Summer Activities guide

Budget-Friendly Outdoor Thrills, Festivals In Southeast Ohio

Tom Hodson

Updated Sun, May 18, 2014 6:33 am
Photo Credit: 
Rob Bailey/
Hocking Hills State Park

This area of the state offers a buffet of regional foods, festivals, music, art and outdoor thrills — something for every taste and pocketbook.

The can’t-miss options:

Nelsonville Music Festival
Hocking College, Nelsonville (Athens County)

A family-oriented affair, the festival will take place from May 29 to June 1. Billed as a “music festival with a more personal experience,” the event features music on multiple stages — including the front porch of a log cabin — as well as local art and food vendors.

Entertainment includes Jason Isbell on May 29, Dinosaur Jr. on May 30 and the Avett Brothers on May 31.

Single-day tickets cost $50 to $80, with weekend and camping passes available. (740-753-1924,

Appalachian Uprising Festival
1175 Township Rd., Scottown (Lawrence County)

If you enjoy bluegrass music, the Appalachian Uprising Festival in the foothills of southern Ohio will have your toes tapping. Among the headliners at the festival, June 5-7, is the Marshall Tucker Band, the Traveling McCourys, the Gibson Brothers, Della Mae, Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice and Town Mountain.

So far, 17 groups have committed to the event. Primitive campsites are available at the venue. (740-533-7271, for ticket information and the entertainment schedule)

Ribs, Rhythm & Blues
Union Hall Theater, 7520 Marion St., Chesterhill (Morgan County)

People with a passion for ribs, homemade pies and great sides topped off with an order of hot blues might enjoy the Ribs, Rhythm and Blues Festival on June 7. The featured artist will be Teeny Tucker and her seven-piece band.

Advance tickets for dinner and music cost $30, or $10 for those younger than 18; day of show: $30 for music only. (740-554-3271,

Zanesville Museum of Art
620 Military Rd., Zanesville (Muskingum County)

For those seeking a cultural experience, the Zanesville Art Museum offers 18 galleries with a rotating selection of paintings, sculpture, glass and more. Through July 24, the spotlight is on Art Quilt Network: Without a Word, featuring 35 quilts by members of the Art Quilt network. The international organization was founded in Ohio in 1986 by quilt artist Nancy Crow.

Also, from June 14 through Sept. 20, the museum will feature Owens Pottery: Beyond Utopia. Owens Potters was in production in the Zanesville area from 1896 to 1907. It produced about 50 different lines of art pottery. For ticket prices and hours of operation, visit

Ohio Brew Week
Athens (Athens County)

For some, what better way to quench your thirst on a hot summer day than with a cold brew? Brew Week is a nine-day celebration of Ohio’s craft-brew industry, with live entertainment, competitions and myriad of guest speakers.

This year, Brew Week — July 11-19 — will feature events at many establishments in Athens, including Casa Nueva Restaurant, Restaurant Salaam and Jackie O’s Brewery, plus Kiser’s at Eclipse near The Plains. It’s an opportunity to enjoy the scenery, eat some fabulous food sourced from local farms, and, of course, try a variety of brews from throughout Ohio.

Both Brew Week weekends offer fun events, from the Rock-n-Roast patio party at the Ohio University Inn to Last Call, the summer’s best street party uptown. (

Jamboree in the Hills
43510 National Rd., Belmont (Belmont County)

For country-music fans, it doesn’t get much better than this summer event. Running from July 17-20, this year’s jamboree will feature Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Tim McGraw, Brantley Gilbert, Kip Moore, Neal McCoy, Montgomery Gentry, Cassadee Pope, Joe Diffie, Diamond Rio, Brett Eldredge, Darius Rucker, David Nail, Sam Hunt, Eric Paslay, Kelleigh Banner, Cole Swindell, Brothers Osborne, Tristen Smith and Drake White and the Big Fire. ( for ticket and camping information)

Seneca Lake Park
22172 Park Rd., Senecaville (Noble County)

If you seek peace and quiet, Seneca Lake offers 513 campsites, a swimming beach more than 3,500 acres of water for all types of freshwater activities, and almost 4,100 acres of land, including forests. Part of the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, the park is a great place to unwind. (

Piatt Park
Rt. 78 to County Road 30 to Township Road 2308 near Woodsfield (Monroe County)

Nestled in a county that borders the Ohio River, Piatt Park, although small in size (119 acres), is big on beauty. There are camping facilities with a new handicapped-accessible shower house and restroom, a playground for children and exquisite views of nature.

The setting is unique, with hiking trails that offer vistas into a natural gorge. Piatt Park is one of the hidden gems in southern Ohio. (

Hocking Hills Parks and Caves (Hocking County)

Just about an hour southeast of Columbus is nature at its best — from pristine to wild, from relaxing to exhilarating. It is all part of the Hocking Hills, a collection of caves, parks, nature areas and lakes. Lodging is available, from rustic to plush, and at all price ranges.

Activities range from hiking, bird watching and cave exploring to zip-line riding, canoeing, hot-air-ballooning and horseback riding. (

Sternwheeler Festival
Ohio River Levee, 121 Putnam St., Marietta (Washington County)

Top off the summer with a trip to Marietta, at the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio rivers, for the Sternwheel Festival, Sept. 5-7. During the free three-day event, about 100,000 people descend on Marietta to see up to 35 authentic sternwheel boats along the Ohio River.

