A veteran buddy talked me into walking with him at the inaugural National 5K Run/Walk/Roll/Ride in 2013. We both signed up again last year but, when I called from near the start line to see why he was late, I learned he had forgotten and was half way across the state. This year he is living out of state so I knew when I registered that I would be doing it alone. Just me and more than 3,000 strangers.
Just before the hand-cycles lead off the timed entries, the motorcycle contingent rolls by the starting line. This large group, mostly veterans, will cruise the course then park near the end to greet and cheer every participant.
The picture at the top of this article is a capture from a video posted as part of the results. Participants can view a clip of their finish based on bib number. I finished in 1:04:26. That’s 4 minutes and 3 seconds faster than last year and a mere 47:31 behind the fastest runner. I’m obviously closing in.
In 2013 the only event was the one in the DAV’s home town of Cincinnati. In 2014 an event in Dan Diego was added and this year an Atlanta event joins the other two. With a perfect attendance record to maintain, I intend to be back next year. Blog posts on the previous events are here and here.
I think I attended the very first Ohio Renaissance Festival in 1990 though it’s possible that my first visit was in ’91 during the festival’s second season. It was great fun regardless of when it happened. I visited Willy Nilly-on-the-Wash, the fictional home of the festival, a few more times during the next decade then I stopped. I have no idea why. I was never a regular. I never went more than once a year and doubt I ever went two years in a row. Every two or three years seemed about right until it somehow dropped completely off my schedule. I’m sure I haven’t been there since at least 1999 which means that yesterday was the first time in the twenty-first century that I visited the sixteenth century. It’s changed.
I heard something on the radio about the festival just before it opened this year and decided I really should check it out. It runs for eight consecutive weekends with each week having a theme. There is a Pirates Weekend, a a Barbarian Invasion Weekend, and other fun sounding themes including OktoBEERfest!. This was the only weekend I had free. It’s Romance Weekend. By buying my ticket online I saved $1.14 (20.81 vs. 21.95). I wondered whether it was worth it but once the car was parked it became clear that I had done the right thing. My print-at-home ticket let me go right through the entrance on the right instead of standing in one of the lines on the left.
People in period dress (more or less) are everywhere and it’s not always easy to tell if they are officially part of the show or just highly motivated patrons. I’m only half sure the lady shopping for new cutlery is an amateur and even less certain about the others. I’ve never been actually confronted about photographing someone but I have had a few hard looks. It the look comes before I’ve fired the shutter, the shutter remains un-fired. At this sort of event, the exact opposite is more likely. When I took the second picture, I was actually targeting that magnificent beard but the lovely lady beside it noticed me and made sure I got her best side.
Thrill rides are powered by gravity or muscle. There are, of course, weight limit and “you must be this tall” signs but those aren’t the only restrictions.
Music is plentiful and good. There is even a genuine honest to goodness hurdy gurdy.
Actually, entertainment of all sorts is plentiful. One of the perennial favorites is the Theater in the Ground (a.k.a. Mudde Show). I caught a a performance of Dante’s Inferno and yes he does. They somehow talked a lovely lass from the audience into playing the role of Beatrice and much to my amazement kept her quite clean. The narrator didn’t fare so well. I lingered behind to get a picture of the bare stage.
Knights on horseback are every bit as popular as men in mud. There are full-tilt jousts several times each day and before each joust the knights demonstrate some of the skill involved by charging past their squires and plucking rings from their fingers. The lances used are considerably smaller and lighter than the ones they will use in the actual joust.
Although I was quite happy to get it, my seat for the joust wasn’t the best. It was easy enough for me to look past the array of lances but that might be a little tougher in the pictures. In the first picture they are just about to meet. In the second and third thay have just met and some fairly dramatic things are happening. I suppose most folks would simply post some video from their smart phones but I’m a bit more old fashioned and have created a couple of triptychs. One begins with that second photo in which the lance of the knight on the white horse has just snapped. The second begins with the third photo where the knight on the black horse is about to lose his lance.
