Columbus – December 2018 – Zoo Wildlights

It’s December which means the annual Columbus Zoo ‘Wildlights’ is back.

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We arrived early enough to check out the aquarium.

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The penguin habitat was still open (it closed at 5).

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They apparently were ready to go in for the night as they were honking very loud and often.

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The Reptile Building was open. Most of them were very active.

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The ‘Farm’ was open as well, as it was inside of a barn.

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Finally we passed a sleeping bear.

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A quick stop by the historic carousel…

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And it was sunset.

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Time for the lights.

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The lights are nice, but the animals are always the best part.

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Columbus – December 2018 – Krampus Returns

It is that season again – Krampus! For those who have forgotten, Krampus is a horned figure used to scare little German kids into behaving during Christmas so they get presents.

Columbus has a small, but colorful, Krampus parade.

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Hawaii – November 2018 – Day 8 Kona Coffee Festival

As noted previously the Kona region is famous for their coffee. Each November they have a festival to celebrate this, as well as the local culture.

Our emcee was a hoot, sort of a Hawaiian Cheech Marin.

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In addition to the coffee there were other activities occurring, including a lei making contest. The judges were very thorough, checking for stitching and display.

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All were beautiful and very different from the stereotype that you see in the media of the ring of flowers.

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There were numerous coffee growers offering samples, as well as educational displays.

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The highlight was the entertainment though. We saw a number of dance performances.

The region has a number of immigrants from Japan and the Philippines, which is where these ladies came from.

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This group had a very lively audience participation dance.

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Many of the dances were similar, yet unique in their own way.

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All ages participated.

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The final dance was a traditional hula.

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Afterwards they posed for a group photo. Hang loose dude (the hand gesture)!

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Once the dances were complete a Hawaiian guitar band took the stage. They were very talented.

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We even met the queens.

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But it was time to catch our home for the next 7 days, a small boat that will take us to new adventures. But first another great sunset.

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Cleveland – November 2018 – Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead)

In Mexican culture the Day of the Dead is celebrated the first two days of November. This celebration honors the memory of those who have passed on.

Presented by the Cleveland Public Theater and Artistas Latinos Unios, Cleveland has had a Dia de Muertos for 14 years.

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Most participants paint their faces.

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While it might seem morbid, it is in fact a joyous occasion that is intended to dispel fear of death and embracing the cycle of life.

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In Cleveland many non Latino people participated.

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While most had face paintings, traditionally hand made clay skulls are also used.

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The Cleveland Public Theater is housed in a former church. Inside they had a number of exhibits set up.

This young lady had one honoring her family.

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As did this young lady. Note in the back numerous photos and offerings to her deceased family members. Throughout the church/theater and outside in the ‘pop up’ cemetery were a number of such altars (known in Spanish as ofrendas)

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One of the event coordinators was ready.

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It was a really cool event, with lots of great looks.

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Stylish and macabre at the same time.

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Finally it was time for the procession to begin…..

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One of the bands lead the march.

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Anyone who had signed up and was in ‘costume’ could participate.

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Some clearly had spent more time putting together their look.

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One of my favorites.

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Many entire families participated.

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This young lady had the face painting but the rest of her family wore the masks.

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Happy skeletons!

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The origins date back thousands of years and coincide with the annual harvest. It combined Aztec and Christian practices.

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Today is has become so popular in the United States even places like Party City sell merchandise for the celebration, although these ladies clearly did better than going down the local Party City.

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Not sure why, but it seems every Cleveland parade has a number of people on stilts. But what’s not to like in a 10′ skeleton lady coming down Detroit Avenue!

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More stilted skeletons.

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A few had more simple masks, which this guy used to accent his great suit.

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Historically in Cleveland most of the Latinos were Puerto Rican, but they too have embraced the event.

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Also participating was a Horse Drawn Funeral Carriage. Note the very stylish job on the horse’s hooves.

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The carriage had a mannequin complete with mask.

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Dia de Mertos was a fantastic event – I can’t wait for next November. Look for one in a city near you.

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Columbus – October 2018 – Highball

Columbus, despite being a medium sized city not on either of the coasts, is known as a fashion city primarily because it is the home of the Limited Brands. As a result there are more clothing fashion designers in Columbus than anywhere else in America except Los Angeles and New York.

The annual Halloween festival, Highball, is intended to mix fashion with Halloween. Unfortunately for us, we were there too early in the evening, and it was raining, so the crowd as sparse. Despite this, we did see some great looks….

All the ticket sellers at the north end were in 1920s looks.

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The beer truck people were ready…

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While it was mostly adults, a couple of kids came along (again we were there much too early for the really good crowds – next year we will go much later in the evening).

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Luigi and Friends.

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Johnny Ramone and friend.

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The first band was dressed from the Wizard of Oz.

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Dorothy was the lead singer and keyboardist.

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The Tin Man apparently had a synthesizer.

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And coupled on backup singing with the lead guitarist the Lion

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While the Scarecrow was on drums.

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Likely the only male Indian nun in Columbus..

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This group has their seasons mixed up, they are ready for Christmas far too early.

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Party On Wayne – Party on Garth.

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A really knit beard.

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Steam Punk meets Scottish.

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What happens when light swords appear.

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Battles ensue.

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They were fashionable in the drizzle.

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The next band were all super heroes.

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Including the lead singer in drag as Wonder Woman.

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A Bat Bass.

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Finally we had had enough drizzle, and the crowds were still getting drunk in nearby bars, or at the hockey game, so we decided to head on out.

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But not before we were greeted by one more group. Next year – hopefully no rain, and we will go much later to get the real show…

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Cleveland – September 2018 – IngenuityFest

Each September IngenuityFest occurs in Cleveland. It is tough to explain exactly what IngenuityFest is, but their website describes it as ‘sparking creativity among artists, entrepreneurs and innovators of all types, through job and collaboration, in service to civic progress.

What that means is you will find music, lots of music….

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Interesting art….

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Unique performances like a belly dancer will lit candles on her head….

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A lampshade that looks like a cloud….

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A lamp made out of an old drill….

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Really cool art….

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More music….

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A room that you stand in front of a projector and it turns you into a stick person that moves as you move….(a selfie)

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More music….

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The musicians we heard were all quite good.

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The octopus that ate the Terminal Tower.

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These guys were demonstrating their robot that can paint lines on roads, but for this they were making a large painting on the parking lot.

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Held in a hundred year old former factory (where Fuel Cleveland was held a few months ago), even the venue was re-purposed.

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IngenuityFest is one unique event.

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Marysville, Ohio – September 2018 – Bluesgrass on a Covered Bridge

What do you do with a covered bridge that is no longer viable for traffic – close it and put it in a park. Once a year they hold a bluegrass festival on the bridge.

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The shuttle was rustic (we walked).

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Although more stylish rides were available.

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The covered bridge was decked out with lighting, including the only chandelier I have ever seen on a bridge.

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The first band we saw was the Rock Island Plow Company.

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The dobro player was very good.

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With a couple of exceptions, they played traditional bluegrass.

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There was a second ‘stage’ where individuals played.

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The last band we watched was the Tyler Williams Band.

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‘Emily’ the bass player had a cool, thin electric bass.

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Tyler, who has been blind from birth, was a great guitarist.

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He had a unique finger picking style to his play.

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Emily also provided excellent vocals to the band.

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It was a unique setting for some traditional music, and worth the couple of hours we stayed.

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