July 2015 Edition ©

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.

Archaeology + Vaudeville at The Castle

Marietta Castle

The Marietta Castle has an exciting July planned. Children, high school kids and adults can partake in The Castle’s Archaeology Field School July 27 – 30, 2015 or attend Summer History Camp July 13 – 17, 2015.

The Archaeology Field School is a week-long experience. It begins with introductory discussions and hands-on activities regarding the goals and methods of modern archaeology. Field work activity will be undertaken at a moderate pace that can be geared to the preference of each participant.

Participants will be excavating a real archaeological site on The Castle grounds, processing the recovered artifacts, and discussing what they tell us about past human activity. This is a great opportunity to participate in an archaeology project led by professional archaeologist Wes Clarke. The cost is $50. Call The Castle at 740-373-4180 to register by July 10, 2015.

The Castle’s Summer History Camp is a five-day camp. It provides hands-on historic activities for students in grades 3-5. It features crafts, games, tours, music, dancing and more. Registration fees include all materials, activities and tours.

This year’s theme will be “Dawn of the Century.” Activities include a historic tour of Front Street, learning “The Charleston,” visiting Vaudeville, picnicking on holiday, and an opportunity to fly the Wright Brothers 1911 flier flight simulator. Much more is in store to make for a fun filled and educational week. The History Camp costs $35/day or $150 for whole week. Contact The Castle at 740-373-4180 to register by June 26, 2015.

With its octagonal tower, trefoil attic window, and stone capped spires, The Castle of Marietta is one of the best examples of Gothic Revival style architecture in Ohio. This is the backdrop where groups and individuals of all ages come to experience history, firsthand. Young and old are inspired by Victorian Games like croquet on the lawn or the hands-on activity of making Victorian Valentines. Many visitors enjoy the thrill of ghost stories at Halloween, and the beautiful music of Victorian Composers, or simply enjoy the elegance and history of the surroundings through a guided tour. Visit http://mariettacastle.org/ for more information about The Castle in Marietta, Ohio.

Akron Soap Box Derby is a Standout


The All-American Soap Box Derby is a Standout in Ohio Tourism

All American Soap Box Derby: This timeless classic is a nationwide Standout in tourism and old-time fun! The All American Soap Box Derby in Akron, Ohio is held every July and has run nationally since 1934. These world championship finals are comprised of more than 550 qualifiers from nearly every state in the country and several foreign countries. The derby features boy and girl drivers from ages 8-20, who compete in one of three different divisions in these “gravity” races for scholarships and other prizes. Race week at Derby Downs racetrack is filled with festivities for everyone. Discover all that the All American Soap Box Derby has to offer at soapboxderby.org.

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/.

Geauga Barn Quilt Trail


Pleasant Hill Home Makes Pleasant Setting for Newest Barn Quilt on the Scenic Geauga Barn Quilt Trail

If you are cruising the countryside in scenic Geauga County, there’s a new view to take in.

In Pleasant Hill, Ohio, at Merrit Road and Aquilla you can’t help but notice a most colorful sight, a beautiful new Barn Quilt adding to the popular Geauga Barn Quilt Trail.

The 8ftx8ft quilt square was a gift to this county home from the Geauga County Farm Bureau.

“We felt the county home farm was a part of our county’s agricultural history and that it should be showcased with a quilt.” said Ed Rumburg Geauga County Farm Bureau President.

The pattern is entitled “Laced Star” and was mutually decided on by Rumburg, Karen DiCola, Pleasant Hill Home Administrator; and Reba Dykes who painted the quilt.

The property has been owned by the county since 1839 when the Geauga Commissioners bought the original tract of land, for $2,400 and spent an additional $698 to build the first home. (It was in 1816, that county commissioners were given the authority to build “Poor houses.”) A portion of the original building still stands, but is now used for storage. The original farm house that was on the property when purchased also still stands, and is used as office space.

In the early days, County Homes, known as “Poor Houses”, and later as “Infirmaries”, were working farms with residents helping with daily chores. As times changed, more & more social service programs became available to those in need and County Homes evolved to become either assisted living type homes or nursing homes.  Pleasant Hill has chosen to provide assisted living type services.

