Summer's not cancelled: What local businesses, organizations offer to boost summer fun

Though it can feel like life has been put on hold, there are still plenty of options to enjoy the summer months. Getting outdoors is not cancelled. Music is not cancelled. Good food is not cancelled. And overall, summer is not cancelled.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, many things changed, as social distancing orders were put in place and businesses and organizations had to find new ways to move forward.

Unfortunately, many familiar and favorite local summer activities and outings – including the Summer Arts Festival, most public pools and numerous festivals – won’t be happening this year.

However, thanks to the hard work and forward thinking of a variety of local individuals, businesses and organizations, there are still many fun things to look forward to right here in Clark County communities.

The Hub has compiled a variety of summer-fun activities happening locally for you, your friends and family to explore.

National Trail Parks and Recreation District

Throughout the pandemic, one constant has been the ability for people to get out in nature and enjoy time in the open. This summer is no different, with even more options available as waterways draw people in for fishing and popular playgrounds have opened back up for public use.

“More people have been using the parks now more than ever before because people are trying to get out and find new things to do with their families,” says Leann Castillo, executive director of the National Trail Parks and Recreation District (NTPRD). “People are exploring and getting out with their families, which is a great thing. This has been a great time for people to slow down and have time to reconnect as families.”

From the variety of parks and trails throughout the county to the bike paths and playgrounds, just about anyone can find something NTPRD offers that they could enjoy.

One brand offering is the Story Time Trail along the Carleton Davidson Stadium Trail, which can be entered by the parking lot of the stadium. Every month – beginning this week – a new picture book is placed along the Story Time Trail path for kids and families to read while they walk.

Though in-person summer camps are postponed this year, the parks district has organized numerous virtual camp and activity options, some of which allow families to pick up activity packs with supplies to use at home to complete the various online camps. Options include around the world packs, get up and go packs, a nature scavenger hunt and more that kids can work on themselves or families can do together.

NTPRD Chiller Ice Rink

Need to cool off? No place is cooler than the NTPRD Chiller ice rink.

As of Tuesday, the ice was ready to go, and plans are in place for the facility to reopen Monday, June 22. Though not many details are available yet, Chiller recommends keeping an eye on the website and Facebook page for details on rink schedules for the coming weeks.

Clark State Performing Arts Center Concerts

Get your lawn chairs ready for the upcoming Close to Home concert series.

The free events will feature local musicians performing outside the lobby doors of the Clark State Performing Arts Center (PAC), 300 S. Fountain Ave.

“Right now, is just about trying to find a little bit of entertainment during this pandemic, while physically distancing and taking all the precautions necessary to make sure everybody is safe,” says Laurie Means, executive director of Marketing for Clark State Community College.

The free concerts do not require tickets, and food trucks and a full-service bar will be available. Attendees are reminded to follow distancing guidelines and recommendations for face covering.

The concerts will be once a month:

  • Wednesday, June 24, 5:30 p.m. – Andy Fox, a local vocalist and guitarist, is known to play “an eclectic range of fingerstyle pieces in a variety of genres.”
  • Wednesday, July 8, 5:30 p.m. – Springfield’s own DJ DIVA Nettie Carter-Smith, who currently serves as a Clark State Foundation board member, will share her combine passion for music and love for community service by providing music for this event.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 5, at 5:30 p.m. – Kent Brooks, a music teacher at Wittenberg University and director of music and worship for High Street United Methodist Church, will share his musical talents.

Group Bike Rides

New Downtown Springfield bicycle business Cyclotheraphy has already kicked off group rides with a Sunday Slow Roll last weekend.

Cyclists gathered outside the shop, took a ride to Yellow Springs, and enjoyed a stop for ice cream before heading back to Springfield.

Follow along on the shop’s Facebook page for more scheduled rides throughout the summer.

Enon Food Truck Rallies

While you can still catch many of your favorite food trucks making stops at Mother Stewart’s Brewing Co. in Downtown Springfield and Scout’s Cafe in Northridge, you can now follow along on the new Enon Food Truck Rallies Facebook page for more options.

Keep up with a variety of trucks scheduled throughout the week and weekends in downtown Enon, in the lot of Home Experts Realty, 59 E. Main St.

Organizers ask patrons to maintain social distance in lines, and they post events for upcoming trucks well in advance so people can plan ahead and not miss their favorites.

The Market Bar Alleyway Theater and Concerts

The Market Bar, located inside COhatch The Market, has plans underway to host outdoor movie nights throughout the summer.

“Our plans are to create a nice outdoor theater experience in the North Market Alleyway, between the Heritage Center and COhatch,” says Andrew Lanzear, co-creator of The Market Bar. “With the DORA (Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area) advantage, we realized we have an opportunity to provide an entertainment space for people in Springfield and residents in the surrounding area.”

While specifics are still in the works, the bar will share specifics about the alleyway theater and other upcoming events – including Springfield-themed Shine Your Lytle and Lillian Gishfest – on its Facebook page.

In the meantime, you can check out already scheduled dates for concerts on the stage of The Exchange inside COhatch.

Stop in to enjoy the musicians in person, or enjoy them from the comfort of home, as many of the performances are streamed via Facebook Live events.

And More …

In addition to this mix, don’t forget about the Springfield and New Carlisle farmers markets; the Downtown Passport program; frequent live music at O’Conners Irish Pub; the greenspace, food and brews at Mother’s and so much more.

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Read more articles by Natalie Driscoll.