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:

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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Cincinnati – October 2016 – Renaissance Festival

Another sunny mid October day, perfect for going to the Ohio Renaissance Festival in the small town of Harveysburg, near Cincinnati. An annual event that runs every weekend from August through October, it is a 30 acre permanent village with over 100 shops and 12 outdoor stages set in a fictional 16th century English Village.

Costumed performers on stage and through the streets provide continuous entertainment. The first show we saw was a juggler who not only juggled three burning torches, but managed to balance a sword, using the pointed end, on a ball.

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After a brief stop with a comedy routine set on a large ship that was hard to follow because we were too far back, we settled into a covered area to see a sword swallower who also ate flames. I have no idea how someone gets started with this as a talent, but he was very good, and his big finish with a sword fully down him was stunning.

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Everyone, including the sword swallower, took a break as the the performing cast including the Queen and her entourage along with representatives from each festival shop make a parade past us.

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At times it is difficult to tell who is in the show and the spectators as many people came in costume.

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Our next show of the day was in the Muditorium, and was another comedy bit, this time set on a stage next to a mud pit.

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Finally we watched Dirk and Guido, who had fake sword fights, as well as tossing them back and forth to each other. They ended with a large audience participation song, complete with plenty of innuendos.

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We decided the crowd was getting too cumbersome to really enjoy the events, and we had seen the entire grounds, and many of the shows, so we called it a day, arriving in the parking lot amazed to see the sea of cars. Even with the crowds the Ohio Renaissance Festival is a highly recommended event to check out.

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Cleveland – August 2016 – World Yo Yo Championships

After looking for a variety of events I have come to the conclusion everything a person or animal can do has a world championship somewhere. Cleveland had the privilege of hosting the 2016 World Yo Yo Championships at the Renaissance Hotel on Public Square. The previous year’s event was held in Tokyo, so it was a big deal to be in Cleveland.

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The even had over 1,000 competitors from more than 30 countries, the majority of the contestants were from Asia, competing in  five styles of play: 1A (single yo-yo), 2A (double yo-yo looping), 3A (double yo-yo sleeping), 4A (offstring) and 5A (counterweight).

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We arrived to a packed hall, with people on stage practicing, while others were visiting the numerous vendors surrounding the room. We came home with a couple of yo yo’s ourselves. Not really knowing what to expect, it turned out to be a very artistic, amazing event. Who knew?

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