10 Things to Know About Grand Illumination by Eat, Play, Cbus

Feeling festive? This Friday, the Grand Illumination presented by Justice of the Scioto Mile will bring Bicentennial Park alive with twinkling lights, unique fountain illuminations holiday inspired entertainment and so much more.

Listed below are ten things to know about this FREE event from Columbus blogger Eat, Play, Cbus.

Grand Illumination, Bicentennial Park, Scioto Mile, Columbus Ohio

Grand Illumination, Bicentennial Park, Scioto Mile, Columbus Ohio


Empty Bowls is a wonderful project which works to both raise money and awareness in the fight to end hunger. Over the past 18 years, Columbus has donated over $213,000 for the Mid-Ohio Food Bank. For a $10 donation, you will select a piece of handcrafted pottery and receive a bowl of hearty chicken and dumpling soup courtesy of Milestone 229 or a bowl of delicious tomato florentine soup courtesy of Giant Eagle. A handful of special bowls will be sold through silent auction throughout the evening, including bowls designed by Good Day Columbus personalities. All proceeds will be benefiting the Mid Ohio Foodbank. Taking home this bowl will serve as a reminder of who we can help when we come together.



As friends and family gather to enjoy the beautiful lights and spirit of the season, we pause to remember the little ones who won’t be home this holiday season. Thousands of children will be undergoing treatment and care at Nationwide Children’s Hospital; often miles (or continents) away from those they love. Make sure to stop by the Justice/Nationwide Children’s Hospital booth and send a get well message to a hospitalized child or make a donation. In exchange, receive a special set of HoloSpex snowflake glasses. If you want to, you can send an e-card at anytime. Click here for details.


Also, make sure you’re ready to cheer on Nationwide Children’s Hospital patient champion, Emma, as she helps launch the Grand Illumination.



Look for Hannah with  The Beard and The Baker at the Recreation and Parks Strawberry Food Truck on Main street to warm up! Along with some amazing volunteers, she will be passing out hot cocoa and Cheryl’s cookies.



Make sure you have your camera ready. Santa will  be in the park throughout the event ready to snap a picture with you.



This is one of my favorite parts of  the event – the entertainment! Provided on stage and roaming throughout the park you will find the Columbus Children’s ChoirSupaFun BandThe Amazing Giants, Comedy Holiday Elf Jugglers and Balletmet’s The Nutcracker.


Did you know they were founded in 2011 by Jessica Minshall and have since grown from a one woman show to a staff of 45 subcontracted entertainers and one co-founder?! Not only are they beyond talented, they are the sweetest people. You can tell they are passionate about what they are do – always smiling, stopping to take pictures and talk with you. Every time I see them, I feel like they bring something new to the table – so creative!

Grand Illumination Bicentennial Park, Scioto Mile, Columbus Ohio

Grand Illumination Bicentennial Park, Scioto Mile, Columbus Ohio

Anyone else fascinated by jugglers? I am and I am an even bigger fan of Matt Jergens. Luckily he performs all around columbus. Matt learned how to juggle back in 1993, in his senior year of high school, and hasn’t slowed down. He is an international gold medalist juggler who performs over 300 shows a year at events all across the nation! Lucky for us, he will be at the grand illumination at @TheSciotoMile.


At the North Pole Tinkershop, you can create a holiday craft with OSU Urban Arts SpaceCapital Kids and Franklin Park Conservatory. Make sure to find the Columbus Recreation and Parks’ Fitness Resolution Solution and get moving. Bring the Farm to You are bringing their furry friends for hands-on learning. Don’t forget to look for the Columbus Blue Jacketsbecause they will have exciting prizes and giveaways.



Bicentennial Park is decorated for the holiday with several photo-worthy spots throughout. Find them all and share your experience with @thesciotomile using #lightcolumbus. Hint: The map at the end of the bottom of the page has all the spots!



It can be stressful thinking about where to park downtown, but, don’t worry – this won’t be. The parking garage at 200 Civic Center Dr. offers the closest parking to Bicentennial Park and is easily accessible from Ludlow St. The Columbus Commons parking garage is also a very short walk from Bicenntianal park. The Main Garage is located at 55 East Rich Street, with entrances on Main and Rich Streets between High and Third Streets. After you are done with The Grand Illumination, don’t forget Columbus Commons is beautifully lit. Before leaving, take a walk around. For more information and options, click here.


How beautiful are the lights at Columbus Commons? This will be your view from the parking garage. Photo credit: Columbus Commons Instagram


In keeping with the city’s green initiatives, all seasonal decorations feature energy efficient LED lighting, including more than 250,000 LED lights on 150 trees.



The Grand Illumination continues throughout the holidays and features decorations and lighting in Bicentennial Park, along the Scioto Mile Promenade, on City Hall grounds and throughout downtown Columbus at Columbus Commons and the Ohio Statehouse. The lights will be viewable nightly, from dusk until dawn, December 2, 2016 through January 8, 2017.

Instagram: @thesciotomile  | Hashtag: #lightcolumbus

Click here to download the 2016 Grand Illumination Map

Make sure to follow along on the Live Columbus Instagram for my takeover on Thursday, December 1. I will be sharing a few more details about this exciting event. Also, I will be live updating the event on my Facebook and Instagram the day of the event, as well as talking on Good Day Columbus at 7:20 Friday morning.

Hope to see you all there!

*Special thanks to Megan from Eat, Play, Cbus for creating this post.