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On the first weekend of the Ohio State Fair, central Ohio also will host a variety of retro-rockers and some country-music headliners.

Here are some of the best bets for weekend activities.

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— Ohio State Fair

What’s summer without the midway? Enjoy deep-fried goodies, amusement rides, games and animals — and the butter cow, of course — at the Ohio State Fair, which opened Wednesday and runs through Aug. 4 at the Ohio Expo Center, 717 E. 17th Ave. Hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Aug. 3, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 4. Admission is $10, or $8 for age 5 to 12 and 60 and older. Ridesare $1 to $3 a ride, or $23 for an all-day wristband. Discounted admission tickets are available at Kroger stores and participating AAA locations. Details at 1-800-646-3976 Also, find more information at Ohio State Fair page.

— Pickerington Violet Festival

Among the attractions at the Pickerington Violet Festival is live music headlined by country singer Jo Dee Messina at 9:30 p.m. Friday and the rock band Survivor at 9:30 p.m. Saturday. The festival runs 5 to 11 p.m. Thursday, 5 p.m. to midnight Friday and noon to midnight Saturday in Victory Park, Columbus Street and Lockville Road. Tickets are $3, or $5 Friday and Saturday and free for age 11 and younger. Call 614-524-4758 or visit

— Lancaster Festival

The annual 10-day Lancaster Festival concludes this weekend with a variety of music and dance events. Weekend headliners are Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis at 8 p.m. Friday and Crystal Bowersox at 8:15 p.m. Saturday. Get details at 40-687-4808

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— Picnic with TBDBITL

Scarlet and gray will hold sway when the Ohio State University marching band hits the Columbus Commons stage Friday and Saturday in Picnic With the Pops concerts. Tickets are $23 for adults, $8 for children. Gates open at 6 p.m., concert starts at 8 p.m. Details at 614-228-8600, 

— Alt-rock memories

Hear some memorable 1990s alt-rock bands when Mark McGrath and Sugar Ray bring the “Under the Sun” festival to the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion. Also on the bill are Smash Mouth, the Gin Blossoms, Vertical Horizon and Fastball. Doors open at 6 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $15 to $30. Details at 614-461-5483

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— 10TV Health & Fitness Expo

This year the 10TV Health & Fitness Expo features more than 100 health and wellness experts, health screenings and fitness and cooking demonstrations. Special guests include TV personalities Giuliana and Bill Rancic, ballroom dancer Louis van Amstel and boxer James “Buster” Douglas. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Admission is $5, with proceeds benefiting the 10TV Family Fund; free tickets available at participating Subway stores. Details at 614-280-6309,

 Ohio Machine

Ohio’s Major League Lacrosse team, the Ohio Machine, will play its last home game of the season against the Charlotte Hounds at 7 p.m. at Selby Stadium in Delaware. As part of “fan appreciation day,” prizes and concession specials will be offered. Admission is $20. Details at 614-754-1973 or

— Wang Chung and The Fixx

The new-wave pop duo Wang Chung (“Everybody Have Fun Tonight”) will team up with The Fixx (“One Thing Leads to Another”) for a truly throwback night at the Hollywood Casino Columbus. Showtime is 9 p.m. Saturday and there is no admission charge. Details at 614-308-3333 or

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— Styx and REO Speedwagon

Two chart-topping rock bands of the 1970s and 80s will be playing their hits at this Ohio State Fair concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in the Celeste Center. Chicago-born Styx is best known for songs such as “Lady.” “Come Sail Away” and “Too Much Time on My Hands.” REO Speedwagon had number-one hits with “Keep On Loving You” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling.” Tickets are $32. Details at 614-644-3247

— Goodale Park concert

The Goodale Park Music Series presents a free concert by Angela Perley & the Howlin’ Moons performing their Americana songs from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Sunday in the park, 120 W. Goodale St. Food carts on hand will include  Crepes A La Carte and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. Other vendors will sell candles, comics, clothing accessories and more. Visit

— State Fair Band concert

The Whetstone Park of Roses will be the setting for a free concert by the All-Ohio State Fair Band, made up of high-school musicians from across the Buckeye State. Showtime is 7 p.m. Sunday, no charge for admission. Details at


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