In the 1880’s, the original building began to deteriorate. By 1885, it was approved to build a new, red brick building at the same location. There have been additions, renovations. Pleasant Hill Home is committed to offering a welcoming, homey place to live for Geauga County’s residents.

Ironically the placement of the Barn Quilt makes it very visible to everyone, except the residents of Pleasant Hills Home, but Karen DiCola has already got that covered. She has purchased a smaller Barn Quilt Square also painted by Dykes to beautify their chicken coop so residents can see it as they do chores and stroll the grounds. This one a patriotic red, white and blue to give the roosters reason to stand up and crow!

The county home is located at 13211 Aquilla Rd, or where Merrit ends into Aquilla. To find out more about the Geauga County Barn Quilt Trail, or to get a Barn Quilt on your barn or business, visit www.GeaugaBarnQuiltTrail.com.

Just A Little Travel Humor


A Happily Flawed Travelogue by Frank Rocco Satullo. His Journeys are a trip!


If the four of us didn’t affirm what just happened, I wouldn’t have believed my own eyes and ears.

We were traveling cross country in the family van. Up early to put some pavement between us and our last stop, we grew hungry – really hungry – so Dad decided we would find a restaurant to enjoy a nice breakfast. It was Sunday around the time church let out and people flocked to town eateries.

We parked. I had a skip in my step, excited at the thought of the whopping stack of pancakes I was going to order. We passed the front windows of the restaurant. It was full of people. We could hear the chattering of voices and clanking of silverware.

A young lady met us at the door and immediately led us to a table, not a booth, in the middle of the restaurant. As we walked to our table, the place grew quieter and quieter. We were seated and told that the waitress would be with us in a moment.

It was a long moment.

In that time, the four of us grew quiet as well. It felt like people were staring at us. I looked around. They were. If a fork fell to a plate now, the noise would pierce the deafening silence. My eyes searched for comfort and protection. They locked on Mom and Dads’ as did my sister’s. They had a blank gaze.

The waitress still didn’t come. The full restaurant still didn’t make a sound. Nobody so much as ate. They just watched us in silence. My heart raced. My skin crawled.

“Leave – Now,” Dad said under his breath but we all heard it loud and clear.

Dad got up and so did we. All of our heads were down as we whisked out the door.

When we hit the sidewalk along the front windows, the inside of the restaurant sounded as it had on approach. Voices chattered in conversation, dishes clanked and all was normal.

“What the heck just happened?”

None of us could reason an answer.

We laughed about it, uncomfortably as  Dad drove like a bat out of hell.

Cars That Swim!

amphicar cars that swims

Cars that swim? That’s the nickname for the Amphicar, the only civilian amphibious passenger automobile ever to be mass-produced. Some 3,878 Amphicars were built in Germany from 1961 to 1968. Of those cars, 3,046 were imported into the United States.

The Amphicar has a top speed of 7 mph on water and 70 mph on land. An Amphicar is moved in the water by its twin nylon propellers. A special two-part land-and-water transmission built by Hermes (makers of the Porsche transmission) allows the wheels and propellers to be operated either independently or simultaneously. The “land transmission” is a 4-speed-plus-reverse unit similar to those found in the old Volkswagen Beetles. The “water transmission” is a 2-speed offering unique to the Amphicar featuring single forward and reverse gears. In the water, the front wheels act as rudders.

When new, an Amphicar sold for between $2,800 and $3,300, depending on the year. All Amphicars are convertibles and were originally offered in only 4 colors: Beach White, Regatta Red, Lagoon Blue and Fjord Green (Aqua).   You will find many today that have been customized with paint and accessories. Some of the more unique include one adorned with Pink Flamingoes, one painted to resemble the Bat Mobile and another to resemble a huge Rubber Ducky.

Amphicars have been honored guests at the Celina Lake Festival in west central Ohio for more than 20 years. 35 to 40 Amphicars are expected during the festival, which is being held July 24-26, 2015. You will begin seeing the cars on Tuesday and Wednesday of festival week as they drive around town and cruise along in the lake. Their official festival appearances include a Swim-In on Friday evening and you can see the entire contingent of Amphicars as they take part in the Grand Parade on Saturday evening.