Though bigger and better than when I last saw them, the joust and mud theater have been part of the festival since its beginning. The human chess match was new to me. I didn’t really follow things closely or understand all the rules but it is obvious that captured pieces do not just leave the board/field willingly. Note Elizabeth Regina watching the game in that third photo. The queen’s presense is often felt throughout the festival. I had encountered her shortly after entering and snapped a few pictures of her and her entourage. She spotted me and paused as she passed. There is an “official” photo of the queen that appears on the festival website and in brochures. I borrowed it to pair with mine.
This is, as I said, Romance Weekend so I’ll end with this touching image of two smitten youths, with odd curly things on their heads, sharing a scarf.
A couple of weeks ago, the amount of miscellany filling my life prompted two posts: Much Miscellany and Much Miscellany 2 Sloopy at 50. I don’t often appear in my own posts and I didn’t appear in either of those. I did, however appear in the posts of others — sorta.
One of the activities in the first Much Miscellany post was the Cincinnati Film Festival. My post included a photo of producer Daryl Sledge and comedian/actress Rain Pryor during the opening night Q&A. That’s the first picture to the right. The other pictures is from the festival’s Facebook page showing that they were keeping an eye on me that night.
The second Much Miscellany post covered a Rick Derringer concert held as part of the Union City Arts Festival. It seems they were also keeping me in sight. The first picture is one I took of the band and the second is one from that festival’s Facebook page. I don’t know whether I’m being stalked or if both festivals simply had photographers with really bad luck.
In addition to a film festival, visiting ships, a new mile marker, and the country’s biggest Octoberfest (which I’ve yet to attend this year), this week included a parade in the nearby city of Mason as part of its bicentennial celebration. I managed to see the entire parade but it wasn’t all that easy. There is a long walk as well as a long story behind the picture at right.
By the time I started for Mason following the pancake breakfast at the condo clubhouse, the parade route had long been blocked off. I thought I might be able to drive closer to the parade start than to its end so that’s where I headed. My thinking was correct and I parked within half a mile of the point of beginning. It was almost close enough. The parade started promptly at 10:00 when I was still a couple of blocks away. I immediately went into high-speed pursuit mode (i.e., a brisk walk with a few cut corners) but only started closing in on the lead entry as the parade neared its point of ending.
Of course that lead entry carried the parade’s Grand Marshal to whose identity I had not a clue and neither, as far as I can tell, does the internet. The distance from my parked car to the parade end point was about a mile with the “high-speed” parade route portion accounting for about two-thirds of that. A nice, though unplanned, workout.
The Mason High School Marching Band was not far behind. They quite reasonably had a two song repertoire for the parade and it had cycled several times during my pursuit and overtaking. One song I can’t remember and one song I can’t forget. For the second consecutive Saturday, I got to hear Hang on Sloopy live.
In the interest of time, I’m going to forego any pretense of posting a representative set of photos. Instead, here, without explanation or justification, are a few I just like.
When your city is ten or twenty times your age, you can jump — repeatedly — for joy at the birthday party. I’m sure they could have caught up with the Grand Marshal before the second verse of Sloopy.
This is the elsewhere I was referring to when mentioning that I couldn’t be On the Waterfront Wednesday. The Ohio National Road Association unveiled three new interpretive panels this week but this it the only one of the events I was able to attend. That was lucky in one sense as both an interpretive panel and a new mile marker were unveiled in Reynoldsburg on Wednesday. By the time the speeches began, the crowd had grown to about twice the size of the group in the photo.
That’s Reynoldsburg-Truro Historical Society Vice President Dick Barrett speaking in the photo at left. Mike Peppe, on Dick’s right, and Dean Ringle, on his left, had already delivered short speeches as had Reynoldburg Mayor Brad McCloud. Mike is Chairman of the Ohio National Road Association Signage Committee and Dean heads up the ONRA’s Mile Marker Project. Dean is also a former president of the ONRA.
Mayor McCloud assisted Dean in lifting the cover from the new mile marker then helped Mike unwrap the new panel. This is the sixth of ten new mile markers being installed where the originals are missing or too much deteriorated to be repaired. The ONRA’s website lists twenty-five interpretive panels but the most recently listed is over a year old. I believe Mike stated this was the sixty-third.
