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Insider tips for visiting Ohio's herb capital.
If you’ve never attended the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau’s annual Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival (CBJF) in Gahanna, Ohio, THIS is year to make it happen! This weekend (June 20-22) marks the 16th Annual CBJF and is expected to draw thousands of festival fans, foodies, families and, YES, blues and jazz fans … rain or shine. Set against the breathtaking backdrop of Creekside Park (with its meandering trails and paddleboats floating down the Big Walnut Creek), the Festival is beloved by many for its manageable size, idyllic setting and outstanding musical line-up. (Did we mention the great location just east of Columbus, off the I-270 outer belt?)
This year’s event will feature 52 bands, 90 hours of music, 26 food + 32 retail vendors, five stages and three days of family fun. Here are a few Insider Tips to help you navigate the event with ease …
1) Cheap fun. Festival wristbands are just $5/ per person per day. Children under 12 and members of the military (with immediate family) are free. To save a little money on admission, pick up a $1 discount coupon at AAA’s Gahanna office (5073 N Hamilton Rd, Columbus, OH 43230) or come on Sunday (between 12-1:30 pm) for FREE admission when you bring a nonperishable food item to donate to Mid-Ohio Foodbank.
2) Nonstop Music. CBJF offers five stages, all with great musical line-ups! Devoted Jazz fan? Hardcore blues buff? Lean toward a bluegrass vibe? We got that. Visit CreeksideBluesandJazz.com to check out the full schedule and chart your “must see” list. Many great bands play at the same time on the different stages, so be sure to plan ahead so you don’t miss your favs.
3) Get there early. The festival runs from 5-11 pm Friday, 11 am-11 pm Saturday and 12-6 pm Sunday. And the activity heats up throughout the day. Is there a specific band you are coming to see? It’s best to arrive early to find a seat. (You can also bring your own lawn chairs, but no coolers. No pets either—Fido will have to listen to his/her jazz/blues at home. Sorry.)
4) Parking & Shuttles. Let’s face it, parking can be an issue at ANY festival. We’ve tried to ease the hassle by providing four park-and-ride FREE shuttle locations throughout the Gahanna area. These are located at Giant Eagle (1250 N. Hamilton Rd); Gahanna Lincoln High School (140 S. Hamilton Rd.); 101 S. Stygler Rd. (at the corner of Rt. 62 and Stygler Rd. across from City Barbeque) and at *Clark Hall (300 Granville St.—behind Panera).
*Handicap accessible complimentary shuttles are located at the Clark Hall lot. Additionally, the Creekside Parking Garage (located at the corner of Mill and North Streets) will be open and will offer parking adjacent to the Festival for $5 per car. NOTE: Admission to the Festival will be charged at the entrance to the garage.
5) Family Friendly Fun. This year, the number of children’s activities at the Donatos Family Fun Zone has DOUBLED! This area, located at Veterans Memorial Park (on the south side of SR 62/Granville St as you enter Gahanna from I-270). Families can enjoy FREE crafts and activities by Kya’s Crusade, Ohio Origami and Piano Lessons in Your Home; experiment with musical instruments, visit a petting zoo and much more. Go HERE for a full schedule of kid friendly fun. In addition, visitors can buy tickets ($1 each) or wristbands ($15-18) to ride a variety of amusement rides.
6) Hungry? Good! CBJF is a culinary paradise. Here you can find a variety of food vendors offering something for every taste. How about Bourbon chicken, BBQ ribs, corn on the cob, Irish nachos, mac & cheese, French fries, donut/bacon cheeseburgers, chicken teriyaki, fried rice, deep fried veggies, funnel cakes, fudge puppies, gyros, pizza, Greek salad, wings, hot dogs, Bahama Mamas, cream puffs, ice cream, cookies, caramel corn, kettle corn, lemonade, beer, pop, cotton candy, wine, snow cones, rootbeer, chips, red potatoes, gourmet apples, egg rolls, chicken fingers or fried bologna? In addition to the food vendors, there are at least a dozen restaurants located in or near the festival footprint, that offer a little A/C and great dining experience.
