Entertainment and the Arts

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Glow Jack-o-lanterns

The Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow

October 30 & 31st, 2017
Location: Stoddard Avenue Dayton (Behind the Art Museum)

Off for 2016, The Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow is back this year. The Glow is one the best hidden traditions in Ohio. Aptly  hidden on a hill behind the Dayton Art, in the Griffton hill neighborhood event lights up the night. In 2015 over 850 pumpkins were displayed. That is over 850 different Jack-o-lanterns of ever imaginable variety.

The Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow was started over 20 years ago by Judy Chaffin. She decided that the glow of some Jack-o-Lanterns would help to brighten the dark of here neighborhood. Behind the local Greek Church was a small hill that was perfect. Judy Chaffin, her brother, and sister in law made the few pumpkins displayed in 1994, The after a few year friends and neighbors helped out. Eventually it became an event. In the beginning they had to find the pumpkins at local farms and drive them back on their own. Not to hard for 50 or 60 pumpkins but an almost undo able feat for over 400. Luckilly they found a farmer who worked out a good deal and would deliver, a needed service for over 800 pumpkins.

The Pumpkin Glow is a simple concept. Take a few pumpkins, carve, light, and display. Common ideas start to run out after a few hundred pumpkins and the wackiness that makes The Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow a treat pop up. Everything from movie characters, local attractions, famous landmarks, words, to marriage proposals   have appeared on the gourds. If it can be carved into a Jack-o-Lantern it probably has at the Pumpkin Glow.

Last year the hill was dark. But as the glow idea has caught on around the area and nation the Stoddard Avenue tradition was needed even more. This year the excitement of the lighted hill has grow. The Glow is October 30 & 31st, 2017 and is expected to be one of the biggest. Zombie Dogz and El Meson will be among the food trucks in the area. Over 2000 people are expected to attend the event so expect crowds.


CRYPTOZOHIO: Horror movies from Ohio

Cryptozohio - Stories from the Depths

One, two, Freddy’s coming for you.

Three, four, Better lock your door

Five, six, grab a crucifix.

Seven, eight, Gonna stay up late.

Nine, ten, Never sleep again….

With these lines we know that something Bad is coming. That is the song used in the “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise. The films are about a man ho comes back to haunt the dreams of the children of Springwood, Ohio. He is not the first and won’t be the last monster to live in this state. A lot of horror movies use Ohio as setting. Is it that most of the Midwest looks like Ohio and many people could see it happening in their own town, no matter where it is filmed? Is it because during most of the 19th century Ohio was the population center of America and had a lot of residents, many who never left? Almost every major structure in Ohio has a ghost story or two. Some towns like Athens and Waynesville even claim to be some of the most haunted places in the country.  Sometimes they don’t set the film in Ohio but simply film here. Like setting it here, Ohio can stand in for most of America. With our hilly southeast, our suburb filled southwest, our city filled industrial northeast, and all the farm land in between, Ohio is almost anywhere America. With a state that can stand in for almost anywhere and ghosts everywhere Ohio is the perfect place for a horror film.
Here is our non-complete list of Horror films set in / filmed in Ohio:

Babysitter Massacare
Deadly Blessings
The Faculty
Howard the Duck
The Manson Family
Meet the Applegates
My Friend Dahmer
Nightmare on Elm Street Franchise
Pi Day Die Day
Scream 2
Sella Turcia
The Sleeper
Super 8
Take Shelter
Trick ‘r Treat
The Watch
Wednesday Children

Why is the NFL hall of fame in Canton?

The National Football League is the major professional Football organization in America. It honors its players with induction into its Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. With no team and the 130th in the nation for population size, the question is asked “Why is the NFL hall of fame in Canton?”

The first players to be payed to play football were  William Heffelfinger and Ben “Sport” Donnelly. They were payed by the Allegheny Athletic Association. By the 1920’s great players were payed ever increasing amounts. Some were even “poached” from other teams during the season with a higher salary offer. This led to confusion, bidding wars, and rising costs. Something was needed to be done.

On August 20, 1920,  in Canton, Ohio, representatives of the Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Indians, and Dayton Triangles, all Ohio based teams, formed the American Professional Football Conference. Later it would change its name to the American Professional Football Association, after adding more teams from across the nation. These teams worked out an agreement on player “poaching” and helped to stabilize costs and talent across the league. On October 3rd the Dayton Triangles defeated Columbus Panhandles in what is considered the first NFL game. On June 24, 1922, in a meeting held in Akron, Ohio, the APFA, became the National Football League.  For the next two years the Canton Bulldogs would win the league championship making them the first team in the NFL to do so.

