Canal Winchester is a quaint town established in 1828 after a dispute about a canal being dug on Henry Dove’s land. Instead of suing, he was convinced that it would be the perfect place for a town, that would benefit from the canal.
Located about halfway between Columbus and Lancaster, the town, first name Winchester, prospered due to agriculture and transportation. The first canal boat passed through on the Ohio Erie Canal in 1831, and a railroad was added in 1869.
The town was renamed Canal Winchester in 1841 when it qualified for a post office and needed to be distinguished from the other towns named Winchester in Ohio.
This small city now boasts a mix of nature and businesses in and around the community, and is worth a trip to explore. Read below for details about annual events, places to eat and visit, and upcoming events.
Annual Events in Canal Winchester
Canal Winchester Farmers’ Market: Saturdays, May 28 – September 24, 2022 from 9 am – noon. Canal Winchester Historical Complex, 100 North High Street, Canal Winchester (Corner of High Street and West Oak Street.)
Art Stroll: The Canal Winchester Art Guild “Art Stroll” is held in historic downtown Canal Winchester each May. Enjoy a wide variety of art and mediums throughout downtown businesses, along with live music, dining and more.
2022 date: May 21 from noon – 4 pm.
Music in the Park: Outdoor concert series in the summer, featuring live entertainment and family-friendly activities at Stradley Park in historic downtown Canal Winchester. All music and activities run from 6 – 9 PM. Summer 2022 dates:
Friday, May 20 at 6 pm – May’s Music in the park features Touch-a-Truck. There will be trucks and cars from police & fire. Touch-A-Truck will feature vehicles from Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office, Madison Township Police Department, and Madison Township Fire Department, with live music from The Usual Suspects & Repeat Offenders
Friday, June 17 at 6 pm: Touch-A-Tractor, featuring music by Hot Rod Lincolns. Additional free activities include: children’s art wall (courtesy of New Life Church); games and activities from David’s Lutheran Preschool; balloon animals; live performances from the living statue; wellness tips and giveaways from the Red Cross; and more!
Friday, July 15 at 6 pm: Cruise-In Car Show, featuring live music by The Gas Pump Jockeys
Car Show Registration is free! Participants can register from 5 – 6pm on event night. Space is limited to the first 50 vehicles. Car show awards will include People’s Choice, Mayor’s Choice, Band’s Choice, Sponsor’s Choice, and Farthest Traveled.
Additional free activities include: car demonstrations and giveaways from Nifco; balloon animals; live performances from the living statue; wellness tips and giveaways from Diley Ridge Medical Center; and more!
Memorial Day Ceremony: Monday, May 30, 2022
VFW Post #10523 will host Canal Winchester’s annual Memorial Day Ceremony at Union Grove Cemetery (400 Winchester Cemetery Rd.) beginning at 10:30 a.m.
The ceremony will feature keynote speaker Chaplain Major Thomas H. Whiteman, Jr., the Wing Chaplain at the 121 Air Refueling Wing of Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base. Other ceremony participants will include Boy Scouts Troop 103, Cub Scouts Troop 103, and the Canal Winchester High School Band.
Immediately following the Canal Winchester Memorial Day Ceremony, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts will host a flag retirement ceremony on the cemetery grounds. The public is invited to attend both ceremonies. Lawn chairs or blankets are encouraged for seating.
Movies in the Park: Free Summer Movies at Hanners Park! Family-friendly movies are shown outdoors at Hanners Park (458 Groveport Road). Free activities and snacks will be available at the park beginning at 8 pm, with the movie starting after sunset (approximately 9 pm). Families may enjoy the movie from the comfort of their vehicle, or bring a chair/blanket to watch from the lawn. Summer 2022 dates:
- July 8: The Little Rascals (1994), rated PG
- August 12: TBD
Canal Winchester Blues & Ribfest: Summer street celebration featuring live blues music, world-class ribs, a wide variety of quality non-rib food options, children’s activities, fan-cooled dining areas, and a beer & wine garden for guests 21 and over.
2022 dates: July 29-30
Labor Day Festival: Annual Labor Day festival features live music, a parade, car show, pageants, rides, fair food, activities, and more.
2022 dates: September 3rd, 4th, and 5th, 2022
Ice-Cream Social & Blue Ribbon Pie Contest at Canal Winchester Historical Complex from 1-3 pm (link)
Sunday night headliner: Uncle Kracker
Saturday night headliner: Epic Eagles
Mechanical Bull Ride – Wear your boots and cowboy hat!
