Three musicians on a stage, one playing an accordion

Hot times, music, and hopefully sunny weather are on their way back to Olde Towne East as the 43rd Annual Hot Times Festival returns, with organizers hopeful for perfect weather after last year’s rain-shortened Festival.

The 43rd Annual Hot Times Festival will take place September 6 through 8 on the front lawn of the Columbus Health Department in Olde Towne East. Hot Times is truly a community festival that brings the community together celebrating art, music and honoring local community artists.

Friday evening of Hot Times was the only perfect day of the Festival last year, with picture-perfect weather to kick off the weekend. However, it was non-stop rain on the second day of the Festival in 2018 that cut the Festival short as the ground got saturated. The dance floor of the Main Street Stage fell victim to the muddy and saturated ground as festival goers braved the rain to enjoy the festival. While the acts on the Main Street Stage continued on as usual on Saturday as scheduled, capped off with a set by perennial Hot Times Headliner C.J. Chenier, the rain proved too much for the Festival to continue on Sunday.

Festival organizers and volunteers spent the week following the Festival last September repairing the mud-soaked lawns of the Health Department that were left saturated.

The Art Car Show and the Columbus Children’s Parade are two of the Festival’s annual staples that bring people out each year. The Art Car Show is one of the largest displays of art cars around.

The 26th Annual Columbus Children’s Parade will return this year after being canceled last year due to the rain. In place of the Parade, Central Community House, which co-organizes the Parade, hosted activities and crafts for the children during the time the parade would have been. The parade is open to all youth and organizations that serve young people. Parade check-in starts at 10 A.M. at the Kwanzaa Playground at 1277 Bryden Road.

The Parade will step off from Bryden Road and Wilson Avenue around 11:30 A.M., heading west on Bryden to the Festival, where there will be activities and free lunch for the youth, followed by a performance by Transit Arts on the Main Street Stage at 1 P.M.

This year’s headlining musician for the Main Street Stage is The Deal Breakers Band, a local soul-infused funk band featuring Ray Woods as their lead vocalist. Experience Columbus has described The Deal Breakers Band as a “soul and funk-inspired personal party.” The Deal Breakers will take the Main Street Stage approximately at 9:45 P.M. on Saturday evening.

Other acts scheduled to perform on the Main Street Stage include the Shaun Booker Band, Willie Phoenix & The Soul Underground on Friday evening, All Star Jammerz and Doctah X earlier on Saturday, and fo/mo/deep, Sean Carney & The Joint Rockers, and The Ark Band on Sunday.

Artist Hakim Callwood and local Blues musician Sean Carney are this year’s Honored Artists at Hot Times. Past honorees included musicians – such as Gene Walker, Willie Phoenix and Shaun Booker, visual artists – such as Ralph and Roger Williams, Kojo Kamau, Aminah Robinson and Harry Wozniak, art administrators and spoken word artists.

Sunday evening on the Parsons Avenue stage is the Annual Poetry Slam, which returns after being rained out last year. Is Said will be honored at the Slam, which is organized by local Columbus poet Barbara Fant. The Poetry Slam will close out the Parsons Avenue stage.

Other acts on the Parsons Avenue stage this year include Donna Mogavero on Friday, Girlz Rhythm N Rock, The New Legga-C Showband, and Hot Tonic on Saturday. Sunday on the Parsons Avenue stage will kick off with the Traditional Sunday Drum Circle, led by Drum Master Elder Tony West.

Friday evening of Hot Times has traditionally been the Comfest Volunteer Appreciation Party. 2019 Comfest volunteers are encouraged to wear their 2019 Comfest volunteer shirts on Friday evening and check in at Volunteer Central to receive their party favors. The Official 2019 Comfest Volunteer Photo is taken on the Porch Swing stage at 7:00 P.M. on Friday evening.

Traditionally held each year on the weekend after Labor Day, Hot Times was originally organized in 1977 by the Arts Foundation of Olde Towne and was called the Flea Market Festival. Hot Times is independent and not owned by any other nonprofit. It is located on the front lawn of the Columbus Health Department, 240 Parsons Avenue, in Olde Towne East. Parking for the festival is accessible in the parking lot in the rear of the Health Department. The Festival is also accessible by COTA Lines 2 and 11.

For more information on the Hot Times Festival, go to If you are an organization that serves youth that wants to participate in the Columbus Children’s Parade, contact Central Community House at (614) 252-3157.

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