Entertainment and the Arts

Movie theaters, Live Theater, Concerts, Festivals…

12 days of Holiday Activities 2018 – Day #1

The Legendary Christmas Lights at Historic Clifton Mill

Our review

The Legendary Lights at the Historic Clifton Mill have been lighting up the holidays for the last 31 years. The display started with a few lights on the mill and has exploded to the hills, cliff, and creek surrounding it. The display will even put on a show on the hour every hour. The Light display maybe a reason to go but it is so much more than that. The Mill also features a vintage toy room, a Santa room, and a miniature city with many moving parts.

With over 4 million lights every year is a big year. 2018, however, is a big year for the lights at Clifton Mill. This year they have made the USATODAYS 10best public holiday lights display nomination list. They also will be on the December 3 Great Holiday Light Fight on ABC. With so much national exposure make sure dress warm and take some time to see them this year.

To vote for Clifton Mill as the best public lights:
https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-public-holiday-lights-display/legendary-lights-of-clifton-mill-clifton-mill/

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Day Trips in Cincinnati

Are you planning to go to  Zinzinnati for Oktoberfest, but need something to do the next day? Have a day free and are wondering what to do? Here are some day trip ideas for Cincinnati.

Trip 1: A day at the park 

A trip to Eden park is a great way to spend the day, see the sights and not spend a lot of money.

  1. Echo Restaurant: a great place to get a quick breakfast before a long day of sightseeing
  2. Krohn Conservatory:  Located in Eden park it is a greenhouse that goes way beyond anything at the local flower shop.
  3. A picnic in Eden Park:  While in one of Cincinnati loveliest sites stop for a quick bite. Sit on the lawn, by the lake, or at the river overlook.
  4. Cincinnati Art Museum: The next stop is also in Eden park. One of the best art museums in the state.

 Trip 2: Signs in the Sky

An afternoon and evening trip to see the city in a different light.

  1. American Sign Museum: A museum dedicated to signs of all forms. With a working neon shop and more neon that one location needs. Last Tour starts a 2pm
  2. Arthur’s: One of the best burger joints in town. Grab a bite for dinner and then walk around Hyde Park.
  3. Cincinnati Observatory:  A great place to visit any time. See the stars at night or just see the telescopes during the day.

Trip 3: History on Display 

Important sites for two of America’s Presidents and a lesson on the struggle for freedom

  1. William Howard Taft National Historic Site: The home of one of Ohio 8 Presidents.
  2. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center: A museum dedicated to freedom for all and the struggle of obtain it.
  3. William Henry Harrison Tomb and Memorial: The site official resting place of the first president to die in office. Also near-by is a marker for the Birthplace of his grandson President Benjamin Harrison.

Trip 4: Art – food for the soul. Food – art for the stomach

A walking tour of the heart of the city and all the art it has to offer. This walking tour can pass by Music Hall and many other great sites.

  1. Findlay Market: A historic market in Over The Rhine. A great place for breakfast or lunch.
  2. The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Main Branch: Stop in for a book, or just to see the great art they have on display.
  3. Fountain Square: The heart of downtown. Stop and admire the fountain, see a concert, or grab a bite.
  4. Contemporary Art Center and 21c Museum Hotel:  Two free art galleries just down the street.
  5. Some of the many, many, many murals the city has: Way more than one could probably see in one day.

Trip 5: A ballgame and some sites

  1. A walk along the riverfront to see the Riverboats
  2. National Steamboat Memorial: A hidden treasure with hidden secrets worth finding
  3. Great American Ballpark: The home of the Cincinnati Reds OR Paul Brown Stadium: Home of the Cincinnati Bengals

Whole Day Themselves:

  1. Cincinnati Zoo: One of the Best Zoos in the nation (maybe start with breakfast at Sugar n’ Spice)
  2. Cincinnati Museum Center. When it reopens this will be one of the premier attractions in the area.

Fountain Square

520 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45202

https://myfountainsquare.com

In the heart of downtown Cincinnati is a large fountain. Surrounded by buildings and the hustle and bustle of business life this fountain could easily be forgotten by the people outside of Cincinnati. But even if the people outside the city forgot it, the people of the city never would. Fountain Square has become the heart of Cincinnati and as famous an icon as the riverfront and the bridges.

The fountain was commissioned by Tyler Davidson, and made at the Royal Bronze Foundry of Bavaria, to honor his late brother-in-law and businesses partner. August von Kreling had the design, but had found no one to sponsor its creation. The fountain stands 43 feet tall. On top is a statue of a lady called The Genius of Water. Around here are four figures representing the human uses of water. Around them at the edges are four figures that represent the pleasures of water. These figures were originally added to the design as drinking fountains and can still be used to this day. The fountain was dedicated on October 6th, 1871 and has been renovated 3 times over the years. In 1971, for its centennial celebration, the fountain was moved and the entire square was redesigned. This was the design and configuration made famous by the WKRP in Cincinnati opening. In 2006 it was moved again as the entire square was revitalized hopping to make it the heart of the city once more.

