On the Road

mbp_01In 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.

mbp_02Of 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.

mbp_04mbp_03The 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.

mbp_07mbp_08mbp_09mbp_10In 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.

mbp_11When 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.

On the Roadside

onrm01This 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.

onrm02That’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.

onrm04onrm03Mayor 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.

onrm05onrm2014The 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.

onrm272onrm271onrm267While 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.

Much Miscellany 2
Sloopy at 50

sloopy01Released 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.

sloopy02The 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.

sloopy05sloopy04sloopy03After 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.

sloopy06sloopy07The 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.

sloopy08The 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.

rzc_45Here 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.

Much Miscellany

concord01It 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.

concord02concord03I 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”.


lft03lft02lft01Even 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.


cff15-01cff15-02cff15-03Thursday 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.

cff15-06cff15-05cff15-04Friday 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.

Almost Dixie ‘Burgers

adb01I 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.

adb02It 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.

adb03Kewpee 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.

adb04adb05Russell 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.

A Pretty Fair Week

gdcf15_01Once 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.

gdcf15_02gdcf15_03Darke 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.

gdcf15_05gdcf15_04It’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.

gdcf15_06gdcf15_07gdcf15_08I 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.

gdcf15_11gdcf15_10gdcf15_09When 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.

gdcf15_12gdcf15_13Even 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.


gets15_03gets15_02gets15_01I 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.

gets15_04gets15_05gets15_06As 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.

gets15_09gets15_08gets15_07I 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.

gets15_10gets15_11gets15_12This 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.

gets15_13We 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.

gets15_14gets15_15Almost 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.


lsd_tshrOh, 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.

Cardboard on the Ohio

cbr2015-01The 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.

cbr2015-02cbr2015-03Unfortunately, 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.

cbr2015-06cbr2015-05cbr2015-04Of 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.

cbr2015-07cbr2015-08If 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.

cbr2015-11cbr2015-10cbr2015-09Here 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.


fbl1fbl2fbl3I 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.

A Pretty Fair Day

osf01The day in the title was Friday and the fair was the Ohio State Fair in Columbus.The day was, just as the title claims, quite pretty and so, in its own way, was the fair. I can’t really recall the last time I was here but it’s been a long time. Not years but decades. More than two. Less than five. Why that is, I can’t say. I attend the Great Darke County Fair every year or two and I’ve frequently thought about attending the state fair but never got around to doing it. My Friday visit was rather spontaneous. I was aware that the fair was in session but had no plans to attend until I woke up and realized just how wonderful the day’s weather was going to be. It did not take me long to decide that it would be the perfect day to end my long absence.

osf02osf03osf04I parked next to the fairgrounds at the Ohio History Center. For the most part, its lots become paid parking for fair goers but is still free to members. $5 for everybody else. That put my entry to the fair right at the north end of the double wide midway.

osf07osf06osf05The midway is mostly rides and games of “skill” but there are also plenty of intriguing foods to be tasted and exotic sights to be seen.

osf08osf09osf10The first livestock building I entered was the horse stable. It was empty. However, speakers in the area were broadcasting reports of some sort of horse competition which I learned was taking place in a nearby arena. The event was for draft horses. Each two horse team was driven through a series of maneuvers that included measured stops at points where bales of straw were loaded or unloaded. The fellow in the third picture was the eventual winner.

osf13osf12osf11I snapped some candid shots in the dairy cattle barn but some of the gals were getting professional photos taken in an onsite studio.

osf14osf15A cow made of butter first appeared at the Ohio State Fair in 1903. A calf was added in the 1920s and the pair became fair regulars. Since the 1960s, they’ve been joined by a variety of “guest stars” with Ohio connections. This year the Ohio State University’s football team, winners of the first ever national championship playoffs, gets the honor. There’s coach Meyer, the championship trophy, and Brutus Buckeye, the team’s mascot.

osf18osf17osf16I reached the beef cattle area in time to see some of the junior competition. The second picture shows a judge talking to an exhibitor. A judge spoke personally and at some length with every one of these kids, who I believe the announcer said were in their early teens. Whirling rides, flashing lights, and fast talking barkers are sure-fire impression makers and slithering ladies and deep-fried silliness are also important parts of what makes the experience memorable. But, with the possible exception of the guy and his horses a few panels back, nothing says “fair” to me louder than these three photos.