The Celina Lake Festival offers plenty of summer fun for the entire family including a huge collector car show, the world’s largest car/boat poker run, a large craft show, a 5K run, COSI on Wheels and music by Erastus on Friday night. On Saturday night, dress like you’re back in the 70’s and want to Rock and Roll All Night as the Kiss tribute band, Mr. Speed takes the stage. Sunday is a special treat for the kids with lots of free fun including a kids fishing derby, pontoon rides, kiddie tractor pull, archery and canoeing,  Along with the Amphicars, other top attractions this year will be hot air balloon rides, the Saturday evening Grand Parade and the Friday night, Fabulous Fireworks over the lake.

The Celina Lake Festival takes place in Celina, Ohio, July 24-26 in Lake Shore Park along the northwest corner of Grand Lake St. Marys. Admission and parking are free. More information about the festival is available at LakeFestival.com.

Sandusky Magic Festival

Sandusky Magic Fest Mario Morris

Abracadabra and Alakazam! On the weekend of Aug 14th through 16th, Sandusky’s historic waterfront district will come alive with mystery and enchantment for The Sandusky Magic Festival.

More than 20 top illusionists, conjurers, jugglers, balloon artists and face painters will appear in and around The State Theatre for a family-friendly celebration of wonder.  The Festival will feature dazzling displays of the magical arts, from close-up to street and stage, one-man shows, all-star galas and even a rock & roll magic beach party.  Master magician and producer Jay Scott Berry is pulling a rabbit out of his hat for this event, bringing in wizards, magicians and wonder workers from Las Vegas, Hollywood and around the world.

This stellar cast includes Wayne Houchin, star of The Discovery Channel’s hit show, Breaking Magic, seen by over 100 million viewers worldwide.  With cutting edge wizardry and death defying stunts, Houchin will keep everyone on the edge of their seats.  Joining him, from Canada, is one of the world’s most celebrated female magicians, the elegant and dazzling, Ariann Black.  Breaking the stereotype of the classic male magician, Black has been a favorite headliner up and down the Las Vegas Strip for 10 years running.  And speaking of Vegas, how about the most successful juggler in Las Vegas history, Michael Goudeau?  With over 15,000 shows at The Monte Carlo Casino alone, Goudeau is a Guinness world record holder and the undisputed superstar of juggling. Also, direct from Las Vegas, is the award-winning, side-splitting comedy magic of Fielding West.  From creating and starring in a top rated morning TV show in Florida, West has headlined cabaret, comedy clubs, theatres and television the world over.

From across the Atlantic, on his first ever U.S. Tour, comes the one and only Wizard of Wales, Mario Morris. Regarded as the premier magical busker in the world today, Morris presents the captivating Art of Street Magic that is exciting, off-beat and unbridled fun! When you speak of off-beat and outside-the-box magic, there is only one name that comes to mind, David London. Known as, “The Willy Wonka of Magic”, The Washington Post calls London, “Our favorite mad genius magician!” And, if you have ever wondered where the stars of tomorrow are today, look no further than Eric Stevens. Just 21 years old, Stevens is taking the Art of Magic into the next generation with a wondrous fusion of classic effects and original illusions. From the young to the young at heart is what the close-up magic of Wayne Anderson is all about. He will amaze, amuse and delight with intimate illusions performed right before your eyes.

Last, but not least, is illustrious ring leader Jay Scott Berry, who will mystify young and old alike. Growing up in theatre, Berry was the youngest magician ever to perform at Hollywood’s famed Magic Castle. His elegant, signature style of visual wizardry is often called, “As close to real magic as you will ever see!” He is now the world’s leading producer of Magic Festivals which include Portland, Asheville, Sedona, Woodstock, Key West, St. Paul, Sacramento, Belfast and Glastonbury. Each weekend of wonder is unique in character but with the same high standards and commitment to excellence.

All the main shows will take place in and around the lavishly restored Sandusky State Theatre, just steps from the sands of Lake Erie.  These include the Saturday and Sunday Razzle Dazzle matinees and The Wizards of Wonder Gala on Saturday evening.  Tickets are very reasonably priced, starting at just $10 for children and $15 for adults.  Mark the dates and make plans now to attend this historic event.  Conveniently located between Toledo and Cleveland, The Sandusky Magic Festival will be an easy day trip or wondrous weekend getaway to experience the very best in world-class magic, year after year.  For tickets, scheduling and more information, visit www.SanduskyState.com and www.SanduskyMagicFestival.com.

