Thursday, August 30, 2012

A President's tomb, a mysterious tombstone globe and a popcorn museum

The Harding tomb is the burial site of our country's 29th president (1921-1923), Warren G. Harding (Nov 2,1865-Aug 2, 1923) and first lady Florence K, Harding.  The memorial is built of white marble, is 103 feet in diameter and 53 feet tall.

That's lady friend Sue in the red top approaching the steps to the outdoor sarcophagus.

The memorial also is important in American history because it is the last of the elaborate presidential tombs, a trend that began with the burial of President Abraham Lincoln in his tomb in Springfield, IL.  Since President Calvin Coolidge, Harding's successor, presidents have chosen burial plot designs that are simpler, or combined with their library sites.

Thursday, Fogeyisms will take a peek at a 5,200 pound, black granite globe that rotates slowly on its monument in a cemetery just north of the Harding tomb and Saturday we will bring you the story of Marion's delightful Popcorn Museum.

We hope you will tune in.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Junior High School Girls Cross Country Race

Mackenna Curtis-Collins (my adopted grand daughter) is blazing her way through the leaders of the pack early in this annual event on the Lexington High School cross-country track Saturday.

In sight of the finish line she found yet another passing gear, rocketed by her last competitor and breezed to a first place finish with a time of 13 minutes and 13 seconds topping the second place runner by 3 seconds.

There were 39 finishers from five schools in this competition.  Mackenna topped the last place finisher by nearly 14 minutes in this 2 1/2 mile race.

Surely you can imagine my BIG smile hidden behind the camera as she paced through the mid-point (above) and slammed across the finish line (right).

Now, ponder this!  This 71+ year old photographer was with her near the start of the event (top), at the mid-way point (middle) and was waiting for her at the finish line (right).

Pretty amazing, dontcha' think.**

Photography comments:

To enhance the illusion of speed I reduced the ISO (sensitivity) of my camera to its lowest setting of 100 then used a slow shutter speed of 1/15th of a second.

I also used the camera's continuous shooting mode and panned (moved) the camera, trying to precisely match Mackenna's speed.  The streaks of light in the top photo are evident against the dark, wooded background and were created by the distance the camera moved during the exposure.

Anything that moved in precise synchronization with the camera appears sharp in the photos.  Since Mackenna's body is moving slightly up and down with her pace and her arms and legs are moving in a somewhat circular motion, they are a bit blurred in all the images.

At that slow shutter speed lots of light enters the lens so the size of the aperture must be reduced to prevent overexposure.  The top photo was done in the shade of the woods at f/10.  The two smaller photos were done in sunlight at f/22.

**Confession time:  While Mackenna was dealing with the circumference of the race course, I had to deal only with its diameter. < Smile >

Monday, August 27, 2012


This powerful movie reveals the background in Obama's life that drives his agenda which already has America on the brink of bankruptcy and which seeks to pummel our country to the despair of a third-world also-ran.

For those of you still mimicking an Ostrich, take a peek at a picture of your grandchildren, then go see this movie.

Better yet, take them and their parents with you.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


An ole farm field up there somewhere between Greenwich and Ruggles came alive that evening as the Whitaker Brothers, Idle Tyme, the Bluegrass Mountaineers, James King and finally, the headliner, Rhonda Vincent sent their toe-tapping music bouncing through the rolling valleys.

The weather tried to cooperate but mostly high winds, misty rain and temps flirting with the upper 50s kept the crowd finding relief any way it could including coats, hooded sweatshirts and colorful tarps with occasional trips to the concessions for a steaming beverage.

The stage area looked like something concocted from the debris of an old barn demolition but it was functional and gaily decorated in a patriotic theme and that is good.

The grounds included free camping facilities "in the rough" which were filled to the brim for this event.  Electric was available for 5 bucks a day.  When Bluegrass music isn't the main item on the agenda, the site serves as the Greenwhich Road Coon Hunter's Club.  Seemed like a good match to me.

Bluegrass music traces its history to the incredibly wide variety of folks migrating to America in the early 1600s; an amalgamation of dance music and ballads from Ireland and Scotland, for examples, as well as African American gospel music and blues.

African slaves brought the design idea for the banjo; an instrument now integral to the Bluegrass sound.

As early settlers began to spread westward in their new land they composed new songs about day-to-day life in their mostly rural, mountainous experience.  Their music began to be known as "mountain" or "country" music.

