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Get an early jump on summer and add these African American Midwest Festivals to your calendar.


As the warm weather slowly approaches, so is the need to be outside with good friends, drinks and music. That also means mini weekend trips your girls, guys or a quick family getaway. Check out these African American Midwest Festivals that won’t break your bank.


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Cincinnati Jazz and BBQ Festival
May 11
5906 Madison Road, Cincinnati OH 45227 (Corner of Madison Road and Whetsel Avenue)
Free Entry
Come out and enjoy some great jazz and BBQ! Event hours are from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.


Midwest Regional Sweet & Natural Fest
May 19
Washington Park, 1230 Elm Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Free Entry
A sure way to kick off your summer with music, hair & make up demos, the AfroSwag Fashion Show, a Cultural Market Place, information on holistic health & wellness, The World’s Biggest Product Swap, a plush green lawn for blankets, The Beauty Lounge & Beard Bar, and MORE will make this event one to remember. Event hours are 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.


Berea’s National Rib Cook-off
May 24 – 27
Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, 164 Eastland Rd., Berea, OH 44017
Tickets $0 – $5
Food, live music, face-painting, a rock climbing wall, and more! Berea’s National Rib Cook-Off makes a special effort to create family friendly environment with a picnic-style atmosphere. The festival offers free parking all weekend and free admission for children under 12. Event hours for are Friday 12 p.m.-11 p.m., Saturday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., and Monday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.


Taste of Cincinnati
May 25 – 27
5th Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Free Entry
The Taste will feature more than 50 restaurants and food trucks, rotating vendors from Findlay Market and nearly 35 musical acts. The event showcases the culinary creativity of chefs from around the region, with vendors offering small plates priced from $2-$7. Event hours are Saturday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. and Monday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.


Chicago Blues Festival
June 7 – 9 
Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60601
Free Entry
The Chicago Blues Festival is the largest free blues festival in the world and remains the largest of Chicago’s Music Festivals. During three days on five stages you will see artists including Mavis Staples, Selwyn Birchwood, and tributes to Little Walter and Bob Koester! Event hours are from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.


Cincinnati Juneteenth Festival
June 15 – 16 
Eden Park, 1198 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Free Entry
The annual Juneteenth Festival feature cultural music in the form of the blues, African drumming & dancing, gospel, jazz, reggae and more! The food vendors offer a wide variety of food, clothing, art, folk crafts and ethnic literature. Event hours are 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.


Columbus Black Theatre Festival
July 12 – 14
Columbus Performing Arts Center, 549 Franklin Avenue, Columbus, OH 43215
Tickets $0 – $50
The Columbus Black Theatre Festival brings to the capital city of Ohio original plays that pertain not only to the African American community but society at large. Various plays will take place Friday through Sunday including a poetry slam and open mic contest. 


Taste of Chicago
July 10 – 14
Grant Park, Jackson & Columbus Road, Chicago, IL 60602
Free Entry
The delicious array of food served at the world’s largest food festival is complemented by music and exciting activities for the entire family. All patrons will need to purchase food and drink tickets after entering the park. Event hours are 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.


Indiana Black Expo
July 11 – 21
3145 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46208
Tickets $0 – $100
Come celebrates cultural diversity and inclusiveness across all races, ethnicities, nationalities, generations, socioeconomic levels and religious affiliations. Enjoy youth summits, food, health and retail vendors plus concerts at night.

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African Professionals Network AfriFrest
July 20
Lake Isabella, The Quarry Bluff Shelter, 1017 Loveland-Madeira Rd. Symmes Township, OH 45140
Free Entry
The family-friendly event with FREE admission is to increase awareness of Africa within the Tri-State while connecting individuals to resources in their community. Members of the organization will provide FREE food and drinks for attendees. Event hours are from 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.


Columbus Jazz and Rib Festival
July 20 – 22
Bicentennial, West Bank, and Genoa Parks on the Scioto Mile, 303 West Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43215
Free Entry
The three-day event includes a cook-off between award-winning barbeque teams from around the country. Teams compete for bragging rights for “Best Ribs” and serve up sizzling ribs, chicken and more. Event hours are 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Friday – Saturday and 11 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. on Sunday.


Cincinnati Music Festival
July 25 – 27
Paul Brown Stadium, 1 Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Tickets $50 – $150
This year’s lineup includes Kid Kapri, Maxwell, Mary J. Blige, Blackstreet, RBRM, and more. Don’t miss the pre-party on Thursday night at Paul Brown Stadium’s East Club Lounge, with a fashion show, performances, DJs and more.


Herbie Hancock & Kamasi Washington Jazz Concert
August 7
The Rose Music Center at The Heights, 680 Executive Blvd., Huber Heights, OH 45424
Tickets $23.50 – $78
In what is sure to be one of the most celebrated double-bills of the Summer, Herbie Hancock and multi-instrumentalist Kamasi Washington. A star-studded band will accompany them. This concert starts 7:30 p.m. 


Cincinnati Black Family Reunion
August 16 – 18
Sawyer Pointe, 705 East Pete Rose Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Free Admission
This 3-day fun-filled weekend event brings consumers, corporations, and communities together to focus on the historic strengths and values of the Black Family. Events include a city-wide parade, local talent performers, games, food and drinks. Bring your families and friends and make this a reunion to remember! Event hours are 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.


Louisville African Heritage Festival
August 17
Ben Washer Park, Between 5th & 6th Street, Louisville KY 40212
Free Entry
Enjoy this celebration of unity, culture, art and history across the African Diaspora.  It is a joyous event for the whole family with great food, music, dance, sports, fashion, cultural demonstrations, children’s activities, resources for healthy living and so much more. Event hours are Friday – 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. and Saturday – 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.


Cincinnati Midwest MIND, Body & Beauty Expo
September 28-29
Woodlawn Community Center, 10050 Woodlawn Blvd., Cincinnati, OH 45215
Tickets $10 – 20
This is one of the city’s premier cultural events where individuals, families, and small businesses come to immerse themselves in the richness of movement, music, natural beauty, self-empowerment and wellness. Shop, watch dance competitions, enjoy health seminars and more.



If there are any festivals in the Midwest area that we have missed, please let us know at The Voice of Black Cincinnati.  




The Voice of Black Cincinnati is a media company designed to educate, recognize and create opportunities for African Americans in the region. Visit our homepage, explore other articles, subscribe to our newsletter, follow us on Facebook or text VOBC to 797979 for local news, events, job postings, scholarships and a database of local Black-owned businesses.





Marissa Staples, Writer
The Voice of Black Cincinnati

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