Seasonal

Not everyday of the year does this happen.

The Virtual Ohio State Fair 2020

2019 Ohio State Fair Butter Cow

2019 Ohio State Fair Butter Cow

Today is the start of the start of The Ohio State Fair. Normally the fair is one of the largest in the country. Due to the current situation of the world the State fair of Ohio has gone virtual. Now anyone anywhere can attend.

Want some history of the Fair before you attend? the podcast has great backstories and information: https://ohiostatefair.com/podcast/

How to attend:

The Ohio State Fair has created a great website to visit the Virtual Fair:  https://ohiostatefair.com/anywhere/
The site contains links to a virtual midway, Entertainers and Attractions, Food Demonstrations, Fair Competitions, Music, Recipes, a Shop with many of the vendors that would be at the fair, and so much more. It even has a large selection of historical playlist and information.

Along with the virtual fair are links to the Fair’s Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram pages where much of the virtual fair including Contest, photos, videos, and more will be posted.

The Virtual Fair will run from July 29 – August 8th, 2020

Drive-In Restaurants of Ohio

In the 1950’s Drive-ins were all the rage. A place where a family could take the kids without having to dress up. A place where teens could meet up and hang out. While the Drive-in movie theatre has updated with new technology and moved in to the modern area, many a drive-in restaurant has keep the look and feel of the early days.

The old fashioned atmosphere helps to make them less of a fast food joint and more of a community gathering place. Most of the drive-ins in Ohio opened in the 60’s or before and the old fashion decor is not just a gimmick but tradition. Unlike a drive through where there is another car waiting to be served and one must get it and go, these places are more about parking, being waited on by the friendly staff, and enjoying the good food and good times. The pace of life seems to take a breather as the nostalgia over comes the place.

So here is a list of a few places to find a good burger, fries, and of course a frosty root beer.


Cincinnati:
https://www.therootbeerstand.com 

Cleveland and Northeast: http://swensonsdriveins.com (many locations from Columbus north)

Columbus: https://www.dansdrivein.com/

Chillicothe: http://www.sumburger.com

Dayton: http://www.rootbeerstande.com

Tiffin: http://www.jollysdrivein.com

And so many more:  Just look for one in any area of Ohio and chances are there’s one nearby.

In Ohio the weather can be unpredictable. Sometimes the winter is harsh and early. Sometimes it is mild and hard to find. Because it is hard to work in winter conditions, some of the Drive-ins are only open seasonally.

Drive-Ins of Ohio are now open

Cars at Drive in

Old Drive In

Since the beginning of the movie theater industry movies have been shown outdoors. The reasons have varied. Be it lack of indoor air conditioning or lack of a building all together. In 1933 someone decided to make it so that theater goers could watch a movie in the comfort of their own cars. Thus the Drive In Movie theater was born. Ohio, leader not a follower, was no late comer to the fad. In the heyday of the drive-ins Ohio was strong. During the decline, Ohio held strong.

The Drive-in is a right of passage for all Ohioans. From the first time one sees the screen through the front windshield to the moment the last frame is displayed the drive-in is an experience like no other. If a patron feels like talking, texting, running, sitting, or eating loudly this is okay because the Drive-in is a place of personal space. With the ability to personalize everything from the level of the sound to the temperature in ones car. Every vehicle is ones own private theater. Yet still the drive-in is  able to convey a sense of community. Exit the car and the sounds of the movie mingle with the sounds of nature and other patrons. As long as everyone keeps things with in reason the sky, literally, is the limit.

Some Tips for Drive-In Enjoyment:

  • Check the locations official website for rules. Some charge to bring in outside food others don’t. A quick check can prevent many problems
  • Visit the concession Stand at least once. The food is where a lot of the Drive-ins make their money. Also the food is reasonably priced and the selection quite large.
  • Plan for a late night. If two movies are playing, and the first one can’t start until dark, the last one won’t generally end till after midnight.
  • Bring a portable radio. Most places use radio transmissions for sounds delivery. A portable radio means you won’t miss any of the soundtrack on a restroom break or snack run.
  • Arrive early to get a good spot.
  • Most allow movement between the screens and time the movies so that if you want to see one from one screen and one from the other you can. Do not expect to get a great spot if you move to the more popular second movie.

