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Paddle South Events
So, last time we teased you with a major event headed to Columbus very soon. It’s called Paddle South and it’ll be held at the Columbus Ga Whitewater Park, April 14-15, 2017, and will consist of the 2017 USA Freestyle Kayak National Championships, and a beer and barbeque festival. All kinds of good things to get you out of the house and to shake off any remaining winter-doldrums.
Freestyle Kayaking National Championships
Here’s a bit more info about the Freestyle Kayaking Nationals. Look for the action to take place on “The Good Wave,” so stake out a place on The Island to watch their moves and maneuvers. In case you aren’t familiar with it, The Good Wave is part of this extraordinary urban whitewater course—the longest in the world—and is a man-made wonder that results in a perpetual wave of water that beckons kayakers, rafters and surfers alike to challenge their talents. These kayakers, some of the best from around the world, will be competing for the national championship title throughout the entire weekend. On Friday evening, the 2017 USA Freestyle Kayak National Championships will begin at 4:00 p.m. and end around 8:00 p.m. Saturday morning, the competition will kick back off at 10:00 a.m. and last until 6:00 p.m. Sounds like this is going to be epic.
More details and info about the other aspects of Paddle South are up next!
Paddle South is Coming to Columbus, GA!
I have to admit…I’ve tried my hand at some flatwater kayaking, but haven’t taken the plunge (sorry for the pun!) into the more adventurous side of this sport, but I do love to watch these guys in action down at The Island along the river. Looks like we’ll have an opportunity to see some real experts doing their thing next month with the Paddle South event. This is a 2-day event consisting of the 2017 USA Freestyle Kayak National Championships—yep, a national championship right here in Uptown Columbus, April 14-15, 2017! The only thing that could make this better would be to throw in a beer and barbeque festival and that’s exactly what’s in the line-up. This is the perfect way for families to get outside and enjoy nature and some amazing food.
So why Columbus, GA? Well, we just happen to be home of the longest urban whitewater course in the world—there’s just nothing else like it anywhere else. Not to mention, Columbus is a great place for families to escape the ordinary on an affordable budget with true Southern hospitality. There aren’t many places where you’ve got a small city feel with adventures that give families big thrills. But adventure isn’t the only thing you’ll find here. There are nationally-recognized museums, Broadway-style entertainment, and a place that will even take you on a mission to the Moon and beyond.
Now you know a bit more about Columbus and want to find out more about this cool Paddle South event, we’ll be posting more info here over the next few days and weeks. This has Spring Break vacation-destination written all over it!
Bike the Fall Line Trace through Columbus
This is the season you’ve been waiting for in Columbus. Even though we’ve had a warm winter, many of us weren’t in the frame of mind to really enjoy the outdoors. We had that “winter” mindset, put on a few pounds, and kept expecting it to be cold, but it rarely was. Even though the calendar doesn’t say so, Spring is here; the weather is officially warm and that means that it is time to get in the game, go outside, and enjoy what nature has to offer in the Columbus area - and the offerings are extensive!
Actually, we don’t just invite you to “go” outside - we invite you to explore, embrace, experience, and conquer the outside! A few ideas:
Whitewater rafting on the longest urban whitewater course in the world!
If you want to enjoy the river but want a calmer, more relaxing experience, we have flat water rides for the whole family.
Want to get above the water and fly through the air? Try the Zip Line experience with the Blue Heron Adventure over the Chattahoochee!
Want to roll instead of raft or fly? Why don’t you “Ride the Outside”? Check out bike trails and paths around the city and on into nature, including the 11 mile Fall Line Trace.
You could also enjoy geocaching and birding as you search to “Find the Outside.”
This is just a little bit of what a weekend in Columbus in the Spring has to offer. Change into your shorts and flip flops, pull out your gear, and get ready for the Spring - the best time of year in the South. And, Columbus is better at enjoying it than anywhere else!
(Photo Credit: Alan Cross)
Unseasonably Warm January Weather Invites You to Enjoy River Rafting In Columbus!
With the forecast for the next week or so showing temperatures in the 70s, Columbus (and the South) is enjoying an incredibly warm winter. With a good bit of rain having come through the region over the past month, the water levels are higher than they were back in the summer as well. All of this combines for the opportunity to go all out and conquer the outdoors by engaging in some summer fun … in January!
