OHIO TRAVEL & TOURISM GUIDE TO OHIO ATTRACTIONS
August 2016 Edition ©


Tour Guide To Fun

tour guide to fun travel blog

Exploring what’s on the other side!

Trips outside Ohio
but with Ohio perspective
by Rocco Satullo, your tour guide to fun!

New stop added monthly for…

East Coast Adventures

Out West Destinations

Northern California Attractions

Ohio Feature Stories

Plus…

New Orleans

Caribbean Cruise 

Memphis 

Outer Banks

and more stories added monthly to your
Tour Guide To Fun

Yesteryear is Here

wayne county historical society mill village

All history is local. If you are traveling the modern streets of Rome, look to one side or another and you may see over a railing down to an excavation revealing what the community looked like thousands of years ago. The contrast is such that you lose yourself for a moment in wonder. So too is it – albeit on a smaller scale – when you drive through a small town in America and suddenly there’s a downtown within a downtown, both hundreds of years apart.

With globalization we have learned so much about so many things on a grand scale, we yearn for new discoveries. Adventurous minds have made remarkable finds in the nooks and crannies of history, often unearthing a vein of gold in the form of fascinating stories that capture the imagination at a local level.   ….Read More….

Click here to read the rest of the story

Sign Museum is a Standout!

American Sign Museum Main Street Cincinnati Ohio

The American Sign Museum is all about signs—signs—everywhere signs …and from every era, too. This one-of-a-kind destination features the rich tradition of sign design and displays vintage signs from 1900 to present. Venture through time and see old wooden, handmade signs turn to gold leaf and glass, light bulbs to neon lights and other techniques that advertise a bygone age. The museum has five main sections dedicated to the different eras of this artistic craft and includes an indoor main street with full-size storefronts and canopy of captivating signs everywhere you look. Click here to see a video feature. To visit, get details here.

standout-in-ohio-award-seal

This award recognizes Ohio’s standouts in tourism. More details about the award and all award recipients are at ohiotraveler.com/standouts-in-ohio-tourism/.

Driven to Fame

lincoln-highway-marker

Welcome to the Historic Lincoln Highway

Quick! Think of an important historic highway. Most people first think of the National Road… then think of Route 66.

Mike Hocker, Ohio’s Lincoln Highway Historic Byway Director, explains why these thoughts are common. The National Road was the first major government-commissioned road; accomplished by Jefferson in 1803. It spanned the known country then – from Baltimore to the wilderness of southern Illinois. Route 66 was planned by the government in the 1920s and took travelers from Chicago to L.A.  A popular television show and a hit song made that highway famous.

But thanks to many advocacy groups and recently organized byway organizations, word is getting out that the “Lincoln” was America’s first coast-to-coast paved highway in America.

The Lincoln Highway was not a government project. Rather it was an idea generated by several industrialists who wanted to promote automobile travel. In 1913, the Lincoln Highway was born and named to honor President Abraham Lincoln. In the 50 years following his death, no major commemoration to this much loved president had been made. Numbered routes had not been standardized anywhere in the nation yet, and it was typical in that time to name a road. Through the primary efforts auto industrialists Frank Sieberling, Carl Fisher and Henry Joy, communities large and small, county governments and tiny townships, donations and sweat equity all worked together to link many existing roads and create “the safest and shortest path” to span America. The road ran from Times Square in New York to the San Francisco bay – an astounding 3,389 miles!

The road joined major cities, yet encouraged feeder roads to be built – an endeavor meant not only to promote the automobile era, but also change the way Americans traveled.

“It brought us from the world of short-haul deliveries to virtually anywhere. Communities that weren’t rail towns could easily get goods and services,” Hocker observed.

The Lincoln Highway also ushered in campsites, roadside rests, and diners that evolved into the fast food restaurants we take for granted today. Soon, motor courts, and later, motels, ended the roadside camping that travelers had contended with in earlier days.

Comprehension of the legacy of transportation and change in America’s culture has not been completely understood nor popular, perhaps to due to the generational disconnect from then until now.

“Now we look back and see that it is very important to us,” Hocker continued. “The roadside holds much history in re-used buildings, ghost signs from the nineteen teens to twenties and tiny lingering small-town shops that create a fun romp for travelers to rediscover. While most people think of the National Road and Route 66, we will continue to let people know about “the Father Road” or “Main Street Across America” – two early nicknames of the Lincoln Highway and the businesses and attractions along the historic drive,” Hocker concluded.

Don’t miss the upcoming Ohio Lincoln Highway Buy-Way Sale August 11 – 13, 2016. The LH follows generally the older alignments of US Rt 30 through the state. From East Liverpool to Convoy, and every Lincoln Highway community in between (there were over 1,000 yard sale events last year), if you are looking for it, chances are you’ll find it…at yard sale prices! Pick up a free Travelers Guide along the way, too.

Chillicothe Audio Walking Tours

tecumseh-chillicothe-walking-tours

 The Ross-Chillicothe Convention & Visitors Bureau would like to announce the release of their new audio walking tours. Tours are available through iTourMobile, which is the company the bureau contracted with to host and distribute the tours through their mobile application. The iTourMobile app and Ross County audio walking tours are all free to download on your Apple and Android devices.

