DAYTON EATS: Summer festivals near and far offer a bounty of food flavors, experiences

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

The ground underneath us is springing back to life.

It’s bright, juicy and luscious everywhere I turn and I am here for all of it.

Each year I try and ready my dining dance card so I can maximize my experiences. A big part of that is planning ahead for festivals.

The outdoor festival game in Ohio is strong. In Dayton we are particularly lucky to be in such close proximity to large cities with Columbus and Cincinnati, which are both relatively short drives away. Each year I look to see not only what’s happening in Dayton when it comes to outdoor festivals, where often the food can be immensely satisfying, but also out of town to see what rises to the occasion. As I was doing my yearly planning for events that I hope to attend, I realized that after more than a decade of writing this food column I’ve only shared my local list with readers.

In an effort to right this wrong, here is the current festival list with events that will have a food component or focus that interests me. These are all events where I know the food will be delicious and the content presented will be electrified with the festival magic that this time of year always brings with it.

Because there are so many here I have only included the dates, description and website URL. If it’s of interest you can always navigate there for the description of the event, any vendor lists they might have and other details you would need.

May 26: Cheese Fest, Dayton

May 27-28: Columbus Asian Festival, Columbus

May 27-28: Ohio Black Expo Riverfront Culture Fest, Columbus

May 27-28: Jeni’s Strawberry Jam at Land-Grant, Columbus

May 27-29: Taste of Cincinnati, Cincinnati

May 31: Kettering Block Party, Kettering

June 2-4: CincItalia – Cincinnati Italian Festival, Cincinnati

June 2-4: Summerfair, Cincinnati

June 3: Columbus Chicken and Beer Festival, Columbus

June 3: Uncorked: Columbus Wine Fest, Columbus

June 3-4: Troy Strawberry Festival, Troy

June 9-10: Schwabenfest, Cincinnati

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

June 9-11: Poultry Days, Versailles

June 9-11: Columbus Arts Festival, Columbus

June 10: Cincy Beerfest, Cincinnati

June 10: Yellow Springs Street Fair, Yellow Springs

June 10: Columbus Summer Wine Festival, Columbus

June 11: Dayton Jazz Festival, Dayton

June 11: Jewish Cultural Festival, Dayton

June 11: The Taste, Kettering

June 16: Cincinnati Food Truck Assoc. Food Fest, Blue Ash

June 16-17: Jungle Jim’s International Craft Beer Festival, Fairfield

June 16-18: Schützenfest Cincinnati, Cincinnati

June 17: Rock Piqua Food Truck and Music Festival, Piqua

June 17: Black Heritage Festival, Urbana

June 17: Celtic Fest Ohio, Waynesville

June 17, July 15, Aug. 19, Sept. 16: Waynesville Street Faire, Waynesville

June 21: Spass Nacht, Kettering

June 23: A Taste of Worthington Summer Food Festival, Worthington

June 23-25: Panegyri Greek Festival, Cincinnati

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

June 24: Miamisburg Pickle Fest: Just Dill With It, Miamisburg

June 24: Tequila Fest Cincinnati, Cincinnati

June 24: SunWatch Summer Fest, Dayton

June 30-July 2: Taps, Tastes and Tunes Festival, West Chester

July 3: July Sommerfest: Red, White and Brats, Columbus

July 7-8: North Market Ohio Wine Festival, Columbus

July 7-9: Everybody’s Favorite Barbecue and Hot Sauce Festival, Cincinnati

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

July 8: Kickin’ Chicken Wing Fest, Kettering

July 8: Soul of Columbus Food and Art Festival, Columbus

July 14-16: Cincinnati Celtic Festival, Cincinnati

July 15: Pineapple Fest at Austin Landing, Miamisburg

July 15: Cincy Blues Fest, Cincinnati

July 21-22: The Ohio Challenge, Middletown

July 21-23: Columbus Jazz and Rib Fest, Columbus

July 21-23: Cincy Soul: The Black Taste, Cincinnati

July 22: Dayton Garlic Fest, Dayton

July 23: Dayton Blues Festival, Dayton

July 27-30 and Aug. 3-6: GoettaFest, Newport, Ky.

July 28-30: Dayton Celtic Festival, Dayton

July 28-30: Annie Oakley Festival, Greenville

July 29-30: Columbus Food and Wine Festival, Columbus

Aug. 4-5: Lebanon Blues Festival, Lebanon

Aug. 4-6: Dublin Irish Festival, Dublin

Aug. 5: Down A River, Down A Beer, Piqua

Aug. 5: Ghana Festival Ohio, Columbus

Aug. 11-13: Germanfest Picnic, Dayton

Aug. 12: Columbus Beerfest, Columbus

Aug. 12: Art on the Lawn, Yellow Springs

Aug. 12-13: Festival Latino, Columbus

Aug. 13: Dayton Funk Festival, Dayton

Aug. 13: Art on the Commons, Kettering

Aug. 19: Bacon Fest, Kettering

Aug. 19: Springfield Rotary Gourmet Food Truck Competition, Springfield

Aug. 19-20: Fairborn Sweet Corn Festival, Fairborn

Aug. 19-20: Dayton African American Cultural Festival, Dayton

Aug. 25-27: Germania Society Oktoberfest, Cincinnati

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Aug. 25-27: The Lebanese Festival, Dayton

Aug. 26: HAMILPALOOZA, Hamilton

Aug. 26: ARTFest on Main, Springboro

Aug. 26: Taco and Nacho Fest, Miamisburg

Aug. 26-27: Columbus Fiery Foods Festival, Columbus

Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news that make mouths water. Share info about your menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes and culinary adventures. Do you know of new exciting format changes, specials, happy hours, restaurant updates or any other tasty news you think is worth a closer look at? E-mail Alexis Larsen at with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.

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