The Official Parent’s Guide to Independents’ Day

It is the end of an era. For a decade, the Independents’ Day team (which I am honored to be a part of) has helped cultivate creative collaborations and inspire the independent artists, musicians, business owners and leaders of Columbus. This weekend is the final showcase of this annual event, but don’t worry, we have much bigger plans for the future! It is time to strategically abdicate in an effort to make room and opportunity for the next round of creatives to take over.

What began as a fun little beer-fueled street fair back in 2007 has slowly become a vibrant multifaceted celebration of all things Columbus. Through the ID years, our community aged with us, and they, like we, now have children. The festival has adapted to this, but I don’t think we have done it justice by talking enough about how family-friendly we have become. Thus, below are my 10 suggestions towards a parent’s guide to IDX!

  1. kID. In the sixth year of the festival, Ashley Baker (now the 2017 chair of Urban Scrawl and a board member with the Franklinton Arts District), was pregnant and noticed that all of our old friends were pushing strollers and wearing kids on their chests (literally). She noted the calm atmosphere that supported it, but recognized the lack of programming. The following year, Ashley officially joined the leadership team, created a welcoming space behind the Idea Foundry, and started what would become our first festival within the festival. In its sophomore year, she stepped it up with more amenities and more diverse partners. This year they have partnered with Mt. Carmel to bring in a touch-a-truck with their mobile wellness set up. By square foot density, during its open hours, this has become one of the most popular places at all of Independents’ Day!

  2. The music. Everything about the music this year is special. Dereck Dupont and Patrick Locy created the rule for bands to be added that they needed to produce something new and unique. We have bands with choirs, symphonic pieces, projection screens, etc. And this starts at noon each day. Through the generous support of the GCAC, Columbus Foundation and neighboring community partners, we are honored to be able to pay our artists to perform. Bring headphones for the little ones because everyone will enjoy these parts of the party.

  3. The Taivara Trails app. From the folks who digitized the Columbus Coffee Trail and the Short North Art Walks we proudly present the official Independents’ Day app. Think of this as Pokemon Go for our festival goers. All you have to do is visit the mobile site, pick your team (good or evil) and enjoy the festival. By checking in at different locations and for special performances, you can earn points, which you can later redeem at the CD102.5 booth for awesome prizes. This game is fun for everyone, but best when shared with our little friends.

  4. Arrive hungry, leave satisfied. The Independents’ Day food team is amazing and the former food Lieutenant Shelley Mann (food expert, writer and organizer) is now the Captain of this year’s festival, so her team is holding no punches. In addition to the most highly curated line up of Columbus food trucks, they also have a special brunch and a tent in the center of the festival showcasing all things independently delicious.

  5. Speaking of delicious, retired Captain Jacob Wooten has come back with a vengeance over the past several years to create an incredible local drink land/beer garden. Along with wine and liquor, dozens of breweries are bringing their best. Always drink responsibly, have a DD, buy your wife/husband/partner/buddy something nice because some of these drinks will never be available again.

  6. Volunteer. Please set a good example for the minis, plus it is fun.

  7. Tortilla has partnered with EcoLyfe Designs to create a gigantic piñata. This is one of those things that we do not really understand yet, but are looking forward to the unveiling. From what I gather, EcoLyfe is building this giant pinata and anyone can paint it during the day on Saturday. Then on Sunday, it is going to be hoisted up and Walter from Tortilla/Loco Sweets is going to lead the children (and adult children) through an exercise to smash it, releasing hundreds of pounds of traditional Mexican candy and free taco coupons.

  8. Speaking of art things we do not really understand yet, our artists have paired up and created a giant drone-powered floating cloud. Yup! Really weird, perfectly Independents’ Day.

  9. New Americans. There will be a lovely small village. This village is made up of a dozen vendors from every corner of the globe that now call Columbus home. This initiative started at ID last year and has expanded its showcase at Comfest and Hot Times. Thanks to the generous support of Puffin Foundation West and leadership support of Gale Gray, this small section of the festival plot offers international vendors a chance to sell goods, mix, mingle, and collaborate. It is really a beautiful thing, and in a world where our kids are surrounded by negativity in the news, this is a great example of a united world in our own backyard.

  10. Seriously, go to kID. Ashley, Ryan, and their team have worked non-stop for the last three years to make the best festival for our next generation of rockers, rollers, artists, and leaders.

Bringing an end to this chapter is fairly bittersweet, but the opportunity to share it one last time with you and your families makes me extremely proud.

-By Wolf Starr, Contributor

Grocery Shopping and Survival

Whenever possibly, CBUS Dads blogger Steven Michalovich tries to do his grocery shopping at Kroger during happy hour.

Just when I felt I could survive a trip to the store with my daughter, sure enough, we had another kid.

I remember the first time I braved a trip to the grocery store with both kiddos like it was yesterday. It was only a few months ago, but a few months can feel like a few hours when you’re a parent.

Like many good Ohioans, we are loyal to Cincinnati-based Kroger. We weren’t intentional about the day of the week, but our first trip as a family of four to Kroger was on a Friday afternoon. If you shop at Kroger, you may know that they do happy hour on Fridays. It may sound lame, but they offer full glasses of wine for a quarter. That’s right, 25 cents. Goes without saying, but I highly recommend you do your Kroger shopping during happy hour. It makes the whining and mischief much easier to tolerate.

The happy hour is strategically located as you enter the store. I could sense that the next hour of my life could be better served with a little booze, so I quickly scooped up a glass for me and my wife, and we proceeded in.

Kroger does a great job catering to kids. Starting in the produce section, they offer free bananas for children. We always make this our first stop, because a banana will keep a two-year-old busy and peaceful for about seven minutes.

Kroger also offers free cookies from the bakery. When we first started taking kids grocery shopping, the first order of business was to get that free cookie. As our daughter has grown, we dangle the cookie as the carrot for good behavior. She is well aware that a trip to the store equals a cookie for her, so she is more apt to behave and listen knowing a cookie is the reward.

My toddler is going through a phase where she loves to “help Daddy” (let’s hope this continues for the next 30 years). Giving her assignments like pulling items from our list off shelves and putting them in the cart, keep her happy and agreeable most of the time.

None of the above even accounts for our infant. Hopefully you catch yours right when they’re ready for a nap, but anyone who’s had a newborn baby knows there’s no planning when they’ll want to cozy up for a snooze.

Children, of all ages, will always be a challenge in stores, and no amount of cheap wine will change that. When it’s just me and the kids doing the grocery shopping, my wife likes to add to the challenge by sending me on an endless quest for three different kinds of nutrition bars that are all conveniently scattered in different aisles of the store.

In my short time as a dad, I’ve learned getting through any errand requires a savvy combination of distraction, motivation, inclusion, and shameless bribery. This saga will never end, so if you have any tips for how you get through your shopping adventures with kids in toe, please share them here.

Side note: the following picture was posted exactly two years ago today. A day after I turned 30. One of the early trips to Kroger with children.

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By Steven Michalovich, Contributor