Got Your Tickets Yet?


Country Concert 2015 revs up later this month on July 9th, 10th, and 11th in Fort Loramie, Ohio. For 35 years this annual three-day music festival features some of the best in country music. The 2015 line-up of favorites includes Carrie Underwood, Florida Georgia Line, Jake Owen, The Band Perry, Justin Moore, Chris Young and lots more. 23 bands on two stages make Country Concert a non-stop party you won’t want to miss. Information about single day, multiday, and camping reservations is available at www.countryconcert.com.

Later in the month you and your family are sure to enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes of the Shelby County Fair, July 26th through August 1st. This year marks the 155th anniversary of the fair that is anticipated to be one of the best yet. Live shows include Kiss tribute band Mr. Speed, country music artist Clark Manson, comedy by Shotgun Red, The Hall’s Bear Mountain Wildlife Show, and Michael Bishop’s Comedy Hypnosis Show. Additional information about these shows, the 4H animal and craft exhibits, adult and youth contests, and much more can be found on the fair website at www.shelbycountyfair.com.

On July 18th, Downtown Sidney will host its first ever Music Fest & BBQ Contest on the historic Shelby County Court Square. The Great Sidney Farmers Market gets the day started at 8:00 a.m. Here shoppers will find a wonderful selection of home grown, homemade, and hand crafted items for sale. A DJ will perform until Noon at which time the first band hits the stage and the first servings of mouth-watering and award winning barbeque hit the plates of eager festival goers. Live music and great food continue until 10:00 p.m. Admission is free.

At nearby Lake Loramie State Park you’ll find and incredible variety of fun for the whole family. The center piece of this natural gem is a 1,600 acre lake with 30 miles of shoreline. Lake Loramie offers unsurpassed convenience for the family who wants to combine boating and camping adventures. At Lake Loramie visitors can set up camp in the 167 site camping area, launch their boats, and set out to do some fishing or just cruise the lake. A designated swimming area gives young and old alike a chance to enjoy the water or simply relax in the sun. Bicycles can be rented at the park’s camp office providing visitors with the opportunity to explore the park and the nearby communities of Fort Loramie and Minster. Wooded hiking trails are also popular with many guests. For more information about the Lake Loramie State Park and the many organized activities planned there this summer, please visit their website at http://parks.ohiodnr.gov/lakeloramie.

On August 30th through September 5th Custenborder Field in Sidney will be transformed into a Field of Valor. Here, family members will have the opportunity to place a flag in honor of those important to them who served this country in the military or as first responders. Flags can be purchased in advance through the Ross Historical Center.

On September 2nd, motorcycle enthusiasts are invited to participate in “Rolling Thunder”, an escort for the Vietnam Memorial Wall that will be traveling from Wapakoneta to Sidney’s Field of Valor. Those interested are requested to be in place at the Wapakoneta VFW parking lot not later than 6 p.m. The Vietnam Memorial Wall will be assembled in Sidney on Thursday September 3rd beginning at 8 a.m.

Later that day, opening ceremonies will be conducted by the Sidney Civic Band, under the direction of Phillip Chilcote. These ceremonies will formally welcome the memorial to Sidney and commemorate the Anniversary of 9/11. A tribute honoring the service of veterans and first responders will be included.

The Vietnam Memorial Wall will be on display until 3:00 p.m. Saturday September 5th. On September 4th car enthusiasts are invited to “Cruise to the Wall” and enjoy the camaraderie of other automotive enthusiasts at this special gathering place. Additional information about the Field of Valor and this weekend tribute to our country’s veterans and first responders can be obtained by calling the Shelby County Historical Society at (937) 498-1653.

Now is the time to begin planning your visit to Sidney. Everything the curious traveler desires to know can be found at www.VisitSidneyShelby.com. While on the website, be sure to check out the seven carefully prepared day-trip itineraries or build your own weekend visit from a list of more than 70 area attractions and points of interest.

Celebration of the Sun

Perkins Observatory
Photo by Paul Molitor

For three weekends in July, Ohio Wesleyan University’s “Place for Space” also becomes the “Sun Spot” as Perkins Observatory hosts its popular “Celebration of the Sun” daytime skywatches. The special Saturday-only programs will be held at 4 p.m on July 11, 18 and 25, 2015 at the observatory.