The original National Road mile markers in Ohio were made of sandstone, limestone, or even an early form of concrete. The new ones are white granite. The new markers duplicate the originals in terms of size, shape, and the information on their face. To distinguish the new from the old, the new markers have the year 2014 carved low on their backs.
While chatting with Dean after the unveiling, I realized that it would be possible to pass all of the other five granite markers without going terribly out of my way as I drove home. I set out to do just that but got off to a horrible start. The first I would pass was also the first installed. Mile marker 260 had been put in place in December. I already knew that and had halfheartedly looked for it on a previous visit to Columbus. I had not found it but wasn’t very confident that I was looking in the right place so wasn’t at all concerned. This time I was pretty sure I was looking in the right place but still did not see it. I even, despite the rush hour traffic, made two passes. The next one, 264, I spotted but got no photograph. Now the traffic convinced me save a retry for another day. As you can see, I had better luck with the remaining three. In reality, it probably wasn’t luck at all but the fact that reduced traffic allowed me to actually look.
Released in the summer of 1965, the McCoys’ version of Hang on Sloopy reached #1 on October 2. A week later, the Ohio State Marching Band performed the song for the first time and, twenty years after that, the Ohio General Assembly adopted it as the state’s official rock song. This last summer, as the song’s 50th birthday approached, the Rolling Stones did a snippet of it during their concert in OSU’s Ohio Stadium. On Saturday, Rick Derringer (nee Zehringer), the McCoy’s guitarist and lead singer performed the hit with his current trio and the full Ohio State Marching Band. Following that, the trio rushed to the singer’s home town for a dinner and concert. I was there for the concert.
The concert was part of the second annual Union City Arts Festival. It filled the nicely restored train depot and a new park, along with the area between them. A number of food vendors augmented the many arts and crafts booths. The nearby downtown area joined in and the local museum, which has a permanent display of a few McCoys related items, hosted a memorabilia collection assembled by Rick’s cousin, Mike Zehringer.
After their dinner, which quite a few fans had paid to attend, the band moved to the stage area and poised for a few pictures with the fantastic 1950 Chevrolet parked there. The car is the creation of original McCoys organist Ronnie Brandon and Rick and Ronnie were soon catching up and also posing for a few shots with the car.
The band opened with a Christianized version of Still Alive and Well then delivered a hard driving two hour show with songs from throughout Derringer’s career. Frankenstein, Free Ride, Real American, and Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo were all played.
The song that started it all, Hang on Sloopy, was a special moment with all three surviving McCoys on stage. Keyboardist Ronnie Brandon and the band had parted ways in 1967. Drummer Randy Zehringer (Rick’s brother) developed encephalitis and had quit playing by the early 1970s. Bassist Randy Jo Hobbs died of drug related causes in 1993. I apologize for the blurred picture of Ronnie, Rick, and Randy but it’s the best I have. I got no picture of Randy singing (he did not attempt to play drums) and only a fuzzy one of Ronnie at the organ.
Here is a much clearer though somewhat older photo of the three McCoys. It is from sometime around 1964. The bass player in the photo is Dennis Kelly who was replaced by Randy Hobbs when college called.
It didn’t start out that way but the week got quite busy toward its end and there were several good candidates for the weekly blog post. I couldn’t pick one or, to be more accurate, I couldn’t throw any away. So, I’ve included them all. Because of timing the last one does get its own entry. The rest appear here.
The picture at right was taken Sunday. It was a beautiful day and, as frequently happens, I found myself cruising east along the Ohio River’s north bank. New Richmond, OH, is a common turn around spot although I’ll sometime go on to cross the river at Maysville, KY, and return on the river’s south side. This time I went all the way to Portsmouth before crossing over. I’ve idly followed the river to Portsmouth before but I guess I’ve always headed home through Ohio. I wasn’t expecting to come upon the town in the photo but it looked familiar and I soon realized why. I’d been here before, arriving, quite intentionally, from the west. The reason? This is Concord, KY, where the very first episode of the Route 66 TV series was filmed.