This initial launch features three audio tours of Ross County and Chillicothe which includes an overview of Ross County’s attractions, Architecture & History, and History & Mystery tours. For visitors, the overview allows them to hear about some of the great sites such as Adena Mansion & Gardens, Tecumseh Outdoor Drama, Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, Ross County Heritage Center, Bainbridge Historical Society, and many more.

Additionally, there are two audio walking tours that will display some of the historic buildings in downtown Chillicothe. The Architecture & History Tour will take you along the streets of downtown to learn some unique facts about the Ross County Courthouse, Carlisle, Canal Warehouse, Majestic Theatre, the Chillicothe Gazette and several more locations. The bureau would like to thank Kevin Coleman of Intrepid Heritage Services for providing the architecture and history content featured within this tour.

For those who enjoy history & mystery, the third tour provides listeners a walking tour that provides details of buildings’ history but also stories of the paranormal. These locations have been featured on the Ghost Walk over the years, and have plenty of mystery surrounding their existence. Some of the locations you’ll visit and hear about include the Majestic Theatre, Crosskeys Tavern, the Oddfellows

Lodge above Bernie & Max Stained Glass Studio and nine additional locations. The bureau would like to thank the League of Women Voters for sharing their stories from the Ghost Walk to be featured within this tour.

The audio walking tours were created by the bureau to provide visitors with the opportunity to learn about our local history and historic sites outside of the traditional museum hours. As with many destinations, this also allows the Ross Chillicothe Convention & Visitors Bureau to utilize technology to provide convenient, on-demand tour options for visitors in our area.

For more information about these audio tours, or for additional printable walking tour options, visit the bureau’s website at www.VisitChillicotheOhio.com.

1940 Day in Cincinnati

Cincinnati 1940 Day Cincinnati Museum Center

Grab your dancing shoes, put on your red lipstick and travel back in time to the 1940s with Cincinnati Museum Center. Live music, swing dancing, classic cars, World War II veterans and a Holocaust survivor highlight Cincinnati Museum Center’s 1940s Day August 13, 2016.

This year, Cincinnati Museum Center’s 1940s Day is moving to Lunken Airport, another classic Art Deco building, asUnion Terminalundergoes extensive repairs and restoration. The new location also means some new additions, including a panel of World War II veterans, costume contest and classic airplanes from the Tri-State Warbird Museum. Among the planes will be a B-25 Mitchell bomber, Grumman TBM-3 Avenger and the popular P-51 Mustang.

The 1940s is an era defined by World War II and the Holocaust. Guests to 1940s Day will have a unique opportunity to participate in a Q&A panel with World War II veterans, moderated by theVeterans Memorial Museum of Germantown. Speak with members of the Greatest Generation as they share their stories from the Pacific, Mediterranean and Europe during the war. A Holocaust survivor will also share their powerful story of despair, hope and survival during one of history’s darkest periods, presented by the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education.Kathleen Cox, author of Destinations Unknown: Adventures of a WWII Red Cross Girl , will take you on a journey to Northern Africa and Italy with stories from her mother, a teacher who left her job to volunteer with the Red Cross in World War II.

The halls and airfields of Lunken Airport will echo with the sounds of live music. Daniel Bennett and the Dirty Shirleys, theSugar Pills All-Girl Ukulele Band, the Andrews Sisters-inspired Boyer Sistersand the Sweet & Lows, a female singing duo, will perform live throughout the day. Dancers from Cincy Hop, a dance troupe with members from more than a dozen states, all specializing in the Lindy, and members of the Flying Cloud Academy of Vintage Dance will swing along to the 19-piece Jump ‘n’ Jive Big Band. They’ll even lend a hand if you need an experienced dance partner to help you find your rhythm.

1940s Day is even more fun when you look the part. Curl your hair and pop on some red lipstick or put on your best zoot suit and fedora for a costume contest. There will be a contest for both adults and children. But if you don’t have any vintage clothes, no need to worry. Talk of the Town and Gayle’s of Milford will be on hand all day to help you get dressed to the nines. You can purchase a variety of authentic and inspired 1940s duds.

Take a stroll past the chrome wheels and gleaming curves of classic cars from the 1920s, 30s and 40s and pose for a photograph by Patrick McCue Photography. You can also learn about ham radio from the members of AK3Q and ask Alejandro Villalva of the Veterans Memorial Museum all of your World War II aviation questions as you take a look at a collection of aviation equipment.

Travel back in time to an era where swing was king and loose lips sank ships. Cincinnati Museum Center’s 1940s Day is August 13 at Lunken Airport. Admission is free for Cincinnati Museum Center Members and World War II veterans. Tickets for non-Member adults and seniors are $10 each and $5 for non-Member children. Parking for the event is $5 per car. For more information click here.

Magical History Tour

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Arlington National Cemetery

If you are venturing up or down the east coast of the United States, get a preview and inside look at what’s ahead by clicking on the links below. Each month, a new story is added.