The original model on view at the Cincinnati Art Museum

It did become the focal point that organizers were hoping for. The square is surrounded by shops and restaurants. The variety of food, from local upscale venues to national fast casual chains, is large enough to make it a daily destination. Many workers simply walk to the square instead of hunting around town. Food trucks park in and around the square on occasion too.

As the heart of the city, the square should be near many other things. 3 art galleries, the library, The Aronoff Center, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Great American Ballpark, and so many other arractions are within walking distance, or a short ride on the Streetcar. Throughout the week the square host trivia nights, themed food nights, concerts, a Farmers Market (harking back to the sites original uses as a butchers market), and much much more. During the colder months it hosts a skating rink.

We went after a visit to the Cincinnati Public Library Main Branch on a warm spring day. It was lunch time and we found the square busy. Many people were visiting the local food trucks that had parked nearby. Seating seemed to not be a problem as the square had many tables set up. Music was playing from a dj booth located next to the stage. Over all the atmosphere was festive and lively despite the crowds. We were full from eating earlier but found this would be a great place to stop for lunch while exploring the city.

Tip: The fountain is turned off when the weather becomes freezing on a constant basis and is turned on before the first game of the MLB season.

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Main Branch

http://www.cincinnatilibrary.org

Just blocks from the heart of downtown is a large building housing some of the greatest works of art of mankind. No, not the Art museum, most of these works of can actually be held by the public, it’s the The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. The Main branch is split between two buildings with a walk way over 9th Street connecting them. Outside is a bustling city. Inside is a calm relaxing place to study, read, get information, and create.

The south building houses the more traditional and quite sections of the library. In it is the popular library, a place to easily find fiction, films, and audio recordings. This is great way to be in and out with a new title. For more in depth studies the upper floors contain the non-fiction books. On the Third floor is the genealogy and local history rooms. This building is also where most of the computers for Internet access are located. By the front doors are main checkout and the Library Friends Shop.

The shop is small but well stocked. Used books and media no longer needed by the Library are sold at this location. Besides books the shop has plenty of other merchandise too. Think of this as any other book store, but with a heavy Library and Cincinnati theme. This is probably one of the best hidden stores in the entire city.

The more noisy departments are housed in the North building. This allows for some activity to happen in these sections without disturbing the patrons looking for a more quite setting. In this building are the children’s section with a children’s garden, the teen space, homework station, and the MakerSpace. The MakerSpace is one of the best free makers spaces in the state. The space houses more than the 3d printers most libraries offer. As their website states “3D printers, audio and visual equipment, laser cutters and engravers, sewing machines, cameras and other hardware and software tools that they can use for free to create pretty much anything they can imagine.” The traditional audio visual stations can be used to make almost anything need in modern digital society. The printers, cutters, and sewing machines can be used to create almost anything else. Want to work on something but have no knowledge on how to start? The very well informed and super helpful staff will be glad to assist. Note that materials may cost extra for some of the MakerSpace equipment, but it is way less than buying the equipment oneself.

To connect the two buildings is a walk way. Along the walk way and throughout the two buildings are art work and galleries. These displays change regularly and enhance the overall fell of the space. The Main branch of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is more than just a place to get a book to read. It is a welcoming, innovative space to relax, enjoy, and create. Always worth a visit when in the area.

 

World A’fair

2018 location: Dayton Convention Center
22 E 5th St, Dayton, OH 45402

https://www.aworldafair.org/

Date: Usually the weekend before Memorial Day (May 18-20, 2018)

Ohio is a melting pot. Over the years people from all walks of life and all parts of the globe have come together to make it a very interesting place. In the beginning most of the immigrants came from Europe. As the Countries involvement in Asia and other area of the world, the diversity of the state expanded too. One city that has embraced this diversity is Dayton. The city has many cultural organizations that help to keep the spirit of the people’s homeland alive and to help to educate the next generations.

For the past 45 years the many organizations have been coming together to celebrate the diversity of its people. Known as A World A’Fair, the event brings over 30 cultural heritage groups from around the region to one large celebration, the largest international festival in Ohio. Housed in the Dayton Convention Centers main hall the event is basically a market and two stages.