The invention of radio in the early 1900s brought this music from the southern mountains to people all over the US.

In the late 30s Bill Monroe, a native of Kentucky, the Bluegrass State, formed a band he called "Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys" and this band's sound gave birth to this new form of country (Bluegrass) music.

One youngster joined the adults in his group on the night of our visit and played partially secluded in the background.  I was proud of his polite and unobtrusive presence--then amazed when he was brought to the foreground microphone and dazzled the crowd with his very own, rollicking solo.  His great grandpa in the same group beamed as he announced the lad as the fourth generation on that stage.

Finally, dusk morphed into darkness as the beat rolled on.

In the upper photos are Mark and Nancy Meinzer, Don and Roberta Karger and my pal Sue settling in for the nearly 4 hour show on that blustery evening.

Friday, August 24, 2012


This is a custom made sign hanging on the fence of Blue Stream Oil and Gas Rental and Supply Co., Highway 90, New Iberia, LA.

The photo and information were provided by a good friend who likewise has built a business, made payroll for lots of years and, I believe, shares Mr. Hebert's thought about Mr. Obama being affectionate.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Saturday, Sue and I with square dancing friends the Kargers and the Meinzers meander north to very rural, southern Huron County for the Buckeye Bluegrass Festival where we found bass instruments, bass vocals and bass of the aquatic variety in abundance.  Well, maybe not the latter according to the friendly fisherlady pictured.  That's the back of the main stage just above and to the right of her.  We hope you enjoy our story as much as we enjoyed the show. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


What would you do if the president of a company you owned ran it into debt so deep it would be unlikely your children and their children could ever pay it off?

You would fire him.

Of course.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Under the Surface by Tom Wilber

While this book looks at the economic and environmental challenges of drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation it is germain to Richland County where disposal of liquid fracking waste only recently entered our area's consciousness.  Fracking is the process of forcing chemical laced liquids under extreme pressure into wells in an effort to open horizontal seams around the vertical drill hole thus increasing the quantity of the flow of petroleum or natural gas.  The question then becomes are we willing to accept the obvious risk of polluting our ground water in return for increasing our supply of fossil fuels.  This is a journalistically balanced look with a good peek at consequences most people do not want to endure.

The Lower River by Paul Theroux

Ellis Hock is maturing through a placid life in this novel as a storekeeper in Massachusetts when his wife finds his email file is loaded with sizzling dalliances; all innocent but she is unconvinced and suddenly Hock is estranged from all things normal.  He then realizes the one place he wants to go is a dusty African village in Malawi where he spent four of the most exciting years of his younger life. Naturally, things of his Peace Corps memory have changed and he winds up struggling with escape rather than basking in enjoyment.

Five Days that Shocked the World  by Nicholas Best

Subtitled "Eyewitness accounts from Europe at the end of World War II", the  book closely examines five days in the Spring of 1945 when the war in Europe was belching to a close.  Readers are in Hitler's bunker when he and his mistress commit suicide.  We are in Italy when Mussolini and his mistress are mutilated and hanged.  We are in Pozzuoli, Italy where Romilda Villani is living in squalor with her two illegitimate children Sofia and Maria, Sofia being a war casualty that rescuing US soldiers described as " ugly and skinny at the age of 10 she looked as if she had never had a square meal in her life."  We came to know her in later life as Sophia Loren.  The book is an outstanding read.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

...our second outing

Mark, Nancy and Sue are dwarfed by the woods sparkling in the late afternoon sun (above) along the north side of the Clear Fork Reservoir near Lexington on the Stoller Rd. Trail.

We were in pursuit of the "Hunny Pot", a geocache about 700 meters--nearly 1/2 mile--into this sun dappled woods.  Hunny was a clever corruption of the word "honey" and turned out to be a significant clue in our ultimately finding this hide.

Prior to this ambitious hike we found our first cache of this outing in the Troy Cemetery hidden under a decaying log.

We were distracted during this search by a respectful peek at some old, very old, tombstones.  One in particular celebrated the life of an Elizabeth Black who died at the age of 33 years in 1826.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died that year too.

Her gravestone described her as the "consort" of James McFee.

I wondered how lively the definition of that word might have been 186 years ago.

