Free, And Open To The Public

A reminder to all of you book lovers and readers out there:  the Ohioana Book Festival is today, at the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center, downtown.

The Ohioana Book Festival is free, easy to reach, and open to the public.  Parking is free, too.

It is one of the great, yet perhaps underappreciated, things about living in America — our country and our communities are chock full of civic organizations that put on street fairs, speeches, church festivals, neighborhood bazaars, and other activities that don’t cost a cent and are open to whoever would like to come.  The events tend to be put on by charitable groups and hard-working volunteers who support what the groups are doing.  They are the kind of quirky, non-cookie cutter activities that can give a weekend more flavor, introduce us to new friends, and draw communities closer together.

We’re lucky to have interesting events that are free and open to the public.  And speaking of which — the doors to the Book Festival open at 9:45, with panel discussions, a book fair, author signings, and other activities continuing throughout the day.


Independents’ Day Is Coming

Every year in mid-September a bunch of independent, local organizations come to Gay Street, right in front of our buildings, for a festive day of food, fun, and music.  The street and adjoining alleys are blocked off and filled with tents, food trucks, and multiple music stages.  They call it Independents’ Day on Gay.

I first stumbled upon this great event when I was working on a Saturday and heard some commotion outside my window, and since then I’ve looked forward to it every year.  It’s the kind of community-festival, get-to-know-your-local-organizations, neat-thing-to-do-on-a-sunny-Saturday-afternoon thing that makes Columbus a great place — and also helps to cement Gay Street’s strong rep as the coolest street in downtown Columbus.

This year’s Independents’ Day is Saturday, September 15.  36 musical acts performing live, many with great names (such as The Alpine Ghost, Forest & the Evergreens, and Skashank Redemption, among many others)!  Food trucks galore!  Stand-up comedians!  Crafters and artists!  Local organizations that help to make our city a better place to live!  Street dancing!  Perhaps even a mime or two!

Mark your calendars.

New Albany Fall Fest

A taste of the Ohio State Fair Midway in New Albany

Tonight was the first night of New Albany’s Fall Fest 2010.  The Fall Fest — as is seemingly true with any New Albany event — means that traffic patterns to and from the Webner household will again be disrupted.  In this instance, the Market Street area closed down to through traffic sometime before this morning’s rush hour and will stay closed until sometime on Sunday.  In the meantime, Market Street and the area around the library and the local shops are filled with booths for local businesses, boy scout troops, and churches, as well as a little taste of Ohio State Fair midway rides and food.

The NAHS band marches on

Tonight’s event started off with a New Albany High School homecoming parade and pep rally.  I got there in time to see the NAHS band march by on their way to the football game.  There were lots of parents and kids milling around, and it looked like the kids were having fun. Later there will be other events, like a battle of the bands and a New Albany talent show.

The New Albany Fall Fest is one of those classic, simple, somewhat cheesy events that help to make random neighborhoods into real communities.  In exchange, I’m willing to bear the resulting commuting inconvenience for a weekend.