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Fun things to do in Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia

Illustration by James Gulliver Hancock

A curated list of the best upcoming events in KentuckyOhio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Kentucky

National Quilt Museum: Black Renaissance

Through March 5 Using an artful combination of thread and fabric, mother-daughter master quilters Lola Jenkins and Precious Caroll piece together kaleidoscopic portraits of Black cultural icons and cherished friends and family members. A selection of their moving creations is part of an ongoing exhibition titled “Black Renaissance.” Admission, $15. National Quilt Museum, Paducah.

Little Shop of Horrors

March 2 What do you get when you bring together a down-on-his-luck florist; a wistful, Skid Row ingenue; a sadistic dentist; and an enormous, man-eating plant? One of Broadway’s best-loved musical comedies. Featuring the music of Alan Menken with book and lyrics by Howard Ashman, this delightfully macabre show comes to Paducah for one night only. Tickets start at $35. Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center, Bowling Green.

Thunder Over Louisville

FREE! April 20 Head to the banks of the Ohio River this spring to kick off the annual Kentucky Derby Festival at one of North America’s most incredible fireworks displays. The day begins with live music, carnival rides, and plenty of delicious food followed by an airshow packed with military and civilian acts. When the sun sets, the pyrotechnics begin—a 30-minute spectacle produced by Zambelli Fireworks. Riverfront, Louisville.

American Quilters Society’s QuiltWeek

April 24–27 A vibrant patchwork of inspiration awaits at the American Quilters Society’s annual celebration. Join quilters from around the world in charming Paducah, named a UNESCO Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art in 2013 for its rich quilting heritage. Browse award-winning quilts and colorful exhibits, take a quilting workshop, shop for fabrics and notions, and enjoy expert lectures. Leave time to explore the McCracken County Quilt Block Trail—a collection of more than 30 quilt squares painted on various area buildings. Single-day admission, $15; multiday discounts available. Schroeder Expo Center, Paducah.

The Great Steamboat Race

FREE! May 1 Watch one of the Kentucky Derby Festival’s best-loved traditions as the century-old Belle of Louisville competes for bragging rights against rival riverboats—including the Belle of Cincinnati—on the Ohio River. The 2-hour race, which starts and ends at the 2nd Street Bridge, begins at 6 p.m. with a pair of silver antlers at stake. For a truly memorable experience, purchase tickets for a dinner cruise on board one of the historic vessels during the race. Riverfront, Louisville.

“Ground to Sky: The Sinkhole Reimagined”

June 1–30 On February 12, 2014, a 20-foot-deep sinkhole swallowed 8 historic Corvettes in the National Corvette Museum’s Skydome. A decade of growth and innovation followed that transformed the venue, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. In June, the museum will spotlight the sinkhole event in a special exhibit that features vehicles recovered from the hole as well as multimedia installations and memorabilia. Adults, $25. National Corvette Museum, Bowling Green.

Ohio

“Washington: The Myths and the Man” and “Founding Father: George Washington”

FREE! Through May 12 A pair of exhibitions exploring the life and lore of our nation’s first president will be on display through May 12. Organized by the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, “Washington: The Myths and the Man,” delves into Washington’s private life at Mount Vernon through paintings and historical documents. “Founding Father: George Washington” is organized in partnership with Getty Images and the National Federation of the Blind. It features a series of multisensory, tactile prints and large-scale images that aim to engage visitors through smell, sound, and touch. Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown.

Grand River Valley Ice Wine Festival

March 1–30 Sweet and viscous, ice wines are a mainstay of late winter in the Grand River Valley, a bucolic winegrowing region that produces exceptional riesling, chardonnay, pinot gris, pinot noir, and cabernet franc, to name a few. Never had ice wine? Sample various vintages—each paired with a savory appetizer—at 7 different Grand River Valley wineries throughout the month of March. Pairings, $10 each. Grand River Valley, Ashtabula County.

Sandusky Restaurant Week

March 4–10 Calling all foodies! Tempting fare and equally tempting deals make downtown Sandusky’s 5th annual Restaurant Week an excellent way to enjoy a meal at your favorite places, check out a new spot, or try an unfamiliar cuisine. Participating restaurants will feature food and beverage specials and special tasting menus. Various locations, Sandusky.

Total Solar Eclipse Weekend

FREE! April 5–8 The moon will block out the sun for nearly 4 minutes on April 8. For the first time since 1806, a total solar eclipse will be visible in Ohio, and communities along Lake Erie—including Sandusky, Port Clinton, and Oak Harbor—will offer the best vantage point from which to experience this remarkable phenomenon. A host of educational talks, viewing parties, camping opportunities, and other special events will occur throughout the weekend. Various locations, Lake Erie Shores and Islands.

Women’s Night at Colonial Homestead

FREE! April 8, May 13, and June 10 Try your hand at time-worn skills like spoon carving, leather making, and blacksmithing with the talented folks of the Colonial Homestead Artisans’ Guild, whose mission is to teach and preserve heritage crafts. On the second Monday of each month, the Guild invites women to take a 3-hour evening handcraft class taught by female artisans. Colonial Homestead, Millersburg.