Begin the Journey

Monticello

Jamestown

Colonial Williamsburg

Mount Vernon

Arlington National Cemetery

Coming Soon:

U.S. Capitol

National Mall & Monuments

Philadelphia Freedom

New York City

Plymouth & Cape Cod

Boston

Charlestown Navy Yard

Cooperstown

Gettysburg

Falling Water

Stories by Rocco Satullo, your tour guide to fun!

August Ohio County Fairs

ohio county fairs

Ohio county fairs in August:

Auglaize County Fair in Wapakoneta
http://www.auglaizecountyfair.org/

Greene County Fair in Xenia
www.greenecountyfairgrounds.com/

Medina County Fair in Medina
http://www.medina-fair.com/

Gallia County Fair in Gallipolis
http://galliacountyfair.org/

Columbiana County Fair in Lisbon
http://www.columbianacountyfair.org/

Wood County Fair in Bowling Green
http://www.woodcounty-fair.com/

Champaign County Fair in Urbana
http://www.champaigncountyfair.com/

Athens County Fair in Athens
http://www.athenscofair.org/

Ross County Fair in Chillicothe
http://www.rosscountyfair.com/

Licking County Hartford Fair in Croton
http://www.hartfordfair.com/

Richland County Fair in Mansfield
http://www.richlandcountyfair.com/

Cuyahoga County Fair in Berea
http://www.cuyfair.com/

Scioto County Fair in Lucasville
http://www.sciotocountyfair.com/

Ashtabula County Fair in Jefferson
http://www.ashtabulafair.com/

Erie County Fair in Sandusky
http://www.eriecountyohiofair.com/

Hamilton County Fair in Carthage
http://www.hamiltoncountyfair.com/

Seneca County Fair in Attica
http://www.atticafair.com/

Henry County Fair in Napoleon
http://www.henrycountyfair.org/

Mercer County Fair in Celina
www.mercercountyohiofair.com/

Miami County Fair in Troy
http://www.miamicountyohiofair.com/

Muskingum County Fair in Zanesville
http://www.muskingumcofair.com/

Holmes County Fair in Millersburg
http://www.holmescountyfair.com/

Huron County Fair in Norwalk
http://www.huroncountyfair.com/

Meigs County Fair in Pomeroy
http://www.themeigscountyfair.com/

Jefferson County Fair in Smithfield
Click here

Lake County Fair in Painesville
http://www.lakecountyfair.org/

Allen County Fair in Lima
http://www.allencountyfair.org/

Darke County Fair in Greenville
http://www.darkecountyfair.com/

Defiance County Fair in Hicksville
http://www.defiancefair.com/

Monroe County Fair in Woodsfield
http://www.monroecountyfair.net/

Lorain County Fair in Wellington
http://www.loraincountyfair.com/

Portage County Fair in Randolph
http://www.randolphfair.com/

Sandusky County Fair in Fremont
http://www.sanduskycountyfair.com/

Noble County Fair in Caldwell
http://www.noblecountyfair.net/

Morrow County Fair in Mount Gilead
www.mtgilead.com/fair_main.htm

Stark County Fair in Canton
http://www.starkcountyfair.com/

Adventures on the Great Miami

Adventures on the Great Miami

Where Every Day is an Adventure

With every chirping bird, splashing fish and ray of sunshine, the Ohio summer is begging for you to come out and play. Nestled just a few turns off of I-75 just south of Tipp City, Adventures on the Great Miami is a great place for you and your family to plan your fun both on and off the river.

“We’ve been operating on the Great Miami River for about 8 years now,” Chris Jackson, Owner of Adventures on the Great Miami said. “It started out pretty modestly with the money and knowhow from my concrete business. We just kept adding to the grounds each and every year. Things have really been taking off in the last few, though. It’s an exciting time for sure.”

With a fleet of kayaks, canoes, rafts, tubes and stand up paddleboards available to rent, sunscreen and dressing for the possibility of getting wet is all you really need to worry about. From the launch point and 5-miles back to the property is a nice and easy stretch of river, accommodating to paddlers of any skill levels.

“It’s great seeing all of the different people we get coming through,” Brian Johnson, Marketing Manager said. “You don’t need to worry about much besides the basic skills and safety that we share before seeing you off. The only time I’ve really been concerned about anyone getting on the river is seeing some of the nice shoes they wear.”

Adventures on the Great Miami’s 17-acre grounds also include 10 primitive camping sites, a finished cabin and soon a pair of teepees, so the fun in the sun can continue on into the night.

“It’s really set up for any level of comfort in camping,” Jackson said. “The cabin is fully furnished, the teepees provide your shelter and the camp sites are set up right next to the river or tucked nicely in the woods.”

Throughout the year, Adventures on the Great Miami also hosts a number of unique events. This June they hosted Southwest Ohio’s first ever river race with The Great Miami 12 Mile River Race and Fun Float.

“It’s our first year but we’ve been talking about this for a while so it’s great to see all of the planning come together,” Johnson said. “It’s not just a race either. The fun float is going to have a costume and team flag contest and we’ve got prizes for the team who’s able to collect the most trash on their way down.”

Jackson’s ambitions are no longer limited to his own 17-acres either as Adventures on the Great Miami has started offering boat rental at Troy’s recently remodeled Treasure Island Marina.