7) Boutique Shopping. CBJF is like a mini-outdoor market with artisan treasures, surrounded by a great live soundtrack. Shop for jewelry, handbags, clothing, skin care products, tie-dye clothing, scarves, Chinese fans, flowers, planters, caricatures, wooden boxes, sunglasses and more. Additionally, the Creekside District offers great retail vendors like Honey Grove Botanicals (where you can find some hand-crafted gifts to take home).
8) Become a #2014CBJF SuperFan. Use the official hashtag (#2014CBJF) and join the conversation via Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram while at the Festival. We’ll be on the lookout for ya’ll (both virtually and in person) to share your feedback, photos and just maybe you’ll snag some of our cool swag just for helping carry the CBJF flag!
For more info, visit CreeksideBluesandJazz.com. Follow @VisitGahanna on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter; @CreeksideBlues on Facebook and Twitter.
~Post by Mary Szymkowiak, Communications & Tourism Manager, Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau
We caught up with Angela Perley–the “it girl” of the Columbus Ohio music scene–for a quick interview before she and her band (Angela Perley and The Howlin’ Moons) take the Community Stage at Gahanna’s Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival at 7 pm THIS Friday, June 20. Their music has been causing quite a buzz throughout the Midwest lately. Demure and quiet off stage, the performer usually shocks people when she tells them she is the lead singer in a band.
Q: How would you describe your music? Rock and Roll music rooted in country and blues. A lot of the songs revolve around love, heartbreak, the moon and rambling, and at times get pretty dreamy and psychedelic.
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a musician? I always grew up singing and writing but didn’t really know that I wanted to be a musician until high school when I first starting writing songs and performing at talent shows. I loved the feelings of fear, excitement and all the emotions that happen while playing in front of an audience. It becomes addicting. It just snowballed from there and I started playing more often. That’s when I began realizing how important it was for me and how it was really the only thing I felt truly comfortable and happy doing.
Q: Where/when was your first big break?
I would consider my first big break just landing the deal I have with Vital Music USA in 2009. They had heard some of my homemade demos, believed in me and reached out to professionally record my songs. They ended up introducing me to the guys that later became my band (Chris Connor, Billy Zehnal and Jeff Martin) and I wouldn’t be here without my amazing band that has dedicated countless hours of their lives to this project and my songs. Since 2009 they have recorded four of our EPS and our debut full-length record Hey Kid (just came out this January).
The band also has been really lucky to have a couple of our CDs do really well in the UK. We have gained a lot of radio play over there and some pretty good grass-roots radio play and press here in the U.S., which has helped to get our music out there lately. We still have a long way to go, but we keep hitting dreams and goals of mine along the way. Each year keeps getting better.
Q: What’s your favorite song to perform (right now)? Right now my favorite song to perform is “Athens.” It seems whenever we play that song, there are many people in the audience that either went to school at Ohio University or have spent a lot of time in Athens OH. I just feel like there is an immediate connection and feeling we have in common that makes that song so emotional to perform. It also has a huge ending that is really fun to perform live. We usually close our sets with it.
Q: Name one thing that most people don’t know about you. That I have a fear of talking on the phone. It’s not a crazy fear, and it sounds weird coming from someone who is on stage all the time singing and performing, but it just makes me uncomfortable to talk to people on the phone. I have no idea why… haha.
Q: Who inspires you? Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Wanda Jackson, Loretta Lynn. Wow … there are so many artists and bands that inspire me to do what I do. Life and people that I meet, books I read, movies I watch … you name it. I am inspired every day by something or another. Currently this warm weather has been inpsiring me to write a whole new batch of songs- it is amazing what the change of seasons can do to my songwriting and psyche.
Q: What can we look forward to during your performance at Creekside Blues & Jazz Fest? I think one of the things that most adults and children get a kick out of is when I play the musical saw. They just can’t believe a sound comes out of it. We will actually be debuting a new saw song at the Creekside Blues & Jazz Fest so that will be fun and something new to look forward to. Might throw a couple other new ones in there as well- we are hoping to get back into the studio this fall to record our next full length record so will be testing out some songs live in the next couple of months.