Site of first NFL game, now a baseball diamond

Fast forward 40 years: The NFL had a long history and no Hall of Fame or other museum dedicated to it. Canton took this too heart. The local newspaper, the Canton Repository, pushed for it. They believed the only logical site was in Canton. It was the site of the original meeting. It had a historic powerhouse team. It was in Ohio the state where the first NFL game was played. The city was determined to get the Hall and on January 25, 1961 William E. Umstattd made a formal bid. A few months later the League agreed with what the city and awarded them the Hall. On September 7, 1963 the Hall opened and has been honoring players ever since.

Great American Ballpark

100 Joe Nuxhall Way,

Cincinnati, OH 45202


Today, April 3, 2017, the Cincinnati Reds play the Philadelphia Phillies at home. This will be the first game of the 2017 season. While the Reds had a less than stellar 2016 season, fans entering Great American Ballpark today will be entering with high hopes. They will also be entering the latest stadium in a series of stadiums that go all the way back to the first games of professional baseball.

Opened in 2003, and named after Great American Insurance headquartered nearby, the stadium is one of a string of attraction along the ever changing riverfront. It’s neighbors U.S. Bank Arena, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and Paul Brown Stadium all share the Central Riverfront Garage. The garage has plenty of parking for any game. The garage is very well organized with signs telling which structure is nearest and every exit has a street map telling what section it is and how to get back to it.

The stadium itself is surrounded by an open concourse with a gift shop and Hall of Fame Museum on one side and amazing views of the river on the other. Once inside the main gate fans will find a large open hallway with shopping on the left and a kids area on the right.  The layout is simple and circular. Walking in one direction will take a fan all the way around the park and back to where they started. This is a great way to get exercise during the game, but does not offer 360 degree views of the field like Fifth Third Field or other smaller venues.

The shopping inside the park is good, but the main gift shop is right outside the entrance and connected to the Reds Hall of Fame Museum. Inside the park smaller shops are spread through out with plenty of opportunities to pick up a hat or shirt. There is even a shop selling game used items, such as balls and bases.

Food is abundant at Great American. Most of the traditional ballpark fare is sold at concessions stand ringing the park. Some local items, like chili and goetta, are sold at specialty stands. Fancier sit down bars and restaurants are available too. A market near the entrance sells fresh fruit and bottled drinks. Almost any dish a fan might want is available. While the prices are ballpark prices the portions are huge and one dish will fill a person up. The value is the same as most any restaurant but the unique variety and locale make a meal a must.

Great American Ballpark,The National Steamboat Memorial, and BB Riverboats Docks

The overall theme of the stadium seems to be a river dock during the age of steamboats ( and baseball). The venue can be light on the theming in some places, it makes up for it in others.  Between the two scoreboards is a multilevel bar and patio in the shape of a steamboat. The paddle wheel of the boat is the National Steamboat Memorial located across the street. The smoke stacks billow steam for every Reds home run and fill the sky with steam and fireworks after a win. From certain seats working steamboats can even be seen giving passengers rides up and down the river. Fans will have a hard time forgetting that Cincinnati was once queen of the Ohio river and that steamboats made this possible.

With all that is available downtown Great American will be a highlight to an over filled day of fun for any fan, even if the team is having an off year.

Ohio Irish Themed

St. Patrick’s Day is fun even if you have no ties to the Irish.

Ohio has some great Celtic or Irish Festivals. Not all happen on St. Patrick’s Day. One of these festivals is the Ohio Celtic Festival near Cleveland, in August. Another is the Dublin Irish Festival in Dublin, Ohio. The Dublin Irish Festival is also in August. Celtic Fest Ohio is in July on the grounds of the Ohio Renaissance Festival in Waynesville. All these festival are great, with lots of food, drink, dancing, crafts, and music.

Here is a sample from We Banjo 3.