Put-in-Bay Pride

FREE! June 10 The picturesque town of Put-in-Bay celebrates love and unity this year at its second annual Pride event. Join the LGBTQ+ community and allies for a welcoming day filled with fun activities that include a color run, a parade, an all-day pool party at the Sand Bar, and a fabulous drag show. Various locations, Put-in-Bay.

Pennsylvania

Newtown Irish Festival

March 7–10, 12–17 The Green Parrot Restaurant & Pub brings the luck o’ the Irish to Bucks County this March for the annual Newtown Irish Festival. One of the region’s best-loved events features 9 days of live music, Irish dancing, and delicious Irish fare including Guinness stew, shepherd’s pie, potato soup, and the Pub’s corned beef egg rolls. Reservations strongly recommended. Green Parrot Restaurant & Pub, Newtown.

Pittsburgh Fringe

April 18–27 Now in its 11th year, Steel City’s no-holds-barred performing arts festival is back this spring for 10 days of theater, comedy, puppetry, music, dance, and singing. Featuring a slew of international, national, and local artists and performers, Pittsburgh Fringe boasts more than 50 different shows as one of more than 200 worldwide festivals inspired by Scotland’s famed Edinburgh Fringe. Free to $20. Various locations, Pittsburgh.

Philadelphia Children’s Festival

May 5–7 Considered the nation’s oldest children’s festival, this 3-day celebration features a variety of kid-friendly performances, from acrobatics to juggling, dance, music, and magic. Don’t miss the PLAYground for hands-on activities and free performances. Ticket prices vary by event. Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia.

Edinboro Art & Music Festival

FREE! May 17–19 Experience the spirit of Appalachian culture at this annual celebration of grassroots art and music. Events include lessons in instruments like banjo, ukulele, and fiddle; yoga and Pilates workshops; art demonstrations; and plenty of craft vendors. A children’s tent features interactive activities such as watercolors, painting, and drawing. Various locations, Downtown Edinboro.

Juneteenth Celebration

FREE! June 15 Juneteenth, which became a federal holiday in 2021, is short for “June Nineteenth” and celebrates both slavery’s end in the United States and the resilience and achievements of Black Americans. This daylong block party on Perry Street will feature song and dance, live performances, and plenty of vendors, many of them Black-owned, selling food, clothing, crafts, and accessories. Various locations, Downtown Erie.

West Virginia

West Virginia Fishing, Hunting, and Outdoor Sports Show

March 2-3 Gear up for all your outdoor adventures at this 22nd annual event. More than 200 vendors will showcase everything from archery supplies to bait and tackle, camping equipment, outdoor apparel, and taxidermy services. Seminars in topics like fly-fishing, falconry, and deer hunting occur daily. Adult admission, $12. Hazel & J.W. Ruby Community Center, Morgantown.

Mountain State Maple Days

FREE! March 16 As winter gives way to spring and the sap begins to run, local sugaring operations large and small open their doors to visitors in honor of West Virginia’s 100% Appalachian maple syrup. Come taste the goods and learn how maple syrup is made at farms around the state. Maple Days activities include pancake breakfasts, sugarbush tours, sugar shack visits, and maple-sugaring demonstrations. Statewide.

West Virginia Food Truck Festival

FREE! April 27 If you love a good food truck, you won’t want to miss this gathering of some of the state’s best mobile kitchens. Bring your camp chairs and a picnic blanket and get ready to chow down on everything from fresh seafood to barbecue, sandwiches and salads, and plenty of cold drinks. Local musicians; lawn games, including cornhole; and craft vendors round out the fun. Putnam County Fairgrounds, Eleanor.

Cheat River Festival

May 3–4 Celebrate the rebirth of the Cheat River watershed at the 30th edition of this 2-day festival hosted by the Friends of the Cheat. Boaters, music lovers, and families will enjoy Appalachian bands, camping, dancing, educational walks, and a 5K race. Be sure to bring a nonperishable food item for the Cheat Fest Food Drive. Tickets start at $20. Albright.

West Virginia Trout Fest

FREE! May 3–4 The annual West Virginia Trout Fest returns for 2 full days of fishing fun. The event kicks off Friday evening with a smoked-trout dinner at the Pendleton Community Building and continues bright and early Saturday morning with the festival’s well-loved Trout Rodeo. Other events include a breakfast, musical acts, and kids’ activities. Some events charge admission. Various locations, Franklin.

Mid–Ohio Valley Multicultural Festival

FREE! June 21–23 Started in 1996 to celebrate the region’s diversity and raise awareness for different cultures within the community, this festival offers fun for the whole family. Enjoy live music—from bluegrass to Celtic to jazz—traditional dance performances, an international marketplace, engaging children’s activities, and a bounty of ethnic cuisine. Parkersburg City Park, Parkersburg.

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