1520 Davidson Dr,
Reynoldsburg, OH 4306
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
Sidebar: Don’t make the mistake I did. Enter the park from Livingston Avenue instead of Main Street. The parking closest to Main St. was full. There was ample grass or paved parking near the Livingston Ave. entrance. The price was right for parking, free.
This event was free, but pop (soda), water and Gatorade were $2. Most beer, wine, and the Bloody Mary bar were $6. The wrist bands to ride the rides were $20. Tickets were $1 each or 24 tickets for $20. Each ride on the average required 3 to 5 tickets. A wrist band or ticket was required to ride the rides.
Sidebar: This is how the website (reytomatoefest.com) describes the tomato war: “One open round of up to 150 goggle wearing participants will divide and face off in a battle where there are no losers. Participants will toss rotten tomatoes til there are no more”. I envisioned tomatoes swarming with flies and mold filled being smashed in someone’s face from about a foot away. Each team was separated by several feet. This seemed to be a safe and fun activity.
(Interview with Steven Hicks) Why did you participate in the Tomato War?
We are excited about the life they are breathing into the Tomato Festival. A lot of people are excited about the festival this year. We thought we would participate because it would be a heck of a lot of fun. We get to throw tomatoes at each other and have a big food fight. I hope this is a tradition we can do every year and have a lot of fun doing it.
Anything you would like to add (Grace Hicks)?
I like getting dirty, so this was pretty fun.
Why did everyone want to hit you or get you even before the Tomato War began.
I have been part of the community for 25 years. I officiate 5 different sports. I do a lot for the city of Reynoldsburg. Every sport they have, I do. A lot of the parents and kids know me. The one time they can get me back is right now.
They really didn’t get you back because you look clean.
Trained skill. You got to dodge and weave.
This is the first Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival in a while. How long was it gone?
It has been gone for about 2 years. This is the first year it’s been back. The city of Reynoldsburg is running it. It is a little more organized. It’s very well put together. We are looking forward to the future.
Why are you dressed this way?
I helped with the Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival junior pageant. I had the opportunity to crown the Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival junior pageant contestants.
Tell me about what you are wearing.
I was just crowned Today’s International Woman’s Mrs 2019 this past Saturday. In Greenville, SC.
Did you come all the way from Greenville?
I am from Reynoldsburg, OH and I competed in Greenville.
Tell me about the process.
I automatically advanced from Ohio to the national and international pageant. I had the opportunity to compete and I won.
What was your talent?
It was not about talent, but my platform. My platform is called faith of a poppy seed which is premature awareness. My daughter was born 11 weeks early. She weighed 1 pound, 13 ounces at 29 weeks. I told myself and I told God, if you get us through this, I am going to dedicate my life to premature awareness. Here we are.
Interview with Senhet Sefe
You are doing what and representing what?
This booth is for Stuco which is our student council at Reynoldsburg High School. We are bringing awareness to the events that we are having this year and to have a little fun, we have Jenga for everyone to play.
What is Jenga?
It is a game where you stack up the blocks and you pull out blocks one by one and put them on top. Whoever makes it fall, loses.
What are the events that you are highlighting?
The homecoming parade, homecoming game, homecoming dance, the winter carnival in December, the Sadie Hawkins Dance, and the prom.
How does a person get on the student council?
At the beginning of the year, a person can join. There is an orientation where you sign up for the committees. For example special Olympics, or game day committees for tail gate, to help organize a fund raiser, etc. If you don’t participate, you are off.
Can a person be an F student and serve on the student council?
Sidebar: Things have changed!
Not your ordinary kickball games:
Interview with Shalom
Why did you participate in kick ball?
The mission of Collision Church is to get out in the community and to reach the unchurched who need some love. What better way for us to get out into the community than to be in the community? What better way than kickball. Even though we are not the best at the game, we wanted to come out and show people that church folks are not stuck up, can get dirty, have fun, and love life too.
Tell me about your church.
Service time is 11:00am on Sundays. The service is contemporary. It is not odd for our pastor to wear jeans and a tee shirt preaching. Sometimes shorts and a tee shirt. We have a café where we offer specialized coffee drinks, iced lattes, regular coffee, expresso drinks, etc. The café starts at 10:15 am until 10:45 am. Come out, have some fun and have some good coffee.
Any specific outreach?
We are here at the Tomato Festival. We have done some events in JFK Park. We are still looking for opportunities to get out and serve in the community.
