Festivals in Ohio

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The oldest surviving theater in central Ohio, the fin de siècle elegance of the Southern Theatre's jewel-box auditorium transports audiences back to the days of vaudeville antics and silver-screen spectacle. Built in 1896 to state-of-the-art standards, the theater's bandshell-esque proscenium bucked architectural norms to funnel sound to the seats. Its 204 light bulbs required that the theater generate its own electricity for years, until scientists finally found the power outlets. Before the show, audiences can feast on the recently restored auditorium's eye candy, which includes a gilded ceiling etched with reclining figures and majestic arches that help the eye dance throughout.

21 E Main St
Columbus,
OH
US

• For $11, you get one general-admission ticket (a $17.50 value before fees, or up to a $22.75 value online, including all ticketing fees). • For $54, you get one VIP admission, including early entrance, preshow-party access, and a souvenir T-shirt (a $100 value before fees, or up to a $107.30 value online, including all ticketing fees).

308 Euclid Ave
Cleveland,
OH
US

The Cincinnati Film Festival showcases moving pictures from all over the globe from October 8 to October 16. Your all-day pass (a $20 value) gets you access to a full day of screenings and workshops. Start your cineday with the Shorts Block 9, a collection of short films playing at the Esquire Theater, and then hop over to Main St. Cinema to catch "Runaways: Producing In Ohio," as a panel of local industry insiders discuss the past, present, and future of Ohio film production. Locavores can cheer on hometown heroes at the Esquire during 48 Hour Film Project: Take 2, a mash-up of mini-movies produced by Cincinnati filmmakers, before indulging in behind-the-scenes voyeurism with a screening of Saturday Night, a 90-minute Saturday Night Live documentary directed by actor James Franco. The weeklong film fest's Awards Gala will be held on Friday, October 15 at Memorial Hall, where a special award will be presented to musician/TV personality/producer Nick Lachey for his contributions to the local production community. A ticket to the gala (a $25 value) gives formal-loving filmophiles an excuse to break out tuxes and ball gowns, as this gala is black-tie optional with a required tweed-based business-dress minimum. Check the program guide for a complete list of screenings. Organizers recommend you arrive at all events 30 minutes ahead of time to procure the best seats in the house, away from the permanent front-row installations of 10-gallon hats and actual honey-filled beehives.

20 W 9th St
Cincinnati,
OH
US

Tomato plants are imperfect, yielding just as many inedible fruits as the healthy, tasty ones. The organizers of The Tomato Bash devised an alternative employment for the unworthy bounty, transforming the leftover tomatoes into ammunition for a massive ketchup making party. Participants are encouraged to sport silly costumes for the big event, as they are inevitably going to get utterly filthy.

To kick off the festivities, revelers are entertained with a cadre of food trucks, beverage vendors, and DJ playing tunes, including rebellious anthems encouraging the tomatoes to throw themselves. At 3 p.m., the tomato foam machine outside of the tomato arena powers up, pumping the stage area full of bubbly, pink fruit foam. Then the hordes of goggle-clad contestants descend upon a large arena and lose themselves in a sea of red goo.

9870 Hyland-Croy Road
Plain City,
OH
US

The 2011 Rock the Resort festival chutes fans through a two-day tunetopia of live rock 'n' roll paired with the watery fun of Clay's Park Resort and its adventure water park. Like Woodstock with even zippier ziplines, Rock the Resort offers a panoply of summertime activities complemented by ear-watering evening performances from an octet of popular artists. Headlining Friday night's jamboree, pop-punk pioneers New Found Glory break the waves at 8 p.m., followed at 10 p.m. by Third Eye Blind, the hit paraders behind "Semi-Charmed Life" and "Jumper." Saturday night marinates eardrums in even more dulcet notes, with Canadian bandoliers Three Days Grace polishing off the festival at 10 p.m. with a set of sandcastle-shaking shanties ready to be savored like fine wine from a scrimshaw flagon.

13190 Patterson Street Northwest
North Lawrence,
OH
US

Train hobbyist Don Oeters founded EnterTRAINment Junction in 2008 to showcase railroading in an educational and amusing way. Two years later, his 80,000-square-foot facility was voted Ohio's Best Family Entertainment Center of 2010.

At the centerpiece, a 25,000-square-foot indoor model train display dazzles visitors with 90 G-scale trains and 2 miles of track winding through handcrafted landscapes, including an 11-foot waterfall, thousands of trees, and scenes documenting railroad's early, middle, and modern periods. Each train car is the size of a loaf of bread, making it easier for groups to see it or break it into communal pieces, and Oeters and his staff continually tweak the locomotive's surroundings by adding seasonal touches and installing minor or major updates. Historical train artifacts, educational videos, and interactive exhibits await amblers in the railroad museum, and the Imagination Junction kids' area entertains youngsters with train-themed play structures, hand-cranked and electronic locomotive rides, and a section dedicated to Thomas the Tank Engine, the first train to successfully learn sign language.

7379 Squire Ct
West Chester,
OH
US