Each year brings boat races and a huge car show, plus vendors of all varieties. On Sept. 6, a huge fireworks display is launched from barges on the Ohio River, creating a great way to end a summer of fun and ease into autumn. (740-373-5178,


A sampling of popular summertime activities, compiled by Columbus Dispatch staff members:



The Living Word

Description: 40th season for the religious drama about the life of Christ

Location: 6010 College Hill Rd., Cambridge (Guernsey County)

Performances: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays June 20 to Sept. 27; also The Enchanted World (7 p.m. June 13), a children’s puppet show; The Memory Man (7 p.m. Aug. 11-12), a one-man solo religious show; Larry Gatlin concert (7:30 p.m. Aug. 23 (doors open at 7 p.m.)

Admission: $18, or $16 for senior citizens, $5 for children 4 to 12 for The Living Word; admission varies for other shows

Seating capacity: 800

Running time: 21/2 hours for The Living Word; other shows vary

Information: 740-439-2761,

Trumpet in the Land

Description: 45th season for the historical drama about the founding of Ohio's first settlement

Location: Schoenbrunn Amphitheatre, New Philadelphia (Tuscarawas County)

Performances: various dates from June 20 to Aug. 23; also The White Savage (various dates from July 5 to Aug. 16); Hairspray (July 26, Aug. 1, 7, 15); all shows 8:30 p.m.

Admission: $15 to $20, or $15 to $18 for senior citizens, $8 to $10 for children 12 and younger

Seating capacity: 1,279

Wheelchair access: yes

Running time: 21/2 hours for Trumpet; other shows vary

Information: 330-339-1132,



Jamboree in the Hills

Description: An outdoor rain-or-shine event, the festival boasts some of the top names in country music

Location: Off Rt. 40, Morristown (Belmont County)

Performances: July 17-20: Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Little Big Town, Brantley Gilbert, Kip Moore, Neal McCoy, Montgomery Gentry and more

Parking: $20 daily (no overnight parking), with $25 daily VIP parking available. Camping pass ($200) does not include admission.

Tickets/information: $55 to $75 (one day), $130 (two days), $185 (three days), $215 (four days); 1-800-594-8499;

Legend Valley

Description: The music and camping event near Buckeye Lake features veteran musicians and rising stars

Location: 7585 Kindle Rd., Thornville (Perry County)

Performances: May 23-25: Dark Star Jubilee featuring Dark Star Orchestra, Yonder Mountain String Band, Galactic, Keller Williams, New Riders of the Purple Sage, the Wailers and more; June 13-14: Country Jam featuring Hank Williams Jr., Dierks Bentley, Randy Houser, Chris Young and more; July 23-26: Gathering of the Juggalos featuring Insane Clown Posse, Tech N9ne, Twiztid and more; Aug. 7-9: The Werk Out Music and Arts Festival featuring the Werks, Papadosio, Future Rock, Rumpke Mountain Boys and more; Aug. 29-30: Woodystock featuring Tim McGraw, Darius Rucker, Little Big Town and more

Parking: free; RV camping, $50 to $160

Tickets/information: $70 to $250; 740-323-1485,,,,,



Roscoe Village

Description: The 1800s canal-era experience features hands-on activities and costumed interpreters

Location: 600 N. Whitewoman St., Coshocton (Coshocton County)

Open: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday; call for tour times

Admission: free; a fee for some attractions

Parking: free

Special exhibits: Mudlarked in Roscoe — visitors interact with costumed interpreters as they fill their bills of lading on this scavenger-hunt experience. After gathering goods, return to the Toll House and receive $1 off a horse-drawn canal-boat ride.

Information: 1-800-877-1830, 740-622-7644,

Zanesville Museum of Art

Description: The museum boasts an extensive Ohio glass and pottery selection as well as works by Cezanne, Lautrec, Matisse, Picasso, Rembrandt and Rubens

Location: 620 Military Rd., Zanesville (Muskingum County)

Open: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday

Admission: $6, or $4 for senior citizens 60 and older and children 10 to 18, free for children 9 and younger and museum members

Parking: free

Special exhibits: Art Quilt Network: Without a Word through July 24, exploring the abilities of textile arts to communicate without the use of words; (through July 24); Owens Pottery: Beyond Utopia — Owens Pottery produced about 50 lines of art pottery from 1896 to 1907 (June 14 through Sept. 20)

Information: 740-452-0741,



The Wilds

Description: A 10,000-acre conservation center in southeastern Ohio features rare and endangered animals living in natural, open-range habitats

Location: 14000 International Rd., Cumberland (Guernsey County)

Big attractions: giraffes, wild dogs, rhinos, zebras and cheetahs are a few of the animals visitors can see during bus rides through the natural habitat. Zip lines, horseback riding, fishing tours, a lodge, cabins and yurts available.

Open: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily May through September

Admission: Safari Transport tour, $20, or $19 for senior citizens 60 and older, $15 for children 4 to 12, free for children younger than 3; open-air Safari tour, $30, all ages; Wildside Tours, offered year-round, $125, reservations required

Parking: $5

Information: 740-638-5030,