From whitewater rafting on the world’s longest urban whitewater course, to kayaking, to a zip line across the Chattahoochee River, to geocaching, there is plenty of outdoor fun to be had in Columbus along the river right in the middle of winter. Contact Whitewater Columbus for rates and scheduled rafting trips. We just called them a few minutes ago and they said they had trips available for this weekend. Why not hit the river when the weather feels like Spring but the crowds haven’t clued in yet? What better time to go all out and enjoy the outdoors than now? Plus, your body could use the workout to start to melt away the winter lethargy!
The Columbus area has so much to do, so much to enjoy, and so many outdoor activities to take part in. Traditionally, the summers are hot and long and the Spring and Fall is much too short. Winters can be cold and wet. We try to do a lot of outdoor activities during the summer, but the heat can be challenging. When we get warm spells in the winter, Columbus has outdoor activities waiting for you to enjoy, just like during the summer. You don’t have to wait till the temperatures are in the 90s. You can enjoy the outdoors around Columbus now!
Categories: River Fun, on Thursday, January 19, 2017
Fall Weekends in Columbus
A visitor from Montgomery writes:
“Last weekend, I took my boys out for the day on Saturday in Uptown Columbus for lunch, some exploring, and a trip to the National Infantry Museum. We still can’t believe how much Columbus has to offer so close to Montgomery. We had a great lunch of burgers at The Black Cow, explored the history of our nation’s military in a state-of-the-art museum in Columbus, and walked along the river front watching the rafters and kayakers on a beautiful Fall Saturday evening. The boys were pretty blown away by all that they saw and I was reminded again how Columbus is becoming one of our “go to” places to visit.
What struck me most, though, was how much was going on on a normal Saturday in late October. There was a race happening with dozens of runners. Street musicians, People eating at outdoor cafes along Broadway and other side streets. Music was in the air and storefronts were open. People were everywhere just walking around, enjoying the day, and enjoying their company with each other. And, the unique thing about it is that there was not a major event happening. It was just a weekend in Columbus.
When we want to get out of town and experience something new, we go to Columbus now. I heartily recommend it and am telling everyone in Montgomery that they have to travel over to Columbus and see what is happening. Next, we are going to spend the weekend because there were too many museums and attractions to visit in just one day.”
“The charisma of Columbus is nothing were it not for the true embodiment of hospitality. Throughout your stay, you’ll meet local paddlers, business owners, families and students whose true desire, it seems, is to share as much of their city and kindness with you as possible. If the charm of the city wasn’t enough, you may find yourself invited for a home cooked meal, game night, or the next group paddle or post-boating libation. Amidst the deep opportunity for adventure of every kind is a thread of rich, sincere welcoming to a forgotten part of the south. You’ll arrive an out-of-towner and assuredly leave as a surrogate member of this unique river community.”
Says, Lydia Cardinal, writing for the NRS (Northwest River Supply) website as she shares her experience with Columbus. Lydia shares how Columbus it is the perfect place to “go all out,” whether one wants adventure or a great meal, and how everything you would want for an incredible weekend is all in one place. This is what we’ve been saying, but it is great to hear it from a visitor in such a thorough and eloquent way!
This might be one of the best reviews of Columbus we’ve seen, and it comes from an expert in the river rafting scene in America and especially in the South. The fact that Columbus turned the Chattahoochee into the world’s longest urban whitewater course smack dab in the middle of a growing restaurant, arts, music, and museum scene makes a weekend spent rafting or kayaking a totally unique experience for the adventurer and foodie alike.
Lydia’s take on Columbus, saying, “The magnetism of Columbus seems to stem from the wicked collision of a growing college town and a burgeoning outdoor scene,” and “The true beauty of Columbus is its immediacy to quality adventure, grub, and entertainment and how easily you can jump back and forth,” help paint an accurate picture of exactly what a weekend in Columbus will look like for the traveler looking for a diverse (and unique) set of experiences. And, even if you aren’t a river rafter or kayaker, the energy of the river and the adventurers that it draws help charge the whole town with a rushing sense of wonder.
We’re glad that Lydia came to Columbus. Read her whole article and consider how you can go all out to craft your own experience!