I drove through the town and found it even emptier than I had in 2008. Just before I drove on, I used my phone to snap that opening picture and post it to Facebook where it got a few comments from Route 66 fans. That would likely have been the end of it had not Route 66, co-star Martin Milner (Tod Stiles) died the very next day. He was 83 and died quietly at home. His passing prompted this post using a couple of pictures from Sunday to help with an after the fact “update” of my first visit to Concord. The first picture is of the lawn that Ed was mowing when I first saw him. I took the house to be where he and Johnny lived. On Sunday, there was a cluster of old chairs near it just as there had been in 2008 but today they were all empty with no hints as to when they were last occupied. The second picture shows the building that had the newspaper article in the window in 2008. There was no article this time and unidentified items were stacked against the inside of the windows. There was a handwritten “CLOSED” but I’ve no idea whether it was for the day or forever. Of course, Milner’s passing also brought back memories of the only time I ever met him. It was in 2003 at my very first Route 66 festival. The meeting was brief (It was an autograph session.) but he was quite friendly and readily agreed to a photo which someone (I think it was his daughter.) took with my camera. Communication was less than perfect and somewhere I have an 8 x 10 glossy signed “To Benny”.
Even before he finished the full-sized working replica of the Civil War era steam locomotive Leviathan, Dave Kloke realized that his dream of using it to recreate the 1865 journey of Abraham Lincoln’s body from Washington, DC, to Springfield, IL, would not come true. Having the old style technology share tracks with modern diesel powered trains just wasn’t feasible. However, the big engine and an exact replica of the funeral car that carried Lincoln home are visiting many of the cities that were on the 1865 route including Troy, Ohio. That’s where I was Thursday afternoon to see the train on the first of its four days in town. Take a peek inside the cab and car here and here and visit the train’s website here.
The train is in the background of the third photo. In the foreground is a 30 foot tall version of Seward Johnson’s Return Visit. Visitors to Gettysburg, PA. will likely have seen the life-sized original in front of the Wills house where Lincoln put the finishing touches on a certain speech. Troy has displayed various Seward Johnson sculptures in the past and is the first to display the giant Return Visit. It has been there all summer (Here‘s a picture I took about a month ago.) and will remain through October.
Thursday evening saw the opening of the ten day Cincinnati Film Festival. I’ll admit to being almost as interested in the venue (The Carnegie) as the program. Apparently not many were interested in either or — more likely — hadn’t heard about it. A couple of the speakers mentioned an audience of thirty-five and I think they were just about right. There was only one film screened on this night but it was preceded by about half a dozen local female comedians and the movie’s star, Rain Pryor. After the showing of of That Daughter’s Crazy, Rain (Richard’s daughter) and producer Daryl Sledge fielded questions from the audience. The movie was quite good and the unfiltered Q&A very informative.
Friday night’s venue had me even more excited. This was my first time on the Show Boat Majestic since attending one of the final shows there in 2013 and the first, as far as I know, she has been used since that run ended. Here‘s a full view of her. Attendance was even poorer than the previous night with no more than ten audience members for either of the two films shown. Three films were scheduled but that was cut to two because of equipment problems. Searching for Home tells the stories of veterans damaged by war and various healing and coping methods. The Battle Buddy Foundation is one of the organizations featured in the excellent film and co-founder Kenny Bass, along with his battle buddy Atlas, was on hand to answer questions after the screening. That’s Kenny in the middle with his wife on his right and his brother Jon Campbell, also a Battle Buddy co-founder, on his left. The second film, Bad Moon Rising, was a Japanese language drama with English sub-titles. It was entertaining but not easy to follow. A Q&A session with actress Chihiro Seko and festival director Kat Steele followed.
I attended a Dixie Highway presentation on Thursday. It was in Cridersville, Ohio, about a hundred miles north of my home. Another fan of old roads, Russell S. Rein, lives about the same distance north of Cridersville as I live south of it and he would also be attending the event. In fact, it was Russell who had made me aware of it. Since Criderville is very near Lima, Ohio, Russell suggested we meet at the downtown Kewpee Restaurant there for dinner. I’d actually been thinking of that myself so needed no convincing. We had a plan.