Q: What’s the BEST part of your job? The best part of my job is being able to connect and share an experience with people at our shows. Free beer is also a plus.
Q: When people talk about you & your music, what’s the one thing you hope they say? I hope they say they dug it and that they want to come see us again (and bring all their friends .. muah hah hah)! We are always evolving and writing new songs as a band so really pumped when we start seeing familar faces at our shows singing along to the lyrics.
To learn more about Angela, visit http://www.angelaperley.com. For more information about the Gahanna OH Convention & Visitors Bureau’s annual Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival (and to see the musical line-up), go to www.CreeksideBluesandJazz.com
Photo credit: Eric Petersen
This guest post written by Karen Eylon, former director of the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau and Ohio tourism enthusiast!
There’s something special about Wyandotte Winery in Gahanna, Ohio. You feel it as soon as you turn onto Wyandotte Drive. “This doesn’t seem right,” you may think, “it’s a neighborhood.” Wyandotte Winery, the oldest winery in Central Ohio, is folksy and lovely and yes, set in cozy residential setting. It was designed and built in 1977 to serve as both a winery and a residence. At the time, it was surrounded by field and forest, but not today. Often visitors feel an odd familiarity upon pulling into the drive, as nostalgia washes over them the way it would if they were arriving at the “Brady Bunch” house. The energy that winery owners Robin and Valerie Coolidge emit is felt immediately and continues upon entering.
Neighborhood setting aside, you really do feel at home. A hearty welcome from Valerie, the self-proclaimed “Chief Whiner” of the operation and the fun-loving staff sets the tone for your experience. Don’t be fooled by the frivolity, these people are serious about wine. They are also very learned about hospitality and creating exceptional experiences – from both culinary and event standpoints.
It may be surprising that Wyandotte Winery was one of the original partners on Gahanna’s Herbal Trail, as they do not serve herbal wines. Valerie Coolidge was a gourmet, even before it was vogue. She has always had an herb garden and her five kids grew up with fresh basil or “leaves” as they called them, on their homemade pizzas. While raising her children, she started a home-based business making upscale cakes. It was wildly successful and today she incorporates her creative culinary flair and extensive herbal knowledge in her work at the winery.
From an herbal perspective, she is most widely known for her delectable Venetian Wine Cake, which, along with other ingredients, is made with cabernet and rosemary. Valerie’s gourmet wine cake menu also includes chocolate port and blackberry wine cakes, so make a note to try them all! Culinary events at the winery tend to sell out quickly, as guests have experienced her catering first-hand and know that they’re in for a treat.
Hump Day Happy Hours, Summer Sizzler Series, Fabulous Fridays with Pizza and Live Music, Women who Wine, Get Crocked at Wyandotte (soup and wine), Colors and Bottles – Art and Wine, and food and wine pairing dinners are just a sampling of the events that include along with award-winning wines, Valerie-inspired culinary and herbal flairs. For a complete listing of special events visit www.wyandottewinery.com.
Although the events are a wonderful way to experience both the wines and Valerie’s creations, visitors can enjoy wine tastings, bites from their small plates menu, and a piece of Venetian Wine Cake at any time. If your schedule permits, stop by for a free winery tour offered every Saturday at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. Robin’s easygoing style makes for a fun and interesting tour as you learn about his passion and gift of winemaking.
Valerie, Robin and their staff have a way of turning a seemingly normal occasion–a visit to a winery, into a celebration. Their tagline is true – you really do enter as a customer and leave a friend.
Wyandotte Winery is open Tuesday – Saturday: 1-7 p.m., with extended hours on Friday until 9 p.m. www.wyandottewinery.com. 4640 Wyandotte Dr. Columbus, Ohio 43230 614/476-3624
This guest post written by Karen Eylon, former director of the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau, one of the original Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival organizers and Ohio tourism enthusiast!
How can you get free admission to one of Central Ohio’s most popular music festivals, make friendships and create great memories all in just a few hours?