“The ‘Celebration of the Sun’ events replace the observatory’s Friday night skywatches for the month, when the sun sets too late to schedule evening programs,” said Tom Burns, director of the observatory.

Weather permitting, those attending the July programs will celebrate, discuss, and observe the sun using special telescopes and eclipse glasses.

“Perkins’ staff and volunteers will help guests to observe sunspots and solar prominences – explosions on the sun’s surface,” Burns said.

He cautions it is unsafe for people to look at the sun, “our day star,” without the appropriate eye protection and supervision of trained astronomers.

Other “Celebration of the Sun” activities may include rocket launches, sundial demonstrations, views of a 1,000-yard model of the solar system, tours of the observatory, and, of course, the Perkins ghost story.

The observatory will return to its regularly scheduled Friday evening programs on July 31. Weather permitting, those events include stargazing with the facility’s 32-inch Schottland Telescope.

Reservations are strongly recommended for all Perkins Observatory events, as many programs sell out. Advance tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for children (17 and under), and $6 for senior citizens (62 and older). Tickets are $2 more if purchased at the door. To reserve tickets or determine at-the-door availability, call (740) 363-1257.

Founded in 1923, Perkins Observatory is an active research facility used by Ohio Wesleyan students and faculty in Delaware, Ohio near Columbus. “The Place for Space” also conducts hundreds of public programs and welcomes tens of thousands of visitors each year. Learn more at http://perkins.owu.edu.

Summers at Severance

Credit Roger Mastroianni

The world-renown Cleveland Orchestra will perform Summers@Severance concerts on Friday nights at Severance Hall in July and August 2015.

The series of orchestra concerts takes place July 10, and August 7 and 21, 2015.  A special bonus concert, of a one-night-only performance by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis takes place on Friday, August 28, 2015 at Severance Hall.

The Summers@Severance series was created to expand The Cleveland Orchestra’s summertime offerings and showcase the ensemble as an integral part of its home neighborhood all year round.  The series presents concerts of popular classical works, with an early start time surrounded by friendly and convenient pre- and post-concert opportunities to socialize with friends or family in the outdoor beauty of University Circle.

“We launched Summers@Severance last year with great success,” said Gary Hanson, executive director of The Cleveland Orchestra.  “Each performance attracted an enthusiastic audience who stayed late for the party on the Front Terrace at Severance Hall. Summers@Severance has created a new social hotspot in University Circle.”

“We are delighted to extend our support of The Cleveland Orchestra’s ongoing work in building new audiences and providing opportunities for younger audiences to connect with the Orchestra,” said Deborah Read, managing partner of Cleveland-based law firm Thompson Hine LLP, the corporate sponsor for the Summers@Severance series. “The Orchestra’s significant success in developing new programming has great appeal, and we are pleased to be supporting the Orchestra’s efforts.”

Series tickets (all three concerts as a package) for the Summers@Severance series are now on sale through the Ticket Office or online at clevelandorchestra.com. Series subscribers have the first opportunity to purchase tickets for the special Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra presentation.

This year’s Summers@Severance begins July 10, 2015 when Music Director Franz Welser-Möst leads the Orchestra in a program of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with soloist Igor Levit. Strauss’s tone poem, Symphonia domestica, which represents the lyrical and humorous experiences of the composer’s daily family life, and a spiritual work by Messiaen complete the program.

The August 7, 2015 concert features Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. led by a conductor who personally knew Shostakovich and conducted the Paris premiere of the work in 1948, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski.

“We are extraordinarily pleased to welcome Mr. Skrowaczewski to Cleveland for this concert,” says Mark Williams, director of artistic planning for The Cleveland Orchestra.  “As many people know, he was scheduled to conduct this great symphony last summer at Blossom, but was forced to cancel due to illness.  We feel very fortunate to have been able to re-schedule him for this work with which he has a special history, and are looking forward to celebrating his return to Cleveland more than a half-century after he made his American debut with us.  This is a not-to-be-missed performance.”

On August 21, 2015 principal cellist Mark Kosower performs as soloist in Haydn’s Cello Concerto with early music specialist and conductor Nicholas McGegan on a program which features Handel’s Suite No 2 from Water Music and also includes Schubert’s Symphony No. 5.

