Columbus – December 2017 – Krampus

This year I learned something new, the legend of ‘Krampus’.  According to the legend (and Wikipedia), Krampus is a half goat- half demon who during the Christmas season punishes children who have been bad. Over time the legend coupled Krampus with Saint Nicholas to encourage children to be good.

For a full description please see the Wiki link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krampus

Krampus celebrations are a big deal in Germany, Austria and other countries in the region. This was the first I had seen any celebrations in the states, and while small, was entertaining.

The group gathered in the a parking lot in the Clintonville neighborhood of Columbus.

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Noise makers and elaborate costumes were the order of the day.

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Apparently the Grinch and Mrs Grinch fit the bill as well. The costumes were great.

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Three horned ladies.

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The legend says they use sticks to ‘whip the children into behaving’. Clearly not a 21st century approach.

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The parade went down the sidewalk for about 3 blocks.

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I behaved myself.

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Another Krampus monster.

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Mrs Claus has a new look, along with apparently a Clint Eastwood fan. Hopefully this celebration catches on and grows larger each year – it is a nice change from the repetitiveness of the usual Christmas celebrations and festivals.

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Columbus – December 2017 – Revisiting the Chinese Lantern Festival

December has brought the Chinese Lantern Festival back to town. Celebrating the art and craft of Sichuan, China, the lanterns are a beautiful combination of fabrics and light.

As you enter the grounds you are immediately greeted by a canopy of lanterns.

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The displays are very large – the one below is approximately 50′ across by 15′ high.

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Many dealt with wildlife, most coming from the Chinese Calendar.

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More nature is celebrated with giant flowers.

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The Lovers arches.

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This year the entertainment was moved inside, avoiding the extreme cold that often occurs in December in Ohio. These young ladies had amazing agility and strength.

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The face-changing actor was the only return act from last year  – still amazing.

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The plate spinners. While we don’t often repeat activities the Chinese Lantern Festival will be an annual event.

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Hyderabad – November 2017 – The Charminar and the Market

The Charminar is a monument and mosque in the Old City section of Hyderabad. Given that we passed on a Friday (Muslim Holy Day) the area was packed with the market in the surrounding area. Unfortunately we were unable to tour the interior because of it being Friday.

 

There were numerous fruit stands.

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Rug delivery by bicycle.

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One of the many buildings with numerous small shops, most had displays out in the street. The old city had far more took tooks than it the newer areas near Hi-Tech City.

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A close up of the Charminar – note the bamboo scaffolding.

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An overview of the area.

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The shopping apparently complete it was time to march home.

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Past the chick pea (??) vendor

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And out of town.

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Circleville, Ohio – October 2017 – Pumpkin Show

Each year for 111 years the small Ohio town of Circleville has had a Pumpkin Show in October, where people from all over the region bring their giant pumpkins to be crowned king/queen of the show.

While there is much that is pumpkin themed in reality it is about 1000 fried food stands with 20,000 fried food people jammed along the streets. But still how can you not appreciate pumpkin art as a hamburger and fries.

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Pumpkin Pyramid

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Combining the two big events, the eclipse and pumpkins.

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The winner, 1701 pounds of pumpkin.

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And when you have spent all your cash on fried things, you get in the long line for the ATM for more money under the watchful eye of a giant blow up pumpkin.

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Chicago – October 2017 – Open House Chicago – Part 1

Open House Chicago is an annual event where over 200 buildings open up for free tours. Most of the buildings aren’t normally even open to visitors, so it is even more special to get to see inside.

We spent two very long days touring as many as possible.

 

Our first stop was the Federal Reserve Bank, where they have a money museum.

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Next door is the Chicago Board of Trade, featuring a large vault in the basement housing safe deposit boxes, including one was used by Al Capone.

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The lobby of the Board of Trade Building is magnificent.

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Further up South LaSalle Street we were able to go up to a 22nd floor outdoor seating area of a financial firm.

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The lobby of 231 South LaSalle Street is very ornate, although cluttered with the Cubs ‘W’ flag because of the playoffs.

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One of the few lines we encountered was at the famed Rookery Building. On this day we could go up to the spiral staircase.

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The view from below leading up the staircase is equally impressive.

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The lobby at 1 North LaSalle Street continues with the Art Deco style of most of the buildings on the street,

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Another basement, another safe deposit section. This one was massive.

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One of the newest buildings is 150 North Riverside, with it’s tapered bottom.

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The position of 150 North Riverside at the corner of the branches of the Chicago River offered great views in all directions.

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Back on the ground for a panorama of the area.

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The Builders Building also has a great lobby.

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The Michigan Avenue lift bridge was open with views of the gears and the opportunity to go up to the tower.

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Chicago – October 2017 – Open House Chicago – Part 2

Part two of the tour starts at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. The tour indicated you could go on stage, which I was expecting a large concrete pad. Instead it was a beautiful wood stage with the risers for the orchestra behind it.

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Outside was the famed curved metal of the pavilion.

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Not officially part of the tour we went past the tourists at the Bean.

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The Maclean Center Grand Ballroom is the home of an art school.

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The famed Railway Exchange Building had an architectural firm open on the fifth floor, giving a rare view above the skylights.

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Along with a nice view of Millennium Park.

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111 West Monroe Street was the home of another architectural firm who had some great models that they have designed and built.

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Yet another firm down the street in the National Building had a visually interesting work on the entrance wall.

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While not open we passed by the Sears Tower (now Willis Tower)

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Also not officially part of the tour, but always open and interesting is Union Station.

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Our final stop in the Ravenswood neighborhood is the Ravenswood Events Center. Once a sign factory someone has purchased it and restored it to show off their exotic cars.

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