You made a great play at first base. What is your background?
I started attending the Simple Church about two years ago. I love it. We are a family, so it makes it fun to come out and play. This is one of our grow groups. It is an opportunity to get to know one another and be athletic.
I played college soccer at Ohio Dominican University, so that is where I get my catching from. The stretching is just a gift from God.
Does your church have a kickball team?
We are going to play in the city of Reynoldsburg’s league. This is our team that we are playing with.
Why did you participate?
We put this together at the last minute. This is a dream run. Our team has good teamwork. We are going hard trying to win. Team unity, hang out, and have fun.
Tell me about your church.
We are so good that we have out of towners coming in. Deon Fraiser is the pastor and a great guy. Fun to listen to. Church is fun.
My take: The Tomato War and kick ball are “special sauce” activities. I think activities of this type bring people together to connect on a more meaningful level. If I didn’t have my camera gear, I would have participated in both activities.
Ohio State Fair
717 E 17th Ave.
Columbus, OH 43211
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
For as long as I can remember, I have attended the Ohio State Fair. My father took me to the fair for the first time when I was two years old. I really don’t remember going; but, my mother told me that I came home with vanilla ice cream all over my face and my clothes. The first memory I have of attending the fair is when I went with my cousins to spend the day at the fair. I remember budgeting my money to play a few games, as well as ride the bumper cars, and go in the fun house. Since that time, I have gone to the fair to see concerts, to eat, to enjoy the attractions, to ride a few rides, etc. We have made attending the fair a family tradition for several years.
Each year we park for $5 in the lots off the 17th Avenue exit off interstate 71.
Sidebar: I don’t think I have ever paid full price for the fair admission. We usually attend on AAA day. This year, the admission was $4 per person once we showed our valid AAA card. Discounted tickets can also be purchased at Kroger.
Many attend the fair for the rides:
Sidebar: My days of riding the rides are about over. If I’m tired and the ride is going to get me to my car faster, then sign me up. Otherwise, I’m going to pass.
For us, this year, it was all about the performances:
Each year, my mother insists that we attend the All Ohio State Choir performance at the Martin Janis Senior Citizen Center. According to https://ohiostatefair.com/band-choir/ the choir has 200 members. I enjoyed the melodious sound of the choir and the comfortable air-conditioned seating. The musical selections were accompanied by students playing the piano. Everyone did an excellent job.
The pig races are a featured attraction every year. Even though it is about the same each year, this race is always well attended. Since we have already seen the pig races, we still enjoy seeing a few minutes of it on the way to the featured show.
The Human Cannonball Crusaders show was worth the price of admission!
Were you ever afraid of heights? How did you get into this?
I was never afraid of heights. I saw an amateur circus in my home town when I was thirteen years old. I saw the high wire act and decided I wanted to do that. The next year I was in the high wire act.
Have you done it consistently since that time?
I have taken a few breaks. I worked construction. That is what I still do in my off time. These are the two jobs I have done since I graduated high school and I still do them.
How high was the high wire?
Did you have a net?
No net and no safety devices.
Tell me about the act.
I have been a human canon ball for twenty two years. I have been shot about 7,000 times. I just did the tv show “America’s Got Talent”, where I lit myself on fire and was shot from a cross bow.
How did you get into this?
I live in Peru, IN and they have an amateur circus for kids. I did that every year since I was eight years old. When I graduated from high school, I went professional. I did flying trapeze for sixteen years. After that, I decided to build a canon and have been doing that ever since.
Did you build this canon?
Yes. I have built seven canons. Now, I have three canons and a cross bow.
Do you have some unique George Jetson fuel?
Yeah, I keep it a secret, since I design and build them. I don’t reveal how it works. I am self taught. I designed it, build it, then taught myself how to fly out of it.
The “Flippin’- The Aerial and Acrobatic Spectacular” show was a new attraction at the Fair. It was worth the price of admission! It was fantastic!
According to https://ohiostatefair.com/band-choir/, the band has been around since 1963. (That’s a long time!) We always enjoy the music; but, we seek out the band primarily to see the drum major. My mom taught baton lessons as a teen ager at the Neighborhood house for $.50 per student. I won’t tell her age; but, it was SEVERAL DECADES ago.
Sidebar: I loved the girl in the back performing! Give her a couple of years she just might be able to take her show on the road.
