Five Rules To Survive Columbus Festival Season

CBUS Dads dad blogger Dan Farkas' kids enjoying Kona Ice at the Powell Festival

Summer means festivals. Lots of festivals.

It’s all fun and games until the kids lose something, preferably not an eye or a Power Ranger.

While the kids go crazy on sugar, sun and no semblance of a bedtime, here are the top five things I remember in making the most of Columbus festival season.

Don’t Like The Music Too Much
The Powell Festival had a host of different bands playing cover songs. Most of the time, this includes a mix of 80’s music, 80’s music with Bon Jovi, 80’s music with Journey, and more 80’s music. When I heard Living Colour’s Cult of Personality followed by one of my favorite Pearl Jam songs, I had to wash down my snark with some humble pie and air guitar.

Sounds great! Then your kids notice you like the music.

Then, they ask questions.

Have you ever had to try and explain to what Harvey Danger’s Flagpole Sitter was about? I’ve listened to that song for more than two decades and still have no clue. Making up the answer on the fly, I went with the standard cliché.

Dad: It’s about feeling happy.

Leah: Why are they talking about amputees?

Dan: Where’s the Kona Ice?

At least they didn’t play Nine Inch Nails….

Kona Ice Needs a Waiver
I wanted to get the kids a small.

The kids got a medium.

The kids then put enough enough cherry juice/sugar to wreck Kona’s profit margin. May I present Exhibit A:

CBUS Dads dad blogger Dan Farkas' son loves Kona Ice at Columbus festivals
CBUS Dads dad blogger Dan Farkas’ son loves Kona Ice at Columbus festivals

I rest my case.

If You Don’t Pack a Swimsuit, Pack Plan B
Many festivals feature some sort of water, fountain or other way to get wet. We forgot about the Powell splash pad and told our kids to not get wet.


In .0814 seconds, the kids were trying out as an extra for the Aquaman movie. The kids are now even at an age to cutely gloat about their effort in a way that it’s tough to get mad. It is a festival after all.

There’s No Such Things as Bad Festival Beer
There are far more craft options, and refrigeration/carbonation techniques are better. Plus, it’s cold beer during hot weather and you’re at a festival. The beer could be made of tar and kale juice; I would give it four stars on Untappd.

Have an Exit Strategy
I was able to walk with both kids from the car to the festival in five minutes. After a few hours of playing, sugar consumption, getting soaked, doing ninja moves, getting totally soaked, dancing to Counting Crows covers, more sugar, mosquito bites, and getting absolutely soaked, it was time to attempt sleep. I knew that would be comical. I didn’t know getting to the van would resemble a hiking sequence from The Blair Witch Project. I never knew two humans could move so slowly, stopping to look at blades of grass or demanding to look at everything because “it’s something you have to have.” New York traffic looked like a Formula 1 race compared to the Farkas family caravan to the car.

Should you and your family experience every festival possible this summer? Absolutely. These are the cornerstones of community and family memories. The more the better.

Just know that you have no idea what will happen when you get there. Maybe that’s what makes Columbus festival season so festive in the first place.

-By Dan Farkas, Regular Contributor

Two Indoor Activities in Powell for a Cold, Winter Day

CBUS Dads blogger Steve Michalovich shares his experience spending a cold day in Downtown Powell, visiting Recreations Outlet and TREEHIVE cafe & play.

The holidays are over, and temperatures have gotten quite frigid. If you have young kids, you are looking for any kind of activity that will occupy them and hopefully wear them out. When the wind chill is below zero though, it’s not as easy as heading to the park or the zoo.

My wife were in this predicament with our 20-month-old daughter last Martin Luther King Day. It was freezing outside, but we were all getting a little stir crazy stuck in the house for the three-day weekend.

We discovered two incredible ways to spend a few hours indoors in Powell:

We started at TREEHIVE cafe & play. We had never been to a play cafe before, so the concept sort of blew us away. We were able to drop our daughter off in a clean, enclosed activity space with toys, puzzles and slides, where 10-20 other children were actively playing. A TREEHIVE cafe & play staffer was in the space, being kept very busy keeping up with all of the hyped kids. Meanwhile, my wife and I grabbed a cup in the cafe, which is similar to any other modern coffee shop. We talked. We scrolled the internet. I purchased my running shoes for the upcoming season. We spent about 45 minutes there, which is probably about the max you could hope for. I was impressed with the different membership models and pay structures TREEHIVE cafe & play offered. The site is available to reserve for big parties, which I filed away for potential future use.

From there, we went across the street to Recreations Outlet. On the surface, Recreations Outlet has helped many Ohio families turn backyards into playground meccas. But their facility in Powell (there’s also a couple in the Cincinnati area) are big showrooms for the products they offer. We’re talking basketball hoops, trampolines, big toys. We learned that Recreations Outlet offers indoor play all year long. If you need additional convincing this is good (you shouldn’t), they set charitable play hours each week where 50 percent of all earnings from indoor play go to a worthy charity. In 2016, Recreations Outlet donated $42,000+ to local nonprofits. On MLK Day, the place was packed, but that didn’t stop our daughter from taking it all in. It didn’t stop me either – how could I not get in on the action? We put in another 90 minutes there, and it didn’t get dull. For a visual, here’s my daughter a year ago in a swing – in slow motion.

If you can get up to Powell, both are near the downtown, which is actually a neat place to hang out with some cool shops and local restaurants.

Winter has really just begun, so if you have any other suggested indoor activities around town, please share.

By Steven Michalovich, Contributor