Inside the Mile

THIS FRIDAY (7/25) ǀ An Evening of Bluegrass with Balsam Range and The Boxcars


The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department is delighted to present Balsam Range and The Boxcars this Friday night at Rhythm on the River!

Bluegrass. . . Folk. . . Gospel. . . Jazz. . . Treat yourself to an innovative acoustic sound and experience! From deep in the Appalachians, the exceptional acoustic musicians and singers adopted the name of the majestic range of mountains that surround their home in North Carolina. Where the Smokies meet the Blue Ridge, you have Balsam Range! These friends have effortlessly combined their unique experiences and backgrounds, which blend together to form their distinct sound. Since their formation in 2007, Balsam Range has surely made a mark in the bluegrass and acoustic music world. Beginning with a nomination for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) Emerging Artist of the year, they went on to win IBMA Song of the Year. They have additionally been nominated for six IBMA awards, taking home Album of the Year for the highly acclaimed project, Papertown. Don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of the new American acoustic experience!


The entertainment doesn’t stop here! Co-headlining with Balsam Range for an evening of bluegrass is The Boxcars! Known as some of the best musicians in the business and one of the top bands in bluegrass, The Boxcars will illustrate their versatile talent as both seasoned professionals and as a bluegrass powerhouse. Mastering in modern traditional bluegrass, the group has won numerous IBMA and Grammy Awards in addition to being recognized as the 2011 IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year. The Boxcars have also earned the past three consecutive IBMA Instrumental Group of the Year awards. Here’s to a bluegrass match made in heaven you will not want to miss out on! See you all this Friday!

6:30 p.m. – Food and beverage sales begin
7:30 p.m. – Live Music Begins


THIS WEEKEND (July 18 – 20) | Jazz & Rib Fest

There’s no better way to celebrate summer than with hot ribs and cool jazz. The 35th annual Jazz & Rib Fest, presented by the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, returns to the Arena District riverfront area for three days. The aroma of hot ribs and sounds of cool jazz will fill the air on July 18 and 19 from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., and July 20 from 11 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Check out this year’s Festival Guide:


Visit for more information and a complete artist line-up.

THIS FRIDAY (7/11) ǀ Terrance Simien


Evolving in the southwest of Louisiana, French Creole speakers developed a unique musical genre that many are still unfamiliar with today—Zydeco. Slowly accumulating the ability to play multiple styles of instruments, Terrance Simien rooted his talents of Cajun music and rhythm and blues into a career of Zydeco music. Born in Mallet, Louisiana, Simien was able to learn the ropes from some of Zydeco’s best and perform in his home church and school, allowing his music to root and flourish the way it does today.

Although Zydeco music is underpublicized to most of the northern United States, Simien is still a familiar face to so many who tune in to the world of music. Winning the GRAMMY® for Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album in 2008, he is most recognized for performing on the soundtrack of Disney’s, The Princess and the Frog, and appearing on stage with artists such as Paul Simon, Dave Matthews, Stevie Wonder, Los Lobos, and many others.

Simien and his band have performed at over 7,000 shows in 40 different countries across the world, so listeners should anticipate a seasoned and exceptional performance. Rhythm on the River is excited to be able to welcome an international performer like Terrance Simien. Be sure to catch this world class act, on Friday at 7:30pm in Bicentennial Park!

Before the performance, sign up to join Mayor Michael B. Coleman and fellow cyclists for an evening ride through the heart of Columbus promoting the benefits of active living and the best tour of Columbus on two wheels. Riders will go through the vibrant downtown area that will include views of parks, city landmarks and a wide variety of architecture in scenic neighborhoods. Proceeds from the Mayor’s Twilight Ride will help to fund bikes and helmets for kids in need and support bicycle safety initiatives.  CoGo will also be onsite celebrating their first birthday. Stop by their tent to enter to win great prizes, learn more about their first year success and exciting future plans. All riders will return to Bicentennial Park to enjoy the Rhythm on the River performance by Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience. For more information or to register for the Mayor’s Twilight Ride, please visit

6:30 p.m. – Mayor’s Twilight Bike Ride begins
6:30 p.m. – Food and beverage sales begin
7:30 p.m. – Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience


Red White & BOOM!

Red White & BOOM!

Festival season is in full swing and BOOM! is one that brings huge crowds to downtown Columbus for a night of music, food, activities and of course – fireworks. As one of the largest displays of Independence Day fireworks in the Midwest, the Scioto Riverfront provides one of the best views.  The event officially begins next Thursday, July 3 at noon. For more information and a full schedule of performances and activities, visit You won’t want to miss it!

