Ohio’s Multicultural Festival Scene
Highland Games? Men in kilts? As a recent Scottish immigrant to Ohio, the Dublin Irish Festival’s promotional campaign left me somewhat defensive: those things are Scottish, I complained, not Irish!
On a hot August afternoon, however, as I took a long drink of Dublin Irish Festival Stout, bold yet refreshing and brewed especially for the event, my indignation was quick to vanish and I settled in to an evening of all things Irish (and a few things Scottish).
I spent the late afternoon watching burlymen throw 25+ lb. stones and pine logs at the Highland Heavyweight Games.
Hours later, tired, sweaty and satisfied, I picked up some soda bread for the morning from the Irish Baker and made my way home.
Even if you missed the Irish Festival, Dublin is always worth a visit and displays its Irish pride 365 day a year.
You can grab a map from the Dublin Visitor Center and take a self-guided walking tour of Dublin’s Historic District. Stop for a cup of tea at TehKu; candy at Sisters Sweet Shoppe, Irish souvenirs at Ha’penny Bridge Imports of Ireland, and Guinness at the Brazenhead pub or the Dublin Village Tavern, which dates from the 1880s and is famous for its Irish Eggrolls and Irish Car Bomb Brownies.
All year-round, Ohio throws special events to commemorate the diversity of the state. You can still look forward to these multicultural events in 2011:
Get a taste of Latin flavor at this weekend’s Festival Latino (August 13-14). Legendary Puerto Rican salsa singer Tito Rojas will be performing on Sunday night, and throughout the weekend you can sample cuisine from across Latin America. The festival also has a new Children’s Zone, which will feature stories, songs and a visit from Columbus Crew players.
Both Cleveland (August 18-21) and Columbus (September 2-5) hold annual Greek Festivals at Orthodox churches. Both feature authentic Greek cuisine – just try to resist the smell of freshly baked baklava – cooking classes, folk music and traditional dancing. Opa!
Dust off your lederhosen and barmaid outfits for there will be several Oktoberfests taking place throughout Ohio. One of the biggest is Cincinnati’s Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, (September 16-18) which hosts the Running of the Wieners (dachshunds dressed up as hot dogs). Between live music and dancing, try hearty German fair like sausages, sauerkraut and strudel, but be sure to leave room for the beer.
The Ohio Swiss Festival (September 30-October 1) is held in Sugarcreek, the “Little Switzerland of Ohio.” Now in its 59th year, the event features cheese tasting, parades, a Swiss costume contest and – start practicing now – a yodeling competition.
Come hungry for Mogadore’s Something Russian Festival (October 4-5). Tasty ethnic goods on offer will include borscht, kielbasa, blini and poonchki (Russian-style donuts), and there will be traditional dancing and Russian beer.