What is Cannonfest? Now in it's sixth year, Cannonfest is a grass roots event organized by fans of the Columbus Blue Jackets for fans of the Columbus Blue Jackets. What began as a cookout for CBJ bloggers to gather, meet each other, drink beer and talk hockey in anticipation of the coming season has grown each year and morphed into the ultimate fan-fueled hockey event of the year. More than 500 fans are expected to attend this year's edition of Cannonfest to kick off the 2015-16 CBJ season.
When and where is it? Sunday, August 23, from 1-4PM. Cannonfest has moved to the spacious digs of the brand new Dick's Last Resort, located a mere 45 steps from the east entrance to Nationwide Arena, as well as the surrounding plaza outside of Dick's.
Are there cannons at Cannonfest? No. That would be dangerous. And to be honest, most of the people that attend the event only care about one cannon, the one that goes BOOM every time the Jackets score. Speaking of which, have you ever wondered how many people who come to Nationwide for the first time (and even the second, third and fourth) have crapped themselves when that bad boy goes off? I'd bet it's in the thousands by now.
What is there to do at Cannonfest? What do you normally do at festivals? You hang out, you eat, you drink some beers, you check out the booths and exhibits that the various fans and fan groups have set up and you meet a lot of really fun CBJ fans. Plus, there are fan-produced videos to watch, like this one from 2013 by Cannonfest legend Tom Larrow. There will be a CBJ-themed game show and usually a surprise guest or two to be interviewed by emcees Dave Maetzold (Fox Sports Ohio Game Host) and Mike Todd (in-arena personality). Here's a great recap of what went down at last year's event held at Strongwater.
You had me at beer. The beer will be flowing both inside Dick's Last Resort and outside on the patio. This year, for the first time, a locally crafted beer has been brewed for the event. Pencil Storm favorite Four String Brewing Company will tap a special firkin of its Solo Series Troika Tripel conditioned with blueberries. At 10% ABV, it'll hit you like a puck to the noggin. On top of that, a variety of Four String beers will be served in draft and in cans.
So who benefits from this Blue Jackets love-in? Cannonfest has always been about raising money for various charities near and dear to the hearts of Blue Jackets fans. Each year the Jacket Backers conduct a raffle of some very cool CBJ swag, the proceeds of which go to The Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation. This year, money will also be raised for Hartnell Down and Force Network Fund. For more info about the fundraising efforts of Cannonfest, click here.
Will Dancing Kevin be there? You betcha. And if you ask him nicely he'll probably take his shirt off and pose for a selfie with you.
BOOM! See you at #Cannonfest!