WHAT: Red, White & Boom – the largest fireworks display in Ohio!

WHEN: Thursday, July 3 | Noon to 11 p.m.

WHERE: Downtown Columbus


The Scioto Mile Fountain will be turned off beginning Wednesday, July 2 at 6 p.m. and will be back on Friday, July 4 at 10 a.m.


  • Public set-up for Red, White & Boom may begin at 5 PM on July 2.
  • To keep your parks looking nice, we request that personal canopies, tarps and blankets not be set-up until July 3.
  • Due to riverfront construction space is limited. Be considerate of others.
  • Please mark your area with items that don’t present a danger to the public. STAKES AND POSTS ARE PROHIBITED as they pose a danger to playing children and can cause damage to irrigation systems.
  • Anything placed before 5 p.m. on July 2 will be collected and taken to Bicentennial Park, 233 Civic Center Dr.


  • Canoes, kayaks and legal vessels that can be carried will be allowed at the Downtown Lower Olentangy River Boat Launch, located west of Neil Avenue on Nationwide Boulevard. (The ramp has been permanently closed to trailered boats).
  • Power boats, canoes, kayaks may be launched at the Scioto Audubon Metro Park launch area west of Front Street on W. Whittier Street. Parking is on a first-come, first-served basis, with approximately 30 spaces available. (Franklin County Metro Parks will close gate when spaces are full).
  • Due to the ongoing construction of the Scioto Greenway project, boating will not be allowed in the Scioto River 100’ above the first railroad bridge south of the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy Rivers and the first railroad bridge south of the Main Street bridge. Boats launching from the Downtown Lower Olentangy River launch area will be restricted to the areas north of the railroad bridge 100’above North Bank Park.
  • Boats launching from the Scioto Audubon Metro Park launch area will be permitted to travel north to the railroad bridge south of the Main Street bridge.
  • Boater Safety Inspections and Registration Checks will be occurring at the launch areas. Individuals without proper safety equipment, registrations or proper display of OH numbers will not be permitted to launch. Individuals launching before 2:00 p.m. will be checked by marine officers on the water.

Happy Independence Day everyone!

THIS FRIDAY (6/27) ǀ Kenya Safari Acrobats


In need of some fun and excitement to end your busy week? Look no further! The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department is delighted to present Kenya Safari Acrobats to the stage this Friday evening at 7:30 p.m.

From the heart of Africa, this dynamic dance troupe takes acrobatics to exhilarating extremes, providing a truly unique cultural experience you will not want to miss! As children growing up in an impoverished country, the members learned acrobatics on the beaches of Kenya as a means of escape. Their commitment and enthusiasm paid off as they are now artistic ambassadors for Kenya and travel the globe, entertaining and inspiring audiences of all types. The Kenya Safari Acrobats perform breathtaking contortions, hurl through hoops and perform gravity-defying human pyramids, all while clapping along to a Benga beat.

These gymnasts are crowd pleasers, without a doubt. Come watch them combine their artistry, humor, and playfulness as you enjoy a classic African blend of traditional art and circus skills. Join us this Friday night and allow these acrobats to leave you with an incredible sense of awe and amazement!

6:30 p.m. – Food and beverage sales begin
8:00 p.m. – Performance


THIS FRIDAY (6/20) ǀ Shemekia Copeland


It truly takes a special type of person to be able to sing the blues; one who has endured the personal strife in life and can translate their soul into a melodic outcry for change. Shemekia Copeland uncovered that vocal soul as her father, late blues guitarist Johnny Copeland, suffered health problems in her teenage years. However, still young in her thirties, Copeland has been a familiar face to those who follow the blues genre—already a two-time GRAMMY® nominee.

Growing up within the everyday sounds of city life in Harlem, Copeland has been fortunate enough to take her roots to the stage with artists like Buddy Guy, BB King, Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton. Her deep passion for singing and powerful voice have matched the largest stages across the globe, headlining the Chicago Blues Festival, opening for the Rolling Stones and performing for Illinois native President Barack Obama and the First Lady, where she was officially deemed “Queen of the Blues” by the State.