Sidebar: I was walking by the Gazebo and saw Drew Murry shoving this balloon in his mouth. Then he talked after he appeared to swallow it. Due to a time constraint, I wasn’t able to see him pull it back, but he said he was going to do that later. This falls into the category of how did he do that?
Other things to see:
My TakeThere is so much to see at the Ohio State Fair. There is no way you can see everything the fair has to offer in one day. The Ohio State Fair is what you make it. It is a great opportunity to start and continue a family/friend tradition. Your fair experience could be completely different than my fair experience. But, at the end of the day, the memories are still priceless.
Rocket Fizz (soda pop and candy shop)
944 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43201
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
Tell me about the store and your claim to fame.
The store is a small francise out of Camarillo, California. I helped open this one with my buddy from high school and his wife (Colin and Lyndsay Maher). We opened about four and a half years ago and we have been a staple of the Short North ever since.
What are your best sellers?
Our Harry Potter looking butter beer and candy cigarettes.
What is the vibe of the store?
We have over 500 different types of soda at any one time and upwards of a few thousand different candies. We have about 10,000 items that we can order. I’m not sure of the exact date, but I believe the floors are about a hundred years old. People comment about the charm of the “creaky” old floors. The old hardware store look and feel. Everything is for sale, the signs, the posters, the masks, etc.
Sidebar: The music is piped outside. The music is popular and familiar from different eras. For example, “Ain’t too proud to beg” by the Temptations and “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson. This helps to stir up memories of older times.
Are there any flavors that were discontinued?
Recently, black jack and clove just came back. My dad told me that they used to put black jack on their front teeth so it looked like they didn’t have front teeth from a distance.
Clove was originally sold at the pharmacy as a stomach soother. It also was used by smokers to mask the smell.
Sidebar: According to oldtimecandy.com, clove was used to cover the smell of alcohol during prohibition. According to oldtimecandy.com. black jack was the first flavored gum in America (1884).
For research sake, I tasted both gums. The clove had a medicinal taste. I’m not a fan of the licorice flavor, so my assessment of black jack wouldn’t be fair. At first, the licorice taste was overwhelming, but after a while the flavor was almost enjoyable. Both flavors tasted better the longer they were in my mouth.
When we first opened, people were pouring in because co-founder/President Rob Powells went on the TV show, “Undercover Boss”.
My take: I LOVE THE VIBE OF THE STORE. This is a stretch with the vibrant colors but it reminds me of the store set of the Andy Griffith show (if the Andy Griffith show was in color). It is a great place to go to shoot the breeze, go down memory lane, and make new memories.
455 S Westgate Ave.
Columbus, OH 43204
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
This years’ theme for Summer Jam West was “the peace train”.
Sidebar: This was a festival packed with a lot of activities so pace yourself.
Tell me about your car.
This is a 1976 Chevy Malibu. I have been working on it 20 years. It was given to me. It was decorated at a county fair in California. It was a mess. I had to spend the first two years taking things off. Then, I started putting things on. The theme is the garden of good and evil. I have three art cars. This is my medium.
Tell me about your ride.
I do a girls rhythm and rock camp in the summer. My theme is female characters and music events. It is a Kia Sol so, I named it Soul Sister. Ramona and Greg talked me into it. Once you start it, you will be hooked. I started at the Hot Times Festival about a year and a half ago.
I love it! People come up and talk to you that never would. You can be parked somewhere random and people come over. It makes people happy. People are always taking pictures. It is like having the Doo Dah parade 365 days a year.
Is this your ride (primary car)?
We are alternative music from right here, in Columbus, Ohio. We have been a band for about three years. We have new music coming out November 2 at the Basement (our second EP (extended play) record release). We are so excited.
What is the name of your first project?
Our first EP is called “Ghost of You.” You can find that on any place where music is streamed.
Sidebar: In the first picture, you can see the top of the little girl’s head. The girl dished the line to tell Kenzie Coyne how much she loved the music. The interaction between them was priceless!
There were a lot of kid’s activities:
There were activities for all ages:
One of the highlights of this festival is watching members of the Chalk Guild create live chalk art.
Tell me what you do and how it feels to be the inspiration of live art.
I’d say music, but I also do photography on the side. This makes me really happy. I have known Hillary for years. I went to school with her kids. What an honor. She is really talented.
Tell me about your band.
I’m in a band called Snarls. I’d say we do alternative rock. We have an all female front end (female guitarist) and Max on drums. We like to play downtown. We went on a couple of tours. We are just trying to get the ball rolling. We have been together for a year and a half.
