by Donna MacMeans
It's fair and festival season! I've counted up 33 festivals in Ohio in the month of August, and that does not include the massive Ohio State Fair. Most of these involve food - beyond the "everything fried on a stick" variety. There's the Caramel Festival, the Sweet Corn Festival, Zucchini Fest, many rib fests and Vintage Ohio Festival (Wine). We also have a Frog jumping festival, a Twins Day festival (in Twinsburg, Ohio) and an Asian Cultural Festival. Last weekend I went to one of my favorites - the Irish Festival in Dublin, Ohio.
Now I told my husband that it was absolutely necessary that I go ogle all those men in kilts. My work-in-process involves an Irish hero, and this was research! So I grabbed my camera and tape recorder and drove on over.
I must say I've never seen so many men in kilts - plaid kilts, camouflage kilts, and the versatile carpenter kilts (with pockets on the side). Noted on a Tshirt "If I wore something underneath, it would be called a skirt."
I arrived to witness the end of the caber toss. That's when the participant lifts, carries, and tosses an 18-21 foot tree trunk that weighs 90 - 150 lbs. I did manage to catch the Weight for Height competition whereupon the competitor must throw a 42 or 56 lb. weight over a high bar. The picture is a little hard to see, but the guy to the far left is preparing to toss the weight.
I saw cultural events, re-enactors, replicas of medieval weapons, a re-enactment of a wake, a man weaving cloth, another telling old Irish stories (which I have on tape so I can listen to the accents).
I participated in a taste testing of Irish whiskeys and learned about the distilling process. (Research, all research!)
And I saw Irish wolfhounds (catch this guy out), Irish setters, and terriers.
And then there was the music...I'm guessing there were five or six stages - each with performers singing baudy ballads. Wonderful. Great food, great music, great weather.
I'm on the road today - not to another festival, but returning from a speaking engagement. But I'd love to hear about the festivals in your neck of the woods. What's your favorite festival food? activity? Any festival stories you can share? I'll check in once I'm back safe and sound.
In the meantime:
May you have the hindsight to know where you've been,
The foresight to know where you are going,
And the insight to know when you have gone too far.