“The city’s done a great job in remodeling Treasure Island and I’m thrilled to be a part of what they’re doing,” Jackson said. “Right now we’re doing rentals and trying to host a few classes to get people comfortable on the river. I’ve got some big plans though. Like I’d love to see us hosting an airboat rally there by next summer.”

For hours, location and other information about Adventures on the Great Miami, call 937-266-6252 or visit https://greatmiami.net/.

Warther Museum Video

old ohio film videoohio youtube videos
Visit Before You Go Ohio Travel
VIDEO OF THE MONTH

This month’s video features Warther Carvings Museum and Gardens in  Dover, Ohio.

This world class facility is a fitting tribute to Ernest “Mooney” Warther, World’s Master Carver. Warther created a collection of steam locomotives carved of ebony and ivory which have been appraised as priceless by the Smithsonian Institution. The carvings are displayed in a beautiful Swiss chalet which includes a new theater handcrafted of solid curly maple. You will also experience new displays, and the expanded knife making & wood shop. Freida Warther’s Button House is still a sight to see and in the summer the Swiss gardens are magnificent.

Warthers Carvings Museum and Gardens in Dover Ohio

PLAY VIDEO  

Dayton Downtown Adventure

 downtown dayton ohio

Downtown Dayton is full of adventure in August. First Friday has special offerings as it coincides with Downtown Adventure Night. Whether you are looking for art – music – entertainment – food & drink – or shopping, there’s a fun-filled evening awaiting you in downtown Dayton.

Art

The Collaboratory, 33 N Main St.: Step into one of the most wickedly imaginative minds in Dayton. See the world from a new perspective. Collaborate, as attendees are invited to bring their own found objects or trinkets to add to the installation. Featuring “Crystal City,” an installation-in-progress by Dayton street artist Bobby Blackstone. Also featuring, “The Art Truck” by Street Artist, Robin Dakin, known for his “What’s in Your Hood” paintings on old car and truck hoods will be live painting a “Downtown” Hood, which will be raffled off at the end of the evening.

Dayton Visual Arts Center, 118 N Jefferson St.: Enjoy Remnants and Resonate, an exhibition showcasing the creative ways in which four artists, Christina Pereyma, Susan Byrnes, Kate Kern and Francis Schanberger, find new purpose for life’s left-overs by creating new works out of objects, memories, and dreams once cast aside. Call 224-3822.

Front Street Gallery, 1001 E 2nd St.: This month the Divisible Gallery will hosting a special art events that will display the works of artists from China, Australia, Montreal, NYC, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. Call 266-3491.

Music

Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St.: Featuring happy hour from 4 to 8 p.m., $1 off well drinks. Live music by Enkiridian, Grey Host, Caustic Casanova, and Close the Hatch. Call 938-6405.

De’Lish Café, 139 N. Main St.: Featuring Friday Nights Unplugged with live soul, jazz and R&B music from 9-11 p.m. with no cover charge, plus $5 drink specials all night. Call 461-2233.

Dublin Pub, 300 Wayne Ave.:  Featuring Irish First Fridays, with a happy hour from 3-6 along with a performance by Miami Valley Pipes and Drums at 7 p.m.and live music by Lost Celts, an Irish Rock/ American Acoustic/British Folk music band now touring the Midwest starting at 9 p.m. Call 224-7822.

Gilly’s, 132 S. Jefferson St.: Old Skool Groove Night from 8 p.m. to midnight, $5 admission charge. Call 228-8414.

RiverScape MetroPark, 111 E. Monument Ave.: Pickin’ in the Park returns with free, live music by Sawgrass and Old Salt Union. Beer and food available for purchase on-site. Call 274-0126.

Trolley Stop, 530 E. Fifth St.: Live music by Cherry Lee starting at 9:30 p.m.Call 461-1101.

Entertainment

The Black Box Improv Theatre, 518 E. Third St.: Audience members share their social media profiles and watch a whole improvised show devoted to those stories. BYOB. Call for ticket prices and availability. Call 369-0747.

Courthouse Square, N Main St.: Watch adventure seekers rappel down 27 stories in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Miami Valley at the Over the Edge VIP ‘Drop Party’ from 5 pm – 8 pm. Enjoy craft beer, wine, food and entertainment inside the Big Brothers Big Sisters VIP ‘Drop Party’ tent. Admission $10. All proceeds benefit BBBSGMV’s mentoring mission. Call 641-6803.

Club Masque, 34 N Jefferson St.: Club Masque has their famous Ab Fab Friday on the first floor showcasing the Masque Men on stage and on the bar with a fantastic Drag Show. Show begins at 11 p. m. Arrive early for seats. On the second floor is Friday Night Lights with music and dancing all night long. Open at5 p.m. with no cover charge in celebration of Downtown Adventure Night. Regular cover charge of $7 21+ and $10 18+ begins at 9 pm. Call 228-2582.