It was a fine looking day so, with ample time for the drive, I set off to follow the Dixie Highway, more or less, to Lima. In Troy, I slipped about a block off of the route to visit K’s Hamburger Shop. The Dixie Highway Association disbanded a few years before K’s 1935 birth and, although there are sources that describe its route as running right in front of K’s on what is now OH 41, it’s more likely that the highway turned south on Market Street just a little west of the shop. Unbeknownst to me, K’s celebrated their 80th anniversary on July 31. I’m sure sorry I missed that but I did have a hamburger and a piece of pie today for a belated one man party.
Kewpee Hamburgers began in 1923. This location opened the same year that the Dixie Highway closed, 1928. The highway ran a few blocks west of the restaurant so, while it was closer in time to the Dixie than K’s, it was a tiny bit farther away in distance. The Kewpee also has wonderful pies but I opted for some soft-serve frozen yogurt to go with my ‘burger.
Russell arrived shortly after I did and we had plenty of time to eat and chat. Of course, we chatted just a little longer than we had time for and arrived at the presentation as the speaker was being introduced. Fortunately, the common aversion to front row seats meant we didn’t have to climb over anyone to reach the empties. The speaker being introduced was retired educator LaRee D. Little who we later learned is the father of Ohio Lincoln Highway League president Scott Little.
Little opened with a nice overview of what the Dixie Highway was and how it came to be. He fleshed things out with stories of his own journeys on the Dixie, which began as a youngster traveling with his parents, and and a series of slides that included some photos from those journeys. There is an announcement for the Auglaize County Historical Society event here and a video report on it here. I don’t believe either Russell or I learned anything new about the Dixie Highway but the presentation was quite entertaining and I’m betting that some of the others did learn a thing or two. Regardless, it sure was nice to see a whole room full of people showing interest in the Dixie Highway.
Once upon a time, all of Ohio’s county fairs preceded the state fair but not anymore. In fact, only 29 of the 88 opened their gates before those of the biggie in Columbus this year. When I attended the state fair a few weeks ago, I mentioned that I make it to the fair in my original home county from time to time. This year I made it to The Great Darke County Fair on Monday which is, among other things, Senior Citizens Day. It’s a day when folks over 60 or under 12 and ministers of any age get in free. Yes, I am cheap.
Darke County is the Horseshoe Pitching Capital of the World so finding a tournament in progress wasn’t much of a surprise. Some of these guys can throw more consecutive ringers than I can take consecutive steps without tripping.
It’s another sort of competition that is at the heart of all fairs and I got to see just a little of the Junior Fair Dairy Show. I believe the fellow in the second picture placed third and he couldn’t have been happier.
I hate to knock the Ohio State Fair but the only “amazing creatures” I saw there were “The World’s Smallest Woman” and “Snake Girl”. The Great Darke County Fair has a whole menagerie plus a giant horse. Of course, the midway also had plenty of games, rides, and food. The pictured food stand certainly isn’t the flashiest or exotic. I’m including it for personal reasons. I have a real weakness for ice cream made the old-fashioned way in a mixer cranked by an old hit-or-miss engine. Doubly so on an apple dumpling.
When I saw that this was the day of the High School Marching Band Spectacular, I decided to hang around to see the band from my old school. I got there just a little late and missed one band. It took me awhile but I eventually figured out that the band I had missed was my old school, Ansonia. I still enjoyed the show.
Even though I get back to the fair every few years, it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen a dark Darke County Fair. I probably should have stayed around to ride to the top of that Ferris wheel but it was getting chilly and I was ready to head home.
I visited fair grounds again on Thursday but it wasn’t for a fair. It was for the Tri-State Gas Engine and Tractor Association‘s 50th Antique Engine & Tractor Show on the Jay County Fair Grounds in Portland, Indiana. Terry, a long time friend who collects Wheel Horses, has exhibited at the show for many years. Dale, another long time friend, lives reasonably close and has attended the show on several occasions. This was my first time but I knew I’d be in good hands. I arrived a few minutes ahead of Dale which gave me a chance to snap a few pictures of Terry (on left in third picture) and his tractors. The Massey-Ferguson and Simplicities in the foreground belong to Terry’s brother, Joe.
As expected, there was no shortage of gas engines including plenty of the hit and miss variety. A sizable percentage were not running and probably couldn’t without considerable effort while others were hard at work doing things like making (or at least pretending to make) ice cream. Some were running but were just relaxing and blowing smoke rings. One display prompted me to attempt a rare video to show one solution to the aggravation of having an engine that works and a console TV that doesn’t.
