New arrivals looking to experience the best of entertainment in Columbus are sure to enjoy these annual festivals and celebrations held in and around the city. With such a jam-packed calendar, the hardest part is often deciding which exciting event to go to.

Here are our picks for the top yearly events in Columbus.


Annual events in Columbus

Ohio State Fair (July/August)

With close to a million people attending over the 12 days of this iconic festival, new arrivals should make sure they don’t miss out on the fun. Concerts are played, food stalls abound and a wide array of contests take place.

Red, White & BOOM! (July)

This Independence Day fireworks display is the largest of its kind not just in Ohio, but also throughout the entire Midwest region. Fourth of July celebrations are the perfect opportunity for new arrivals from other countries to experience American culture at its best.

Jazz and Rib Fest (July)

Hosted on the banks of the Scioto River, this free event combines jazz music’s finest acts with mouthwateringly delicious ribs and other grilled meats like chicken, pulled pork and beef brisket. Prizes are awarded to the best grillers at the festival and attendees can participate by voting in the People’s Choice Award.

Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (November/December)

For those looking to kick off the festive season with a bit of Christmas magic, the dazzling light displays of Wildlights are a perfect pick. The festival has more than 30 years of history behind it and the displays around the zoo are made up of more than three million LED lights.