No matter where you live in the state there is a drive in with in a reasonable drive.

Cincinnati: Starlite Drive-In

Cleveland and the northeast area: There are a lot of them. probably the most dense area.  (list of Drive-ins)

Columbus:  Skyview Drive-In

Dayton: Melody 49 Drive-In, Dixie Twin Drive-In

Hamilton: Holiday Auto Theatre 

Toledo: Tiffin Drive-In Theatre, Field of Dreams Drive-In Theatre, Sundance Kid Drive-In

Along with many others:

P.s. Most drive-ins offer double features with the price still lower than the average movie ticket.

Summer in the Cedar Bog

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980 Woodburn Rd, Urbana, OH 43078
http://naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/cedarbog

Cedar Bog, located just outside of Urbana, is a 450 acre nature preserve dedicated to Ohio’s wetlands. Cedar Bog is mistitled. It is actually a Fen. The difference between a fen and a bog is a simple but confusing one. A bog receives water from precipitation. A fen receives water from the local watershed, like underground water table or surrounding rivers.  With over a mile of trails the Bog is a great way to see the wetlands. While this sounds like a walk through a swamp, Cedar Bogs main trail is a boardwalk above the fen. This allows for a nice dry walk even after a recent rain.

The mile long trail runs through tp09-03-16_13-51he forest, in to open areas, and loops back to the main entrance. While it is a short walk the abundance of plant and animal life on the trail makes the walk take much longer.

Summer
With flowers blooming all over the place, birds flying over head, and plenty of Plestiodon (skinks with a blue tail).  The summer is a great time to see the wildlife that comes to graze in the shaded forests of the fen. The flowers blooming in the forest take advantage of the shade to absorb the water from the fen and bloom well into August and later. The abundance of wildlife is also concentrated in the forest. The cool of the morning is the best time to see them. As the day heats up many go to sleep or find a cool place to hide.

One of the main blooms seen is the Mimulus aurantiacus “Monkey Flower”, both the orange and yellow variety. This flower is a host plant for the Buckeye Butterfly which can be seen all over the fen. The forest seems to explode with color. The trees are also full of foliage and make for a great shade in the heat of the day. The difference between the “deep” forest and the fields is striking. The creek at the edge of the trail is full of moss and other growth and seems smaller than during the spring. The flow of water is feed by the large underground water system that makes the bog possible. Even during the hottest month of the year the creek flows nicely. This is a good place to find wildlife taking a quick drink. Most reptiles and amphibians will be in this area of the reserve.

While the bog and forest are cool during the summer. The nearby prairie is not.  The contrast to the wildness of the forest is striking. The sun scorches the land and dries out the area. The prairie in this area has been around since before the settlement of Ohio. The plants in the Prairie trail are use to this and can survive, if not thrive, in the heat. Many of the blooms are yellow and blend in to the color of the grass. The prairie is a great place to see butterflies and insects not found in the forest. Early in the day some wildlife can be seen taking advantage of the grass before the heat of the midday sun.

The summer will be warmer so take some water and go enjoy the nature in one of Ohio’s more diverse and unique trails.

Tip: The bog cost to enter, but is included in a Ohio History Connection Membership. Visiting once a season, with a guest, can pay for the membership.

The Stuart & Mimi Rose Music Center at The Heights

6800 Executive Blvd, Huber Heights, OH 45424

https://www.rosemusiccenter.com

The Dayton area is no stranger to outdoor concert venues. Since 1991 there has been the Fraze Pavilion. Last year Levitt Pavilion in downtown opened for free concerts. The largest by far is the The Stuart & Mimi Rose Music Center at The Heights.