Recently, South Magazine featured Columbus, GA as a must-experience weekend destination for the foodie, the adventurer, the art, theater, wine aficionado and for the historian. South Magazine writer Eva Fedderly puts it this way,
"Columbus, GA has long been known as a military town resting beside Fort Benning, America’s Home of the Infantry. With about 200,000 residents, this historical city has stepped into the spotlight with a thriving downtown art, theatre, music scene, and scrumptious farm-to-table restaurants just blocks from the Chattahoochee River."
Columbus really has been one of the best kept secrets in the South, but that is rapidly changing as travel writers, convention planners and everyday people looking for a fun weekend are taking notice – and they are pretty surprised by what they are finding.
Molly McWilliams Wilkins in her “Girl Meets City” travel series brought home the spirit of Columbus when she said,
"Have you ever left a place, a city, a destination and felt almost like you were in pain? I feel that way whenever I leave a place, and I felt it when I left Columbus. It’s that same feeling when you’re falling in love with someone – that amazing, euphoric, punch drunk feeling."
Molly goes on to describe her trip to Columbus with the shopping, food, and entertainment that caused her to fall in love. It’s a great piece and a good guide to a great weekend.
Everyone that I talk to who visits Columbus for the first time says the same thing. It is usually some variation of, “Wow! I had no idea that all of this was here!” We agree, and what Columbus, GA offers is growing every day.
Are you ready for a creative weekend adventure full of top restaurants, art, history, architecture, beauty, and adventure? South Magazine might be your guide - or you might want to figure things out for yourself. Either way, there is plenty of opportunity to “Go All Out” and experience what others are recognizing about Columbus for you and your family! Call the Visitors Bureau at 800-999-1613 or access VisitColumbusGA.com for more information to book a weekend.
Go all out with Dad for Father's Day Weekend in Columbus, GA! From restaurants in Uptown where he can get his favorite steak, or craft breweries like the Cannon Brew Pub to an afternoon spent at the National Infantry Museum, the National Civil War Naval Museum, or a day outdoors whitewater rafting and zip lining across the Chattahoochee, Columbus has everything that Dad could want - and that Mom and kids would enjoy as well!
Check out live music at The Loft or other music clubs, have a great dinner at one of Columbus' fantastic restaurants, then stay over and go to Market Days on Broadway. Or, have a day of outdoor adventure and museum going for the rest of the day! Whether Dad wants to relax, have a great meal, go slow or go full speed with outdoor adventure, Columbus has something for him and the rest of the family!
Father's Day is this weekend. Do something different that Dad would never expect. Go all out in Columbus - the history, great food, breweries, museums, outdoor adventures, and so much more are waiting for you (and Dad) for a perfect weekend!
In the South, summer is already here and that means that as the temperatures rise, so does the level of excitement on the Chattahoochee River in Columbus! The world’s longest urban whitewater adventure awaits and invites you to enterthe challenge instead of just watching the river rush by from its banks (but feel free to do that too! It is pretty amazing no matter where you stand!).
The rapid movement of the river across the rocks and into crashing whitewater provides the context for an experience with nature that will leave you feeling engaged with the world as it really is - wild and untamed. As the environmentalist John Muir said, “Rivers flow not past, but through us; tingling, vibrating, exciting every cell and fiber in our bodies, making them sing and glide.” Whitewater rafting on the Chattahoochee in Columbus invites you to go all out and engage the river as it is in all of its beauty and fury. Are you ready?
The 2.5 mile whitewater course that was named one of the top 12 man-made adventures in the world by USA Today is perfect for rafters or kayakers who want to plunge into the rushing waters and ride them to a state of joyful exuberance. Having a bland week? Bored this summer and want to get away? A weekend spent riding the rapids in Columbus will set your mind and body right. As Henry David Thoreau once said, “Who hears the rippling of rivers will not utterly despair of anything.” We would expand on that and say that he who plunges into this river with a helmet strapped on tight, a life jacket, and a paddle and rides the whitewater will be filled with a sense of energy and excitement about life that will have him coming back again and again!
Columbus has multiple venues to help you engage with the river in whatever way you’d like. Make your reservation and get started on your adventure! When you're done, step out of the boat and up the steps into the shops, restaurants, bars, and boutiques of Broadway and Uptown Columbus for an evening of great food, laughter, and relaxing! The rejuvenation that comes from rafting the Chattahoochee will have you coming back for more!