In a nearby picnic area along SR 97 we failed to find a cache which clearly was hidden around or under a pedestrian bridge near the handicapped fishing facility where a small bay pokes its way inshore from the main reservoir.  That's Mark (right) doing what all four of us did, repeatedly, in this failed search around the bridge.

Nancy explained sometimes caches are stolen or simply lost to curious "muggles", uninformed folks who just happen to stumble upon these novel collections of mostly eclectic souvenirs.

Along Gass Road our second cache find was in a hide-a-key attached magnetically behind a guard rail just north of the reservoir's dam spillway.  This one reminded me I have to outfit my yet-to-be geocache kit with protection from both poison ivy and mosquitoes.

We launched our search for the "Hunny Pot" around the corner on Lexington-Ontario Rd., in a little parking area, the second one north of Gass Rd.  That's Nancy, Sue and Mark (below) discovering this cache in the hollow of an old Beech tree--much like the place where bees might choose to store their winter supply of honey.

This cache reminded me to add a mini-maglite flashlight to my kit.  Frequently we are poking our searching hands in dark places--like this tree--where reasonable people might choose to avoid that method.

On the way home Mark and Nancy shared a cache they had found on another recent outing--cleverly concealed behind a round reflector high on a no-parking sign post near Hanley Rd., and I-71.

In short order this new activity has led us to places I had never seen before and would not likely have seen if it weren't for geocaching.  

And so it goes....

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Scavenger hunting in the high-tech style

We found ourselves in the above cemetery on a dead-end road high in the forested hills of Vinton County, several miles from the nearest paved road and couldn't remember the last power line we had seen.  I still shudder at the image of the last human dwelling we passed.  I think there was a shack in that trash smothered mess on both sides of the narrow road--somewhere.

I remember the hair on my arm standing up as the haunting tune "Dueling Banjos" rattled through my memory.

This adventure started as we were rolling south on SR 93 toward an evening of square dancing in Jackson, OH and began to discuss geocaching.

Nancy Meinzer and husband Mark (above) have been using a geocache application on Nancy's smart phone and shared their growing experience with Sue and me for our first time that day.

With her phone Nancy could simply search for nearby caches and an amazing selection of them would appear for our choice.  After selecting one that sounded promising we were provided the latitude/longitude coordinates of the cache along with the direction of travel and distance to its location.

Our task then was simply to adjust our direction of travel, keeping the distance decreasing.  If the distance began to increase, we were headed away from the object.

Nancy also could find written directions and hints from an on-line site.

This particular cache (above) was nestled in a food storage container which kept its contents dry.  Folks finding the cache are free to take an object they like and/or add a trinket as evidence of their finding it.

Folks also log the date of their visit (right) and can comment on, for example, items they may have taken or left, or where they are from to add to the enjoyment of the next geocacher who finds this "treasure".

There can be some peril in this experience.  The green leaves above the ladies in the lead picture and the yellow leaves behind Mark were poison ivy; the yellow ones evidently reacting to a recent application of herbicide.

The lower photo shows our arrival and departure road which achieved a dead-end at the cemetery; that phrase itself starting another episode of hair standing on the back of one's neck.  Going the opposite direction of this photo, the road immediately dissolved into a steep downgrade of rutted and weed infested clay. 

As an aside, the oldest tombstone we found had a date of death noted as being in the year 1827.  The newest tombstone was current, decorated with an eclectic assortment of tributes, and, was made of wood.  The location was known as the Baird Cemetery and the cache was established in June 2011.  It had attracted 20 folks before us.

We headed back toward civilization hoping we had not annoyed any fiddle-playing Bubba's on our way in.
The following day we enjoyed finding another cache at the end of a bike trail atop an abandoned RR line in Newark.  This one was well hidden in a camouflaged, circular food container made to appear like part of an abandoned fence post...

...and two more caches at the Velvet Ice Cream Old Mill near Utica.  One was in a large, bulk food container stashed behind some decaying stumps along a nature trail and the second was inside a duck decoy resting atop some antique food processing equipment.

In the latter case, the cache creator had some fun with words because there was a pond full of ducks in the vicinity which could divert searchers who were too casual with the author's creativity.

I have a strong feeling there may be a smart phone or a dedicated geocaching GPS in this writer's future.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

of the Ferris Wheel at our county fair

This gently circling ride was invented by a Pittsburgh engineer, George W. Ferris, for the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.  It remains a staple of theme parks and amusement midways all across our land. That's one pictured above and right in slightly warped presentations by the slightly warped mind of this blog's author.

