3 things you shouldn’t miss at Bellbrook’s Sugar Maple Festival

Published: Thursday, April 20, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Friday, April 27, 2018 @ 4:47 PM

Scenes from the 38th annual Bellbrook's Sugar Maple Festival, which took place April 22-24, 2016. Photos by Tom Gilliam, Contributing photographer.
Tom Gilliam
Scenes from the 38th annual Bellbrook's Sugar Maple Festival, which took place April 22-24, 2016. Photos by Tom Gilliam, Contributing photographer.(Tom Gilliam)

The Bellbrook Sugar Maple Festival traditionally kicks off festival season in the Dayton area, and this year’s 40th annual event is no different. 

Beginning Friday, April 27, the three-day party will fill downtown Bellbrook with music, food and puppy dogs. (You read that right: there’s an annual dog show)

>>GUIDE: Festival season officially kicks off this weekend with SWEET treats at the Sugar Maple Fest

Here are three things you must take part in while at this year’s festival.


How about a short stack with authentic sugar maple syrup?(Contributed)

Anyone who’s tried real maple syrup knows it sends Mrs. Butterworth and her version packing every time. The Dill Family Farm in West Liberty has been producing authentic sugar maple syrup for more than 125 years. There’ll be plenty of their syrupy goodness available for purchase at this year’s Sugar Maple Festival. 

>> The 10 festivals we just cannot wait for

The annual pancake breakfast is set for 8-11 a.m. Saturday at Bellbrook United Methodist Church, 47 E. Franklin St. Admission is $7 for adults and $4 for children older than 2. Family admission is $15.


Festival season is officially here! Scenes from the 39th annual Bellbrook Sugar Maple Festival, which took place April 21-13, 2017.

As always, Plenty of music is planned for the weekend. This year’s headliners are Wasted Potential, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and Spungewurthy from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.  

If you get there early enough on Saturday, you definitely owe it to yourself to check out Todd The Fox. His brand of classic bluesy American songwriting and charm is guaranteed to win you over. This talented trio will be performing from 3 p.m. 4:30 p.m.

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Festival season is officially here! Scenes from the 39th annual Bellbrook Sugar Maple Festival, which took place April 21-13, 2017.

Kids, teens and adults will be able to submit entries for a recycled sculpture contest.

All entries will be displayed during the festival weekend. First, second and third place winners will receive a cash prize; all others receive a participation ribbon.

For guidelines and entry details, visit the event Facebook page.

Festival organizers say this event has grown every year since its inception several years ago.


What: Sugar Maple Festival

Where: Downtown Bellbrook

When: April 27-29

Cost: Free

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Patriot Freedom Festival this weekend to remember the ‘Great War’

Published: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 @ 9:13 PM
Updated: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 2:58 PM

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
(Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

This weekend may be filled with fun, BBQ’s and beer, but the reason for the holiday is one we won't forget.

To celebrate the individuals who have served in our military, The American Veterans Heritage Center once again presents the Patriot Freedom Festival. This year’s theme is Remembering the Great War — WWI. 

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Date: Saturday, May 26 and Sunday, May 27

Hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Festival location: Dayton VA Medical Center Campus, 4100 W. 3rd St., Dayton.

Cost: Free.

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What not to miss: The opening ceremonies kick of promptly at 11 a.m. Events at the festival Include honoring ceremonies, WWI and other historical military re-enactors including guided historical tours including the restored Garden/Grotto, military vehicles, children’s activities, ice cream social, equestrian team, Miami Valley Military History Museum, Frisbee Golf Tournament and much more. there will also be food, craft vendors, kid’s activities, free live music and entertainment. U.S. Federal Judge Walter Rice will be there portraying President Woodrow Wilson, Abraham Lincoln, WWI Doughboys and more.

Insider’s best tip: Dress comfortably. The weather will be very warm.

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Parking/traffic info: Parking is free. Parking lots are very close and smack dab in the middle of the event, so ample parking is available. There are two lots on Kentucky Street by the police station and on Ohio Street next to the Historic Protestant Chapel that are easily accessible.

Best time to go: Things happening every hour, any time you go you’ll find something cool to see.

More info: Website or Facebook

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10 AMAZING festivals we just cannot wait for

Published: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 @ 11:21 AM
Updated: Monday, May 21, 2018 @ 12:07 PM

Nothing beats a summer festival - and Dayton has more than you could ever dream. Here's 10 of the best ones you won't want to miss. (Tabatha Wharton)

It is officially festival season, and we couldn’t be more excited!  

Mark your calendars, grab some stretchy pants and get ready to eat, drink and ooh-and-aah your way through these festivals coming up this spring and summer.

Strawberry pie is always a hot seller at the Troy Strawberry Festival. (CONTRIBUTED)(HANDOUT/Dayton Daily News)


Get ready for Strawberry Palooza (that’s this year’s festival theme). 

