Alefest, Computerfest Among Specialized Festivals in Dayton, Ohio

Wine tasting, shmine tasting…bring on the beer! Dayton’s Alefest brings beers of the world together for a tasting extravaganza!

If you’re a connoisseur of beer, this is the must-see festival of the summer in Dayton, Ohio.

Carillon Historical Park hosts the Alefest in late August each year. The event takes place one of the last two Saturdays of the month, and begins late afternoon until the early evening.

Upon arrival, each beer taster is given a souvenir beer tasting glass, a guide to the festival, and a string of 20 tickets, good for any type of beer in the festival. There are several food vendors at the event, so no worries about drinking on an empty stomach…and naturally, there’s plenty to drink!

Tickets cost $25 if purchased in advance or $30 at the gate. If you’re a non-drinker or the designated driver, the entry fee is $15 and includes a bottle of water, a food voucher, and an official Alefest beer tasting glass as you exit the festival.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Diabetes Association of the Dayton Area, and if you’re so inclined, there is a wide variety of Alefest merchandise available for purchase. The festival also offers beer wearables and memorabilia, and a silent auction and raffle for beer collectibles.

Alefest offers live entertainment by radio stations and live bands throughout the event, as well as a celebrity beer tasting contest for the entertainment of others attending.

Guides are passed out at the gate when tasters enter the festival. These booklets include facts about brewing beers and ales, what the difference is between the various types, and references about the different breweries represented at the event.

Tasters will find typical beer favorites including Newcastle, Guinness, Coors, Sam Adams, Rolling Rock, and Beck’s. There are also some fantastic brews from smaller breweries including Great Lakes, Otter Creek, Thirsty Dog, Melbourn Brothers, and Gordon Biersch.

This event offers beer drinkers a chance to sample a variety of beers not available in some bars and stores, without having to travel far or buy an entire case just for a sample.

Alefest is a great late summer event for anyone 21 and up in the Dayton area!

Are you a ‘newbie’ or a ‘geek’? Regardless, you’ll find something to peak your computer knowledge (or lack thereof) at the Computerfest.

Usually the first or second weekend in September, the Computerfest is held at Dayton’s Hara Arena and is a volunteer-run event.

It’s a computer geek’s dream—deals on computers, lecture series, how-to’s, exhibits, and TONS of vendors cram into Hara for a weekend in an event that puts some Trekkie conventions to shame.

Visitors new to this festival can find some great deals on full computers, computer parts, CD-R’s, DVD-R’s, cables, and just about any computer accessory known to man. If I remember my last experience there, you could even purchase 8-bit gaming systems from days past. A little bit of nostalgia tossed in among the technology of the future, all crammed into one convention center.

Many vendors will haggle prices with potential buyers, making this event more of a flea-market-like atmosphere, but also giving the buyer the potential to get an event better price on the computer piece they want to buy.

The 2003 Computerfest also introduced a new segment to the festival–a 200-seat LAN gaming area, for all the gamers interested in playing some multi-player games.

Tickets are available in advance at various locations around the Dayton area and on the Computerfest website. Advance tickets are $5 and include free parking at the event. If you choose to purchase your tickets at the door, they are $7, and also include free parking at Hara Arena. Children under 12 are free to the event.

Do you like Hip Hop, R&B, or are just interested in Black Culture? Dayton’s Black Cultural Festival hits the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in mid-July of each summer.

The music at this festival will blow you away–Jazz, R&B, Blues and Reggae can be heard from different music stages throughout the festival.

If watching dance is your cup, head to the African Dance area located near the African Village where you can see traditional African dances put on by people dressed in full costume.

Also in the African village, you can check out crafts, art, fashion, and storytelling, for visitors interested in learning more about the African culture.

The festival also has a parade and a traditional African wedding for those interested (actual vows are not exchanged, so it’s not a legal wedding…just for show).

New for 2005, the Black Cultural Festival also included a 3 on 3 basketball tournament where contestants could show off their skills and the winning team got a prize.

The festival costs $5 entry fee.

Like ‘Lord of the Rings’? Enjoy the times of Lords and Ladies? Then you’ll love the Ohio Renaissance Festival!

Running from late August until mid to late October, the Renaissance Festival has a permanent home just South of Dayton in Harveysburg, Ohio.

As visitors walk past the guarded gate, they find themselves in a 16th Century English village. Strolling musicians, food vendors with giant pickles, pretzels, beer and turkey legs line the streets. Everyone who works the festival dresses in period costume, and if you feel the urge, you can join in as well–costumes are available for rent at the front gate. If you just want to dress up to remember the festival and live in the moment, there is a picture stand where visitors can dress in period costumes with props for a quick picture, developed while you wait.

Daily events include a full armored joust, a parade for the queen, and a variety of shows including the Washing Wenches, the Mud Show, and A Pirate Show.

If you don’t like sitting still for that long, or plan on bringing kids, there are rides (all human powered, of course), and games (knife throwing, ax throwing, tomato tossing, rope ladder climbing, etc.).

The Renaissance festival has a variety of shops lining the outer ring of the festival village grounds. Customers can purchase costumes, headdresses, elf ears (you’d be surprised how popular they are), swords, leather mugs, viking gear, jewelry, glassware, and much more.

The festival runs only on weekends during the late summer/early fall, and certain weekends are themed weekends including kids get in free, Nordic weekend, Pirate weekend, Festival of Fools, and the Highland Fling.

Tickets are $16.99 for adults and $9.99 for kids age 5-12. Kids under 5 are free. Online discounts are available at the festival website (, and will knock $2 off adult entry fees and $1 off the price for kids.

Late spring is the best time to take a vacation, but why pay all the money for flights around the world when you can get the best of every country all in one place?

Dayton’s World A’Fair is held each year in May at the Dayton Convention Center for a weekend. This festival includes a showcase of food, dancing, costumes, and cultural exhibits that showcase countries from across the globe. Residents of the Dayton area participate and celebrate their heritage, ethnic backgrounds and diversity.

Various cultural groups from the Miami Valley participate in the festival. Each country enters a young woman in the ‘Miss World A’Fair’ contest, and the winner leads the parade that starts off the festival. There is also a world flag procession each day, and various entertainment on a formal stage, and an informal stage, where visitors can learn new dances and participate with those in costume.

The World A’Fair is a great place to get souvenirs from countries around the world without having to make the trip there, it’s also a fantastic way to sample new foods in a central location.

Tickets are $3 in advance and parking will cost another $3.

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