The Rose Music Center is located north of town in the city of Hube Heights. The venue opened in 2015 and is the first in a group of building being developed in the area. It is right of the highway and very easy to spot standing by itself in a field. It also is one of the largest buildings in the area, which doesn’t hurt.

The Center has plenty of parking and is well suited for the crowds that it attracts. The interior is just a row of concession stands restrooms and the performance area. The concessions are standard concert venue far with hot dogs, sandwiches, and plenty to drink. Offerings are the same across the entire pavilion. No need to walk far distances for something special. The area around the center is also full of many options for a bite before the show, with more being built in the future. The restrooms are large and right next to the entrance of the seating area. They handle a lot of people and tend to back up very little at busy times.

The actual performance area is the main draw of the center. Unlike the Fraze all seats are covered. This roof covers the seats but is high enough not to block any views and to allow for ventilation on the hot summer nights. Containing 4,200 seat, it is one of  larger venues in the county. The seating area is wide and deep angling toward the decently sized stage. Some of the back seats can be a little far from the stage, but are not too far to be able to enjoy the show. The back section is angled steep enough that views are not blocked too much. There are video screens and a good sound system to help make sure everyone has a good time, not just the people in front. The seats are comfortable without being anything to special. The Rose Center is located along a major highway (I-70). This makes for easy access to and from an event. This also means that during busy times some of the noise from the road will bleed into the venue. Any performance will usually drown this out.

The selection of acts are very similar to the ones at the Fraze. From well known new acts to older bands, The Rose has a little bit of something for everyone. While the Greater Dayton area seem too small to support two large venues, the differences between the more intimate feeling Fraze and the grand scale of the Rose set them apart enough for both venues to be supported and loved.

As the weather heats up so do the summer tours and The Stuart & Mimi Rose Music Center at The Heights is a great place to see a loved band or find a new favorite.

Fort Meigs

29100 W River Rd, Perrysburg, OH 43551

https://www.fortmeigs.org

Following the Siege of Fort Meigs the fort was no longer needed.  A smaller fort was built but abandoned at the end of the war. As the years went on the site was left but not forgotten. 1864, during another American war, brothers Timothy and Thomas Hayes bought the land and decided to preserve it for all that had fallen. In 1907 their family decided to sell it to the state of Ohio. One year later a large monument was installed by veterans of the Civil War to honor those from the War of 1812. In the 1960’s the Ohio History Society decided to rebuilt the Fort. The new recreated Fort opened in 1974. After nearly 30 years the Fort was starting to show its age and in 2000 the Fort was rebuilt again. This new Fort now stands proudly along the Maumee.

The Fort is split into two main parts, the Fort and the Museum. Starting with the Fort is a good idea. The land has change overtime but the Fort itself was recreated to be as accurate as possible. Inside the its walls are the embankments, like those that protected the men during the battle, blockhouses, and the memorial erected by the Civil War veterans. At first this seems like any other recreation of a fort. Walking around the grounds one can get a feel for how big the Fort was. The land however does not really give much for the feel of the time, or the life of a soldier. One can go inside the blockhouse too.

The blockhouses, all seven of them, are the real treat to the Fort recreation. Unlike some recreations where it is a blank building, or just a few items, these are full museum rooms.  Inside are displays about the time of the Fort, the life of the soldiers, and the activities of the siege. They include maps, very detailed models, and interactive displays. All of the blockhouses are separated into one aspect each, but together make up a large museum. Each one must be entered to get the whole story of the Fort.

Outside the trails include the paths that the would have been used at the time. They follow along the outer edge along the wall going from house to house. At certain points the wall is lower and the river can be seen, or the field where the British and Tecumseh’s men were stationed. At these points are cannons ready to defend the Fort.

Inside the visitors center is a nice video, museum, and the gift shop. While the Fort is about the battle, the museum is more about times before the conflict, the times of the greater conflict, and how we know what we know than it is the siege itself. This is where the actual artifacts are housed. Along side the artifacts are stories of how they were found. Pictures of the archaeological digs, tales of the interpretation needed, and questions still left unanswered. The museum is a great companion to the Fort.

