Inside the Mile

Record Turnout for Grand Illumination Lighting Ceremony


The Grand Illumination lighting ceremony drew more than 15,000 people to Bicentennial Park and the downtown riverfront on Friday, December 4. As holiday music from the Columbus Children’s Choir and the SupaFun Band filled the air, thousands of happy children were greeted by BalletMet’s Clara and the Nutcracker and created festive crafts with Girl Scout Cadette Troop 2150 and OSU Urban Arts Space. Meanwhile, Mad River Mountain and HERO USA offered attendees a chance to win a Burton Snowboard, a helmet, snow gear, or tickets to Mad River Mountain for the upcoming ski, snowboard and tubing season.


Amid the merriment, POINT provided important lessons about the struggles of being homeless during the winter season. During the course of the evening, the Empty Bowls project raised more than $4,300 for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank. Special thanks to Milestone 229 for their generous contribution of chicken and dumplings soup, the volunteers from the Downtown Residents Association of Columbus, and Cheryl’s for donating their famous cookies. The record-breaking amount raised this year will help fill a lot of “Empty Bowls.”


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 Scioto Mile Fountain presented by the American Electric Power Foundation comes alive for the holiday season with festive video projections and illuminated spheres suspended from each of the five fountain halos. New this year, programmable LED lights have been installed in the steps of the Riverfront Amphitheater in Genoa Park just outside COSI. During the holiday season, this new lighting display will feature three brightly-colored holiday packages. The lights twinkle in Bicentennial Park and along the Scioto Mile until January 10, 2016.


Special thanks to our media partners, ABC 6 / Fox 28 and Sunny95 (94.7), for their great event promos and coverage. Grand Illumination is presented by the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department and made possible through the support of the Scioto Mile Endowment Fund: Columbus Downtown Development Corporation.

Watch the live coverage from ABC 6 here:

Watch the Grand Illumination Lighting Ceremony

More than 15,000 people packed the downtown riverfront on Friday, December 4, 2015 for the Grand Illumination lighting ceremony. Watch the live coverage from ABC 6 here:

The lights twinkle in Bicentennial Park and along the Scioto Mile until January 10, 2016.

Grand Illumination

There’s a lot to see and do at the Grand Illumination in Bicentennial Park on Friday, December 4!  Beginning at 5:00 p.m., look for juggling elves, barnyard friends, and Clara with her Nutcracker Prince from BalletMet while your favorite carols are performed by the Columbus Children’s Choir.  Visit our North Pole Tinkershop to create holiday crafts with Columbus Children’s Theatre, Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, Girl Scout Cadette Troop 2150, OSU Urban Arts Space, POINT, and the Recreation & Parks Arts Committee.  Then, learn what Ohio’s animals do during our cold winter months with the McKnight Outdoor Education Center staff and Bring the Farm to You.

It’s the time of year to enjoy fun in the snow! Frolic over to Mad River Mountain and HERO USA for a chance to win a Burton snowboard, helmet, snow gear, or tickets to Mad River Mountain for the upcoming ski, snowboard and tubing season.

Join Mayor Coleman, City Council President / Mayor-elect Andrew Ginther, Recreation and Parks Director Tony Collins, and ABC 6 / Fox 28 as they flip the switch and illuminate the Scioto Mile.  Following the lighting ceremony, children are invited to visit with Santa and enjoy live holiday music from the SupaFun Band– a group of merry, musical elves that is sure to delight audiences of all ages.

In the spirit of giving, attendees can support the Empty Bowls project by purchasing a piece of handcrafted pottery and receiving a bowl of hearty chicken and dumpling soup compliments of Milestone 229.  Cookies, compliments of Cheryl’s, and hot chocolate will also be available.  All proceeds will benefit the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

The event is free and open to the public.  Click here to print a voucher for FREE parking in the COSI lot, but remember space is limited.  You can enter the lot between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Friday, December 4 until the lot is full.  We hope to see you there.  Happy Holidays!

The lights will twinkle in Bicentennial Park and along the Scioto Mile until January 10, 2016.

The Spirit of Giving


The holiday season is almost upon us and we’re busy with our preparations for the Grand Illumination. But amid the hustle and bustle, from trimming the tree to baking cookies, it is important to remember those less fortunate.  You can help fill “empty bowls” at the Grand Illumination lighting ceremony beginning 5:00 p.m. on Friday, December 4.

For the past 18 years, the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department has coordinated Empty Bowls, a program benefiting the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.  As part of the initiative, Columbus area children and adult artists have created handcrafted ceramic bowls that will be available for purchase during the event.  For a $10 donation, you are invited to select a piece of handcrafted pottery and receive a bowl of hearty chicken and dumpling soup, compliments of Milestone 229.  Soup is available without the ceramic bowl for a $5 donation.  Plus, don’t miss your chance to bid on our special selection of silent auction bowls. Proceeds benefit the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

We can’t wait to see you at the Grand Illumination on Friday, December 4. With over 200,000 holiday lights, dynamic seasonal projections on the Scioto Mile Fountain, live festive music, and tons of great activities, this one-of-a-kind visual experience will enchant the entire family.