I would quickly discover that the show contained about as many things that I had not anticipated as those that I had. Maybe I should have expected this display of unusual Crosley vehicles, Terry had shown me a photo of the motorcycle from a previous year’s show, but I didn’t. Some, like the motorcycle, are factory prototypes while others, such as the first open-wheeled Crosley-powered racer I’ve ever seen, were aftermarket customs.
This would have been completely unexpected if I hadn’t heard the announcer mention it over the PA. As soon as I heard the phrase “spark plug collector” I knew it was a hobby as natural — and as endless — as postcard collecting. I was thinking only of the multitude of brands and sizes but soon discovered that there were variations I had never dreamed of. Some early designs had an opening which allowed cylinders to be primed with fuel. Others had two connectors to support both coil and magneto ignitions. There were a variety of multi-piece designs that could be used to fashion quick disconnect plugs so that fouled electrodes could be changed during racing pit stops. Besides being surprised but the many wild plug designs, I was somewhat surprised that Terry and Dale (in the first photo) were almost as unfamiliar with them as I was — but I didn’t let it show.
We all learned something here, too. At first I thought it was showing different types of fencing like some barbed wire displays I have seen. Then I thought it might be showing different methods of splicing pieces of wire. The truth was so much better. These are variations of Check Row Planter Wires which were first patented more than 160 years ago. The wires were stretched across a field and carefully placed “buttons” would trigger the dropping of seeds from a sled pulled along their length. A slightly more readable copy of the explanatory placard is here.
Almost everyone knows about Gibson guitars, greeting cards, wines, appliances, and other items but I doubt many know about Gibson tractors. I didn’t. Produced between 1946 and 1952, internet searches indicate that the tractors were made in Colorado although the company was based in Seattle, Washington. This was an at least rare, if not unique, instance where one 1947 model Gibson took a photograph of another.
Oh, and one more thing. In between the cows and the tractors, I went to a concert at The Southgate House Revival. Tuesday marked my second time seeing Lake Street Dive. As part of his introduction, WNKU’s Ken Haynes asked how many had also attended their only other area appearance and a number of hands, including mine, went up. “Well,” he said. “They’re two years better.” He was off a little on the calculation (That show was March 4, 2014.) but right on regarding the better and they were fantastic the first time around.
The weather was perfect for yesterday’s Cardboard Boat Regatta in New Richmond, Ohio. I missed the actual start of the first heat but I did see its conclusion and plenty of the racing that followed. Lego Joe was a crowd favorite. It is kind of hard to believe but both the water-skiing Joe and his wave runner style tow vehicle are both made of cardboard.
Unfortunately, Joe’s maneuverability was not a match for his good looks. He never really reached race speed as what I’m guessing was a small leak in his skis led to an early finish. Joe began to plow into the water then eventually tipped over. The increased drag slowed the rig even more and it appeared as if the tow vehicle started to take on water which make it even slower and less stable. When the driver eventually fell off of the increasingly wobbly craft, I think he was ready for a rest.
Of course, Lego Joe was not the only beautiful but not quite race-worthy craft in the field. The submarine did eventually reach the finish line under power from its two man crew. The raft, piloted by a young girl also made it but it took a while and required some assistance from a friend or family member. The shoe had directional difficulties and, after an excursion into the line of spectator boats (that may or may not have included soliciting a cold adult beverage) pulled ashore near the course mid-point.
If this ten member crew wasn’t a record, it had to be close. It’s certainly the most people I’ve ever seen in a cardboard boat. It took quite a while to get everyone into the boat and ready to paddle but disembarking went a lot quicker.
Here are shots of one of the entrants before, during, and after the race. Some boats return to compete year after year. Others make just one glorious appearance. I’m thinking this one might be in the latter category.
I finished the day at the Festival by the Lake in Alexandria, Kentucky. The draw for me was SIMO, who I last saw close to a year ago at the Southgate House Revival. This is a high energy and high volume act and, at least for me, the great outdoors suited this better than the smallish upstairs room at tSGHR. I also think a bass player change helped. Wonderful stuff.