From the annual Doo Dah Parade and Block Party to the Sunbury Independence Day Flea Market, the events around Columbus, Ohio, make perfect additions to any Fourth of July itinerary. The holiday falls on a Saturday in 2020, which means the entire weekend will be full of Independence Day celebrations. However, many of the events have been postponed or canceled this year due to public health and safety concerns. Check details below and websites of the organizers for more information.
This event has been postponed to Saturday, September 19, 2020, at 1 p.m.
As the organizers say on the event's website, "The Doo Dah Parade is about Freedom of Speech, through humor." Patriotic hilarity ensues at this beloved procession on the Fourth of July each year.
The parade starts on Park Street and heads north, winding through town and ending at Russell and High Streets. A Block Party takes place immediately afterward at Goodale Park gazebo; both events are free to attend. The day will be filled with kid-friendly activities and music at both the parade and the afterparty, which runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
This year's theme is Post Apocalypse—"a celebration of Liberty & Lunacy [that] will be the biggest dang-nab-it St Paddy's Easter De Mayo Memorial Bash of July ever," the website says. Politicians are encouraged to wear silly hats.
This event has been canceled in 2020.
The Ohio Village, also known as the Ohio History Connection, hosts a special Independence Day event in northern Columbus each year. Old-fashioned family activities make this event one of the more unique Fourth of July celebrations in the area. Set in a recreated 19th-century village, it has in the past included a Grand Procession, patriotic speeches, Muffins baseball, a concert by the Ohio Village Singers, a community dance, and pie-eating contests. An admission fee of $15 per adult, $13 per senior, and $9 per youth (ages 4 to 12) is charged (children 3 and under get in free). Tickets may be purchased at the Ohio History Center or the John Hauck Foundation Welcome Center.
This event has been reimagined as a decorating contest in 2020. Usually, though, the community of Dublin, located in northwest Columbus, hosts a Fourth of July celebration that features concerts (by artists like Michael McDonald and Chaka Khan in the past) and a fireworks show over the Coffman High School Stadium. The event traditionally begins at 8 a.m. with the Sherm Sheldon Fishing Derby at the Dublin Community Recreation Center followed by an Inflation Celebration—where balloons are blown up into wacky shapes and characters—at Graeter's Ice Cream. The 11 a.m. parade rolls through Historic Dublin after that. The evening celebration kicks off at 4:30 p.m. at Coffman High School Stadium, where fireworks erupt around 10 p.m.
In 2020, instead of hold an in-person gathering, Dublin will celebrate Independence Day with a house decorating contest that will run the entire month of June—winners will be announced on July 3—and a Show your American Spirit Bike Brigade on July 4. The annual fishing derby will take place as scheduled, too.
July 3, 2020, is one of Zoombezi Bay's Family Nights where guests can stay in the park until 11 p.m. The 23-acre water park is part of the Columbus Zoo and features a tangle of adrenaline-pumping slides, a lazy river, a kid-specific area, and a "beach" for summertime lounging. On Family Nights, the Big Island Grill features live music and character appearances, and the wave pool turns into an aqua cinema, displaying beloved movies on a jumbo screen. July 3's featured film is "The Goonies." Regular admission prices apply.
There's no bigger celebration of fireworks in Ohio than Red, White & BOOM!, an annual event that takes place in downtown Columbus—usually on the eve of Independence Day—each year. The event usually includes an evening Charity Day 5K on July 2, as well as a number of smaller celebrations throughout the holiday week, with the grand finale being the fireworks display. On the big night, a number of food trucks park up in Food Truck Alley and offer discounted prices on local favorite craft beers and meals. Concerts lead the crowd into the light show, but in 2020, the event will be broadcast in a four-day television special instead of taking place in person. The virtual party will air on NBC4 from Wednesday, July 1, to Saturday, July 4, each night with a different theme.
Sunbury Independence Day Celebration
This event has been canceled in 2020.
A different kind of Fourth of July celebration can be found in Big Walnut, about a 30-minute drive from downtown Columbus. Visitors can browse through thousands of unique items at Sunbury Village Square during its annual Independence Day Flea Market and Celebration. At this holiday market, you can sift through antiques, enjoy food and music, and stick around for an annual fireworks display at Big Walnut High School starting at 10 p.m. The market is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (with a parade at 10 a.m.). Daytime activities like an annual Outhouse Race will take place during the event, too.