All-Star (and more) Week

asg-01Behold the Great American Ball Park. On Tuesday, Cincinnati hosts its fifth Major League All-Star Game. There were two (1938 & 1953) in Crosley Field and two more (1970 & 1988) in Riverfront Stadium. This is the first in what would be the best named stadium in the country if that name weren’t bought and paid for by the Great American Insurance Company. I remember both the 1970 and ’88 games and I attended the latter. Neither of those games had anything even remotely comparable to the hoopla and pre-game activities of this one.

asg-02That hoopla includes twenty bench sized moustaches scattered around the area and many other marked photo ops, too. A multi-day Fanfest started Friday in Convention Center and there are game related events throughout the weekend including many in communities fairly distant from downtown and the stadium.

asg-04asg-03And even in the stadium’s neighborhood, the All-Star Game isn’t the only reason for celebration. I’m on the Kentucky side of the river not only so I can afford to park my car ($20 to $30 is currently the going rate in downtown Cincinnati) but also because there is a riverside party there as part of Covington’s bicentennial. It was just opening when I was there so it wasn’t overly raucous yet but Bucket (Lee Rolfes, Bam Powell, & Bob Nyswonger) had the crowd dancing with their first song.

asg-05asg-06John Roebling may appear to be directing attention to the ball park in this article’s first picture but he is really gesturing toward the first bridge to connect Ohio and Kentucky (and the one featured in this blog’s banner). He was responsible for the design and construction of this engineering marvel in the 1860s. This is also the weekend of the 11th annual Roebling Fest which this year has been somewhat blended into the bicentennial celebration. Covington-Cincinnati Suspension Bridge Committee members offer tours of the bridge, the nearby murals, and a number of riverside statues during the festival and, yes, I did learn something. The family in the center of the second photo have just finished a Color Run in which participants become very colorful by the end of the 5K event. Just one more piece of the All-Star party. In the picture’s background, a Roebling Bridge light and the Scripps-Howard building can be seen in their All-Star get-ups.

asg-09asg-08asg-07I had planned on visiting Cincinnati later but, since the bridge tour ended in the middle of the river, decided that I might as well complete the crossing now. Signs of the approaching game are everywhere and preparations continue.

asg-10asg-11I have yet to visit the river level portion of Smale Park but something new catches my eye every time I walk past/over it. Today it was the recently completed chimes. Operated by the big keyboard below them, they have been called the “Riverfront Foot Piano” though I don’t know if that name will stick. The building above and behind the chimes contains Carol Ann’s Carousel which I rode at its official opening. Don’t you wish your city was cool like mine?

Broadside, Northside, Riverside

id2015-01There’s something in that display case that is 238 years 11 months and 26 days old. Twelve of America’s thirteen British colonies voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The thirteenth, New York, had not authorized its Continental Congress delegates to vote on the declaration. On the night of the fourth, Philadelphia printer John Dunlap produced at least 200 copies of the document with one of those copies reaching the New York Provincial Congress on July 9. Before the day was over, New York had joined the other colonies in approving the Declaration of Independence and ordered another 500 copies from New York printer John Holt. The Holt Broadside, as the second printing is known, contains the text of the New York resolution along with the full text of the declaration. Some copies were sent to the Continental Congress back in Philadelphia where it seems they somehow helped in getting the official parchment copy of the Declaration prepared. The signing of that official copy commenced on August 2.

id2015-02A copy of that second printing made it to Cincinnati. One of four copies known to survive, it is in the pictured case. It is believed to have been brought to Cincinnati in 1810 by Richard Fosdick who, in 1815, was a member of Cincinnati’s first town council. The copy has been in the history library’s possession since at least the 1870s but was not recognized for what it is until about five years ago. The Holt Broadside is the centerpiece of the temporary Treasures of Our Military Past exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center.

