8 Fall Festivals That Make Summer Sound Boring

We know that you’re shedding tears over the end of a beautiful summer, but these festivals will have you looking forward instead of looking back!

person holding a sparkler


Michael Calhoun


Jan 21, 2021

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Summer of 2018 has come and gone. It’s hard to grasp, it seemed like we had just started to finally enjoy it before it was whisked away and the fall months began to bear down upon us. Is this such a bad thing though? While summer has it’s great moments, there are plenty of attractive qualities to the milder season. We think of summer as a frantic dash from one activity to the next, a pool party one day to a barbecue and fireworks the next, and instead of bed it’s a round of cocktails and a firepit. Autumn is a welcome reprieve from such high-energy freneticism, but it’s still far from boring. From moonlight markets to cartoon-art festivals, there are plenty of enchanting and quirky activities to explore that engage the mind and rejuvenate the soul. Take a look below for some of our favorite upcoming events that Columbus, OH has to offer!

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Festival Favorites

  1. Craftin' Outlaws
  2. Melanincholy
  3. Moonlight Market
  4. Sneaker Freaks
  5. Mac and Cheese Festival
  6. GDEX
  7. Columbus Coffee Fest
  8. Midwest Bun Fest

Get Creative With The Craftin’ Outlaws

Crafting can be a blast, and the only thing that could make it better is an entire organization dedicated to it.

graphic with floral design that reads "Craftin' Outlaws, November 10, Convention Center, Saturday 11AM - 6PM, free admission"
Credit Craftin’ Outlaws

Woodworking, candle-making, sewing, knitting: what sounds better than using your time and effort to create something that you can be proud of? Whether you’re drawn to more practical skills like woodworking and metalworking, soap-making, and sewing, or more artistic and whimsical pursuits like calligraphy or cross-stitching, there is something for you to be found at Craftin’ Outlaws. This amazing Columbus-based organization has been working with local artists and craftspeople to get their wares out into the public sphere. They’re staunch believers in the ability for crafts and handmade goods to fight the extreme consumerism we’re confronted with every day of our lives, and they’ve been spending the last 13 years trying to bring these products into the hands of Columbus’ citizens. They have events every month, ranging from classes on metal stamping to fairs for artisans to sell their goods. On November 10, they’re having an all-day craft fair at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, so make sure to stop by for workshops and vendors to your heart’s content!

It’ll Be Hard To Not Have Fun At Melanincholy

This festival focusing on artists of color hopes to change the way we think about the arts and the communities that foster it

character drawings of various black artists
‍Credit Melanincholy Facebook

If you’re looking for a socially-conscious arts festival that thinks it’s worth celebrating the successes and triumphs of people of color, then we think you’ve found the perfect match with Melanincholy happening this September. If you didn’t already like them for their witty name and important founding concept, just check out their awesome facebook page where they routinely post some amazing works put out by Columbus’ own artisan community. There you can find events put out by local musicians, pictures of artwork and creations by visual artists, and social gatherings for people who want to interact with the community itself and meet new interesting people. The creator and co-director of the festival, Charlie-Malachi J.R.F., wants this event to be a symbol of the community that has supported it, the Milo-Grogan neighborhood in Columbus where the event was created, and what that community can look like in the future. This is a really cool chance to support a hugely-talented suite of local artists, and it’s too good to pass up.

The Streets Come Alive In The Moonlight (Market)

Whether it’s crafts, food, or odds and ends, you’ll find something worth exploring here, and with an atmosphere that’s simply intoxicating

crowded market tents on street
‍Credit Moonlight Markets

There’s something about the hours of the night that completely transform any environment into something new and strange. The street you’ve walked down every day for years can become a stranger, both enticing and slightly terrifying, all because of some darkness. With this alluring atmosphere, the Moonlight Markets on Gay Street will fulfill your desire to chase that sensation. The monthly markets offer a variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment options for you to enjoy, so even if you don’t want to walk home with a new tapestry to display, you can still leave satisfied with the memories of a fantastic meal or some street music performances. And with their regular schedule, you can go to them as often as you like, and still see something new every time.

Sneakers Are Friends, Not Shoes

Sneaker Freaks lets you indulge in your footwear passions and provides a space for like-minded enthusiasts to connect

overhead view of packed sneaker convention
‍Credit Sneaker Freaks

To some, sneakers and shoes are utility products: they help your feet not get hurt, and beyond that the only noteworthy thing about them is that they can be quite expensive. To others, though, sneakers represent an opportunity to communicate something more to the outside world. These enthusiasts, collectors, and connoisseurs find meaning and value in what a sneaker can mean that stretches far beyond its price tag, whether it’s through personal appreciation, social recognition, or simple admiration. Regardless, there is true emotional resonance at Sneaker Freaks, and if sneakers are something you’re passionate about, then this is a chance to connect with others who share your love for all things sneaker. They also give educational seminars about the growing problems surrounding sneaker violence by the younger generations, and they take safety and awareness seriously in their endeavors to stop this particular brand of violence. And, of course, you’ll be able to buy, sell, and trade sneakers with others from the community. With so many reasons to participate, it’s hard to say no.

