The Columbus Arts Festival Will Stick To The Scioto Riverfront After All

A central Ohio band draws Arts Fest attendees with their performance on the Big Local Stage. Photo by Joe Maiorana.

This summer, we can all enjoy the Columbus Arts Festival at its original riverfront location.

The festival, which runs June 10-12, was going to be relocated to the Arena District. But after Festival organizers were unable to reach a safe traffic plan for the festival in the Arena District, the decision was made to keep the festival at its original spot.

“We’re excited that we will remain in a place we know and love well,” said Festival Director Sean Kessler. “And with the completion of some of the new construction, the west side of the Scioto Peninsula will have new parking and public art amenities coming online in time for the Festival.”

There are now two new garages on Starling Street at the edge of the festival that will open just in time for the festival on June 1. The garages will feature three murals by Columbus-based artists that will be installed in May, as well as a sculptural installation that will be installed later in the summer.

Two Arts Festival attendees browse the selection of prints in a landscape photographer’s booth.
Photo by Greg Bartram.

With the new parking garages in place, there will be over 15,000 parking spaces within the four-block radius of the festival. There are also multiple ways to attend the festival that doesn’t involve your car, including biking and riding the COTA bus.

The Columbus Arts Festival began in 1962 on the lawn of the Ohio Statehouse, before migrating to the Scioto River waterfront. The area has been home to the festival ever since, with the exception of when the riverfront was under construction in the early 2010s.

The original decision to shift the festival to the Arena District was prompted by current development and construction on the Scioto Peninsula.

Artist selections, performers, food vendors, and other activities haven’t been announced just yet, but the festival hours have been released.

Festival Hours: Friday, June 10 from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, June 11 from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; and Sunday, June 12 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Please note: on Friday and Saturday artist booths close at 9 p.m.; artists have the option to stay open later.)

If you’d like to learn more about the Columbus Arts Festival, call (614) 221-8625 or visit

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