The Ohio Challenge 2018

7 AMAZING festivals we just cannot wait for

These are the festivals every Daytonian should have on their bucket lists.

There are festivals and fairs here, there and everywhere. If you can’t get to them all, you can at least try to get to the best. Here are 10 of our favorite festivals happening this summer and into the fall.

Mark your calendars and prepare to eat, drink, sing and dance your way through the Dayton region.

Sean Askren's hot air balloon "Bohica" and Doug Grimes' "The Gator" balloon were inflated during a media preview Thursday, July 20 for The Ohio Challenge Hot Air Balloon Festival at Smith Park in Middletown. The event runs Friday through Sunday. For more information visit NICK GRAHAM/STAFF


Prepare to be wowed. This sanctioned hot air balloon competition will feature a race of 30 participants for the glory, the coveted Ohio Challenge Trophy and a bid to attend the nationals. There will be night balloon glows at dusk, a car show, balloon rides, fireworks, outdoor concerts, food vendors, arts and crafts and carnival rides.

WHEN: Friday and Saturday, July 20-21

WHERE: 2301 Wedekind Drive, Middletown


COST: $5 for adults, children under 12 are free. Parking $15 (includes free shuttle and admission)

>> 7 things that will wow you this weekend at hot air balloon festival

>> PHOTOS: See the amazing balloons from Middletown’s annual hot hair balloon festival

Gaelic Storm will once again headline the Dayton Celtic Festival this July. CONTRIBUTED


Celtic music is just one of the things to love about one of the signature festivals of Dayton summer. There’s also the beer, the kilts and the delicious grub. Three days of free live music from Gaelic Storm, Scythian, Socks In The Frying Pan, Rory Makem, The Fitzgeralds, We Banjo 3 and Heron Valley. 

Did we mention the beer, food and culture?

>> 8 fun facts about Gaelic Storm

WHEN: Friday to Sunday, July 27-29

WHERE: Riverscape MetroPark, 237 E. Monument Ave., Dayton


INFO: Website | Facebook | Instagram

>> PHOTOS: Dayton Celtic Festival 2017

The 34rd Annual Germanfest Picnic in Dayton was RiverScape MetroPark for the first time in the event’s history. The picnic, hosted by the Dayton Liederkranz-Turner club, took place Aug. 11-13 and proved to be a fun way to spend the weekend in the Gem City. (TOM GILLIAM/CONTRIBUTED)
Photo: Tom Gilliam


The 35th annual Dayton Liederkranz-Turner Germanfest Picnic is back for a second year at its new home at Riverscape with all the things you love about this Dayton tradition, including that unbelievable potato salad. Get ready for schnitzels, German beer, pretzels, Bavarian noms, polka and chicken dancing and apple cake. There will be a raffle for a trip for two to Germany plus $1,000 spending money.

WHEN: Aug. 10-12 — 5-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

WHERE: Riverscape Metropark, 237 E. Monument Ave., Dayton


INFO: Website

>> PHOTOS: The 34th annual Germanfest Picnic

The fifth annual Bacon Fest took over the Fraze Pavilion, in Kettering, with porky fun on Sunday, Aug. 20. The event sponsored by the Fraze and Miami Valley Restaurant Raiders — a monthly “foodie” group that visits local restaurants — featured bacon treats from 15 locally owned restaurant. STAFF PHOTO / TOM GILLIAM
Photo: Tom Gilliam/Tom Gilliam


Bacon on bacon on bacon. And also bacon.

>> PHOTOS: Did we catch you drooling over the amazing food at Bacon Fest? 

This festival sets out to prove that “everything goes better with bacon.”

Local restaurants create bacon-ey dishes for the event presented by the Restaurant Raiders, a foodie group that supports Dayton area restaurants. 

Music includes Cherry Avenue, The Fries and Fu5ion.

WHEN: 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18

WHERE: Fraze Pavilion, 95 Lincoln Park Blvd., Kettering


Ohio Renaissance Festival is always a great time, but on Fantasy Weekend, wondrous creatures such as unicorns, fairies, and elves sneak into our realm for a visit. We went to Fantasy weekend and enjoyed the beautiful weather, great food and drink, and saw many incredible costumes. PHOTO / Josher Lumpkin


Transport yourselves to another era at the Ohio Renaissance Festival. This 30-acre permanent village has been historically re-created to resemble 16th Century England. Every weekend from Labor Day through the end of October, experience entertainment including jousting knights, jugglers, comedians, sword-fighters and the Queen herself with more than 100 shows daily. Feast on gigantic turkey legs, sip on hearty ales and flavorful wines. No utensils required. More than 150 world-class artisans will display their wares.

WHEN: Weekends Sept. 1 – Oct. 28 plus Labor Day. Open 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

WHERE: Renaissance Park in Harveysburg, Ohio on State Route 73 in Warren County.

INFO: Website

It’s an annual feast at the Dayton Greek Festival. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Photo: Contributing Writer


OPA! The Dayton Greek Festival is celebrating 60 years this year. Experience the best of Greek food, music and culture at this three-day festival in September. Feast on pastitsio, moussaka, dolmades, saganaki, tsoureki, Ouzo slushies, craft beers, baklava and more. Take a tour of the gorgeous Annunciation Greek Orthodox church. Entertainment includes Greek dancing and music as well as cooking demonstrations and shopping.

WHEN: Sept. 7-9. Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

WHERE: Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 500 Belmonte Park North, Dayton

COST: Admission is free on Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and $2 per person the entire weekend. Children under 12 are admitted free, as well as active military and veterans. Free parking and shuttle service.

INFO: Website

Sauerkraut pizza is one of the local delicacies peddled at the Ohio Sauerkraut Festival in Waynesville. STAFF/NICK DAGGY


Whether you love sauerkraut or hate it, there’s something for everyone at one of the region’s biggest festivals. Sauerkraut can be found as a main course, an ingredient or a topping for pizza, sundaes, brownies, donuts, cookies, sausage, hot dogs and more. There are plenty of unique dishes for those who dare. There will be non-sauerkraut tainted foods as well.

WHEN: Oct. 13-14. Hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Downtown Waynesville

COST: Free admission

INFO: Website