We had just finished a square dance demonstration at the Richland County fair when I was attracted to the south end of the midway by this very colorful ride.

It's lights streaked and flashed and changed color as it anchored the visual mayhem of the fair's midway.

For stability, I squeezed my Canon Rebel T3i digital camera against a nearby utility pole and explored exposures measured in seconds, and long fractions thereof, using extremely small apertures to avoid over exposure as the ride's velocity went up and down and lighting romped across the spectrum.

About half of my 16 exposures made it to the computer's hard drive and this two of them were totally abused in Photoshop Element's incredible, photo editing software.

Just as an abstract artist might splash paint across a canvass a digital photographer can do similarly by manipulating the near infinite quantity of pixels from his camera's pallet.

The camera records an image already manipulated toward the limits of the photographer's creative ability, then the computer and software take over and have the capability to do things to the basic image that were unimaginable a few years ago.

Here are the original images.  The left one was done as an exposure test while the ride was staging.  It morphed into the lead photo above compliments of the software.

The one on the right is a one second exposure at f/22 and ISO 400.  The streaked lights you are seeing represent the distance the individual lights moved during that one second of time. 

It morphed into the small image upper right by my fiddling with various components of the software--that I can neither precisely identify nor ever exactly repeat.  The creative process simply oozes along until the artist is mostly pleased by the result but never sure if it is complete--or not.    

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Our nation has been launched on a perilous course and if that course does not get righted this election I fear near future generations will have no hope of ever experiencing the American dreams of our Founding Fathers. 

Here is a quote, a variation of which often is attributed to Thomas Jefferson.  While its source remains in dispute among scholars the words remain profound:

"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.

A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.

From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.

The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years."

 -- Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor 1787

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Logan, Ohio

Nestled in the hills of Hocking County just a chip shot from Conkle's Hollow and Old Man's Cave this is the only remaining company in the Western Hemisphere making washboards--and they still are doing it the old fashioned way, one at a time.

The largest washboard in the world (left) is located on the side of their factory and serves as an advertising beacon to the local, year-round tourist trade.  As you can see from the photo the board is two stories tall.

The company's history began in Columbus in 1895 when Frederick Martin Sr., started making washboards in his backyard shop and continued until he retired and sold the company to his son Frederick Jr., in 1925.

While no records exist it is thought fewer than 1,000 washboards were made during that first 30 years.  Son Frederick Jr., and his wife were active in the company until their deaths in the late 1980s.

During their first five years sales grew to over 20,000 boards per year.  By 1941 sales volume had grown to over 1,000,000 washboards per year.  From their start, the Frederick Martins produced and sold over 23,000,000 of these cordless "washing machines".

The company has been the only washboard manufacturer in the country since the late 1960s.

Diane, one of two remaining employees on the factory floor (left) continues to produce between 18 and 22 thousand boards per year at the rate of about 40 seconds each.

Forty percent of those are used for washing clothes and between 20 and 40 percent are used as musical instruments.  The rest find their way into country-style decorating and crafts.

The board's capability of making pleasing musical tones began to be noticed when glass was used in place of hard-to-acquire metal during the Second World War.

The board I purchased has its own version of two wash cycles; one for more heavy duty tasks than the other.  This is achieved by having a more robust rubbing surface on the heavy duty side.  Ingenious. 

The jig Diane is demonstrating is one of several different sizes that were designed in 1895.  Diane's machine and its siblings have been in continuous use in the factory since the early 1900s.

Mark and Nancy Meinzer and my lady Sue Brooks (center) listen as Diane describes the company's practice of supporting US troops with a care package of a board, wash tub, soap, clothesline and pins which provide a marvelous service for troops who find themselves with prolonged service under primitive conditions.

This tiny firm also was recognized by the Rand McNally folks in 2006 when it was included in a story on short vacation trips that have places like the washboard factory that boost the quality of a vacation from memorable to unforgettable.
Columbus Washboard Co.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


We left one recent Friday afternoon and headed to Jackson, OH for our annual weekend square dancing romp with the Wagon-Wheelers and their Southern Ohio Round-up.  We enjoyed dinner at the local steak house down there then danced two and a half hours to the warp-speed calling of Homer Magnet and Jack Pladdys in the Western Square Dance style.