From the Fort to the fields to the Museum, Fort Meigs is a great place to learn about a piece of American history that helped to keep us free, the life and times of the men and women who fought, and we can keep their history alive.

12 days of Holiday Activities 2018 – Day #11

The “A Christmas Story” House

http://www.achristmasstoryhouse.com

Every year TBS has a tradition of playing a Christmas Story for 24 hours on Christmas eve and day. Many people across America do not know that the film, based on stories from Jean Shepherd‘s book “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash“, was filmed in Cleveland. The house that was used for exterior shots and the opening of the “Fragile” package has become a museum and is open year round. This time of year, however, is the perfect time to visit the house. The original house has been decorated to match the sound stages from the movie and tours are given. Overnight stays are also offered.  The Bumpuses’ house next door (for overnight stays), a Museum across the street, and a gift shop are also on site. The House is located in a residential area so be mindful of the neighbors when visiting.

a few blocks away from the House is

West side Market

http://westsidemarket.org

Our Review of The West Side Market

The West Side Market is a nationally known market. The market is a great place to stock up on fresh meat, vegetables, and other goodies for your holiday meals. The site is also a great place to see the history of Cleveland. The citizen of Cleveland have been going to the market for the last 106 years so you know they must be doing something right.

12 days of Holiday Activities 2018 – Day #8

A Crystal Holiday at Krohn Conservatory

Cincinnati, Ohio

https://www.cincinnatiparks.com/krohn/

The Krohn has great flowers year round but The Holiday show this year is taking it a step further.  As their website says
“See replicas of the Roebling Bridge, Carol Ann’s Carousel, Union Terminal and others.  Special this year, National Park Service structures will be on display, including the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore National Memorial.  Applied Imagination’s installations garner nationwide recognition and delighting audiences by using plant materials to build historic architecture and whimsical worlds.”
Just down the way  from the Krohn is

LUMINARIA

Night Lights at the Cincinnati Observatory
December 9 6:30pm – 8:30pm

https://www.cincinnatiobservatory.org/publicevents/upcoming-events-2/

For the 43rd year the Cincinnati Observatory will open up it historic telescope for a look at the Holiday night sky. They will have carolers, stargazing, gift shop, and Hot Drinks to warm you up.

Best of all this event is free and open to the public.

12 days of Holiday Activities 2018 – Day #6

A Carillon Christmas – Carillon Historical Park Dayton
https://www.daytonhistory.org/events/special-events/a-carillon-christmas/

Our review of the park

The Carillon Historical Park is amazing. it is one of the best open air museums is the state and has a lot to offer. At the Holidays they go all out. The large bell tower in the front of the park (a Carillon, which gives the place its name) is turned into the second largest, behind King’s Islands Eiffel Tower, christmas tree in Ohio. The buildings and paths are decorated  with a nod to history. At night some of the buildings even take on new meanings with the working fireplaces becoming kitchens baking cookies to sell. With Carolers, card printing on real printing presses, model trains (some large enough to ride), puppet shows on the half hour, and plenty of food there is bound to be something to see all night.

Make sure to visit the Carillon for a breath taking view inside the tree. Just try “not” to spin around too much while looking up at the lights.

While the Christmas event start later in the evening the park is open all day for the same ticket. Come early, get a parking spot, and enjoy the museum and grounds before the crowds. Then when the park opens have you’ll have time for the festivities.

12 days of Holiday Activities 2018 – Day #3

Ohio Statehouse Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting:

December 6, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

This year’s holiday festivities at the Ohio Statehouse open with the annual tree lighting on December 6th. The festival will include Carolers, local mascots, historical characters, dignitaries, and even Santa himself. The event is free.
http://www.ohiostatehouse.org/calendar/event?id=1294

Through out the rest of the season there will be weekday lunchtime choir concerts in the Museum Gallery in the basement of the Statehouse. In the past the performances have included local groups and high school choirs from around the state. As always the concerts are free and open to the public.
http://www.ohiostatehouse.org/calendar/event?id=1308