Dayton Chess Club, 18 W. Fifth St.: Dayton Chess Club hosts a Quick tournament for US Chess Federation members. Games are perfect for club chess players and those experienced with online chess games who would like to test their skill over the board. The club opens at 6:30 p.m. and registration ends at7:25 p.m. The first of four games begins at 7:30. Visit daytonchessclub.com for more details. Call 461-6283.

Don Crawford Plaza, Fifth Third Field: Courteous Mass Dayton and Bike Miami Valley are teaming up to present a bike parade as part of Adventure Night! This police-escorted group ride will showcase activities that are part of the special event. Call 496-3825.

MJ’s on Jefferson, 20 N Jefferson St.: Head over to MJ’s for the Mr, King, and Miss Gem City Gay Pride Pageant. An official prelim to the Ohio Gay Pride Pageants featuring the Ohio Gay Pride Royalty and more! Pageant starts at10:30 p.m. $5 for 21+, $7 for 18-20. Call 223-3259.

The Neon, 130 E 5th St.: The Neon will be screening two hit movies, “Absolutely Fabulous,” the hysterical big screen adaptation of the hit British television show, and “Café Society,” Woody Allen’s latest film set in the glitz and glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Call for show times and ticket prices, 222-7469.

Nucleus CoShare, 411 W. Fifth St.: First Friday means it’s time for another Free Workday! From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., visitors can experience what a co-shared office environment is like, and get a preview of the benefits a membership to Nucleus CoShare provides. No time in the day to visit? Stop by their open house from 5- 9 p.m. Call 259-4686.

The Old Courthouse, N Main St.: Old Case Files, this year’s murder trial reenactment is the 1896 case of Albert Frantz, accused of shooting his lover, Bessie Little, on the Ridge Avenue Bridge. One of Dayton’s most notorious court cases, audience members will learn what law and order was like in the Gem City at the turn of the 20th century. Dayton History Members: $12, Non-Members: $15, refreshments and memorabilia available for purchase. Space is limited, starts at 7:30 p.m.  For more information, call 293-2841 Ext. 127.

Omega Music, 318 E 5th St.: Celebrate Omega Music’s 33 1/3 birthday from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., enjoy in store live music and great company. Special merchandise available for purchase. Call 275-9949.

RiverScape MetroPark, 111 E. Monument Ave.: Try your hand at mountain bike skill elements, slacklining, disc golf and more during Urban Outdoor Experience from 5-8 p.m. Call 274-0126.

Spaghetti Warehouse, 36 W 5th St.: Enjoy an interactive mystery show in which one person vanishes and all must work together to untangle the puzzle. Can you put two and two together? $25.95 per person for dinner and interactive mystery show. Show starts at 7 p.m. Reservations Required. Call 461-3913.

Visit http://www.mayhemmystery.us for information.

Victoria Theatre Association, 138 N Main St.: Cool film series- Special Disney Weekend. Enjoy a weekend celebration of Disney films. Invitation only. Get your invitation by registering online. Show starts at 7 p.m. Call 225-7591.

Wiley’s Comedy Joint, 101 Pine St.: Featuring comedian Steve Hofstetter, tickets are $15 with a two-item minimum. Shows starts at 7:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Call 224-5653.

Food and Drink

Deaf Monty’s Wine, 22 Brown St.: $2-$3 tastings of select wines. Call 225-9463.

Fifth Street Brewpub, 1600 E. Fifth St.: Pub grub specials from 4-5 p.m. and happy hour ($1 off all draft beer and wine and $1 off all sharing plates) from 4-6 p.m. Call 443-0919.

Shopping

Epic Life Fitness, 118 N. Jefferson St.: Patrons can stop by between 4-8 p.m.to schedule a free assessment and receive 20% off their first package with the purchase of four sessions or more. Call 371-8258.

Clash Dayton, 521 E. Fifth St.: It’s the fifth anniversary for Clash, a boutique shop offering authentic and inspired vintage clothing, plus locally made apparel, jewelry, and accessories. Check out the latest art exhibit while shopping. Call 241-9434.

Salon J Ladner & Spa, 45 S St. Clair St.: Join Salon J Ladner and Spa for Tresses and Dresses and do some easy shopping featuring clothing from LuLaRoe! These beautiful clothing items range from sizes XXS to 3XL. Cash (exact change only) and credit are accepted. Shop from 5:30-7 p.m. Call 220-9441.

Sew Dayton, 261 Wayne Ave.: First Fridays feature the free Stitch n’ Sip event. Bring your own beverage and sewing project and make new sewing friends! The fun starts at 5 p.m. Call 234-7398.

The Downtown Dayton Partnership’s website has a complete list of downtown’s arts and cultural amenities, as well as a dining guide, parking map and much more. Download the Find It Downtown mobile search tool for smartphones at http://mobile.downtowndayton.org.

Welcome to the Big Pop!

wyandot-popcorn-popper

Ohio is popping with history but in Marion, that history tastes delicious with an added touch of butter – or salt – or caramel – or…

Welcome to the big top, literally. Step right up folks, the world’s largest popcorn museum is inside a circus tent inside a historic building.

Before you see anything, you smell it! MM-mmm-mm! Fresh roasted popcorn. Just before you catch yourself drooling, your eyes will turn as wide as saucers when the giant red, white and blue circus tent comes into view.