Saturday morning we were off to Logan, OH for a visit to their glassware outlet store where I continued to bolster my Fiestaware collection then headed to the Columbus Washboard Company which manufactures their product from a by-gone era in a factory with tools of similar antiquity.

From there it was on to Nelsonville for a peek through the Rocky's boot outlet where we also pondered an excursion train ride but decided to take a leisurely ride back to Jackson for another night of high-energy dancing with a stop along the way deep in the wooded hills of Vinton County for Sue and my first-ever experience with Geo-caching led by our experienced traveling companions Mark and Nancy Meinzer.

Nancy used an application on her smartphone to lead us up an ascending, curvy, gravel road where we ultimately wound up in a ridge-top cemetery at the very dead end of the road where we found the cache via the miracle of GPS satellites and their precision in spotting very specific latitude and longitude coordinates.

The washboard and Geo-cache stories will appear here on back to back Saturdays in the following two weeks..

After yet another nice dinner and two and a half more hours of heart-pulsating dance we wrapped up the night with an ice cream treat and collapsed into an alarm clock-free night's slumber.

Sunday morning we took the back roads home using state routes 93, 664 and 13 to meander our way to Newark, OH and a visit to the Hopewell Indian Mounds where we discovered a huge area of destroyed trees from a recent storm that had left me without power for five days back home.

That's Sue, Mark and Nancy in the top photo framed by the splintered remnants of a huge, hollowed out tree trunk which had fought it's last battle with hurricane-force winds.

As we examined its remnants we discovered it had retained its relatively healthy looking canopy solely by virtue of the small, rooted "artery" of essential nutrients that had snaked up the rotted inside of the now toppled tree (left).

 From there it was on to Utica, OH and the home of the Velvet Ice Cream Company for another treat of that tasty dessert--and two more Geo-cache experiences right there on that company's park-like grounds.

The first cache was along a nature trail and contained in a camouflaged, bulk food container.  The second was in a hollowed out duck decoy which was perched atop one of the antique machines in Velvet's outdoor museum.

Please stay tuned.  Meanwhile, I need another nap as my recovery continues.




Tuesday, August 7, 2012

and a little technical chat about photography

This little lady (or fellow, your choice?) landed on the windshield of my car as I was preparing to leave home one recent morning and presented me with a view of a grasshopper seldom seen.  After pondering its presence for a moment I decided to go back in the house and retrieve a camera.

It did not move as I slid gently back behind the wheel and examined it through the 100 mm, f/2.8 Canon micro lens on my old Canon XTi Rebel body.

As I have mentioned in previous macro photos an inherent challenge in this type of photography is the very shallow depth of field (aka depth of focus).  Note the one antenna, the head, body and parts of some walking legs are in very sharp focus.

That's because they are in the same plane or same distance from the camera.  Any part of the critter closer to the camera from that plane or farther from the camera are out of focus in proportion to their distance from that plane.

Note the diagonal jumping leg on its abdomen.  While it is barely 1/8 of an inch from the plane of its body it is becoming fuzzy.  This is even more noticable with the second antenna.  Same with the walking legs.  Those under the critter to the rear are sharply focused enough to see the hair on the legs.  The three forward of that are not.

The photo was done at 1/160th of a second and f/2.8.  I was sitting in an awkward position and had to use a fairly fast shutter speed to keep the image from being blurred by camera movement.  That forced me to use the lens' minimum aperture to be correctly exposed.

The dark green background is nothing more than the woods surrounding my home thrown completely out of focus because the trees are relatively far from the zone of sharp focus, and they are mostly under exposed because they are much darker than the critter which had the advantage of indirect skylight for its illumination.

If this critter were a biological specimen (not alive) the photo could have been done on a piece of glass in a studio with the camera supported on a tripod.  With supplemental lighting a much smaller aperture, say f/22 or so, could have been used with a much longer shutter speed to increase the depth of field and achieve overall sharpness..

A higher ISO (sensitivity setting) could have been selected which can help with the shutter speed/aperture equation but that sometimes increases electronic noise in the image.  That's akin to pushing film to higher sensitivity which creates graininess.

It occurs to me, somehow, taking a picture of a mere grasshopper shouldn't be quite this technical.

But, I am pleased to report it went merrily on its way as I began to move the car--with my gratitude, of course.  