The evening will open with blues royalty, Teeny Tucker, daughter of Tommy Tucker (1964 classic “High-Heel Sneakers”). Tucker has become renowned for creating ‘crowd frenzy’ with her high-energy world class package on stage and has been invited to do so on bills with artists such as BB King, KoKo Taylor, Etta James, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, Keb Mo, and many others. Having played major blues festivals all over the world, we are thrilled to host Shemekia Copeland and special guest Teeny Tucker at the Bicentennial Park Performing Arts Pavilion for a night of music, food, drinks and fun!

6:30 p.m. – Food and beverage sales begin
7:30 p.m. – Live music begins


THIS FRIDAY (6/13) ǀ The Navigators

The Navigators

The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department is thrilled to present the first free performance of the Rhythm on the River series!  What better way to do so than by featuring a Columbus-based band that plays a little bit of everything!

The Navigators will be performing at Bicentennial Park this Friday at 7:30p.m.  You can expect to hear vibrant horns, rich, multilayered vocals and covers of classic hits from Chicago, The Beatles and the Commodores.  This 13-piece band, comprised of Columbus executives and professionals, are passionate about serving the community and raising money for charity.  In this effort, they have helped raise over $200,000 to benefit local and national charities since their formation in 2003.  Their focus is on having fun so plan on joining us at Bicentennial Park this Friday!  Come hungry!  Donatos Pizza, Sunny Street Café wraps and beverages will be for sale beginning at 6:30p.m.  See you then for a fun-filled evening with The Navigators!

6:30 p.m. – Food and beverage sales begin
7:30 p.m. – The Navigators

Rhythm on the River is produced by the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department and made possible through the generous support of the Scioto Mile Endowment Fund: Columbus Downtown Development Corporation, ABC 6/ FOX 28, Rewind 103.5/104.3, Donatos, The Westin Columbus, WCBE 90.5 FM, Sunny Street Café and The Holiday Inn Downtown.

Inside the Scioto Mile 2014 Event Guide

Check out this year’s Inside the Scioto Mile brochure — your guide to FREE Columbus Recreation and Parks’ events, performances and activities along the Scioto Mile all summer long.

Printed copies are available at the following locations:

…and various other central Ohio businesses!

Click HERE to download a printer-friendly PDF of the brochure.

Enjoy cool summer nights and performances in Bicentennial Park


Remember those tranquil summer nights—chasing sunsets and enjoying good company along with tasty food and beverages?  After a harsh winter, everyone deserves a chance to unwind and bask in the sun.  Fortunately for us, those summer nights are back!  With the Rhythm on the River concert series just around the corner, we all have a chance to press pause and take a breather.  We have a variety of performances lined up for you this summer so check out our schedule and treat yourself every Friday night!

Featuring everything from bluegrass and blues to ballet and more, Rhythm on the River promises to provide an exciting and diverse array of performances.  Tell your family, tell your friends, and relish in the perfect end to a busy week!  Join us for music, food and fun at the Bicentennial Park Performing Arts Pavilion, a state-of-the-art venue with architecture reflecting the Scioto Mile Fountain design.  All performances are sure to please the crowd as we host a multi-Grammy Award-winning artist, a dynamic dance troupe and a voice recognized as one of VH1’s 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll.  No need to prepare dinner!  Pizza from Donatos, wraps from Sunny Street Café  and beverages will be for sale beginning at 6:30 p.m. every night! Oh, and did we mention it’s free?  Check out the full schedule here and be sure to join us on Friday nights!

Hop into summer at FountainSide!

 “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So... get on your way!”  – Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Summer is waiting for you! The trees are blooming, the flowers are growing, and the water is splashing on the Mile. We have good news for you because the Scioto Mile Fountain presented by the American Electric Power Foundation is on for the season! Summer is just around the corner and FountainSide presented by Sunny 95 (94.7 FM) is less than a month away. We are looking forward to the hot sun by the fountains with pizza from Donato’s and FREE ice cream from the Sunny 95/Meijer Treat Truck all summer long.

Join us June 4 for the first FountainSide of the season! Splish-Splash into summer for themed activities, games, arts and crafts on Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. in Bicentennial Park. Learn about local fruits and veggies, plants, and bees with Local Matters, Lowe’s Plant & Grow station and Central Ohio Beekeepers Association. Explore the life of wild animals with Columbus Zoo, Ohio Wildlife Center, P.T. Reptiles and The Turtle Lady. Don’t miss all the fun crafts with Franklin Park Conservatory, Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum & Library, Ohio Historical Society and more! Make sure to stop by and see the Fountain Frog for its first appearance on June 11. Special thanks to Sunny 95 for their continued support of FountainSide. Join us every week and make sure to check our schedule here.