While Asheville and Akron Ohio are about 100 miles apart for one weekend they share something in common, a collection of weird people with weird, but very cool, talents.
Ashville was first on a Saturday for the annual Viking Festival. While we didn’t see many Vikings, and no Viking ships since there didn’t appear to be any water anywhere, we did observe a group that clearly spend time at renaissance festivals. In addition to their costumes most had exhibits, and an in depth knowledge, such as knife making, as well as some fire eaters and jousters.
On Sunday we were in Akron for the Oddmall, an eclectic collection of crafts. Many towns have hacked Portland’s (or Austin’s) motto – keep (fill in your city here) weird, but the group there did their best to Keep Akron Weird.
As most people know Akron has been the home of Soap Box Derby since the 1930s. Each July kids, parents and supporters make the pilgrimage to Akron from all over the World.
Upon arrival we made our way to the top, where the pits are. Almost immediately we met a group from New Zealand, including their pit boss.
Also topside is the ‘Hall of Fame’, all of the winning cars, including a couple of infamous ones that were originally winners until they were found to have cheated.
This is one sport where the girls have just as good a chance as the boys.
The racing action was great.
In the end it is a long day for the kids, but well worth it ….
Each Father’s Day Stan Hywet Hall in Akron hosts an exceptional classic car show. Stan Hywet is not a person, rather it is an old English phrase for Stone Quarry.
The house on the estate was built for the Seiberling family in the 1920s, and is one of the largest in America at 65,000 square feet. Seiberling founded Goodyear, where he made enough money for this mansion and the original 3000 acres that surrounded it.
It does however make for a spectacular setting for a car show.
The show takes places on the large lawn in front of the house.
An added bonus was being able to tour the grounds and gardens, completing a great day.
The Akron Rubber Bowl was a stadium that was opened in 1940 as a WPA project, with a capacity of nearly 40,000. The stadium was used primarily by the University of Akron for football, but also hosted Cleveland Browns and Rams games, high school games, and numerous concerts including Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, the Rolling Stones, and many others.
With a new stadium built on campus in 2007 the Rubber Bowl became vacant. While there have been a number of schemes for re-use it was still empty in 2013 when they were auctioning off the components of the stadium (in theory to remodel it – never happened). People bought piles of bleacher seats, astroturf and other sundry stuff.
As with many old stadiums it was sad to see the state it was in, and it hsan’t gotten any better.
Akron was the host for a ‘Gravity Games‘, taking place in and around the grounds of the famous Akron Soap Box Derby Hill where a 3/4 of a mile road course was setup coming down city streets onto the access road to Fulton Airport.
A huge start ramp was set up at the top of the course to launch the riders, dropping them onto Washington Boulevard before turning left towards Derby Downs.
There were 5 different categories of races; Open Downhill Skateboarding, Women’s Downhill Skateboarding, Junior I Downhill Skateboarding (8-13 years), Junior II downhill Skateboarding (14-17 years), Street Luge and Classic Luge.
Firestone Country Club is located in the south side of Akron, in anotherwise fairly nondescript neighborhood. Firestone however has hosted numerous major golf tournaments, and continues to host a World Golf Championship stop.
These events, separate from the PGA Tour, attract all of the top name golfers from around the world. As usual I went out on a practice round so I could photograph the event.
Deep Lock Quarry is a Summit County Ohio Metro Park, located near Peninsula, Ohio. Ironically it sits in the middle of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
The park is named for the discarded millstones and building foundations that are found along the trail, which leads Deep Lock Quarry.
The lock is the deepest lock on the Ohio & Erie Canal, which the Towpath Trail runs beside. The time we were there we were fortunate enough to have the CVNP Train go by.