Saturday, August 4, 2012

at Keim Lumber Company, Charm, OH

Semi trucks, buggies and child-sized horse-drawn carts mingle peacefully along SR 557 as "English" folks transition  from our culture to that of the Amish from centuries gone by.  Yet, right smack in the middle of this pastoral scene in Charm, OH sits a world class lumber yard that can make contractors and craftsmen drool.

Imagine an acre or so of floor-model, high quality power tools sitting on a parquet floor with a flowing staircase which ascends to the Carpenter's Cafe where customers can enjoy sustenance and a nod to Christ's temporal occupation at the same time--if they are paying attention to such nuances.

Imagine a clock tower of polished hardwood (above) soaring as if to penetrate a three story roof highlight with inlaid and carved company logos appearing to roll around its lofty perimeter.

Imagine an entire showroom of the world's exotic woods.  Imagine a 2" thick cross-section of four foot diameter tree trunk that could be hand crafted into a table of castle quality--with an eye popping price of $4,000.

You could roll into their yard with your semi-truck and roll out with all the tools, material and equipment to build the castle of your dreams; and much of its furniture too.

It all started in the first part of the 20th Century right there in Charm when Moses J. Keim, son of Joseph, grew up learning the carpentry and woodworking trade at his home's water-powered saw mill.  In 1912, Moses and brother Abe went by train to Massillon and purchased a 25 horsepower steam engine to be the power unit in their growing mill on the very site we know today.

Much later Moses remembered getting rid of their huge sawdust piles by loading the material on wagons and spreading a 4 inch layer of it on Charm's dirt and often muddy roads.

Expansion with construction of new buildings has been continuous and today there are over 700,000 square feet under roof.  They have nearly 400 employees and some 26 trucks which offer free delivery within a 150 mile radius.

As we concluded our visit by loading Mark's lumber it was amusing to watch both Amish and English young men whiz around the yard with productive yet child-like enthusiasm in their motor powered carts.  As their work day concluded these co-workers would go home to vastly different cultures.

We know what ours is like.

Their's remains one of mostly peaceful, rural solitude with horse-drawn buggies instead of motor vehicles, with oil-powered lamps and, just maybe, a neighborhood telephone "hidden" from the bishop in a convenient tree lot.

We rolled out of Charm and watched a white-bearded member of their clan tending his pasture by dutifully clipping tall weeds the farm's livestock chose to ignore.

While we accelerated to highway speed we left behind a life that moves to a decidedly gentler melody.

Like four spokes in a giant wheel, customer service stations festooned with computers surround the base of the clock tower in the center of Kime's multi-acre, retail floor space seen in this view from the Carpenter's Cafe.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Smack in the middle of the world's largest Amish settlement, Charm, Ohio is home to the KEIM LUMBER Co., itself an incredible juxtaposition of a world-class hardware store/lumber yard surrounded for miles of bucolic farm land where shocked wheat bundles sparkle in sun drenched fields.  A young Amish adult (above), who may have ridden to work in his 19th Century buggy, tends to business at his 21st Century computer terminal assisting friend Mark Meinzer with his custom lumber order.

Please stop by Saturday and Fogeyisms will tell you more of this friendly collision of vastly different cultures.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


A young boy appears to be signalling a left turn while riding the Sky Ride toward the south on the fair's midway Sunday.  Some taller buildings in downtown Columbus are visible in the right center of the photo. 

Ohio's first state fair was a three day event held in Cincinnati in 1850.  The first fair had been planned for 1849 but was cancelled due to a cholera outbreak.  That first event was held on an 8 to 10 acre plot and cattle were tethered to a fence along a nearby carriage road.  Admission was 20 cents although a "gentleman" could purchase a badge for a buck which would admit he and two ladies. 

I am not too sure why three 20 cent tickets wouldn't be the wiser choice.

Remember, that 1850 date was just before the nation's Civil War.

The fair was moved to its current home in 1886 and has been there ever since.

A must-see at every modern fair is a cow sculpted from a solid chunk of butter.  This year that cow, (below left) being enjoyed by significant-other Sue and her sister Patsy, weights 1,900 pounds.  This display honors the fact Ohio has about 268,000 dairy cows.

My favorite component of the fair is the Ohio Department of Natural Resources area whose eight tranquil acres nearly equals the size of the entire 1850 fair.  It is an oasis in the noisy bustle of events that surrounds it.  Imagine bumping your way through a crowded midway and finding yourself in a quietly secluded butterfly garden.


This year's event runs through August 5th.