The main attraction is the world famous Wyandot Popcorn Museum. It’s the largest on the planet and only one of two in the country. It just so happens that the other one is also in Ohio. Go figure.

The bright and colorful circus tent puts everyone in a festive mood. Then you see these fascinating nickel plated contraptions that look more like priceless pieces of art. But its art that moves. Careful, the intricate interlinking parts of these unique machines will mesmerize you. So will the craftsmanship.

Imagine a steam whistle blowing.

Here you don’t have to imagine it because you’ll hear it – for real. But for safety purposes, the steam whistles on these polished like new relics are now generated by air compressors.

Timeout for a trivia question: What are non-popped kernels called?
Answer: Old Maids.

Okay, back to the story.

This creative and interactive museum features more than 50 popcorn machines – many doubled as peanut roasters (5 or 6 peanut roasting only machines). The collection features a few horse drawn carts, a 1927 Ford Model TT Concession Wagon, 1911 Dunbar Wagon, Cretors 1899 No. 1 Popcorn Cart, 1896 Kingery steam-driven wagon, and 1892 Olson store-type dry popper.

Here’s a side note about that 1911 Dunbar Wagon. The museum founder, George Brown, son of the Wyandot Popcorn Company founder, William “Hoover” Brown, decided to drive over to the Mid-Ohio Raceway one day in the early 1980s.  Native Ohioan and famed Hollywood actor, Paul Newman, was there with his race team. George and Paul struck up a conversation about popcorn of all things. George grew up in the business and Paul wanted to launch a line of popcorn for his Newman’s Own brand. But he needed the right supplier. That day he found one. They shook hands and next, the Brown family found themselves in New York’s Central Park with Newman and his business partner Al Hutchner launching their line of jarred popcorn in 1984. George’s wife, Millie, posed for a photograph with Paul Newman with a perfect vintage 1911 Dunbar Wagon as a backdrop. That wagon is in the Wyandot Popcorn Museum today.

The museum teaches all kinds of interesting things about popcorn history and Wyandot Popcorn Company’s part in that. For example, in 1948 an archaeological dig in “Bat Cave”, New Mexico turned up what many believe to be the oldest ears of popcorn ever found, dating well over a thousand years old. Popcorn was originally prepared by Native Americans using a bowl containing sand and placing the bowl over fire. The sand heated the kernels and when they popped, they popped to the top of the sand.

Now let’s fast forward to modern history and the early movie theaters. Movie theater popcorn started when street vendors began setting up in front of movie houses.  At first, theater owners chased the vendors away. But when they saw how much movie goers loved the popped corn, theater owners saw dollar signs and invited the vendors inside. Then they realized they don’t need the vendors, just the machines. So the movie theater snack bar was born.  In 1948, Popped Right Corn Company became a subsidiary of Wyandot Popcorn Company to supply theater chains with popped popcorn.

But the Wyandot story and how it contributed to the history of popcorn began during The Great Depression. That’s when William “Hoover” Brown decided to plant 100 acres of popcorn to see how things would go. Well, things went well. And that’s how Wyandot Popcorn Company got its start in 1936. Years later, Golden Crisp and Caramel Corn were named by Ava Brown, “Hoover’s” wife, for the Shirk Candy Company which is still open in Marion, Ohio today.

“Hoover” and Ava’s son, George, gained interest in the popcorn industry, naturally, and in the 1970’s, he wanted to write a book about it.

His passion brought him to auctions where he acquired old broken down popcorn machines and peanut roasters. He then found a superb restorer in Bob Pearson of Kansas to transform the vintage machines to their original condition. They looked brand new again. Other restorers over the years included Roy Arrington in Las Vegas, NV and several of Wyandot’s own restoring experts. And although George never wrote his book, he became a treasure trove of information and thus a reliable source for others who wrote books about the popcorn industry.

George’s private collection grew so big, he decided to open a museum in 1982 at the Wyandot Popcorn Company’s headquarters in Marion. The museum grew more and found new homes for the public to come marvel at the colorful history of popcorn and experience it firsthand. Locations included the Southland Mall. After that, the collection was pieced out to multiple locations like the old COSI (Center of Science & Industry) museum building in Columbus, Ohio to feature displays.

Finally, in 1989, The Wyandot Popcorn Museum found a permanent home at Heritage Hall – the old 1910 Marion post office building – along with the Marion County Historical Society Museum. The Wyandot Popcorn Museum is inside what used as a sizeable mail sorting room in the 1930s which is now transformed by the big top circus tent.

Today Wyandot Popcorn Company in Marion, Ohio creates popcorn for a major brand to private label. Who that company is shall remain a secret.

Not only is Marion, Ohio home to the largest popcorn museum in the world, it hosts the largest popcorn festival in the world. The American Bus Association previously named The Marion Popcorn Festival one of the top-100 events in North America. The festival is always held during the weekend after Labor Day and attracts about a quarter million people annually. Details about the fest are at PopcornFestival.com.