Categories: River Fun, on Thursday, May 26, 2016
As summer gets closer, and you are looking for unique ways to engage the outdoors mixing adventure, whitewater and sunshine, make sure you zip up your bags and zip over to Columbus for an adventure you’ll never forget! The dual zip line over the Chattahoochee River is the only zip line in America that connects two states. It is 1,200 feet long and riders experience speeds up to 40 mph as they glide around 125 feet over the river from Georgia to Alabama. Watch the rafters and kayakers battle the river below as you fly overhead. Then, finish the trip with another 400-foot extension into the woods along the Chattahoochee before you head back to your starting point!
The dual zip line is just another way that Columbus seeks to take the beauty and adventure inherent in the city’s surroundings and create ways for people to engage with the environment instead of just observe it. Instead of just taking a walk along the river, get in it! Fly over it on a zip line! Raft it. Kayak it. Experience the strength and power of it. Feel the wind on your body as you strap in and take that first, adrenaline-surging step off of the platform. Feel the drop before the line catches you and send you hurtling across the river through the air. It’s a dual line, so you can share the adventure with a friend or family member. Put the Go-Pro on, record the fun and share it with a friend. Your adventure weekend to Columbus will take on a new perspective as you sail over the Chattahoochee.
Columbus is a city that calls us to “Go All Out!” Before you visit, make sure to check the Columbus CVB’s visitor resources.
Visit Whitewater Express to get you started with your zip line adventure, whitewater rafting, kayaking or other outdoor activities. There’s so much to do when you visit Columbus, GA!
Categories: River Fun, on Monday, May 23, 2016
With all the access to lakes and rivers around here, chances are you've fished, boated, kayaked, rafted, skied, and maybe even taken a dip to cool off on one of our many hot summer days. But how about this for something different? Have you ever gone for a Moonlight Paddle? I haven't but this sounds pretty interesting! It's something going on this weekend with Outside World and now I know we are a few days away yet from the weekend, but this is one of those events where you need to register ahead of time because there is a very limited number of folks who can participate. It's the first Moonlight Paddle of the season and you'll get to paddle around beautiful Lake Oliver under a full moon with the guides from Outside World! It's about a 4-mile adventure and should last about 3 hours. It all kicks off at 8:30pm this Saturday (May 21) and the cost is $20, $15.00 If you supply your own kayak/equipment. Maybe it's just the romantic in me, but this has first date potential written all over it!
There are plenty of other things to get out and do this weekend and to find out all the details, just head to the Event Calendar to get the scoop!
Categories: River Fun, on Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Grow local. Buy local. Eat local. This mantra has become a guiding ideal for those who are seeking to be more rooted in their communities and to experience all that a region has to offer. From local farms and the restaurants that serve their produce to local craft makers who create the beauty that fills our homes, culture thrives when a city and region is able to show off what it brings from the ground up and what it makes with its own hands and heart. Columbus doesn’t hold these treasures back, but goes all out by putting its culture, produce and art on full display!
Did you know that one of the premier farmer’s markets and craft fairs in the South happens every week in Uptown in Columbus, GA? Every Saturday morning between 9am and noon, the 900-1100 blocks of Broadway are jam packed with over 200 different vendors selling local produce, baked goods and more to eat, along with handcrafted goods for you and your home.
Now that summer is barreling in, the fresh tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers will be overflowing baskets brought straight from the farm. Local honey from beekeepers, homemade preserves and jellies, soaps, candles, jewelry, crafts, local musicians and more will line the street for blocks.
If you want a fresh, organic experience to go along with meal preparation for the week, as well as to engage in a search for that perfect handcrafted piece of jewelry or art for your home, Broadway on Saturday mornings offers it all. But, more than that, it is a place and time for the community to gather, have a cup of coffee at an outdoor cafe and watch the people go by as the vendors sell their goods. It is a place to take in the beauty of spring and experience the bounty of Columbus and its surrounding farms and the creativity of its artistic community. Whether you live in Columbus or are coming in for the weekend, Market Days needs to be on your list!
Spring is festival season in the South and Columbus knows how to throw a party. This weekend, visitors and residents get the chance to "Go all out!" at the annual Uptown Riverfest in Woodruff Park overlooking the whitewater rapids of the Chattahoochee River. Starting at 6pm on Friday, May 6th and ending around midnight on May 7th, there will be outdoor concerts, food vendors, Dragon Boat races, whitewater rafting, arts and crafts for sale and the city on display for all to enjoy. Don't say that you have nothing to do this weekend. Columbus is ready to be explored!
