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

Swim Lessons at Goldfish Swim School – Part Three: The Little Things

Ribbons CBUS Dads dad blogger Steve Michalovich's daughter earned through three months of swim lessons at Goldfish Swim School in Westerville.

The following article is a result of a partnership between CBUS Dads and Goldfish Swim School.

For the last three months, Mondays have been a day I look forward to. My daughter and I have spent those Monday evenings at Goldfish Swim School in Westerville.

The experience has been tremendous on all fronts. My daughter – who will turn three at the end of this month – has grown immensely as a swimmer as a result of her lessons. I already can’t wait to enroll my son – who will turn one next month – in the very near future.

I’ve shared my perspective on the experience, both in the water and everything that happens before and after a lesson.

As we break for the summer and look to put her learnings to the test at the community pool and at the beach during family vacation, I wanted to sum up our experience by listing all of the subtle details that comprise the incredible experience with Goldfish Swim School.

I’ve mentioned it before, but it starts with the staff. Everyone was amazing, but special shoutout to my daughter’s two primary instructors: Lauren and Sidney. Even when my daughter had advanced beyond their classes, she always had to say hello to them, because they made such a strong connection with her.

As a marketing professional, I appreciate good communication, and Goldfish makes this a priority. The website and emails are user-friendly and well organized. Moreover, I was impressed by the personal touch they prioritized when they called me the day of a lesson to let me know a different instructor would be filling in. Not necessary by any means, but much appreciated.

The literal warmth of the facility can’t be overstated. They make it incredibly comfortable for the kids and the parents who are getting wet – at the expense of a hefty utility bill I’m sure.

The kids all seem to be comfortable in the water, and I’d imagine this is attributed to the attention each is given. The instructor-to-student ratio is amazing. Once she was in classes where I wasn’t in the pool, there was never more than four students in a class.

Goldfish also makes scheduling a breeze. You pay for the month, and within that month, get four classes. If you know you’ll miss one of your scheduled lessons, they make it extraordinarily easy to reschedule to a different class throughout the week. We had to do this a couple of times.

The instructors truly make the kids feel like they’re accomplishing something. After a sensational lesson, the kids receive ribbons. She was always really proud of her achievements and couldn’t wait to share them with Mommy when we got home.

It’s little things like ribbons that have made this experience special and have extended it beyond our time in the water. I thank Goldfish Swim School for a fun three months.

-By Steve Michalovich, Regular Contributor

Swim Lessons at Goldfish Swim School – Part Two: The Learning Experience

CBUS Dads blogger Steven Michalovich's daughter swimming in a Westerville Goldfish Swim School swim lesson.

The following article is a result of a partnership between CBUS Dads and Goldfish Swim School

I recently shared my family’s experience with Goldfish Swim School in Westerville through a few weeks of lessons.

This month, I’d like to share what the instructors are teaching my daughter and how she has progressed.

Each class is 30 minutes and generally entails some variety of paddling, kicking, back floating, going underwater, and swimming short distances with decreasing levels of assistance from the teacher, as she’s progressed through three levels of classes thus far.

It’s evident there’s an emphasis on swimming skills but also survival skills. The kids are taught to swim to the wall. Part of each class has the kids holding onto the edge of the pool and inching themselves right or left while still holding on.

The biggest physical challenge comes when the teachers have the kids pull themselves out of the pool from this position with little to no assistance. They stress that they need to be able to do this on their own in the event no one is there to help them.

Based on her age, my daughter has participated in the following class levels thus far:

  • Mini 2 (one teacher, max six kids, parents in the pool)
  • Mini 3 (one teacher, max two kids, no parents in the pool)
  • Junior 1 (two teachers, max three kids, no parents in the pool

Each builds on the previous class and has pushed her to new heights and added to her comfort level in the water.

If you’re interested in getting a feel for Goldfish for your child, they are hosting a Water Safety Awareness Event Saturday, May 20 from 4-6 p.m.

