Inside the Mile

Rock n’ Roll with the Fabulous Thunderbirds- CANCELED

Unfortunately, due to the weather, the event tonight is canceled and we are not able to reschedule. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Celebrate the beginning of summer at our next Rhythm on the River concert June 23rd at Bicentennial Park with the internationally renowned Fabulous Thunderbirds featuring Kim Wilson. Head to the stage, and picnic under the stars with the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department’s Strawberry Food Truck and Donato’s Pizza! Food and beverage sales begin at 6:30 PM and music starts at 7:30 PM with Columbus’ own Hadden Sayers Band.

The Fabulous Thunderbirds featuring Kim Wilson have generated a world-wide fan base by leading tours with The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton. Since the beginning of their musical career, the band’s sound constantly expands including harmonica laced swamp blues, R&B, unrivaled musicianship and unique vocals. Commander of the harmonica, Kim Wilson, drives the band’s powerful sound with fan hits like “Tuff Enuff,” “Wrap it Up” and “Powerful Stuff.” The band will always be devoted to their background of blues, R&B and rock n’ roll, however they continue to experiment with new sounds and techniques as their music evolves


2017 Jazz & Rib Fest Headliners

Are you gearing up for summer with hot ribs and cool jazz? We sure are with our announcement of the 2017 Jazz & Rib Fest headliners! Jazz & Rib Fest, presented by the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, will return for its 38th year to the Scioto Mile, July 21-23.  The aroma of sizzling ribs will fill the air as the sounds of jazz will entertain audiences from three premier stages in Bicentennial, West Bank and Genoa Park.

This year our performers are just as delightful as the ribs served by 23 rib teams from across the country. Get ready for performances ranging from the smooth sounds of R&B all the way to vivacious New Orleans style brass bands. This line-up is something you don’t want to miss!

Headliners include:

Date & Time: Friday, July 21, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
July 22, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
July 23, 11 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Location: Bicentennial, West Bank and Genoa Parks on the Scioto Mile

For more information about the 2017 Jazz & Rib Fest, visit our website:

Columbus Arts Festival powered by American Electric Power

Looking to add a little art and culture to your summer fun? The 2017 Columbus Arts Festival, produced by the Greater Columbus Arts Council, celebrates its 56th anniversary June 9-11 at the Scioto Mile. Peruse over 300 nationally acclaimed artists’ fine art and crafts, enjoy performances on six different stages featuring music, dance, theater and spoken word, and create your own masterpiece with several hands-on activities.

NEW this year is the festival lighting installation, Structural Circumstances, created by artists Christabel S. Y. and Samuel J. Wagner. The sculptural lighting installation represents a replica of a mobile home made from multicolored, transparent plexiglass. Explore this new installation located just south of the fountains on the east side of Bicentennial Park.

WHAT: 2017 Columbus Arts Festival
WHEN: Friday, June 9- 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 10- 10:00 a.m.- 10:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 11- 10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
WHERE: The Scioto Mile

For more information about the Columbus Arts Festival, visit:

Five-Time Grammy Award Winning Artist Performs at Rhythm on the River

Lush harmonies paired with soulful melodies are what The Blind Boys of Alabama’s powerful sound has exemplified over their seven decade career. The Blind Boys of Alabama, true musical pioneers, have transcended time by being the most decorated and celebrated gospel groups throughout the 20th and 21st century.

In anticipation of the upcoming Rhythm on the River performance, we curated a compilation of music videos and interviews which embody The Blind Boys of Alabama’s journey through history— beginning with their performances in the mid 1960’s all the way up through their present day career which  includes collaborations with alternative artist, Bon Iver.

Enjoy the soulful sounds of one of the world’s best gospel group at the kick off of Rhythm on the River, June 2. Get a seat on the lawn early to watch Columbus’ own MojoFlo perform prior to The Blind Boys of Alabama. Food and beverage sales begin at 6:30 p.m. and music starts at 7:30 p.m.

Dynamic Performances This Summer at Rhythm on the River!

Friday evenings
Bicentennial Park Performing Arts Pavilion – 233 Civic Center Drive

FREE outdoor music and dance performances at Bicentennial Park are a great way to end your busy week! Food and beverage sales begin at 6:30 p.m., so we invite you to make it the perfect evening by enjoying a picnic under the stars!  Donatos will have hot pizza for sale by the slice or pie. The Columbus Recreation and Parks’ Strawberry Food Truck will be featuring a delicious menu from guest chefs. Proceeds from the Strawberry Truck help support free summer meals and after school programs offered by the department. For a special park dining experience, enjoy the performance and fabulous fountain views from Milestone 229’s covered patio (reservations recommended).

Mark your calendars for these exciting performances and click on the artist links below for more information:

June 2 | 7:30 p.m.
The Blind Boys of Alabama | MojoFlo (Gospel/Soul)

June 23 | 7:30 p.m.
The Fabulous Thunderbirds featuring Kim Wilson | Hadden Sayers Band (Blues/Rock)

July 14 | 7:30 p.m.
Evening of Bluegrass with Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper and The Seldom Scene

August 25 | 8:00 p.m.


Thank you to our generous partners:

For more information on the Rhythm on the River series, visit http://

We’ll see you in June!

Experience a summer of amazing music, food, and culture at the Scioto Mile

In 2017 the Scioto Mile will host many returning and some new large scale vibrant events. Don’t forget to mark your calendars for these FREE annual events:

Dragon Boat Races

West Bank Park | May 21
Dragon boat 2
Central Ohio’s only dragon boat race is a sport for all. The dragon boat carries a team of 20 paddlers, a drummer and a steer-person. Teamwork and synchronicity move the boat to the beat of the drum – it’s about paddling as one and having “heart.” Crews from local businesses and community organizations vie for the championship in a day-long event held at the downtown bend of Scioto River.

