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The epitome of all things sports is found at Columbus' Arnold Sports Festival

Arnold makes an appearance at the Arnold Sports Festival
Arnold makes an appearance at the Arnold Sports Festival
courtesy Arnold Sports Festival

If you are a sports and fitness enthusiast, here is your chance to indulge your passions at the 26th annual Arnold Sports Festival, the largest multi-sport festival in the country being held on Thursday, February 27 through Sunday, March 2 at various venues in downtown Columbus. It is approximately a 2 hour drive from Cleveland to Columbus.

Arnold Sports Festival Co-produced by actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, this multi-day event will feature 18,000 athletes competing in 50 sports and events including 12 sports featured in the Olympics. Last year more than 175,000 people attended this event.

Among the vast range of sports included at the Festival are men's and women's amateur bodybuilding, gymnastics, martial arts, fencing, archery, cheerleading, dance, fitness, boxing, power lifting, table tennis, armwrestling, track & field, strongman (amateur and professional) and even Scottish Highland Games. New this year is the addition of swimming, tennis, pole fitness and wrestling.

Part of the Festival will be the 2014 Arnold Fitness EXPO being held at the main hall of the Greater Columbus Convention Center located at 400 North High St. The EXPO will feature over 700 booths offering the latest sports equipment, apparel and nutrition information. The EXPO stage will host many of the Festival's athletic competitions.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is expected to make an appearance at the Arnold Sunday Showcase being held at the Hilton Columbus Downtown on Sunday, March 2 from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

This year's Festival will also feature the 5th annual Art at the Arnold competition showcasing artwork that portrays athletes and sports action. Prizes will be awarded.

New this year will be the Arnold Classic 212 involving professional men's bodybuilders who weigh 212 pounds or less.

EXPO tickets are $10 a day in advance and $15 per day at the door. Children 10 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Admission gives visitors total access to the Arnold Fitness EXPO. Advance tickets can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com. There will be additional charges for several of the competitions. No strollers are allowed.

Hours for the EXPO are 4 p.m. - 10 p.m. on Thursday, 9:30 a.m. -5:30 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Sunday. Parking is available at various lots in downtown Columbus including Columbus Commons and COSI Columbus. Rates vary. Visitors will be able to catch a free Arnold Shuttle Bus at a variety of locations which will take you to most of the Festival's venues.

Venues for the Arnold Sports Festival include the Greater Columbus Convention Center, Nationwide Arena (200 W. Nationwide Blvd), the Life Style Communities Pavilion (405 Neil Ave.), Veterans Memorial (300 W. Broad st.) and the OSU Field House (460 Woody Hayes Dr.).

Call 800-745-3000 or 614-431-2600 or get online at www.arnoldsportsfestival.com for more information about Arnold Sports Festival events, venues and times.

Columbus, Ohio is approximately a 2 hour drive from Cleveland.