A not bummer summer: COVID-Safe activities for break

design: Gabby Raney

With summer just around the corner, and COVID-19 vaccines being administered, more people are looking forward to going out more once the weather gets better. However, COVID-19 is still a threat and recreational areas aren’t easing up on the precautions and guidelines too much.

With all that in mind, there are still so many fun areas to go to and activities to take part in over the summer this year, all while being cautious of COVID-19.

There are so many parks with beautiful scenery around Columbus, with Inniswood Metro Park located at 940 S Hempstead Rd, Westerville, OH 43081 being one of the most popular. There is so much to explore at Inniswood, which makes it an entertaining way to pass time, without spending any money.

“A natural woodland is home to native wildflowers, wildlife and waterways which provides a majestic backdrop to the beautifully landscaped gardens and lawns,” Inniswood.org states. “Dedicated to the enjoyment, cultivation and preservation of nature’s treasures, Inniswood boasts more than 2,000 species of plants, specialty collections and themed gardens, including a children’s garden, as well as the Rose, Herb, Conifer and Woodland Rock Gardens.”

Another well-known recreational park is Shale Hollow Park, which attracts many visitors every year. Shale Hollow is home to many animals and has unique sights that make great spots for pictures.

“You can see many remnants of concretions (round rock formations) in the cliffs and along the stream bed,” Delaware County Preservation Parks states. “Wildlife you might encounter include: a large assortment of birds, such as barred owls and pileated woodpeckers; migrating neo-tropical songbirds, such as the hooded warbler and Acadian flycatcher; whitetail deer, raccoons and coyotes; and amphibians, such as the two-lined salamander.”

Shale Hollow is also a great place to get some exercise in, and a lot of people go to hike or run there.

“I used to run there 1-2 times a week because I would have cross country practice,” Sophomore Lainey Garling said. “I really like how they have many different paths you can take and all the beautiful scenery that is provided.”

Conservation Parks are not the only source of entertainment in Ohio over the summer, though. There are many festivals that are bound to be fun happening right here in central Ohio, such as the Juneteenth Community Festival.

“The Juneteenth Community Festival will be held outdoors from 5 to 9 p.m. June 19, at the Phenix Banquet Center,” the Columbus Dispatch stated. “Organizer Yemi Ogungbadero said there will be dancers, live music, food vendors and others stretched across the organization’s outdoor space.”

The Lancaster Festival is also happening this summer, and is an enjoyable way to spend time. Music and Arts are the main focus of this event, so there will be something for everyone.

“The Lancaster Festival Board of Directors announced last week that a string of outdoor performances will take place July 24-29 at the Wendel Concert Stage on the Ohio University Lancaster Campus,” The Columbus Dispatch stated. “Along with the festival’s musical performances, an Art Walk, which is hosted in partnership with Destination Downtown Lancaster, is set for on July 23.”

Another popular event is, of course, the Dublin Irish Festival, which attracts many people each year. Although it won’t be the “normal pre-covid” event, there will still be lots to explore and take part in.

“The Darby Street Marketplace will feature festival merchandise vendors and families can enjoy the Wee Folk area at Riverside Crossing Park,” The Columbus Dispatch stated. “Musicians and dancers will pop up throughout downtown, and shops and restaurants will offer Irish specials.”

The Dublin Irish Festival will still be really special to people even if there are a lot of changes due to COVID-19.

“It’s become a tradition to go with my family every summer,” Sophomore Ever Shoup said. One of my favorite things about the Irish Festival are all the vendors and pop up shops around the festival grounds: I get something every year!”

So, even if Covid regulations have cancelled travel plans, there is a lot to do in Ohio without spending too much money. You can have fun, while staying safe and following COVID-19 guidelines; but guidelines are subjected to change, so make sure to check festival websites often.

“We are excited about hosting events in person this summer,” said Alison LeRoy, City of Dublin community events director. “While things will not be exactly the same as in years past, we are working hard to keep our community safe, while giving people the opportunity to get out and have fun.”