A goetta creation at Glier's Goettafest (photo by Byron Photography)
Food + Drink

3 Unique Summer Food Festivals in Ohio

Across the state, you’ll find Ohioans celebrating the culinary traditions of their region. From goetta to fried walleye, here are a few food-based festivals to check out this season.

Glier’s Goettafest | July 25–28 & Aug. 1–4

If you’re not sure what goetta is, you’re not alone. Take a walk along the Ohio River at Newport on the Levee and explore the unique flavor of this German-style sausage that has long been a Cincinnati-area favorite. Drawing just a handful of people in 2001, Glier’s Goettafest now routinely attracts 250,000 attendees during its eight-day run.  

“Goetta is completely unique,” Glier’s Goetta president Daniel Glier says of the breakfast sausage his company makes with pork or beef, steel-cut oats and a mixture of herbs and spices. “It doesn’t taste like anything other than itself.”

Goettafest features around 50 goetta-inspired food items, ranging from savory to sweet. On the menu this year is a Grilled Goetta Donut Sandwich. Attendees can also learn more about the history of goetta, enjoy live entertainment on two stages and even grab some goetta to go at the Glier’s vending machine. goettafest.com


Wine and Walleye Festival July 26-28

This festival’s star food and drink make an unlikely pairing, but Ashtabula’s connection both to Lake Erie and the bountiful Grand River Valley wine region have brought these two favorites of the region together since 2009.

Attendees can sample Ohio wines and buy bottles of their favorites at the festival’s wine tent, while those who want to dig into some walleye can order up the event’s signature fish breaded and fried with a side of French fries riding along.  

“It’s served just like that, and people love it,” says Mary Church, the festival’s committee chair.

There’s also a fishing tournament, with $7,000 in cash prizes and a 5k that takes runners through the Ashtabula Harbor area and back to the festival grounds. A lighted boat parade, complete with fireworks, caps off the second day of the festival, while live music and bounce houses for the kids provide entertainment for the entire family. wineandwalleyefestival.com


Reynoldsburg Tomato Festiva Aug. 8–10

The central Ohio city of Reynoldsburg is known as the “birthplace of the tomato” thanks to the work of former resident Alexander Livingston, who in 1870 developed a commercially viable tomato from the wild version of the plant.  

“He is known for taking this ugly fruit and making it this nice pretty tomato that you will buy in a grocery store,” says Jennifer Clemens, special events and communications manager for the Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival. 

The city’s first tomato festival took place in August 1966, offering foods made with the star ingredient such as tomato fudge and tomato butter. This year, attendees can expect to find pizza challenges, a spaghetti-eating contest and a salsa competition. Additionally, farmers will be on-site selling heirloom tomato varieties. Those looking for eats beyond tomatoes, can choose from a variety of food trucks. Live entertainment, rides, a kids zone, pageant and even a sanctioned tomato fight round out the weekend. reytomatofest.com