Where else can you go and have access to all of this for free? There is no charge to enter the festival, but of course, you will want to buy food from many food trucks and vendors at Woodruff Park and on Dillingham Street. And, you will want to arrive early for the Dragon Boat races at 9am on the river at the Columbus Convention Center. Then, you will want to walk over to Woodruff Park for the Boy Scout Expo at 10am (especially if you have kids!) for all kinds of outdoor adventure activities.
Interested instead in shopping from local artists and designers? Then the Indie South Fair beginning at 10am on Dillingham Street is more your style. There will also be arts and craft vendors set up all over Woodruff Park. If you get hungry (and you will!), food trucks and vendors will be set up on the Dillingham Street Bridge with a wide variety of culinary offerings perfect for a spring festival.
Are you a music fan? Friday and Saturday evenings will feature one live band after another on the Woodruff Park stage, including Earth, Wind, and Fire and Fleetwood Mac tribute bands as well as regional artists like Lloyd Buchanan & Cubed Roots, who toured with the Grammy Award winning Alabama Shakes in 2015!
Friday, May 6
6pm: Alanna Royale
7pm: Chemistry Project Band
9pm: Kalimba, The Spirit of Earth Wind & Fire
Saturday, May 7th
9am: Dragon Boat Races
10am: Boy Scout Expo10am: Indie South Fair's Curated Market
4pm: Aces and 8s
5pm: Joe Country
6pm: The Shelby Brothers
7pm: Tusk, The Ultimate Fleetwood Mac Tribute Band
9pm: Lloyd Buchanan & Cubed Roots
10:45pm: Common Rival
Week after week, Columbus gives visitors and residents alike the chance to "Go all out!" and experience the outdoors, amazing food, great music, and one cultural experience after another. This weekend is another chance at Riverfest. Don't miss it!
Alan Cross, author and public policy influencer, recently visited Columbus, GA and shared his thoughts with us about his experience on a normal day. What a great perspective from a first-time visitor to Columbus!
If you are considering a visit to Columbus, GA when it “goes all out,” you might be thinking about coming for a huge event like RiverFest in May to enjoy food, music and activities. Or, you might want to try the longest urban whitewater course on in the world, visit world-class museums, or taste from the many restaurants that the Fountain City has to offer. As for me, I love experiences like that, but I also like to see a city on a normal day when it’s not expecting visitors and is just being itself.
Spring is a beautiful time of year in the Deep South when everything is in bloom, and the air is thick with the smell of honeysuckle and dogwood blossoms. Columbus embodies this and more. As I took an afternoon stroll on the Chattahoochee RiverWalk, I was struck by life breaking out all around me. Kids were running and exploring fountains at the Splash Pad. People were fishing. Kayakers were navigating the rapids below, and you could hear laughing with every splash of whitewater. People were jogging at the end of a beautiful day. There were couples and families everywhere from different heritages enjoying the sunshine. When Columbus thought no one was looking, it was peaceful and invited you to partake in the art of life painted in front of you. The city found another way to "go all out."
It was just a normal evening in late April, but as the river roared and the sun set on the Chattahoochee, the breeze reminded me again that the cool of spring was giving way to the warmth of the coming season. Summer is breaking in and you can feel it in the air, hear it in the laughter of the rafters and children playing. Everyone seems anxious to get on with the season's change much like the river itself can't keep from bounding over rocks and rushing through channels forged by time, water and the energy that is in this place ready to be unleashed.
Summer will have so much more to offer and it will all be on display. As for me, I found something meaningful and soul awakening at the end of a normal day in Columbus when the city thought no one was looking!
Click to find Resources in the Guide for your visit to Columbus, GA.
Categories: River Fun, on Thursday, April 28, 2016
ALL OUT HIP! -- Georgia Vines Beer & Wine Festival--April 16th
If you enjoy Uptown’s Fall Beer & Wine Festival, then you have another annual festival to look forward to this year! Uptown Columbus announced a new festival this Spring featuring all things Georgia Made. Visit Columbus, Ga. on April 16th for the the Georgia Vines Beer & Wine Festival, and sample over 100 different Georgia made beers and wines, listen to music from indie rock band The Weeks and munch on Georgia themed food items! There are a limited 1,500 tickets being sold, so be sure to get yours fast.