Yesterday was the 239th anniversary of that day when men of courage and vision agreed to “mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor” in the creation of a new country. The day before was the 239th anniversary of the writing of a letter by John Adams in which he anticipated the happenings of the next day and told his wife that he expected it to be celebrated “with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

I tried to do my share. I’ll admit that I didn’t actually go looking for guns and I gave up quickly on finding any bonfires. It’s even possible that the only bells I heard were electronic but I saw plenty of games, sports, and shews. I saw two parades, a fine set of illuminations, and there was pomp everywhere.

nsp2015-01There was no shortage of parades in the area. Picking one wasn’t easy but I have absolutely no doubt that I picked the right one. Northside’s first 4th of July parade happened in 1864 when orphans were moved from downtown to a new orphanage by canal boats with members of the Turners, Oddfellows, Butchers Association, Bricklayers Society, and the Catholic Orphans Society.marching alongside. The parade developed into a fundraiser that continued until the 1960s when the orphanage again moved. It was restarted in 1970. This year’s Grand Marshall was two-year-old Quincy Kroner who received some national attention after meeting the garbage collectors he admired. The event website is here.

nsp2015-02nsp2015-03nsp2015-04Picking parade pictures from my 200+ was even tougher than picking the parade. I didn’t quite manage to trim them down to a reasonable number so here’s the start of an unreasonable number. I liked the big headed Spirit(s) of ’76 and Ben and Captain America, too. The patriotically attired lady next to me was not at all out of place as a spectator but she was there for a higher purpose. When the local steam punk group came by, she pushed the stroller forward and stepped right in.

nsp2015-08nsp2015-07nsp2015-06nsp2015-05When a portion of this cycling group started placing their bikes sideways down the center of the street, I expected some sort of slalom maneuver but noooo.

nsp2015-09nsp2015-10Someone told me that this same group marched in Cincinnati’s Gay Pride parade last month and much of the crowd simply turned their backs as they passed. It seemed that few did that today and, in my case, by the time I’d read all the signs, there was little point in turning. “I STAND WITH ISRAEL”, JESUS IS YOUR ONLY HOPE”, “…BEHOLD, NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION”.

nsp2015-13nsp2015-12nsp2015-11I believe this was my favorite parade entry. Essentially a live performance of Yellow Submarine with a Beatles soundtrack, it seemed to have it all. “Full speed ahead, Mr. Parker, full speed ahead!”

nsp2015-14nsp2015-15nsp2015-16nsp2015-17It might not have been quite as thrilling as the folks jumping over each others’ bikes, but these skateboard cowboys still put on a pretty exciting show with their moving ramp.

nsp2015-20nsp2015-19nsp2015-18Lots of people accepted the “Dare to dance” challenge of the parade’s last float. Dance music blared as a street full of happy folks danced and smiled their way to the end point.

nsp2015-21The end point was at the Northside Rock n’ Roll Carnival in Hoffner Park with twenty-one bands over three days. That’s “Daniel Wayne and the Silver Linings” on stage. The Stroh’s shirt is a bonus. As a similarly aged friend observed, the parade and carnival do sort of have a ’60s feel. It’s not a “we’re wearing beads and tie-dye” feel but a “we’re having fun and caring about stuff” feel.

lff2015-03lff2015-02lff2015-01I headed to Loveland for some fireworks and was pleasantly surprised to get there in time to catch part of another parade. It’s a little smaller and a bit more traditional than the one in Northside but it was still quite cool in its own way.

lff2015-04lff2015-05lff2015-06On the way to a fireworks viewing spot, I snapped a picture of Cindy’s holiday tree and the festival stage. Entertainment for Loveland’s Firecracker Festival included the Rusty Griswolds.

lff2015-09lff2015-08lff2015-07Loveland is the home of Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks so the city usually has a pretty decent “illumination” above the Little Miami River. This year’s grand finale didn’t seem all the grand but the overall show was quite good. Mr. Adams, I’m happy to report that we appear to still be observing this most important day pretty much the way you envisioned. I’m even happier to report that, at least in Cincinnati’s Northside, a little independent thinking can still be observed on Independence Day.