Eyes of Freedom Traveling Memorial
Columbus Zoo animals
Founders Day Celebration: October 15, 2022 from 9 am – 3 pm. From the original days in 1811 when Henry Dove moved his family from Virginia to Canal Winchester, our town flourished in the farming industry. Various goods and social opportunities were available to the residents in town. Stop by the Historical Complex during Founders Day to learn more about that history and different opportunities available back then
Historic Ghost Tour: Annual Historic Ghost Tour explores six historic locations throughout downtown Canal Winchester.
2022 dates: Friday, October 21 and Saturday, October 22.
Tickets may be purchased at the Train Depot beginning at 6:30 p.m. with the last tour departing at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students, ages 6-18. Children under age 5 are free. Online ticket sales will open in September 2022.
Veterans Ceremony: The City of Canal Winchester and VFW Post 10523 host a yearly Veterans March and Ceremony in downtown Canal Winchester. Event kicks off with a pancake breakfast.
2022 date: Saturday, November 12
Christmas in the Village: Annual storybook Christmas celebration includes the tree lighting, visits with Santa, train rides, reindeer, food, crafts, shopping, and more.
2022 date: December 2-3: Theme is CW Polar Express. The free festival features activities inside businesses and on the sidewalks and streets of downtown Canal Winchester.
Both nights will feature the tree lighting at Stradley Place Greenspace by Santa Claus, after he arrives by firetruck at 6 pm. You can also visit with Santa at the Interurban Depot.
The Christmas Trolley makes stops at Stradley Place, Community Center, and Historical Complex, and there are children’s train rides and hayrides to enjoy.
Guests can also check out the ice sculptures, Gingerbread House Contest, Craft Bazaar & Train Display at the Community Center, and more.
On Saturday, the Brockstrong Holiday Lights Parade with Santa is at 5:30 PM with Santa arriving downtown at 6:00 PM. Guests can enjoy free cocoa and cookies, kids’ crafts, Pet photos with Santa, ornament painting, and more.
See Facebook page for full details and participating businesses.
Dining out in Canal Winchester
There are plenty of places to eat in Canal Winchester, but we wanted to highlight a few places that we love (or would love to try!).
Brewdog DogTap Columbus: Offering a fantastic menu of food and beer, plenty of indoor and outdoor seating in a park-like setting, dog park, beer museum, games, fire pits special events and more.
Vegan and gluten-free items are available! This is a destination in itself! You can even stay at the DogHouse Hotel onsite, which features beer-themed rooms inside the brewery. Hotel room feature your choice of draft beer on tap and are dog-friendly.
Shade on Canal: Extensive menu with appetizers, sandwiches, salad, pizza, wings, kids menu, and gluten-free options. The food is upscale comfort food, and they offer lots of beer on tap.
Harvest Moon Craft Kitchen: Made from scratch kitchen with locally sourced food when possible. Beverage options feature Ohio based breweries and Ohio liquor. Offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner with creative, clean, and flavorful dishes.
Barrel and Boar: Featuring smoked meats and southern cuisine in a warm rustic setting. Offerings lunch, dinner, drinks, and Sunday brunch.
Local Cantina: Fun, from scratch Tex-Mex food and beverages.
The Olive Branch Pizzeria: Brick oven pizza, subs, salads, snacks, coffee drinks, adult beverages, and more. Build your own pizza style – it cooks in 2 minutes! Oh – and they have a great mission and outreach.
Fantasy Cupcakes: Don’t forget dessert! The reviews here are amazing, and they offer way more than just cupcakes, including gluten-free and vegan options.
Attractions in Canal Winchester
Slate Run Living Historical Farm: Part of the Franklin County and Columbus Metro Parks, Slate Run takes you back to the 1880’s to a historical living farm. Observe the farm’s costumed staff and volunteers doing their daily chores. Visit with pigs, geese, turkeys, Percheron horses and other heirloom animals. Tour the gothic revival farmhouse built in 1856, and watch the ladies prepare the meals and tend the house. Admission is free, and it’s perfect for all ages!
Pickerington Ponds: Another Metro Park with walking trails, bird watching, ponds, picnicking, and more. Connects to the Blacklick Creek Greenway and Bike Trail.
Motts Military Museum: Located in nearby Groveport, the museum aims to education visitors about America’s military history with artifacts, documentation, and personal stories of those who have served in the Armed Forces. through exhibits focused on involved from the Colonial Era through current global conflicts.
Harrison Farm: Just outside of Canal Winchester, this farm is definitely worth a stop. I’m obsesses with these goat yoga goats! Schedule a goat yoga class (Spring through Fall) or stop by the Sunday Farm Stands on Sundays beginning in April from 1-4 pm to purchase a variety of farm goods and visit with the animals.
City of Canal Winchester
36 S High Street
Canal Winchester, OH 43110