Latrobe, PA – Late Summer 2016 Road Trip – Day 1 – Going Bananas

The weekend before Labor Day we took off for yet another road trip, this one with plans to go up the east coast as far as Newfoundland, but first we had to stop in Greensburg, Pennsylvania for a wedding. But there is no sense in going somewhere without finding something unusual to see or do, and this day was no different. Before the wedding we stopped in Latrobe to visit the Banana Split Festival.

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The city of Latrobe celebrated the 100th anniversary of the invention of the banana split in 2004 and, in the same year, the National Ice Cream Retailers Association certified Latrobe as its birthplace.  It is the place of an annual Great American Banana Split Celebration and a keeper of the original soda fountain where the first confection was made by David Strickler, an apprentice pharmacist at Tassel Pharmacy.  The downtown area was filled with vendors selling various items.  The festival t-shirt sported the slogan “you had me at bananas” referring to the Jerry Maguire movie quote “you had me at hello.”. It seemed everything, and everyone had gone bananas.

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We stayed long enough to see the pie eating contest.  A table with 48 pies proudly warming up in the morning sun waiting on the contestants, who were lined up on a very long table set up along a sidewalk. Most appeared to have entered from challenges from friends, approximately 20 people in all (many pies were left unchallenged). With looks ranging from concern to amusement the contest began. Almost immediately one of the contested reached over and rammed her friends face into his pie!

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90 Second late it was over…the champion from last year won again this year by eating a complete banana cream pie loaded with whip cream topping and the crust in less than 90 seconds. Most of the other people had barely started on theirs. By doing this he received a decorated belt with a silver metal engraved buckle presented to him by the designer of the belt that would put most big time wrestling belts to shame. In addition the winner won $100 and the honor of posing with a giant cookie from the sponsor and provider of the pies, Eat N Park.

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Oh yes – the guy who had his contested messed up by the pie push got his revenge.

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The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent at the wedding and reception, held at Lakeview in Greensburg, where they have a replica Statue of Liberty. At the end of the reception there were fireworks, where with the right angle it looked like the real thing.

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Columbus – July 2016 – Cars, Jazz, Ribs, Pies and More Cars

A Saturday in late July brought a number of events in the area so we made a full day of it. First up – a Custom Car show down Main Street in Delaware, Ohio. While this car show was nowhere near a nice as the one at Greenfield Village, or even the Good Guys Show at the Ohio State Fairgrounds, they still had a significant number of cars lining both sides of the street for 5 blocks. Nearly all were American, most were customized, but still a nice diversion to start of a long, hot day.

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From there we went downtown to the Jazz & Ribs Festival, along the Scioto Mile. This was one instance that the music was better than the food. We spent a couple of hours listening to a variety of the bands, and enjoying the sights and smells of the rib booths.

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But it was hot – so we moved on to a brief visit to the Audubon Park, just south of downtown Columbus, where I had the opportunity to use my new zoom, taking photos of an Osprey nest, with their wings fully expanded.

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Finally we went to the Franklin County Fairgrounds for two events I had seen advertised earlier, a pie eating contest and a demolition derby. The pie eating contest was a hoot, with the contesting eating cream pies. The contestants ranged from intense, jam their entire face into the pies to ladies who were hesitant to get anything on their faces. The saving grace was our seat was in front of giant fans.

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Last up was the demolition derby, where we went directly after the pie eating, luckily jamming ourselves onto a couple of seat since most of the crowd had sent scouts to camp out and save seats throughout the 2000 seat metal stands. By the time the nect 30 minutes had passed, and the temperature had cooled off to 95 degrees, the place was packed with stereotypical demolition derby fans. After a couple of events (kids big wheel derby, lawn mower demolition derby and a couple with cars) we were done with the heat and headed home. A busy day – but not one of the best.

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