The “market” area is the largest section. It consist of one booth from each of the organizations involved. Each year the A’Fair has one aspect of culture that it focuses on. Each booth is required to display something based on that aspect. The single focus does an amazing job of showcasing the diversity of culture, while at the same time showing that all cultures have something in common. At most booth food is served. This is not just some over popularized sampling of the culture, like a fourth grade presentation. This is the real immigrants spending time to make the food of their homelands. While some of the food is common to the palate of the average 21st century American, such as bratwurst, wontons, curry, or pizza, it is all made in the tradition al way. The food is reasonably priced and a great reason to come back over the 3 days. Some booths sell merchandise too. The event is one of the largest fundraising for any group involved. Over 30,000 people attended in 2016.

The entertainment for A World A’Fair is also provide by the organizations. The 3 day event has many dancers, singers, and acrobats spread out over two stages. The Main Stage is where the large presentations take place. It is a large area off to the side of the main floor. The very large bleachers always seem to have space despite the crowds. The Interactive Stage is a smaller area for more, well interactive, presentations. The area is quite small and can fill up fast. Most groups preform many times over the weekend, with multiple chances to see them every day. These are great places to stop and eat, rest during the day, and wait to eat some more.

To help keep the younger ones interested the event has a children’s passport. The passport is a small book with questions that can be answered with information found at each booth. There also is a small child’s area in front of the Main Stage with crafts and demos. There also is a separate fair in the lobby of the convention center. Here many local organizations such as The Humane Society of Greater Dayton, and the Dayton Metro Library have informational booth for people waiting in line to enter. Sometimes the festivities from inside spill out into this area.

Over the years The World A’Fair has become more than a simple high school level presentation of cultures. It is a 3 day explosion of diversity and food, and dancing, and more food.  A must see for anyone looking to expand their understanding of the world.
Tip: Around noon Saturday a Naturalization Ceremony is held to welcome more citizens to the nation. A great chance to see the love that the immigrants coming to the area have for their new home, while still celebrating their old home.

Krohn Conservatory

1501 Eden Park Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45202

http://www.cincinnatiparks.com/krohn/

Down by the river in Cincinnati is  Eden Park. The land is beautiful and the hills rolling. The park it self is quite large. So large it house two of Cincinnati’s hidden gems. The first is The Cincinnati Art Museum. The second is not quite as large or well known but is just as amazing: Krohn Conservatory.

In the 1880’s the first greenhouse at Eden Park were used for growing plants for the park. at the turn of the 20th century a greenhouse was built for public displays. The following year the first plant show was started. Shortly after the park decided to keep the plants in the greenhouses in rotation to keep visitors coming back. About 30 years later the crowds had grown and the park needed a new green house. The Eden Park Greenhouse opened its doors in 1933. four years later it was renamed The Khron Conservatory in honor of Irwin M. Krohn.

A conservatory is a room with a glass roof and walls, attached to a house at one side and used as a greenhouse or a sun parlor. Krohn is more than just a glass room attached to a building. The conservatory is broken up into 4 main rooms with smaller rooms off to the sides. The rooms each encompass an environment for the plants inside. The desert room houses the Cacti and succulent collection.  The tropical room showcases plants from the warmer climates, including ferns and begonias. The palm house is the tallest with palm trees towering above.  This room also includes a waterfall the flows into a river full of fish, turtles, and frogs. Behind the waterfall is a hidden cave. Each of these rooms includes edible plants too. The conservatory is a great place to see where some common, but exotic, food comes from including bananas, vanilla, and cacao.  Off too the sides of these rooms is the bonsai collection. With plants owned by the park and plants on loan from the Bonsai Society of Greater Cincinnati . The other room is a large selection from the conservatories collection of orchids.

The final room of the Krohn is the smallest but grandest. The seasonal flower show room is the where 6 different shows are put on through out the year. During the spring the Krohn Conservatory holds its most famous event, a butterfly show. The room comes alive with the flutter of wings. While the flowers may repeat from time to time, each of the six shows are themed differently. The room becomes whatever the theme is. If the idea is flowers of the bayou, the room is a slice of New Orleans. Visitors are transported not just by the flowers on display but by the music, the decorations, and even the structures and walkways. The theming is not only limited to the seasonal show room. Every time the shows theme changes the Krohn is almost born anew with little hidden gems popping up in the other rooms as well. The changing shows are what make every visit a treat to enjoy with new things to find and sites to see.

TIP: The Cincinnati Art museum is open late on Thursdays and can be fit into a day trip to Eden Park and the Krohn Conservatory.

 

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 who 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
Finale
The Faculty
Heathers
Howard the Duck
The Manson Family
Meet the Applegates
My Friend Dahmer
Nightmare on Elm Street Franchise
Pi Day Die Day
Salvage
Scream 2
Sella Turcia
The Sleeper
Super 8
Take Shelter
ThanksKilling
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

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/cin/ballpark/

Great American Ballpark is 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 attractions along the ever changing riverfront. Its 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 and 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 kid’s 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 throughout 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. The venue can be light on the theming in some places but 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 fills 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.