We Banjo 3 Bill Cheatum’s Dublin Ohio Irish Festival 2015

Dayton Art Institute

We have done lots of posts on art museums, but for some reason had missed the Dayton Art Institute.IMG_0417

We went to see Into the Either: Contemporary Light Artists.The  exhibit is closing June 26, 2016, so only a short time left to see it. It was truly a unique experience to see light and art combined to make a truly interactive exhibit, worth it. There is an admission price for this special exhibit.  More info here:  http://www.daytonartinstitute.org/event/art/exhibitions/current-exhibitions/ether-contemporary-light-artists

Now if your reading this years or month after it is originally posted here is the review:

The Dayton Art Institute

Location: 456 Belmonte Park North, Dayton Ohio 45405


Rating: ****

The Dayton Art Institute was founded in 1919 and sits a top a hill near the Great Miami River. The museum is clearly visible from the highway. The art museum’s building was completed in 1930. Hers is what their websites says about the building.

The museum’s landmark building, designed by prominent museum architect Edward B. Green of Buffalo and completed in 1930, was modeled after the Villa d’Este near Rome and the Villa Farnese at Caprarola in Italy, both examples of sixteenth century Italian Renaissance architecture.

IMG_0435The building is a great to look at in itself. You enter into the lobby and can see even more details inside. The galleries are on two floors and surround cloisters and auditoriums. When walking around the museum one can go into some of the cloisters and even imagine some of the gatherings they can hold. These areas are just as artistic as the paintings.

When walking through the many galleries one will see contemporary art and art from long ago. There is art from Africa, America, Asia, Europe, and more. Really some art for everyone and a sample of the world’s art. There seemed to be an abundance of art and galleries. The museum is not overwhelming but still a good size. The size leaves time to make sure to see each gallery and side gallery. There are elevators and easy accessibility throughout. Each gallery is open and not over crowded, so one can really chose the time they want to spend looking at art. You will not feel rushed or pushed along.

There is also an interactive gallery for all ages, it has family in the title, but really anyone will love the space. It changes through each year or through out the year. This space gets your creativity going and really should not be missed. Expect to have some fun.

One should check out the website for upcoming and current exhibits and they change thorough out the year. This is one thing that makes the museum great. You can go back again and again.

The Dayton Art Institute is like many of the great art museums in Ohio and is dedicated to art and art’s education. The museum has many programs for children, adults, and families.  Their website even has art projects on it. Well worth a checking out.

The museum also hosts any concerts and performances during the year.


  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Check out their website for photography guidelines as you can take photos in some of the galleries
  • Spend time outside looking at the building
  • Schedule over an hour to see it all, if not two or three.
  • Bring a few bucks, there is a suggested admission, but you can the permanent galleries for free if you can not afford the suggested admission.

The Dayton Art Institute is a great museum with something for everyone. You will not be disappointed when visiting.


Summer Time in Ohio

As the weather warms we prepare for the changing of the season. Like the rain watering the flowers the warmer weather makes Ohio’s outdoor options grow. Ohio does not disappoint in the summer.

We have big plans for this Summer. We are excited to visit some more sports teams, see the new stuff at The Ohio History Center, goto a Drive in, and see a bunch of different roadside attractions along the way. So stay tuned over the next few months for a flurry of posts and reviews about the great state of Ohio.

Want to see the state, plan a trip with the help of Ohio’s tourism board or other helpful sites. Or just use our suggestions (click for more info):

Goto an Amusement Park:
Kings Island
Cedar Point
Coney Island
Zoombezi Bay

See a Show:
Fraze Pavilion
Blossom Center for the Performing Arts
Riverbend Music Center
Express Live – Columbus
Toledo Zoo Ampitherater

See a game:
Dayton Dragons (the hardest seats to get in pro sports)
Cleveland Indians
Columbus Crew
Columbus Clippers
Cincinnati Reds
Toledo MudHens
Akron Rubber Ducks
Lake County Captains

Goto a Zoo:
Columbus Zoo
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
The Toledo Zoo

Go to a park:
Ohio State Parks
National Parks in Ohio

Goto a Festival:
Ohio Festivals – a crazy good list of them.

Goto a Museum:
Cleveland History Center (formerly Wester Reserve Historical)
Cincinnati Museum Center
Toledo Museum of Art 
Dayton Art Institute

Go for a Drive:
Ohio Roadtrips

While we hope this gave you some great ideas for the summer, this is just a small portion of things to do in Ohio.




