Passing under the bridges on Town Street to enter the festival, things tend to shift a few degrees. It’s not creepy or wicked, but just a bit . . .weird. Mystery, curiosity and intrigue lurk around every corner. You may see things your human eyes cannot even comprehend: Mimes; The Strongest Man; A Bearded Woman; a plumbus; Chicken Lady. It’s truly a celebration of wonder and awe. You can’t miss the Sunny Meadows Flower Farm hanging installation and the 3 dimensional custom stage art using found objects to resemble an abandoned Circus.

Art: Analog. Human.Digital.
You’ve discovered the Strongwater Zone.

This year's Strongwater Zone offers an assortment of events involving music, dance, art workshops and graphic design competitions. Be a part of the 2016 Columbus Invitational Arts Competition, where Ohio’s best artists will compete for the top performing art prize in front of a live audience. You also won’t want to miss the Final Round of the inaugural Iron Pixel Design Competition, which will see some of the area’s top graphic designers throw down against each other- and race the clock- to see who can serve up Columbus’ best graphic art. Actively test the boundaries of ground-breaking technology in the Virtual Reality Workshop by creating three-dimensional art before your very eyes! You will not believe it. No matter your interests, the Strongwater Zone will find the unfulfilled curiosity in your soul and satiate it.

The kID Moon Ranch

Presented by The United Way of Central Ohio

For the second exciting year, kID (Kid’s Independents’ Day) will serve as a fun and educational “festival within a festival” where youngsters can interact with each other—and with their community. Break out the moon boots and make sure your lunar pack is functioning nominally because you won’t want to miss this year’s MOON RANCH:

Long ago, humans and robots harmoniously roamed the wild frontiers of the moon’s surface, harvesting free range cheese and tracking the crafty and elusive Moon Rhino. But after the Human/Robot Wars of 2517, robot ranchers staked claim to entire craters to farm space root vegetables, raise lunar livestock, and spend their recharging periods painting landscapes and dropping mad beats in binary code. Eons have passed and, in an effort to make peace with their distant human neighbors, they’ve calculated that it’s time to recalibrate relations with old friends—and to make new ones—by celebrating the First Autumnal Lunar Festival.


The readout on your time machine indicates you’ve jumped approximately 75 years into the distant future: Earth Date 09.17-18.2016. All of the structures and walkways in the Zone glisten brightly with a sleek chrome sheen while clunky robots barely detect your presence as they efficiently adjust levers and buttons on appliances all around you. Upgrade your personal bicycle by adding lazer-couplers and servo-accelerators to transform it into a light cycle, and show it off during the late-night Tron ride. Defend the Zone from giant creatures! Also, a larger than life lite brite board!! Sometimes the only way we can truly experience the future is by embracing the past—In Retropolis.

Gritty City

A graffiti-covered subway car screeches into the Lucas and West State Street Station as a gaggle of street performers thump on upturned buckets with drum sticks. Somewhere off in the distance, a cat cries out into the night, filling the alleys and dripping sidewalks of the urban jungle with its desperate plea. Under the streetlights, everything seems to glimmer slightly: burned-out, stripped-down cars on blocks; mazes of construction scaffolding crisscross the pavement; broken phone booths, cords severed and coin boxes shattered. This is Gritty City.

Play BIG Zone

Science has proven that people of all ages enjoy games, but a frequent complaint is that they’re just too darned small. Well not anymore! Come down to the Play BIG Zone, where playing enormous Scrabble, Tic-Tac- Toe and Tetris games is only part of the experience. Take a spin on the Merry-Go- Cart: Playground merry-go- round meets local grocery store shopping carts. Whimsical yet thrilling. And we’re legally required to disclose that the street running through the Play BIG Zone is lava. Yikes!! It’s okay though. You can leap from one chalk-drawn platform to the next to navigate along the molten road.

The Play BIG Zone has it ALL! Start out at the “You are Here Command Center,” your hub for all Independents’ Day where, what and when information. It’s where you’ll also find our first aid station, volunteer check-in area, and even a place to charge your cell phone! Visit the “Beer Here” and “Merch Purch” pavilions for beer tokens and official Independents’ Day merchandise, the “(Hard) Lemonade Stand” for an extraordinarily refreshing regular—or a slightly more adult—lemonade, and the “Tetris Lounge,” where you can sit for a spell and visit while marveling at some of Central Ohio’s largest Tetris pieces. Only by encountering the gigantic pieces will you truly be able to comprehend their magnitude. You sit right on them.

Fantasy and Folklore Zone

In the shadow of the industrious Idea Foundry lies a misty meadow brimming with magical wonderment.

As you enter the Fantasy and Folklore Zone by the way of an Anticorn statue, you’ll be greeted by all manner of mythical creatures, from riddling sphinxes to curious jackalopes to fire breathing and fury-fueled dragons! You can also experience a whole host of exotic art, dancing and musical performances, much of which may challenge your perception of what is real, fantasy or possibly something in between.

Most of what you will see has no earthly business being in Central Ohio, but here it is!

Idea Foundry

The Columbus Idea Foundry is a world class MakerSpace—a tool and tech playground for creatives of all kinds. This is where you can learn the conventional (wood shop, metal shop, welding) along side the high-tech (lasers, 3D printing); hone your artistry (bronze casting, sculpting) or just play with all the cool new toys (drones, virtual reality)—all under one roof! Our members are hobbyists, DIY weekend warriors, artists, fabricators, entrepreneurs!

Elements Zone

Encounter and interact with the vital components of your earthly existence in The Elements Zone. The center of the zone pays tribute to all of us, the human inhabitants of this planet. Gather about the hive sculpture to discuss your feelings and current events. Then visit the four corners of the zone, which are dedicated to the very building blocks that support our lives: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. This is guaranteed to be an interactive and transformative experience.