Delicious, Maybe Nutritious, Mac And Cheese

As big fans of both macaroni and cheese, this festival has us excited

close-up of breaded mac and cheese

Adulthood is rife with strains and aches, headaches about bills, jobs, family stresses, and the changing dynamics of family relationships and friendships. I also comes with a vastly changing social scene, and a change in the progression of the body’s efficiency and ability to adapt to illness and injury. In many ways, adulthood can be challenging, but there’s one shining star in the midst of these burdens that makes all of it worth it: you can eat mac and cheese whenever you want. Any time of day or night. You can actually leave a social interaction, perhaps your nephew’s birthday party, for the sole purpose of eating some delicious mac, and that’s entirely within your power. At the Columbus Mac and Cheese Festival, you get to use your love for mac and cheese to help research organizations and charities do astounding work in the world. In 2016, the event managed to raise $65,000 to 4 different cancer-related research projects and charities, and in 2017 they managed to raise that number to $70,000. This year, on October 5, you could help support amazing projects to fight cancer and help cancer survivors, all while consuming divine mac and cheese. Maybe adulthood isn’t so bad after all.

Midwest Gaming Showcased at GDEX

With dozens of teams showcasing their content, this event is going to be a blast for gamers and enthusiasts

people conversing at GDEX 2017
‍Credit GDEX

There’s no doubt that there’s never been a better time to be a gamer. The world of video games has grown to include products that are on par with much of what literature and cinema have to offer, and the community of gamers is growing and becoming more inclusive every day. Whether it’s indie developers or triple-A publishers, students at a university or veterans of the industry, there’s a sense of camaraderie and connection that makes coming together to celebrate what’s on the gaming horizon a joy. GDEX is all about celebrating games, and bringing the community together to experience new games together. This year’s event will have showcases from a staggering 64 exhibitors, with Ohio University, Multivarious, and Deckpoint Studios being just a few of the many names making an appearance this September. You can also expect some amazing talks by industry professionals and community leaders. With 2017’s speakers discussing topics that ranged from podcasting tips to gaming as a Black individual, 2018’s talks are sure to be powerful and thought-provoking. And at the end of the day, you’ll be supporting video games in a big way, so give GDEX a go!

Satisfy Your Coffee Cravings

Sometimes there’s nothing better in the world than a simple cup o’ joe

overhead view of coffee mug on wooden table

A key part of living a happy life is living simply. There are thousands of things that try and pull our attention each and every day, but many times it’s the little things, like enjoying a cup of coffee after a long morning, that for some reason stay in our memory for months, maybe years to come. And isn’t that worth celebrating? The Columbus Coffee Festival certainly thinks so, and we do too. Whether you want to sample as many different coffee varieties as you can, or experience coffee in surprising new ways from food and drink vendors around the event, the coffee fest is dedicated to praising both the nostalgic and the innovative aspects of coffee and its consumption. The festival will be housed in its very own Coffee Village, where over two dozen vendors will serve patrons their various concoctions for enjoyment. What we love about this event is that it can cater to so many people coming from different walks of life, and bring them together, so that you could meet anyone from a local children’s book author, to the mayor Andrew Ginter himself. The scene is sizzling with potential for a fantastic experience to build bonds and connect over something as simple as coffee, and that’s amazing.

Celebrating All Things Rabbit At Midwest Bun Fest

If you thought this was for hot dog buns, don’t be ashamed: we did too

close-up of a brown bunny in a field of grass

In all fairness, cats and dogs get a lot of attention from the public. From events like the Puppy Bowl to entire television shows devoted to videos of kittens just being kittens, owning a rabbit can sometimes seem a little less appreciated by comparison. Luckily, the good people hosting the Midwest Bun Fest are shining the spotlight on you and your adorable rabbit friend. Here you’ll find educational sessions from bunny experts, rabbits who are up for adoption, and plenty of activities that cater to your bunny itself because, yes, you can bring your rabbit too! There is a special set of guidelines to accommodate this feature, so make sure to know what’s required, but you’ll be able to treat your rabbit to a bunny spa with nail trimming and grooming, as well as an opportunity to feature your adorable bun in its very own photoshoot! (disclaimer: your bunny may become a diva after their photoshoot. You have been warned.) Despite the professional-quality, it’s actually quite efficient, and you’ll be able to have your bunny immortalized forever after just 10 minutes of pictures. For a chance to meet other bunny enthusiasts and to put your furry friend in the limelight like they’ve always deserved, Midwest Bun Fest is all you’ll need.

These are some of our favorite upcoming fall festivals, but there are so much more. Columbus Underground posted a schedule of all the upcoming festivals and events until the end of the year, and if you’re still hungry for things to do that’s a great place to look for more exciting Columbus fun. We hope you took some photos over the summer, because without them you’re going to forget all about it with these awesome fall festivities!

August 6, 2018
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