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Art, Music Festivals Start Summer in Cincinnati

Two of Cincinnati’s biggest summer events open this weekend, only 9 miles apart. Summerfair will be at Coney Island and Bunbury Music Festival will be at Sawyer Point. Though the two events are very different, they are each expecting large crowds.


This year marks the 50th anniversary of Summerfair, an art fair that began in 1968 in Mount Adams to celebrate the opening of Playhouse in the Park. Summerfair moved to Coney Island in 1977. In 1979, it moved to Riverfront Coliseum because of the expected numbers of visitors. In 1985, Summerfair moved back to Coney Island to stay.

Summerfair Cincinnati has a year-round commitment to help fund local arts programs. Summerfair is its largest fundraiser. It has a number of competitions for artists including photography, painting, glass, leather, and sculpture.

Summerfair is expecting 300 vendors and 20,000 guests this year.

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Summerfair Cincinnati teamed up with Rookwood Pottery to create a commemorative tile that highlights its history.

Summerfair spokeswoman Jackie Reau says that Summerfair is an art fair like no other.

“It’s a very approachable art fair where you can really sit down, chat with the artist, and learn about their craft so I think that’s really what interests people,” Reau said.

Summerfair will be open Friday from 2 to 8, Saturday from 10 to 8, and on Sunday from 10 to 5.

Bunbury Music Festival

Bunbury Music Festival returns to Sawyer Point this weekend. It has gone through some changes this year, allowing fans who do not want to spend the entire weekend at the event to choose the day they want to attend based on the genre of music they most prefer.

Friday night will focus on hip-hop artists including headliners G-Easy and Wiz Khalifa. Saturday is electronic and dance music including Pretty Lights, Cobi, and Bassnectar. Sunday, rock groups such as Thirty Seconds to Mars, the 1979, and Muse will perform.

Bunbury expects 40,000 people will attend over the course of the weekend. Spokeswoman Megan Doster says it’s the spirit of Cincinnati that makes Bunbury Music Festival special.

“I think it’s just, you know, the community of Cincinnati coming together and getting to enjoy so many different types of music,” Doster said.

Braxton Brewery has made a signature beer for Bunbury this year, otherwise festival veterans can expect food and beverage choices similar to last year. Doster said it will be hot this weekend so she is encouraging people to bring an empty water bottle to fill up at filling stations.

Bunbury attracted more than just local fans this year, Doster said ticket records show guests coming from as far away as New York and Canada.