-7 on the grassy common area at the corner of Parsons and Main. HTF is an independent community event featuring music, poetry, a street fair, and cars decorated with all sorts of fabulously absurd art. Next on the docket – Independents’ Day in East Franklinton from September 19-21. Back for its 7th installment, this festival emphasizes all things creative and local, including businesses, performance art, and food and drink, all buoyed by the musicians and bands performing throughout. Finally, Craftin’ Outlaws, an alternative craft fair at the Convention Center on November 15. The fest highlights independent artists, designers, and craftspeople who fashion handmade gifts and creations as an unconventional, local substitute for the mass-produced marketplace.

For the Voyeurs (film) – Starting with Film Festival of Columbus at the Gateway Film Center from October 9-16, Columbus will play host to a trio of cinematic affairs. FFOCOL aims to bring moviegoers together to view and discuss the hottest up-and-coming auteurs in the world while promoting Columbus as an ideal filmmaking destination. For a more focused lens, the 10th annual Columbus Jewish Film Festival exposes audiences to contemporary motion pictures about Jewish origins, themes, and experiences. It runs from November 2-16 at various locations. The veteran of the bunch – the Columbus International Film + Video Festival – began in 1952 and is now the longest-running film festival in the country. From November 13-25, CIF+VF will screen and honor some of the best independent movies from around the globe.

For the Haunted (Halloween & horror) – October is primetime for people looking to unleash their inner ghouls and satisfy their thirst for the macabre. First, the 666th Annual Shock Around the Clock bonanza, a 24-marathon of horror films at the Drexel Theater on October 18-19. From cult favorites like The Wicker Man to acclaimed blockbusters like The Shining to new hits like You’re Next, fans of horror flicks will get their fill and then some. For those who enjoy the wild pageantry of the holiday, the storied HighBall Halloween bash returns to High Street in the Short North and Arena District on October 24-25. The two-day brouhaha features costumed 5K, ’80s cover bands, fashion shows, and plenty of other fun chaos. If Highball doesn’t have quite enough music and sexy costumes, Haunted Fest at the Convention Center on October 31 focuses more on high-end production, glamour, and dancing.

For the World Travelers (culture) – Despite its slightly misleading name, Columbus Oktoberfest sets up shop in town from September 26-28 at the Ohio Expo Center for its 49th year of bringing German culture to local residents. Lederhosen, glockenspiels, alphorns, frankfurters, and jager schnitzel will abound, as well as plenty of bier-hall boozing. Only a few weekends later, from October 10-12, The Columbus Italian Festival takes over the area surrounding St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Italian Village for its 35th annual heritage celebration. The three-day event features bocce, a marching band competition, a casino and cash raffle, and lots of authentic Italian cuisine. Capping the cultural shindigs, the Columbus International Festival brings global flavor to the Celeste Center on November 8-9. The 59th incarnation of the worldly party for nearly 75 cultures boasts a parade of nations, live entertainment, an international shopping bizarre, ethnic cooking demonstrations, and an oath ceremony for the newest entrants into our growing local melting pot.