Columbus Arts Festival

Bicentennial Park, Genoa Park, West Bank Park | June 9-11
2016 Columbus Arts Festival Sunday
The Columbus Arts Festival is a three-day event along the downtown riverfront featuring 300 nationally acclaimed visual artists; performance stages with music, dance, theater and spoken word; hands-on arts activities; work by local artist collectives and a wide selection of quality food and beverages.

Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival

Bicentennial Park and Genoa Park | June 16 & 17
The Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival and Parade began in 1981 and has grown into the 2nd largest Pride event in the Midwest. Festival goers can enjoy a wide variety of musical and drag performances, shopping, eating and celebrating our diverse community. The Columbus Pride Festival and Parade invites you to help us celebrate our NEW location and 36 years of PRIDE!

Red White & BOOM!

Scioto Riverfront and Downtown Columbus | July 3
Downtown comes alive with the excitement and anticipation of BOOM! – the most recognized firework display in the Midwest. Spend the day at the Scioto Mile with your family and friends celebrating Independence Day. Music, food and kid’s activities will keep everyone entertained throughout the day.

Jazz & Rib Fest

Bicentennial Park, Genoa Park and West Bank Park | July 21-23
Jazz and Rib Festival, Columbus Ohio
Presented by the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, this highly anticipated summertime tradition offers both jazz and rib connoisseurs the finest in music and barbeque. The festival features three days of continuous jazz while barbeque pit masters serve up sizzling ribs, chicken and more. Savor the best ribs from around the country as 23 award-winning barbeque teams compete for “Best Ribs” bragging rights.

Festival Latino

Genoa Park | August 12 & 13
Festival Latino, Columbus Ohio Festival Latino, the largest Hispanic event in Ohio, is a family-friendly celebration of the Latin American culture, offering children’s activities, music, food, and dance from the heart of Latin America.

Columbus Food Truck Festival

Bicentennial Park and West Bank Park| August 18 & 19
The Columbus Food Truck Festival is moving to the Mile! This two-day event features the best mobile food vendors in Central Ohio, local crafters and live music! This year’s festival will partner with Music Loves Ohio, a local non-profit that offers music education to children.

Curious about more Scioto Mile programs?

Rhythm on the River announcements will be coming soon! Join our mailing list to be the first to learn of programs presented by Columbus Recreation and Parks!

The Blue Jackets Winter Park is back


The Blue Jackets Winter Park is returning for 2017! From February 3 to February 26, McFerson Commons will house a NHL-sized ice skating rink, children’s slide and host community events.

Community Outdoor Ice Rink

Join your fellow skate enthusiasts in the rink for a $5 fee (including skate rental). Prefer to watch the skating instead? The rink is equipped with bleachers and a heated tent for spectators. Private skating sessions are also available upon request. Open skate times are listed here.

Pro Tip: Skate passes at Winter Park are cash only. Nationwide Arena box office accepts cash and credit for skate passes.

Community Events

To kick off the winter park, the Blue Jackets are scheduled to hold a public team practice on Friday, February 10 at 12:00 p.m. at the outdoor rink. The practice will be free and open to the public.

The 5th Line 5K will take place on Sunday, February 5 at 10:00 a.m. The race is unfortunately sold out, but that doesn’t mean you can’t cheer on the runners and walkers! The race starts and ends at Nationwide Arena looping around the river, offering stunning views of the Scioto Mile. Head to the 5th Line 5K website for more information.

Mad River Mountain Kids’ Slide

A kid-friendly 6’ tall 2-lane snow slide is located on the north end of the park. The slide is open Monday – Friday from 4:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Fulfill your New Year’s Resolutions with Columbus Recreation and Parks!


Do you have trouble committing to your New Year’s resolutions? Here are 5 ways you can take advantage of our parks, events and programs to keep you on track throughout the year…

1. Live a Healthier Lifestyle

Using the cities’ bike paths and parklands, you can walk, skate, jog or bike while observing the striking scenery. The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department also has multiple Community Centers, athletic complexes, pools and golf courses throughout the city that offer a variety of fitness opportunities.

2. Spend Quality Time with Family and Friends

The Scioto Mile hosts many summer festivals that are free to attend and family friendly. Be sure to check our calendar frequently to see what’s happening from week to week. Events you won’t want to miss include:

And for a fun date night or a unique outing with friends, Milestone 229 has amazing food and panoramic views of the river and the Scioto Mile Fountain.

3. Experience More Art

The Rhythm on the River series at Bicentennial Park Performing Arts Pavilion features a diverse range of free music and dance performers on select Friday evenings in the summer. It’s a nice way to end the work week and enjoy local and touring artists.

4. Learn a New Skill

The Cultural Arts Center has classes year round teaching a variety of skills from jewelry making to bronze casting to screen printing. Check The Cultural Art Center’s website to learn more about when classes are offered.

5. Save Money

The Recreation and Parks Department’s parks, programs, events and services are provided for free or at a low-cost for the community. Whatever your goals are, we have many economical ways to make a positive impact on your life. You don’t have to spend a lot to make 2017 a great year!

The Lights Twinkle through January 8


Thank you to everyone who helped make this year’s Grand Illumination a tremendous success! In the spirit of giving, we were proud to partner with Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

Drop off your letters to Santa in Bicentennial Park at our North Pole Mailbox through December 24 and enjoy the lights along the Scioto Mile through January 8, 2017.

Visit the Grand Illumination event page for more information!

Watch CTV’s Coverage of the Event:

Check out these photos from the Grand Illumination Ceremony:


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.