Joining this year’s Summers@Severance line-up is a special one-night-only presentation at Severance Hall on Friday, August 28, 2015 featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis – which is comprised of jazz music’s leading soloists – performing contemporary and masterworks of the jazz repertoire.  The next evening, on Saturday, August 29, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis join together with The Cleveland Orchestra to make their Blossom Music Festival debut in a program including Marsalis’s Symphony No. 3 (“Swing Symphony”).

The Summers@Severance programs on Friday evenings this summer in July and August present popular orchestral programming at a friendly time in the acclaimed acoustics of Severance Hall. The series celebrates and adds to the diversity of summer cultural offerings in the University Circle area, while augmenting the Orchestra’s ongoing offerings each summer at Blossom Music Center.

The Front Terrace of Severance Hall will be open before and after each concert, with beverage service and seating areas. Special “happy hour” drink prices will be offered in the hour prior to each concert, with attendees encouraged to arrive early and enjoy the outdoors.

For more information about purchasing tickets, call Cleveland Orchestra Ticket Services at 216-231-1111 or 800-686-1141, or visit clevelandorchestra.com.

Tall Ship on Great Lakes

 Tall-Ship-Great Lakes-by-Edgar

Will Dock in Fairport Harbor

A tall ship by the name of Madeline is making her way to Fairport Harbor for a two-day waterfront event called Harbor Fest. Deck tours of the 92-foot long schooner will take place at the Osborne Dock in Fairport Harbor on Saturday, July 11 and Sunday, July 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Additional activities will take place on the beach at Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park and in and around the Fairport Harbor Lighthouse & Marine Museum.

A fee of $6 for adults, and $4 for children over 6 provides a deck tour of the Madeline and a tour of the historic Fairport Harbor Lighthouse, one of the few lighthouses along the Great Lakes that is open for public climbing. The 60-foot tall lighthouse features a spiral staircase of 69 steps which leads to an observation platform, providing a splendid view of Lake Erie and the Grand River. The adjacent Museum contains many early navigation instruments, charts, lanterns and photographs, along with Indian relics unearthed in Fairport Harbor. Attached to the Museum is the former Pilothouse from the Great Lakes carrier, Frontenac. The Museum and Lighthouse are operated by the Fairport Harbor Historical Society.

Maritime storyteller Tom Kastle (Captain Tom) and the Hardtackers Sea Shanty singers will provide entertainment on the dock during tour hours. Refreshments will also be available on the dock for purchase from Motor Mouth Food Truck, Real Frut Juice Shake-ups and Lou’s Classic Kettle Corn.

Other Harbor Fest activities will be centered on the beach at Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park, including face painting, juggling with Will Juggle, kayak and paddleboard demonstrations, and sand castle building instructions by Doug Smith. But the featured draw will be the World Champion sand sculptor, Carl Jara of Cleveland, as he sculpts 20 tons of sand over the course of the weekend. Carl recently took Third Place honors for his creation at the 15th Annual Hampton Beach Sand Sculpting Contest in New Hampshire.

Other reasons to attend include these Sunday-only activities: The Fairport Harbor Historical Society’s Annual Art Show and Chinese Auction (1-7 p.m.), windsurfing on the beach and the Jasmine Dragons acrobatic troupe. The event closes on Sunday with a 5 p.m. performance on Lighthouse Hill by the U.S. Air Force Band of Flight.

The Madeline is a two-mast replica of the original schooner by the same name that was built in Fairport in 1845. It is operated by the all-volunteer Maritime Heritage Alliance of Traverse City, Michigan. The crew travels around the Great Lakes to tell her story, and give people a chance to experience a realistic slice of maritime history.

John Ollilo is a member of the Fairport Harbor Historical Society and a crew member of the Madeline. “It’s been quite a while since she has visited this part of Ohio. There’s a lot of history connected to this schooner and its connection to Fairport Harbor makes it even more unique.”

Harbor Fest is presented by the Village of Fairport Harbor, Lake Metroparks and the Fairport Harbor Lighthouse and Museum with support from the Lake County Visitors Bureau Arts & Culture Grant, Lake Health and Lake Erie Living magazine. Visit www.fairportharbor.org.