THIS FRIDAY (9/4) ǀ The Steepwater Band and Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons


Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, is one of America’s few standing true blues-rock bands—The Steepwater Band. Their name, which was discovered upon a cargo vessel along a Lake Michigan port, serves almost as an indicator of the sound that they create for their listeners.

Establishing themselves in the late 90s rock scene, the group initially set out to perform their own versions of classic blues songs, in Chicago-style blues form. Early in their career, after quickly garnering interest from music fans across Chicago, the band traveled as an opening act for many national groups who were performing across the Midwest. This momentum continued as over the next several years the band was recognized as headliners at major festivals, spent time performing in Europe, and was even invited to perform as the opening act for Bon Jovi, in their home of Chicago. Performing has served The Steepwater Band very well; the group has now played the same shows with acts like Lynyrd Skynyrd, .38 Special, Cheap Trick, Doobie Brothers, and many more. Additional to their time on stage, the group’s studio recordings have been featured in numerous films, television shows, and commercials.

The night will begin with local musical icon, Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons. Earning comparisons to everyone from Joan Jett to Patsy Cline, Angela Perley is a dynamic front-woman who commands the stage with her booming voice and incisive lyrics. Backed by the Howlin’ Moons, a group of guitar slingers and rhythm players who play like a raw, ragged roadhouse band, Perley is winning over nonbelievers the old-fashioned way with tireless touring and well-crafted albums. Recently, Angela and the band were voted Columbus’ Best Local Band by Columbus Alive, so there is no better way to showcase their talents than right here in Columbus!

6:30 p.m. – Food and beverage sales begin
7:00 p.m. – Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons followed by The Steepwater Band

Artist Websites:

THIS FRIDAY (8/28) | BalletMet Columbus


Start your weekend off right! Come to Bicentennial Park as Columbus Recreation and Parks presents BalletMet Columbus. At nightfall, the Columbus skyline along the Scioto Mile is the perfect backdrop for an evening of exhilarating ballet.

Since its formation in 1978, BalletMet has provided artistic merit in the field of dance to Central Ohio. At the beginning of the 1994 season, David Nixon was named BalletMet’s Artistic Director. As an internationally renowned dancer, choreographer, teacher, and ballet master, his vision and liveliness were instrumental in transforming the academy, company, and repertoire. He was not only able to expand but enrich the Academy in many ways. Ranked among the nation’s largest dance companies, it is now known for its versatility and innovative repertory.

BalletMet has added 160 company premieres to its repertoire and produced 141 world premieres, touring countries such as Egypt, Poland, Russia, Spain and Canada. It has also developed DanceReach, a series of education and outreach programs, serving 30,000 people annually. Additionally, BalletMet offers over 300 classes per week to students ages 4-84, and stages 60-70 performances each year. Be sure to come out and enjoy BalletMet’s skill, dedication and innovation this Friday night! See you there!

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

Artist Websites:

THIS FRIDAY (8/21) | The Navigators


The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department is thrilled to present The Navigators—a Columbus-based band that is sure to cover the musical needs of all ages. The energy of the band, combined with their crowd interaction, always provides for a fun night with the family!

The Navigators will be performing at Bicentennial Park this Friday at 7:30pm. 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! Be sure to come hungry, as food and beverages will be available for sale in the park beginning at 6:30 p.m.

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

THIS FRIDAY (8/14) | Maceo Parker


Maceo Parker is a name that requires very little explanation—known as one of the greatest jazz and funk saxophonists to ever live. Falling into a category like he does, it is vastly known that Maceo has collaborated with the top artists in funk including James Brown, George Clinton and even Prince. Parker is a living connection to the sounds of funk in its hay-day, still unraveling audiences as they dance to the sounds of his infectious saxophone playing.

Spending the first half of his career as a sideman to funk greats, Maceo went unknown for a long time—other than to those who were extremely into funk and its community. However, the last two decades have brought Parker a prospering solo career, as he combines the funk of the 60s and 70s with modern sounds of today’s hits. Maceo Parker eats, sleeps and breaths funk music—leaving many unsure what came first, Maceo or the funk itself. His early performances, although not the front man, shaped the sounds and revolutionized funk with men like James Brown. Over his long and extremely successful career, Parker has also been seen collaborating with artists like Ray Charles, James Taylor, Dave Matthews Band, and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Since his beginning as an artist, Maceo has been featured on over 100 albums of both his own and other’s music.

The evening will begin with The HooDoo Soul Band, which features the talents of eleven of the Midwest’s most dynamic and critically acclaimed musicians. The HooDoo Soul Band has been performing high energy funk, rhythm & blues for nearly 20 years, known for putting their own twist on the standards and introducing audiences to unfamiliar funky gems with style. They have opened for James Brown and Ray Charles among others—bridging a connection to Maceo for an evening commemorating the world of funk.

6:30 p.m. – Food and beverage sales begin
7:30 p.m. – The HooDoo Soul Band followed by Maceo Parker

Artist Websites:

Festival Latino | August 8 – 9

Festival Latino
Festival Latino is a free, family-friendly event and the largest Latin event in Ohio, celebrating family and community with two days of children’s activities, music, food, fashion, art, and dance from the heart of Latin America. The Festival has moved to Saturday and Sunday with hours from 11am-8pm each day. Both days are packed with music and dance performances from Ohio-based bands and dance companies with international headliner acts performing both evenings.  Visit for more information.