Wyandot Popcorn Museum is open from 1pm – 4pm on weekends except in January and February and major holidays. It is located at 169 E. Church Street in Marion, Ohio. Admission is $4/adult, $3/senior, $1.50 for school age kids and free for preschoolers. For more information, call 740-387-4255 or visit WyandotPopcornMus.com.

One more thing – everyone leaves the museum with a FREE box of popcorn! Now, get to Marion, Ohio and see what’s poppin’ for you.

By Frank R. Satullo, The OhioTraveler

Water-Focused Art

Water Focused Art at Dayton Art Institute

The Antarctic Sublime & Elements of Nature: Water

Cool off in August at The Dayton Art Institute, as the museum continues its “Year of the Classical Elements” with three contemporary installations, all relating to the element of water.

The Antarctic Sublime & Elements of Nature: Water will present large-scale photography, cutting-edge video art, and a display of 450 mechanized, interactive penguins that are sure to delight visitors of all ages. The special exhibitions will be on view through October 16, 2016.

No philosophical idea has captured the imagination of artists more than the sublime, which emerged as a concept in the first century CE writings of the Greek philosopher Longinus. It took greatest shape in the 18th century through the writings of philosophers Edmund Burke (1729 – 1797) and Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804), whose collective works connect the sublime to an experience with something so boundless, grand, or dangerous that it inspires awe, fear, or veneration. Nature is one place where examples of the sublime abound, as visitors are often awe-struck by its monumentality and ferocity, as well as mankind’s small place within the universe.

“Organizing a series of exhibitions featuring 21st-century work that explores nature and the elements, where examples of the sublime abound, struck us as something extremely relevant, given the complex and evolving questions related to humans’ relationship with the natural world,” remarked the DAI’s Chief Curator, Dr. Aimee Marcereau DeGalan. “The sublime is a deeply personal and intimate interaction or reaction to nature, and to that end, this suite of exhibitions presents engaging and unique experiences.”

The Antarctic Sublime, Gallery 119 (off Lower Court)

The first installation of the summer suite presents Penguins Mirror (2015) by Daniel Rozin, whose Snow Mirror and Brushed Metal Mirrorwere guest favorites in the recent special exhibition Into the Ether: Contemporary Light Artists. A colony of 450 mechanized penguins designed by Rozin provides an interactive installation that responds to visitors. As creatures of the Antarctic terrain, and highly adaptive to life in water, the inclusion of the penguins fits the series thematically, providing an immersive and responsive environment for viewers, and offering an opportunity to further explore the Polar Regions and their climate shifts, ideas of natural selection and the randomness of genetic drift.

Elements of Nature: Water, Gallery 209 (off Great Hall) & Gallery 118 (off Lower Court)

In the second part of the special exhibitions, Elements of Nature: Water, two distinct installations will examine the concept of water in various forms.

In traditional Japanese painting and in Japanese woodblock prints, oceans, rivers, and bodies of water are expressed as a curvilinear series of lines. These lines give the impression of life, as though water itself were a living creature. It is from this premise that the contemporary Japanese ultra-technologist group team Lab drew inspiration for Universe of Water Particles, an over 10-foot digital waterfall rendered at five times that of full high definition. This digital work will be on display alongside Edo-period (1603–1868) ukiyo-e woodblock prints from The DAI’s extensive collection, to explore the encounter and navigation of space within both 2D and 3D work, which is a fundamental concept to team Lab.

In another gallery, a single, monumental photograph by contemporary Berlin-based artist Frank Thiel, of the Perito Moreno glacier, will be on display. Located in the Los Glaciares National Park in Patagonia, Argentina, this glacier is part of the third-largest ice cap in the world. Thiel has created large-format images to capture the immense scale of the 18-mile-long by three-mile-wide formation, which is one of the few glaciers in the world that is actually growing. Reasons abound yet simultaneously confound many scientists and researchers as to the glacier’s growth, and the debate remains one that is very relevant today. Thiel’s photograph makes viewers question the transient nature of what is around them, and it also provides the opportunity to discuss the fragility of humans in the face of nature’s awesome might.

The exhibitions are organized and curated by The Dayton Art Institute’s Chief Curator and Curator of European Art, Dr. Aimee Marcereau DeGalan.

“Visitors are still raving about our recent exhibition Into the Ether, and our curatorial team has created another one-of-kind experience with The Antarctic Sublime & Elements of Nature: Water,” says The Dayton Art Institute’s Director & CEO, Michael R. Roediger. “We guarantee you’ve never seen anything quite like this at The DAI, and both adults and children will be spellbound by these installations.”

The Antarctic Sublime & Elements of Nature: Water are presented with support from Patron Sponsors 21c Museum Hotel and DP&L Foundation; Supporting Sponsors Synchrony Financial and Wright State Research Institute; with additional support from City of Dayton, Department of Water, DEEM, Enting Water Conditioning Inc., Morris Furniture, School of Advertising Art, Taft/ and University of Dayton. Jefferson Patterson Society Reception Sponsors are Dayton Dental Collaborative and Bank of America.