Chocolate-covered berries, strawberry shortcake, strawberry smoothies, strawberry burritos, strawberry cheesecake and Troy’s famous strawberry donuts are just a few of the treats you’ll find at this festival.

>> PHOTOS: Troy Strawberry Festival 2017

Need something more savory before dessert? Giant pork tenderloins, pulled pork, burgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob and more festival favorites will be scattered around the Public Square, downtown Troy. Expect tons of craft vendors, games and entertainment that includes Kung Fu from the Kong Hoi Kung Fu Association, a pie eating contest and music from New Frontiers, a Journey Tribute band.  

WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, June 2-3

WHERE: Downtown Troy, along the Public Square and Miami County River levee

INFO: gostrawberries.com Facebook TwitterInstagram

COST: Free  

NO CUTLINE for PBP festive Florida list Strawberry pie is always a hot seller at the Troy Strawberry Festival. (CONTRIBUTED)(HANDOUT/Dayton Daily News)


This year’s poultry party is expected to reach a monumental milestone — 1 million chicken dinners sold. Organizers expect to sell 25,000 of its “world famous” barbecue chicken dinners at this year’s festival. There will also be the 37th Ultimate Frisbee Tournament, an antique car parade, Miss Chick and Little Miss Poultry Days Contests, FREE kiddie tractor pull, rides and games for all ages, vendor area, Cake and Egg Contests, flower show, art and photo show, a 5K run, along with many other family friendly events.

WHEN: Friday-Sunday, June 8, 9 and 10

WHERE: 459 S. Center St., Versailles

INFO: versaillespoultrydays.com

COST: Free
>> Festival to give away BIG prizes when it sells its 1 millionth chicken dinner

Scene from the Jungle Jim's International Beer Festival. (Martin Wheeler III)


There will be more than 400 beers from more than 100 different breweries at the Father’s Day weekend bash. 

You’ll have the chance to try imported and local beers, along with craft brews and hard ciders.

Admission includes a picnic-style meal that includes BBQ beef sandwiches, potato chips, coleslaw or potato salad and a bottle of water.  

Cigars will be sold from Jungle Jim’s humidor that can be smoked on the terrace. 

WHEN: Friday and Saturday, June 15 and 16

WHERE: Jungle Jim’s International Market’s Oscar Event Center, 5440 Dixie Hwy, Fairfield

INFO: junglejims.com/craft-beer-festivalFacebook |Twitter

COST: Early admission is $58.58 per day. General Admission is $47.93. 

From left, Lamb Burger, Chicken Popeye Slider, and Great American Bacon and Beer Burger. (Kathleen Galligan/Detroit Free Press/TNS)(Detroit Free Press)


Enjoy mini sandwiches from a variety of restaurants at this event held at Lincoln Park in Kettering in partnership with the Miami Valley Restaurant Association. 

The Hathaways,  Exploit Band and Brother Believe Me will perform. Lawn chairs are encouraged. 

WHEN: 3-10 p.m. Saturday, June 16  

WHERE: Lincoln Park Fraze Pavilion, 95 Lincoln Park Blvd., Kettering

INFO: Website Facebook

COST: Free  

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Scene from the 2012 Vectren Dayton Air Show. Crowds watched the US Navy Blue Angels Demonstration Team. Contributed Photo by Charles Caperton (www.whiotv.com)


Celebrate Dayton’s aviation heritage and honor our local military history at the Air Show. There will be performances from the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, U.S. Air Force F-22A Raptor, U.S. Army Golden Knights, Sean D. Tucker, B-17 Movie Memphis Belle, Screamin’ Sasquatch Jet Waco, P-51C Red Tail Mustang “Tuskegee Airmen,” the Redline Airshow  and Vicky Benzing.

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WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, June 23-24

WHERE: 3800 Wright Drive, Vandalia

INFO: Website Facebook| Twitter

COST:  Tickets can be purchased online by June 17 for $21 plus a processing fee on the internet for adults and $16 for seniors and youth ages 6 to 11. Online tickets for adults increase to $25 plus fees June 18 to 24. Gate admission is $25 for adults and $16 for seniors and youth. Discounted tickets can be purchased at Kroger starting May 14.  

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Food, music and craft beer from the Yellow Springs Brewery all in one event? The second Springsfest was on Saturday, July 8, 2017. Here is who we spotted. TOM GILLIAM/CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER(Tom Gilliam)


Dayton’s rock legends Guided By Voices and Twin Peaks of Chicago will headline the third annual SpringsFest, which features brews by Yellow Springs Brewery, Warped Wing and MadTree. 

>> PHOTOS: SpringsFest 2016

>> PHOTOS: Springsfest in Yellow Springs 2017

Other acts include Caamp; Counterfeit Madison, Speaking Suns, The Cordial Sins, Adam Remnant, Teen Age; Scary Balance; Gaptooth Grin and Lori. 

