Reynoldsburg ready to open up for event-filled summer

Kelley Rodriguez
ThisWeek
Wendie Mitchell, with Midway Kettle Corn and Lemonade, fills a bag of kettle corn for a customer during the Reynoldsburg Farmers Market on June 4, 2020. The market returns June 10 at John F. Kennedy Park, 7232 E. Main Street, and will run each Thursday through Aug. 26.

After a year of cancellations caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, this summer is shaping up to be busier than ever in Reynoldsburg.  

City officials announced the senior center, 1520 Davidson Drive, will reopen June 1.  

Parks and recreation programming such as sports, outdoor education and special events are “vital to our resident’s quality of life. Everyone needs an outlet and we crave interactions with others in a fun and safe atmosphere,” said Donna Baumann, parks and recreation director.  

“The administration of the city agreed that we needed to provide a wide variety of programs to our community to bring back some sense of normalcy," she said. "While we agree that offering programming is important to the emotional and physical well-being of our residents, we must ensure that we do so safely and follow all protocol set forth from Ohio Department of Health, Franklin County Board of Health and the CDC.”  

Below are some of the major events scheduled from June to September in the city. Details can be found on the city’s website ci.reynoldsburg.oh.us or on the Parks and Recreation Department’s Facebook page facebook.com/Reynoldsburg1/ 

Food and fun  

Reynoldsburg will offer plenty of ways to sample some local flavors while enjoying the outdoors.  

The 14th annual Farmers Market returns June 10 at John F. Kennedy Park, 7232 E. Main Street, and is slated to run each Thursday through Aug. 26. 

About 17 vendors are scheduled to participate with everything from produce and cottage foods to arts and crafts, said Jennifer Clemens, special events coordinator. 

“We are excited to have several of our local vendors return this season. We are hoping the community will return to the market this season to show their support,” she said. “Live music will be returning the market bringing back the social element we were missing last year.”  

The June 17 market will highlight the Nepali community. There will be henna demonstrations, music and samples of some traditional dishes.

More information can be found at: ci.reynoldsburg.oh.us/departments/parks-and-recreation/farmers-market.aspx 

New this year is Food Truck Wednesdays at Memorial Plaza, 7312 E. Main Street. 

Kicking off 4 to 7 p.m. June 2, a different truck is scheduled every week through Sept. 29. For a schedule, go to streetfoodfinder.com/3712eastmain.

The city also will host a Food Truck Rodeos, featuring multiple food trucks, live music and family-friendly games from 5-8 p.m. at JFK Park. Food Truck Rodeos are planned June 11 and July 9. 

The chamber of commerce will hold the annual Taste of Reynoldsburg from 5-8 p.m. June 22 at the senior center.  

Be entertained  

The city’s first Artist and Maker’s Market will be 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 5 at the Livingston House, 1792 Graham Road.  

Originally planned for 2020, the bazaar will be a place for artisans and crafters to exhibit and sell paintings, ceramics, jewelry, photography and other items.  

Music in the Cul-de-Sac returns, featuring local performers Thursday nights from June 3 to July 29. The city still is looking for a few courts to participate, and interested residents are asked to call the parks and recreation department at 614-322-6806.   

The Concerts in the Lawn series, with live performances on the Livingston House lawn, are set for 6:30 p.m. June 27 and July 25. The Ohio State University Alumni Marching Band is scheduled to play June 27 and Chris Logsdon will perform July 25.  

Drive-in movies will be shown June 19, July 17 and Aug. 21 at Civic Park, 6800 Daugherty Drive, with movie titles to be announced. 

Celebrate independence  

Fireworks will return to light up the night sky July 2 in honor of Independence Day.  

Festivities begin at 6 p.m. at Civic Park with food vendors, carnival games and inflatables. Fireworks will begin about 9:45 p.m.  

The annual parade, sponsored by the Reynoldsburg Community Association, steps off at 10 a.m. July 3, from the intersection of Rosehill Road and East Main Street, heading east along Main Street. For more information or to register to participate, visit reynca.org

Tomato Festivals returns 

Two Grammy Award-winning acts will headline to the 2021 Tomato Festival on Aug. 12-14 at Huber Park.  

Started in 1965, the festival honors Reynoldsburg’s claim as the birthplace of a sweeter, edible tomato created by resident Alexander W. Livingston. In 1870, he was the first to upgrade the wild tomato plant.  

The 2019 festival was the first managed by the city after being organized by Reynoldsburg Festivals Inc.  

Under city management, carnival rides, national musical acts and expanded entertainment returned and more tomato-themed offerings, such as chili and salsa contests and a tomato food fight, were added.  

“The 2019 festival was a great success overall, and the 2021 Festival is set to exceed expectations again,” Mayor Joe Begeny said. “We have a great list of headlining acts combined with a number of local acts to kick things off, our Tomato Festival Pageant has expanded due to so much interest, the car show, pizza challenge, and of course the Tomato Wars will return. 

“We will also have a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, a 5K, music and preforming arts throughout the festival, as well as a local art section with a wine and canvass option. The biggest addition will be our sensory-day activities.” 

Scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. Aug. 13, it “will provide a safe environment for anyone wanting to attend the Tomato Festival but without the noise, lights, etc. that are typically associated with a festival atmosphere,” he said.  

The city in February announced multi-platinum hip-hop group Arrested Development will perform Saturday and “Eye of the Tiger” hitmakers Survivor will take the stage Friday.  

The Landsharks, a Jimmy Buffet and Beach Boys tribute band, will play Thursday.  

For more information on the festival, visit reytomatofest.com

Revisit history 

The annual Pioneer Day will return to the Livingston House, 1792 Graham Road, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 18.  

“It provides a historical and cultural aspect to our community that is unique to Reynoldsburg and only Reynoldsburg,” Baumann said. “This gives the community insight to life in in the 1880s. It is a unique family experience that all can participate in and learn from. This gives the community a feeling of pride and a richness in our history that one can know is specific to the place that we all call home.” 

Orange-barrel season  

The construction season will be in full bloom this summer as the city begins the first of a two-phase project to remake Main Street in the Olde Reynoldsburg area.  

The $7.8 million project will widen sidewalks, repair and storm sewer and add additional on-street parking along Main Street between Davidson Drive and Jackson Street.  

Drive lanes will shrink from 16 feet to 12 feet in width to widen sidewalks and slow traffic for a more pedestrian-friendly downtown. Clay-brick sidewalk pavers, limestone benches, decorative street lighting and median plantings will be added. 

The project’s second phase will complete the work from Jackson Street east to the Waggoner/Graham intersection in 2022. 

In a separate project, the Ohio Department of Transportation will repave the same stretch of Main Street this year. 

Reynoldsburg also plans to complete about $1.5 million in milling and repaving work on Bergenia, Fallriver, Linick, Priestly, and Taylor Mills drives and the parking lots at JFK Park and the Livingston House. 

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