How does the festival work? Attendees pay an entrance fee, and are given a souvenir sample mug. They then have the opportunity of unlimited samplings once they get into the festival. Attendees can leave their wallets behind, unless they want to try some of the food vendors! Food vendors will be challenged with offering Georgia themed items on its menu. White Oak Pastures, Barberitos, WheelHaus Provisions and Philly-osophy will all be in attendance.
The Weeks, an indie rock band out of Florence, Mississippi will be performing during the festival. Their sound is one of rock and roll with a touch of southern heat. They have played at Bonnaroo, Hangout, Shakey Knees and Austin City Limits. Currently working on a new album, this band is not one to be missed!
Did we mention that the festival overlooks the Columbus GA Whitewater course? As you listen to great music and sip on beer and wine, you will watch rafters take on the whitewater course, and zippers soar across the Chattahoochee River!
This will surely be another annual festival that everyone looks forward to in Columbus. If you love beer, wine & good music, the Georgia Vines Beer & Wine Festival is not to be missed. The festival is selling a limited number of tickets, so be sure to purchase sooner than later. To purchase tickets visit springeroperahouse.org.
This is December, right? We are only 10 or so days away from the start of winter, right? And it's HOW HOT outside?! Oh well, you've got to love this Georgia weather. What's the old saying about our weather..."Wait 10 minutes and it'll change!" So if this warmer-than-it's-supposed-to-be-this-time-of-year-weather has you struggling to get into the holiday spirit, thank goodness for central air conditioning! You've got plenty of options to step inside some amazing facilities and take in their Christmas festivities and performances...not to mention some cool air.
And around these parts, nothing says bring on the egg nog season more than "A Tuna Christmas" at the Springer Opera House. Whether you go every single year because you know how funny this show is (that would be me), or if this will be your first-ever experience, it's a holiday classic in Columbus.
I mean just look at these faces...
The Springer is a busy place this season with another production on the mainstage..."Beauty & The Beast." That's a show all ages will love and the good news about this one is that it's going on until December 23 (just like "Tuna") so if you can't work it in this weekend, make it a date a little later in the month.
Just across the street at RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, they also have a couple of great performances to take in including another Christmas classic, the Columbus Ballet's "The Nutcracker." With a cast of over 100 performers, live orchestra, incredible costumes and acclaimed guest artists, we're talking about a big production. You can catch this one Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon (Dec. 12 & 13). Then on Tuesday, Fancy Nancy hits the stage with her "Splendiferous Christmas" special and this is a must for Fancy Nancy Fans!
And so we don't forget the real meaning of the season, the Historic Liberty Theatre presents their 3rd annual production of Langston Hughes' "Black Nativity." This show will run December 11-13 and is a joyous gospel musical celebrating the birth of Christ.
Now, if it just gets too hot or too hectic with all the Christmas shopping or if you have a house full of relatives visiting, strap on your skates and go do a little ice skating at the Columbus Ice Rink or get strapped in at the Blue Heron Adventure for the Hap-Hap-Happiest of Christmas Zips and zip line your way from Georgia to Alabama across the Chattahoochee River! Believe me, you'll know it when you see it because the staff has decorated the jump tower in a fashion that would make Clark Griswold a happy man!
This weekend is shaping up to be the winner of the year as far as having the most fun packed into these 48 or so hours! Want to know the Top 10 things you should check out? Then click away to see what the cool folks at Electric City Life have uncovered and start planning how you're going to do all this stuff!!!
Broadway Holiday Snow Fun!
Fall and all the beautiful weather are here in Columbus, GA, with an assortment of events that come with it. Find out the top 10 things to do this weekend, kicking off tonight, from the locals! The folks at Electric City Life have all the details....
It's official, Summer is winding down. With the heat and humidity this season produced, I can't say I'm entirely sad to see it go. But don't think once Summer is over, so is the fun. It's actually quite the opposite. Because we do tend to get a little steamy around here during the second quarter, there aren't quite as many activities to enjoy...it's just too dang hot. But once Fall rolls around, it's non-stop. Even though we're just on the cusp of changing seasons, this weekend is a great example of how packed-full of stuff it's going to get.