WHEN: Saturday, July 7

WHERE: John Bryan Community Center, 100 Dayton St., Yellow Springs.

INFO: facebookWebsite

COST: Early bird passes are $45 each. The $55 full price passes go on sale June 15.

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Pies and Pints Pizza and Craft Beer’s signature wings took home the award for best wings at 2014’s Kickin’ Chicken Wing Festival. They’ll defend their title again this year on July 9 at the Fraze Pavilion. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO


Enjoy bold food, great music, and a family-friendly party at the Fraze. Several restaurants will bring their best of the best.

>> Kickin' Chicken Wing Fest 2018

Entertainment includes 24Seven Party Band, The North 41 

and Lt. Dan’s New Legs

WHEN: 3 p.m. Saturday, July 14 

WHERE: Lincoln Park at Fraze Pavilion, 95 Lincoln Park Blvd., Kettering

INFO: Website 

COST: Free

Sean Askren's hot air balloon "Bohica" and Doug Grimes' "The Gator" balloon were inflated during a media preview Thursday, July 20 for The Ohio Challenge Hot Air Balloon Festival at Smith Park in Middletown. The event runs Friday through Sunday. For more information visit www.ohiochallenge.com. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF


This sanctioned hot air balloon competition will feature a race of 30 participants for the glory, the coveted Ohio Challenge Trophy and a bid to attend the Nationals. There will be night balloon glows at dusk, a car show, balloon rides, fireworks, outdoor concerts, food vendors, arts and crafts, and carnival rides.

WHEN: Friday and Saturday, July 20-21

WHERE:2301 Wedekind Drive, Middletown

INFO: ohiochallenge.com

COST: $5 for adults, children under 12 are free. Parking $15 (includes free shuttle and admission)

>> PHOTOS: See the amazing balloons from Middletown’s annual hot hair balloon festival

Gaelic Storm will once again headline the Dayton Celtic Festival this July. CONTRIBUTED


Celtic music is just one of the things to love about one of the most popular festivals of the summer. There’s also the beer, the kilts and the delicious grub. Three days of free live music from Gaelic Storm; Scythian; Sock In The Frying Pan, Rory Makem; The Fitzgeralds, We Banjo 3 and Heron Valley. 

Did we mention the beer, food and culture?

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WHEN: Friday to Sunday, July 27-29

WHERE: Riverscape MetroPark, 237 E. Monument Ave., Dayton

INFO: Website | Facebook

| Instagram

>> PHOTOS: Dayton Celtic Festival 2017

The fifth annual Bacon Fest took over the Fraze Pavilion, in Kettering, with porky fun on Sunday, Aug. 20. The event sponsored by the Fraze and Miami Valley Restaurant Raiders — a monthly “foodie” group that visits local restaurants — featured bacon treats from 15 locally owned restaurant. STAFF PHOTO / TOM GILLIAM(Tom Gilliam/Tom Gilliam)


Bacon on bacon on bacon. And also bacon.

>> PHOTOS: Did we catch you drooling over the amazing food at Bacon Fest? 

This festival sets out to prove that “everything goes better with bacon.”

Local restaurants create bacon-ey dishes for the event presented by the Restaurant Raiders, a foodie group that supports Dayton area restaurants. 

Music includes Cherry Avenue, The Fries and Fu5ion.

WHEN: 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18

WHERE: Fraze Pavilion, 95 Lincoln Park Blvd., Kettering

INFO: fraze.com/bacon-fest-2018

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Brew 101: 6 do's and don'ts for your first craft beer fest

Published: Thursday, March 29, 2018 @ 4:43 PM

7 Facts About Beer

So you want to go to a beer festival. Wouldn't any self-respecting beer aficionado feel the same?

Brew fests are a lovely rite of passage, with their exclusive releases, tasting flights, food pairings and live music.

»RELATED: A go-to guide for getting bang for your bite at your next barbecue festival

Still, the wonderful parts don't just happen without due diligence on the part of the beer lover (that's you.) Before you pony up for tickets or set out with your necklace of pretzels and a souvenir tasting vessel, take some advice from beer festival pros:

Beer lovers at the top-rated Great American Beer Festival in Denver savor the samples.(Contributed by the Great American Beer Festival/Denver/For the AJC)

Pick an event that will expand your beer experience. You can get hammered any time; your first beer festival should be more about really tasting regional brews and enjoying brewery lore and culture. According to LA Times Food contributor John Verive, to find a festival that's more about showcasing local or regional brews and less about pounding beers, look for a festival organized by, or in support of, a nonprofit. "Next time you're at your favorite local brewery, ask them which upcoming events they're excited to attend," noted Verive, who is also the founder of Beer of Tomorrow.