Volunteer for the 2014 Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival (CBJF), Gahanna, Ohio’s signature event! It’s easy. Consider sharing a little of your time and talents June 20-22, and enjoy! In fact, hundreds of CBJF volunteers have been creating friendships and fond memories for more than 15 years.
The Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival, produced by the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau, relies on volunteers, not only for the three-day event, but year-round with those who also serve on the planning committee.
The festival started 16 years ago as a half-day event with a handful of volunteers and has grown into an award-winning three-day celebration, requiring help and support from more than 400 generous volunteers.
Whether you volunteer for a few hours (a typical shift is four hours) or a few days, you’ll walk away enriched by your generosity. Aside from getting a complimentary weekend admission pass and festival t-shirt, volunteers frequently share that their experience provides additional and often, MORE meaningful benefits. Their feelings of belonging to something bigger, being a part of the “festival family,” experiencing a renewed sense of community pride, and making new and lasting friendships; are well worth their investment of time and energy. CBJF volunteers tend to come back, year after year. In fact, we have several who have been lending a hand for more than 14 years.
The festival offers a variety of opportunities for every skill set and interest, from helping musicians to lending a hand with kids’ activities and beyond. To find an opportunity that best suits your interests and schedule, visit www.CreeksideBluesandJazz.com
The relationships that I have made with volunteers from the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival are lasting and enduring. I have dear “festival” friends of all ages and am so grateful. We stay in touch either in person or via social media and share the joys and trials of life. I’ve been able to watch students who volunteered many years ago from Gahanna Lincoln High School, get married and start families, as well as mature friends now enjoying their grandchildren. I’m reminded daily of the gift of friendship that has resulted from the festival, when I look down at a bracelet that I wear. It holds a charm that was given to me by one of my most treasured friends, whom I met through CBJF.
I’ve witnessed employees volunteering together on behalf of their organization; experience a deeper appreciation for one another and a renewed spirit of camaraderie, thanks to the teambuilding experience at the festival.
More than world-class music and family fun, the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival has been a wonderful reminder to me of what makes life truly rewarding. Consider giving of your time, so that you too can experience the fulfilling benefits that come from volunteering. Oh and by the way, welcome to the family!
To learn more about the Festival visit www.CreeksideBluesand Jazz.com. For a list of available volunteer shifts go HERE.
Join the conversation about CBJF online! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest, use the #2014CBJF hashtag and you could snag some free wristbands and/or a limited edition #2014CBJF SUPERFAN t-shirt!
Guest Post by Cheryl Harrison, writer, marketer, creator and editor of Drink Up Columbus.
Whether you’re a seasoned hophead or a craft beer novice, a beer festival is a great chance to try a wide variety of styles from an array of different breweries. Some large-scale beer festivals can get too crowded, though, making it impossible to talk with the brewers about their beer. Craft Draft Brewfest intends to solve that problem with smaller, limited-attendance beer festivals around Ohio, the first being the Gahanna Brewfest taking place this Saturday, May 24 at Creekside Plaza from 6:30-10:30pm.
Ten Central Ohio breweries will be pouring at the event, including The Actual Brewing Company, Buckeye Lake Brewery, Elevator Brewing Company, Four String Brewing Company, Hoof Hearted Brewing, Homestead Beer Company, Rockmill Brewery, Seventh Son Brewing, Wolf’s Ridge Brewing and Zauber Brewing Co. The beer styles being poured will be as varied as these “A-Z” breweries.
Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit Ohio CASA/GAL “Court Appointed Special Advocate,” a non-profit organization helping abused and neglected children through the court system.
General Admission tickets are $45, which includes 25 beer samples and an 8 oz. souvenir glass mug. VIP tickets are also available, which also include food from sponsor Local Cantina and rare beers from sponsor Crafted Drafts beer store, for $65. Tickets can be purchased online at www.gahannabrewfest.com, or at the event (cash-only).
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167 Mill St. Gahanna, Ohio 43230. 614/418-9114. 866/424-2662