Ohio Black Expo leaders announce annual Downtown Festival

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Ohio Black Expo will be returning to downtown Columbus this Memorial Day weekend.  

During a news conference, Wednesday, leaders with the Ohio Black Expo discussed the four-day event that runs May 26-29.

“With a business conference on Thursday, workshops and networking on Friday, and the Riverfront
Culture Fest Saturday and Sunday, there is something for everyone!” a release from the Ohio Black Expo announced.

This is the first time the event will be in-person in Columbus since 1991, and central Ohio will be the annual festival’s permanent home going forward.

“Ohio Black Expo is a statewide humanitarian organization, originally formed in 1988, that is
dedicated to improving the quality of life for Ohio’s African American citizens, by establishing
and encouraging an independent self-help approach to problem solving,” the release reads.

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Ohio Black Expo is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life, success and well-being for African-Americans in Ohio. Our initiatives focus on and address several areas that include: health, education, business and youth to name a few.


The founder of the Ohio Black Expo, Rhonda D. Robinson, was initially inspired to create the Columbus Black Expo after successfully registering 70 plus vendors for the Columbus Black Convention in 1980. The Columbus Black Expo was held at the Focal Point of Mt. Vernon Plaza from 1981-1987. After seven (7) years, realizing that the event was drawing people and vendors from around the state and beyond, she changed the name to the Ohio Black Expo to reflect what was happening.

The first Ohio Black Expo took place at Veterans Memorial in downtown Columbus. It was held there from 1988 through 1991, peaking at almost 300 exhibitors and over 30,000 attendees.