Also, note how the beer will be served. Some events have unlimited samples; others provide a set number of drink tickets with your admission. "The all-you-can-drink events are usually more expensive up front but they can work out to a better value if your goal is to try as many brews as possible," Verive noted.

Consider volunteering your first time out. If you take the advice to seek out a non-profit festival, a good way to get your feet wet is by volunteering instead of plunking down money for a ticket without knowing what to expect. Most festivals with volunteer opportunities ply volunteers with souvenir glasses, post-shift tasting tickets and free event t-shirts.

If you go this route, next year you'll know what to expect at the festival and whether or not it's worth investing in a ticket. Full disclosure: Some volunteers have so much fun they never do graduate to becoming attendees, instead returning year after year to pour beers and take tickets with friends they've met in years past.

Form a plan and then pace yourself. Figure out which brewers will be at your selected event and locate their booths on the festival website's map. As you enter, start far away from the entrance if there's only one, so you can avoid the rush to the closest stands. Plan to visit the stands with limited releases or those that feature home brews. Another strategy is to visit the tiniest breweries first since they tend to run out of at least some of their beers the most quickly. "Use the same strategy you would use at a theme park—hit the highest-demand tables first while the lines are short," Craft Beer and Brewing magazine advised. "Then as the lines grow, branch out to less-crowded ones."

Chat up the brewery reps. To really enjoy your first brew fest, seek out the booths and vendor tables with brewers and brewery employees doing the pouring, Verive recommended. "Instead of asking for 'the strongest' or 'the most hoppy' beer available, ask for advice on what you should try," he added. "Especially if you're new to beer, the brewery staff can point you toward the styles and brands to try first."

Don't get drunk. That's not the point, not this time. Make sure to eat a meal about an hour before the festival, CBB recommended.

"Give yourself some time to digest your meal. Drinking beer on a empty or full stomach can be equally uncomfortable and inadvisable." Also drink water before, during and after your time at the festival, especially if you'll be in the sun or warm weather. "

For every ounce of beer you drink, drink the same amount of water," CBB said.

"Not only will you feel better during the festival, but you'll also feel much better the next day, letting you get right back at it. And if you're at a festival full of octanes (beers above 8 percent alcohol by volume), consider making it a 2:1 rule."

Three good bet beer fests

After you soak in all this beer fest knowledge, if you're still considering which beer festival will be your first, here are three very good bets:

Fancy: The Savor American Craft Beer and Food Experience in Washington, D.C. is held at the National Building Museum.(Contributed by Savor: An American Craft Beer and Food Experience/Washington, D.C./For the AJC)

Savor: An American Craft Beer and Food Experience, Washington, D.C.

June 1-2, 2018

There isn't a single craft beer festival that comes to the level of class and sophistication of Savor, according to Ale/Sessions. "We're talking a whole new level of beer and food appreciation generally reserved for wine snobs. It's quality over quantity for this festival, with a select number of brewers chosen to pair with creative culinary dishes. High class beer at its best."

Oregon Brew Fest, Portland

July 26-29, 2018

Another pick from Ale/Sessions, Oregon Brew Fest is also one of the longest-running beer festivals in the country. It attracts a robust crowd of, oh, 70,000.

The Great American Beer Festival, Denver

Sept. 20-22, 2018

The only American festival to make the Collector's list of 2018 "8 Best Beer Festivals," these three beer-soaked days of celebration feature more than 800 breweries and 3,800 beers. The festival includes both a public tasting event and a private competition.


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COSI announces plans for EPIC new science festival

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 4:21 PM

Hidden writing is revealed with colored lenses. (Source: Contributed by Robb McCormick)
Hidden writing is revealed with colored lenses. (Source: Contributed by Robb McCormick)

Now this is going to be big. 

COSI announced today plans for one of the “largest science events in Ohio history.”
The COSI Science Festival is set for May 1-4 2019.

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The four-day festival will showcase science around central Ohio and will conclude with a hands-on, day-long carnival-style celebration on the Scioto Peninsula outside COSI, according to a news release.

 “The COSI Science Festival will showcase how exciting, interesting, fun and accessible science is to all of us and how relevant it is to our daily lives. In addition, it will shine a light on the fantastic science, technology, and industry innovation in our great central Ohio region,” COSI President and CEO Frederic Bertley said in the release.

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 Battelle, a Columbus based technology company, has  pledged $850,000 over three years to the project. 

 Additional funds are being sought. 

 “This celebration will foster appreciation for innovation and technology in our community, share our enthusiasm for what our employees do every day and spark interest in the next generation of budding scientists, researchers and engineers,”  Battelle President and CEO Lou Von Thaer said. 

According to a Columbus Dispatch article, COSI’s festival will be structured like the Philadelphia Science Festival created by Bertley and others. 

The newspaper reports that it will include about 150 community partners and 60 events, many of which will be free. 

The events will be held in Columbus and surrounding communities.

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