The city of Bowling Green has more to offer outside of BGSU. On weekends when campus isn’t bustling with students, getting to know the city can make the transition of moving to a new place feel more like a home. Here are some ways students can become involved with the community of Bowling Green.
Upcoming events (All free)
Black Swamp Arts Festival
Friday: 5 p.m. - 11:30 p.m.
Saturday: 12 p.m. - 11:30 p.m.
Sunday: 11 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Downtown Bowling Green
Many residents say the Black Swamp Arts Festival is the highlight of the fall season. GoBGOhio says this annual event “connects art and the community by presenting a festival that promotes the arts in the Bowling Green community.” Over the course of three days, experience live music from national, regional, and local performers, displays of unique, individual pieces of artwork and a wide variety of food for free!
Firefly Nights Festival
Friday: 6 p.m.- 10 p.m.
Downtown Bowling Green
Firefly Nights is a nonprofit organization that hosts four events in Downtown Bowling Green on the third Friday of June, July, August and October. This local festival features music entertainment, outdoor dining, shopping with stores and vendors around town and a farmer’s market. The organization’s website says, “the mission of Firefly Nights is to foster the diverse, neighborly and lively atmosphere of Downtown Bowling Green while giving the community an opportunity to gather for fun, food and entertainment.”
Grounds for Thought 30th Birthday Celebration
Friday-Saturday: 6 a.m. - 11 p.m.
174 S Main St. Bowling Green, Ohio 43402
Come celebrate this coffee shop’s free, 30th anniversary with several musical concerts, original artwork showings, raffles, giveaways and coffee offered at the original price of 50 cents per cup. Located in the “heart of Downtown Bowling Green,” Grounds for Thought has “offered the best hand-roasted coffee, delicious pastries, used books, records and comics, and an engaging atmosphere” since 1989.
Getting to know local businesses
144 S Main St. Bowling Green, OH 43402
From Llama-shaped salt and pepper shakers to hilarious socks, unicorn oil diffusers and hand-crafted jewelry, all of which supports local businesses and gives back to the community, For Keeps is a three-level shop filled with unique gifts and a little something for everyone. Customers have often said they love the atmosphere of the store. The owner, Amy Craft-Ahrens, says, “we work hard to have gifts you won't find everywhere. If you can’t find something you like, you’re not looking hard enough.”
Pagliai’s Pizza & Campus Pollyeyes
Pagliai’s Pizza: 945 S Main St. Bowling Green, OH 43402
Campus Pollyeyes: 440 E Court St. Bowling Green, OH 43402
George Nicholson, the owner of both pizzerias (pronounced like Pawl-ee-eyes), has been running his businesses in Bowling Green for more than 50 years. One of Nicholson’s goals opening shop in this midwestern town was to make sure each of his seven children attended college before retirement. Campus Pollyeyes claims to have the “world’s best stuffed breadsticks,” and many people agree the title is appropriate, as the signature dish is popular within the Bowling Green community.
Every Wednesday through October 16
201 S. Main St. Bowling Green, OH 43402
In the Huntington Bank parking lot every Wednesday, farmers and merchants offer fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, in-season plants, handmade goods, food trucks and live music. Be sure to grab a “frequent buyer card” before shopping. This card gives shoppers an opportunity to earn “Downtown Dollars,” a $5, $10 or $20 gift certificate accepted by more than 50 businesses around Bowling Green. For every $5 spent at an individual vendor, a stamp is earned, and for every 12 stamps earned, cash in the card for Downtown Dollars.
The Black Swamp Arts Festival
This event draws in 50,000 people to the downtown area every year and is run entirely by volunteers. Craft-Ahrens, co-chair of the Concessions Committee, has been devoting her time to the festival for 22 years. She said volunteers are crucial and they can always use more. She suggests, “students could contribute some time volunteering as a way to become part of the greater BG community.” Sign up for two-hour shifts online!
Brown Bag Food Project
530 Sand Ridge Rd. Bowling Green, OH 43402
The Brown Bag Food Project is a nonprofit organization that provides well-balanced mix of perishable, nonperishable food items and household essentials within 24 hours of request. “Our focus is to bridge the gap that many fall into from a lack of available resources and for those that do not qualify for any form of assistance.” Prospective volunteers should fill out the form online and they will be contacted by the organization when needed.