Inside the Mile

SAVE THE DATES | 2016 Summer Program Dates Announced

Imagine – the sun is shining, a warm breeze blows, and you dip your toes in the Scioto Mile Fountain before laying a blanket in the grass at Bicentennial Park to enjoy live music beneath a summer sunset. Warmer weather is on its way to Columbus and it’s time to mark your calendars for FREE downtown summer activities on the Scioto Mile.


Rhythm on the River features an eclectic array of touring artists, local musicians and arts organizations on select Fridays throughout the summer. Highlighting everything from bluegrass to blues to ballet and more, Rhythm on the River is the perfect way to spend summer evenings with family and friends. Stay tuned for a full performance schedule!

Returning this year is Movies on the Mile. On select dates throughout the summer, Movies on the Mile will feature fun, family-friendly films following Rhythm on the River, just after dark. A schedule of dates and films is coming soon!


FountainSide presented by Sunny 95 (94.7 FM) offers free children’s activities in and around the interactive Scioto Mile Fountain on select Wednesdays throughout the summer from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The series offers fun and educational programs encompassing arts, crafts, music, dance, healthy living and physical fitness. Attendees enjoy free frozen treats courtesy of the Sunny 95/Meijer Treat Truck. Check back soon for activity details!


Hungry for more? The 37th annual Jazz & Rib Fest will take place July 22, 23 and 24. Get ready for a weekend full of hot ribs and cool jazz in downtown Columbus. In the meantime, stay up-to-date by joining the Jazz & Rib Fest mailing list HERE!

Until then, we’ll be dreaming of June!


Information on Canada Geese

Canada geese are common in much of North America. Unfortunately, they have proven to be extremely adaptable and highly persistent throughout the country especially in urban areas where there are few predators, prohibitions on hunting, and a dependable year-round supply of food and water. Though pleasant for city dwellers, more lawns, golf courses, and parks offer Canada geese a reliable habitat that encourages them to stay year-round instead of migrating.

Preventative Measures
The Scioto Mile’s project planners were aware of the potential issue and took measures to mitigate the geese from the earliest days of design and construction, including:

– Grasses and shrubs were planted to create a barrier between geese and lawn grass, which is their main source of nutrition. These plants may take some time to mature into an effective prevention tool since they have been recently planted.
– Trees have been planted and as they grow larger they will become more of a deterrent to the geese direct line of flight from the river to grassy areas.
– Shrubs, aquatic plants, and closely spaced groups of trees were strategically placed to block the birds’ pathways to grazing areas and safety, and reduce the birds’ sight lines to 30 feet which rouses their fear of confinement.

Discouraging Food Supply
Our team at Columbus Recreation and Parks will continue to do our best to keep the geese at bay while adhering to the terms of the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Ohio state law protecting waterfowl, but we need your help to discourage their presence on the Scioto Mile.

First and foremost, please DO NOT feed the geese. Waterfowl have amazing survival skills, but feeding them can cause issues such as food dependency, aggressive behavior, disease, delayed migration, and many other cumulative problems.

We want you to enjoy the park, so we ask that you please dispose of trash. It may be hard to imagine, but that stray French fry or leftover sandwich crumbs add to the problem. Compound that with another visitor’s abandoned food waste and it becomes a major issue for both the geese and park visitors.

Cleaning Up After Geese
Columbus Recreation and Parks recognize that cohabitating with Canada geese can be a nuisance and we’re working diligently to limit their effect on the Scioto Mile. While paths are swept multiple times per week to clear the droppings, we recognize that the geese return to the area creating a continual issue for park guests. (A single goose can defecate every 20 minutes up to 1.5 pounds each day.) The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department is working to make best use of our resources to address ongoing clean-up.

For more information on the Canada goose:
National Geographic: Canada Goose
Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife: Living with Wildlife
The Humane Society of the United States: Solving Problems with Canada Geese

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