A companion focus exhibition, Water in Japanese Art, will be on view in Gallery 105 of the Patterson-Kettering Wing of Asian Art. As an island nation, water is an important element in Japan and figures prominently in Japanese art. Japanese spiritual traditions have also shaped national attitudes towards nature and the relationship of individuals to the natural world. The Dayton Art Institute houses a strong collection of Edo-period (1603–1868) ukiyo-e woodblock prints and Japanese screen paintings, many of which feature water as a solid, liquid, or vapor. The depiction of water in its many forms in traditional Japanese art is enormously influential to teamLab, whose monumental digital waterfall is featured in Elements of Nature: Water. Works in this focus exhibition include such masters as Ando Hiroshige and Katsushika Hokusai, among many others.

A number of related events and programs will also be held in conjunction with the special exhibitions:

  • Super Saturday Family Day: Make a Splash!, August 13, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
  • Curatorial Conversations: The Antarctic Sublime & Elements of Nature: Water Tour, August 25, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
  • Super Saturday Family Day: Penguin Pandemonium!, September 10, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
  • Lecture: Mia Bennett, Ph.D. Polar Studies Scholar, “Emerging Connections and Disconnections in the Global Arctic”, September 15, 6:30 p.m.
  • Lecture: Dr. Eric Hodgson, Director, Smale Interactive Visualization Center, Miami University, October 6, 6:30 p.m.

For more about The Antarctic Sublime & Elements of Nature: Water, call 937-223-4ART (4278) or visit www.daytonartinstitute.org/water.

Admission to The Antarctic Sublime & Elements of Nature: Water is $14 adults; $11 seniors (60+), students (18+ w/ID), active military and groups (10 or more); $6 youth (ages 7-17); and free for children (ages 6 & under). Prices include admission to the special exhibitions and the museum’s permanent collection. Tickets for the exhibition and related programs may be purchased at the museum’s Guest Services Desk or by phone at 937-223-4ART (4278) during regular hours, or online at www.daytonartinstitute.org.

Docent-led tours of the special exhibitions are available for individuals, groups and schools. For individual, group and college group tours, contact Donna Young at 937-512-0152 or dyoung@daytonart.org. For K-12 school tours, contact Nicole Lomax, at 937-223-4278, ext. 241 orschooltours@daytonart.org.

For more information about The Dayton Art Institute, visitwww.daytonartinstitute.org or call 937-223-4ART (4278). Be sure to connect with The Dayton Art Institute on FacebookTwitterInstagramand Pinterest for additional information, behind-the-scenes photos and videos, and exclusive offers.

A Beacon of Freedom on a Hill

John Rankin House in Ripley Ohio

The John Rankin House is a National Historic Landmark and famous station on the Underground Railroad.

The brick home was built in 1825 by Reverand John Rankin and sits high atop Freedom Hill overlooking the small river town of Ripley, Ohio. It features extraordinary tales of bravery and fantastic views of the Ohio River and its meandering bends between the Appalachian foothills of southern Ohio and northern Kentucky.

Rankin began his 44 year ministry of Ripley’s Presbyterian church in 1822. He and his wife and 13 children were ardent abolitionists. They dedicated their lives to helping their fellow human beings. Reverend John Rankin was one of the most active “conductors” on the Underground Railroad. His family never lost a “passenger” along their trek of the line. It is estimated that more than 2,000 “passengers” stayed at the Rankin House over the years. At times, up to a dozen runaway slaves lived in the humble brick home in addition to the 15 family members. It only took one encounter for slave owners and hunters to learn not to try and seize escaped slaves from the Rankin’s. Family members always stood armed and watchful.

The Harriet Beecher Stowe novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, cites a true story of a lady pushing her child across the thin ice on the Ohio River, desperate to cross to the Rankin House. When a slave hunter met her on the other side, he was so moved by watching her determination that he let her pass through to the home on the hill shining its candle in the window at night to guide her and so many other escaped slaves to potential freedom.

Merely crossing the Ohio River didn’t bring freedom even though Ohio was a free state. The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 meant runaway slaves could be apprehended in free states and returned to slavery. The Underground Railroad had to get its “passengers” into Canada. Making it to the Rankin House was a milestone to be sure but the final trek from southern Ohio to northern Ohio and ultimately out of the United States still had many obstacles to maneuver.

The modest home has received more than $1 million in renovations to return it to an authentic representation of how it was when the Rankin family lived there. It is quite a time capsule.

The floorboards are original and in great shape. Several original family items remain, too, such as the family’s Bible. Tours are given by well-informed guides. They learn important information to share but are encouraged to do some of their own research to come up with additional points of interest to further make the Rankin House story come alive for its visitors. A young tour guide named Niya found in her personal research that her fourth generation grandfather was at the Rankin’s house in the 1840s.

This little place in the middle of nowhere attracts many visitors and has a large parking lot. The tour takes about 30 minutes. Another 30 minutes can be spent taking in the incredible scenery of the forested hills and Ohio River stretching east and west as far as the eyes can see.

There is a nominal fee for the tour but it only costs about twelve bucks for a family of four. It is open May through October from Wednesday through Sunday. The John Rankin House is located at 6152 Rankin Hill Road in Ripley, Ohio. For additional information, call 1-800-752-2705 or click here.

The John Rankin House is one of those little stops you will be always remember.