Paul Laurence Dunbar: Poet and Park

With this being National Poetry Month and National Parks Week, We thought we would honor both by honoring Ohio’s own Paul Laurence Dunbar. His house is free to visit, and part of the Dayton Aviation National Historical Park. Here is his most famous poem.

Paul Laurence Dunbar, 1872 – 1906

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals—
I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats its wing
Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting—
I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings—
I know why the caged bird sings!

Kenner, Cincinnati, and the creation of the Star Wars Empire


Founded in 1946 in Cincinnati, Kenner was one of the leading toy companies of the 20th century. They produced such classics as Easy Bake Oven, Spirograph, Play-Doh, and Stretch Armstrong. Kenner took off when Bob Steiner realized that tv was a big hit with kids. Television commercials made Kenner toys household names. Some were even made by Jim Henson. The toys that they may be best known for are their line of action figures. Kenner produced everything from Batman and Superman to Sports Heroes. While they were great sellers of action figures, it was one toy line that would change the industry, the idea of action figures, and Kenner itself.

On May 25th, 1977 a small space opera was released in to the theaters. At the time no one know how big it was to become. Not even the toy industry. Kenner was not the first choice to make figures for the new movie, but when Mego Corporation turned it down, they got the rights. The success of Star Wars overwhelmed Kenner and they were unprepared for that Christmas’s rush. Instead of an actual toy they sold a certificate to redeem for a action figure, along with a diorama.

By the time Kenner had caught up with demand they had a full line of Figures, weapons, vehicles and more. The small b movie had turned into an empire worthy of competing with anything on the shelf. The best known, and most collected, of these is the  3.75  inch action figure.

Before Kenner and Star Wars most were 12 or 8 inch figures. 3.75 inch figures had been brought over from Japan by Mego Coporation but were limited to just a few franchises and were considered small. Kenner released a few 12 inch figures and a lot more of the 3.75 inch figures. Their popularity soared not in spite their size but because of it. They took up less room and could be shoved in a pocket. Many more of them could fit in a backpack. They could finally fit in the vehicles. With a movie where almost everything was ripe for toy making this was a great thing. Soon 3.75 inch were the standard size for action figures. WVXU had a great interview with some of the people from the early days of Star Wars Toys.

From the Christmas 1976 to today, the toys of Star Wars have help to keep the story alive in many kids. Even though there was a 16 year gap between The Return of The Jedi and The Phantom Menace the toys were still a big deal. New toys are still produced for everything from the books, comics, and even the Christmas special. Everybody from Darth Vader to a lone extra running through a scene with an ice cream maker has been turned in to a 3.75 inch figure. Stores have become “museums” just by sheer virtue of how popular the old figures were.

All because a little B space opera and an Ohio Toy company decided to sell some small action figures.

P.S. Don’t forget to visit the Cincinnati Library before Jan 16th,2016 and see the Kenner Toy exhibit.

Clifton Mill During the Holidays

Address: IMG_0340

75 Water St.

Clifton, Ohio

Website: http://www.cliftonmill.com/

Rating *****

We have done some posts on Clifton Mill or included in one of our lists, but we have not done a full post on the Mill at Christmas or the Holidays.

Clifton Mill is located in Clifton, Ohio. The mill is one of the largest still in existence and has a rich history. Include on the mill property is a restaurant and country store.

When the holiday times come around, from Thanksgiving to the New Year, the mill and property really comes alive. The whole property is filled with over 3.5 million lights. This includes the mill, buildings, gorge, trees, bridges, and the gorge. The place is truly festive.

There is more than just lights to see at Clifton Mill. During the holiday time there is a Miniature Village, Santa Clause Museum, a Toy Collection. The miniatures are fun to look at and will have you spending some time as there are moving parts. Many of the miniatures show local or Ohio locations or inspirations. The miniature village is a surprise highlight a visit to Clifton Mills during the holidays.

Another attraction is the Santa Claus Museum. This building is filled with every imaginable kind of Santa item. Yours eyes will have lots to look at.

On the hour many of the lights go dark.  Then the lights come back on for light show set to music. The light show is not something to miss. So if you time it right you will be there for a showing or two of the light show.

It does cost for any over the age of 7. The price is reasonable. Going during the week is less crowded. Parking is free. There is food you can purchase and give you can buy. It is mostly outdoors, so dress accordingly.

Clifton Mill at the holiday times is perfect for couples, singles, families, friends, neighbors, and really anyone.