And of course, it's Labor Day weekend so many of us have an extra day to relish and lots of choices to make on what to do. You can start off the holiday this afternoon at 4:30 with a browse through the First Friday ArtWalk in Uptown Columbus--lots of artists will be set up in the 1000 block of Broadway so you can meet them, check out their work and even get involved in an art project they are doing in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity. Something tells me the kids will love getting their hands dirty on this one. And speaking of kids, CSU's Riverside Theatre Complex has a production of "The Velveteen Rabbit" this weekend and if you know the story (remember the little stuffed bunny rabbit?), you know it's going to be good. I may have a hanky ready just in case.
So let's talk about festivals. It's the kick-off of the Fall Festival season and there are three great ones going on practically in our backyard. Just north of Columbus, the Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival at Callaway Gardens is going on all weekend. This is an amazing event and if you've never been, make sure you're there tonight or Sunday night for the Balloon Glow. That's where they line up lots of the balloons on the beach at Robin Lake at sunset then fire them up. The colors and reflections are nothing short of stunning. There’s tons of other things going on too like tethered rides (weather permitting), Disc Dog demos, sports on big-screen TV’s (can't miss those college football games!), classic car show, live entertainment, Silver Wings Skydiving Demo Team (wind & weather permitting), food trucks and all the usual fun beach stuff! Or, hop in the car and go a little south of the city to Omaha, GA to Florence Marina State Park. They also have tons to do all weekend including arts & crafts, snakes and other reptiles on display, and they'll even take you for a ride on the lake in one of their pontoon boats...and don't be surprised if you see a gator or two! Save a little energy for Labor Day on Monday because there's a hoot of a festival to the west of Columbus. It's the Old Seale Courthouse Labor Day Fair! This festival has all kinds of personality going on with really unique entertainment, arts & crafts, fun stuff for kids to enjoy and let’s talk about the food because you can’t have a festival without festival food like barbecue, a Chili Cook-off, Polish sausage, snow cones, funnel cakes, fried gator and...fried Oreos!!
Fried Oreos? Who's with me!?
Heard on the news today that July has just earned the dubious honor as being named the hottest month on record...ever...and...oh wait, the news gets even better. We're on track for 2015 to be hottest year...ever. And don't even get me started on the astronomically high humidity levels. One look at the condition, or lack there of, of my hair is better than any barometer or thermometer that the weather guy uses. It's August in Georgia so we know it's hot, humid and hazy. Comes with the territory and we just deal with it. But thankfully, we have some pretty clever ways of dealing with these "Hot as Hades" days.
Nowhere else in the world can you hop in a raft or kayak and navigate the cool waters of the longest urban whitewater course in the world--and it's right here in Columbus so you don't have to drive for hours to get to it. And here's a little tip...if you want a lazy, tranquil paddle with just a few rapids, go earlier in the day because when they open the dams upriver, the flow and excitement of the ride changes drastically! If you don't feel like getting in the water, head to The Island for a great spot to watch the action and maybe catch a bit of spray from the water to cool you off a bit. You might even look into joining in on one of the kayak or stand up paddle-board classes that are held in the water next to The Island.
If you're down by the river and have the kiddos with you, make sure you let them wear their swimsuits on this outing so they can have a ball being teased by the water at The Splash Pad! It's located on the corner of 10th Street and Bay Avenue and it features 32 water jets capable of shooting to heights of eight feet. Sit close enough to the action and you're likely to get splashed as well! I would not have a problem with that.
Even though you've been in the water, you've been playing hard so it's time to cool off with a long, tall glass of something so you may want to grab a big quart jar-size of the freshly squeezed lemonade at Country's Barbecue or an extra large glass of sweet tea from Meritage. I don't know what Faye puts in that tea, but I can't get enough of it! And if it's lunch time when you're quenching your thirst, maybe grab the grilled chicken salad at Country's or the Club Wrap and homemade chips at Meritage.
Save room for an artic-treat to complete the cool-down and try one of the gourmet popsicles at Planet Pops. You never know what kinds of flavors they'll have for you but it could be anything from banana pudding, coffee & cream, key lime pie, and they even have a dill pickle pop complete with pickle slices frozen in the middle! That one right there may make many moms-to-be very happy!
So yeah, it's hot...but before you know it, it'll be the middle of January and we'll be moaning about how cold it is!