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ENJOY THESE TOP EVENTS THIS SPRING IN OHIO, KENTUCKY, INDIANA & WEST VIRGINIA

VISIT THESE EVENTS AND FESTIVALS FOR FUN

CLEVELAND KURENTOVANJE FESTIVAL
February 10
Consider this the “Slovenian Mardi Gras.” Celebrating the end of winter and the beginning of spring, the Cleveland Kurentovanje at the Slovenian National Home includes a 5K race, a parade, ethnic food and drink, and live music. clevelandkurentovanje.com

Cleveland Kurentovanje Festivel2023 Cleveland Kurentovanje Festival; Photo by Kathryn Zitko

THE GRAVY CUP
February 17
Billed as the world’s largest biscuits-and-gravy competition, The Gravy Cup offers tastes from more than 40 amateur and professional chefs and then encourages visitors to vote for their favorite. All proceeds benefit the children at Boys & Girls Haven in Louisville, Kentucky. gravycup.com

BOURBON CLASSIC
February 21–24
If you’re a bourbon enthusiast, head to the Bourbon Classic in Louisville, Kentucky. Here, you can sample a variety of bourbons, attend workshops in Bourbon University, and check out the Cocktail & Culinary Challenge, featuring cocktails and small plates from notable chefs and bartenders. bourbonclassic.com

Judging from the International Water Tasting EventThe judges at the International Water Tasting competition in Berkeley, West Virginia, will be sipping and sampling all sorts of waters, from municipal to bottled to carbonated; Photo by Jules Happy Rone

INTERNATIONAL WATER TASTING
February 22–25
Water, water everywhere, but which tastes best? According to the judges at the International Water Tasting competition in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, last year it was the dewy drops of Clearbrook, British Columbia, that won first in the municipal water category. Along with municipal waters, purified drinking water, non-carbonated bottled waters and sparkling waters from around the world are also evaluated in this annual competition. berkeleyspringswatertasting.com

ARNOLD SPORTS FESTIVAL
February 29–March 3
Bodybuilding, strongman competitions, arm wrestling and medieval combat. You’ll find all that and more at the Arnold Sports Festival at the Greater Columbus (Ohio) Convention Center and the Ohio Expo Center. As part of the festival, the Arnold Expo will feature more than 1,000 vendor booths with the latest in sports equipment, apparel and nutrition. And cofounder of the event, Arnold Schwarzenegger, just might be back. arnoldsports.com

BOCKFEST
March 1–3
The historic Brewery District in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood hosts its annual celebration of spring and bock beer at Bockfest Hall and other participating sites. Live music, a parade and more than two-dozen bock beers from local breweries will be presented. Sunday is family quality time with a petting zoo, games, more music and great food. bockfest.com

Marching band in Dublin, Ohio's St. Patrick's Day ParadeBagpipers, inflatables, leprechauns and, of course, marching bands, are all part of Dublin, Ohio’s St. Patrick’s Day parade; Photo courtesy of the City of Dublin

ST. PATRICK’S DAY IN HISTORIC DUBLIN  
March 9
Where else would you rather be than Dublin (Ohio) on St. Patrick’s Day? Start with plenty of green syrup on your pancake breakfast presented by the Dublin Lion’s Club. Then, head over to the Inflation Celebration to watch the parade’s inflatables rise in glorious splendor. Next, find a spot along the parade route to enjoy marching bands, bagpipers, leprechauns and those now fully formed inflatables. visitdublinohio.com

ANNUAL WINE BARREL TASTING
March 23
Take a self-guided tour through Kentucky’s scenic Bluegrass region with stops at participating wineries for tastings. You can even chat with the vintners. The event is organized by Friends of McConnell Springs to raise funds for the restoration and preservation of the national historic site. Ticket sales begin March 1. mcconnellsprings.org

GREATER COLUMBUS CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL
April 6–14
The third annual festival takes place in Franklin Park with its beautiful white and pink flowering cherry trees—some 100 trees in all. The main celebration on April 13 features exhibits, games and demos of bonsai, dolls, Japanese toys, kite-making and more along with entertainment and food trucks featuring Asian and Japanese cuisine. IVOcolumbusoh.org

HILLBILLY DAYS
April 18–20
From the county that birthed the Hatfield/McCoy feud comes the funnest festival in Kentucky. Of course, the only feuding to be found during Hillbilly Days, held in downtown Pikeville, is the friendly competition between attendees as they try to outdo each other with their hillbilly attire. Three stages will showcase clogging, square dancing, and pickin’ and grinnin’ aplenty. Proceeds benefit the Shriners’ Children’s Hospital in Lexington. hillbillydays.com

SUGAR MAPLE FESTIVAL    
April 19–21
Celebrate spring in Bellbrook, Ohio, with a visit to its annual Sugar Maple Festival. You’ll find live music, a dog show, a 5K race, face painting, carnival rides, craft vendors and a parade. All that, plus you can take home a complimentary tree to plant at home. Sweet. sugarmaplefestival.com

WHITE SQUIRREL ARTS FEST
April 19–21
Creativity in southern Kentucky is the theme of downtown Bowling Green’s annual arts fest. Take time to engage with artists, authors and local crafters. There will be live entertainment, youth talent shows, plenty of food and drink, and maybe a squirrel or two. whitesquirrelartsfest.com

Horse jumping/competing in the Kentucky Three-Day Event, one of the world’s premier equestrian eventsThe best horses and riders will be competing in the Kentucky Three-Day Event, one of the world’s premier equestrian events; Photo by Michelle Dunn

KENTUCKY THREE-DAY EVENT
April 25–28
One of the world’s premier equestrian events is held every April at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. Witness the best horse-and-rider combinations as they compete in dressage, cross-country and show jumping phases. Enjoy multiple food and beverage options, and if your primary interest is shopping, they’ve got you covered there, too. Check the website for the various admission tickets available. kentuckythreedayevent.com

VIKING FEST
April 26–28
Plenty of throwing will be going on in Anson Acres Park in Whitestown, Indiana. The annual Viking Fest will feature keg tossing for the adults and iron-skillet throwing for the kids. Viking-themed reenactors in full garb will be swinging their weapons (in a controlled environment, of course). Stick around Friday and Saturday for a dazzling display of inflatables. whitestown.in.gov/community/parks-and-recreation/events/viking-festival