Total side note, but during our most recent lesson, we saw how fast the instructors can react in an “emergency”. One of the swimmers in another lane had an “accident”, which resulted in the teachers swiftly getting all of the kids out of the water, and sadly ended swim lessons for the evening.

My daughter will be back at it next week.

-By Steven Michalovich, Regular Contributor

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Swim Lessons at Goldfish Swim School – Part One: The Lay of the Land (or the Pool)

CBUS Dads dad blogger Steven Michalovich and his daughter pose for a picture after their first swim lesson at Goldfish Swim School in Westerville.

The following article is a result of a partnership between CBUS Dads and Goldfish Swim School


Spring is upon us, with summer soon to follow. For my family and many others, weekends will soon be spent at the pool, and an annual pilgrimage to the beach is in the near future.

Because of this, it becomes increasingly critical for my two-and-a-half-year-old to gain more confidence in the water. We’ve enrolled her in swimming lessons at our local community center in the past, but this spring we were looking to make a larger splash with her development.

In March, we started attending weekly lessons at Goldfish Swim School in Westerville. From the start, the staff and instructors have been accommodating, patient, enthusiastic, and helpful in the process, from getting us on-boarded to us actually stepping into the water. I can’t say enough about the team they’ve assembled.

The facility is just as marvelous. You’re greeted by an online check-in and reception desk that is reliably staffed with several people who can help. The facility – which is always remarkably clean – is divided into two areas: a dry side and a wet side.

The pool has been quite the treat during some of these lingering colder days, as they keep the temperature of the room and the water at 90 degrees. The entire process for entering the pool is very efficient. Prior to their lesson time, the kids line up outside the door. Once it’s time to enter, the staff files the kids in with an encouraging high five. From there, the kids are in the pool and put to work swiftly.

After lessons are over, most kids march over to the showers adjacent to the pool. With their suits still on, they’ll rinse off and soap up. When my daughter is done, we’ll gather our stuff, and head to one of the many changing rooms to get dried off and into her pajamas. Her lessons are at 7 p.m., so we are nearing bedtime when we finally get home. The dry side has stations with hair dryers and mirrors to aid in getting your kids as close to bedtime ready as possible. There’s also lockers for use.

At her current level, I am in the pool with her. If you’re unfortunate enough to not participate in the lesson, Goldfish has a glass-walled viewing gallery with chairs that overlook the pool on the dry side.

On our way out, my daughter gets a lollipop from the reception desk if she’s been good during her lesson.

We haven’t taken advantage yet, but Goldfish offers birthday parties on Saturday afternoons. They also open the pool to family swim time several instances a week.

We are still getting our feet wet, but my daughter has already grown her swimming capabilities immensely in just a few weeks. This is a testament to the first-class facility and team of professionals at the Westerville Goldfish Swim School.

-By Steven Michalovich, Regular Contributor

A Family Fun Day at Ohio State’s RPAC

Dad blogger Steve Michalovich with his kids at the RPAC on Ohio State's campus

I’ve been a proud member of The Ohio State University Alumni Association since graduating nearly ten years ago. Member benefits are vast, but now that I’m a parent, I’m able to take advantage of another benefit: Family Fun Days.

On March 18, the OSUAA hosted a Family Fun Day at the RPAC (Recreation and Physical Activity Center), which opened during my time on campus.

We were excited to attend but were even more delighted upon arrival when we realized how much the space catered to families. I guess I missed it while enrolled, but there is a huge indoor pool that is completely designed for children, with a whirlpool, slides, a basketball hoop, and interactive elements.

Kudos to the team at OSUAA for a smooth event. Registration was easy and staff was on-site to answer questions. An impressive slate of snacks and drinks were also given to attendees. Bonus points for the awesome towels each of us received.

Whether you’re an alumni or not, try to figure out a way to get to the RPAC indoor pool with your kids.

By Steve Michalovich, Contributor

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