I am 19. I am just starting to get myself out there. If you follow me and you like my stuff, please don’t hesitate to message me. I am willing to work with anybody.
Is this a family affair?
It is a family affair and I also do it on my own. We have been doing this since 2013 in Texas.
Did you drive all the way from Texas to participate?
No. We moved here about two and a half years go. We live in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am part of the Chalk Guild. They told me about Summer Jam West and that is why my family is participating.
Is this your day gig?
This is a weekend gig. I have another art related job where I work with kids. This stuff I like to do on the side: commission and mural work.
We are passionate about sharing art, love, and faith. It all comes together when you create stuff.
Tell me about yourself and what you are doing today.
I have been doing chalk since 2014. I do it about five or six times a year. Today, I am doing John Lennon. I am named after Paul McCartney. I figure I would do John Lennon since it is the peace train. I have been an artist since I was sixteen. I went to Ringling Arts School in Sarasota and graduated in 1989. I just moved back to Ohio about five years ago. There is a big chalk scene in Florida. The weather is perfect there all year around. I’m glad they have a chalk scene here.
Give peace a chance. Imagine peace because that is what the world needs.
Tell me about your organization.
We are a non-profit community bike shop or a bicycle cooperative. We provide a space where people can come in and use our stand, use our tools, and get help fixing up their bike. If you are an experienced mechanic, we have all the tools, grease, or anything you might want at a professional grade bike shop to do repairs. If you are a novice, we have volunteer mechanics on hand to coach you through the process, so you learn about bike maintenance and repair. We do classes. We have community rides. We support youth programs all over the city. We do a lot of things centered around community building bicycles.
Tell me about the rides.
We have two monthly bike rides. Community ride is education focused. We take people on a 5 mile tour of Franklinton and the downtown area the third Wednesday evening of the month.. It is a really pretty ride. We ask people to pre-register. We have a ride leader and a sweep to make sure people don’t get left behind. We talk about different traffic situations as we go. The other one is our coffee outside ride series. We bike to a different metro park. The first Sunday of the month at 9.30am. We start at the bike shop, then ride to the park and brew coffee at the park, socialize, chat for a while, then ride back. Typically, those rides are ten miles each way.
What about a bathroom?
I make sure that there is at least a portajohn.
Franklinton Cycle Works is for everybody. If you enjoy riding a bike, I think we have something for you. Check us out online. Come visit us. I think it is a good community to be a part of and we would like to have you.
Sidebar: I included pictures of children creating art to demonstrate centrifugal force
at the Cosi Festival (https://www.614whats2love.com/home/cosi-science-festival). I wanted to do it then, but there were children waiting. Today, there was no line, so I did it!
Tell me about your band.
We started about ten years ago with a band called “Pirates of the Scioto.” Then me and Lynn, the guitarist, separated from them and started “Zoo Trip.” Then, rebranded to “Zoo Trippin’.” We have been around for about five years as “Zoo Trippin’.”
What type of rock?
I would say, we are blues based rock. It is alternative as well. We have a little funk, a little soul and a little hip hop.
I have heard you play at other festivals. Are you gonna keep all your clothes on today?
Summer Jam West is very family friendly. I have received emails giving me a heads up that it is family friendly.
Sidebar: At another festival down town he started the set with a hat, shirt, tie, and pants by the end of the set, he had on a neck tie and boxer shorts.
Is this event important to you because you grew up in this area?
Very much so. I’m from the Hilltop. We didn’t have a whole lot of stuff like this when we were growing up. It is really cool that you can see music and do all these arts. You can get a $1 pop and a $1 snow cone with all the inflation going on in the world. We had the bean dinner and that was kind of nice, but that was it.
You should have asked me who are hugs and kisses.
Where do you see hugs and kisses, what are you talking about?
Hugs and Kisses is Columbus’ best kept secret. They are a theatrical act.
Are you part of it?
No, not at all. I just love talking about it because they are so rare and mind blowing.
Sidebar: Talking to Tony Casa was a breath of fresh air. It is rare that performers mention other performers. After this conversation, I made it a point to stay an extra half an hour to listen to most of their set. They had the crowd hyped. My personal favorite in the set was “Signed, Sealed Delivered, I’m Yours.”
My Take: Fellowship around the arts has the ability to bring us together by starting a conversation (if we make the effort). This festival is balanced in what is offered. There is something for everyone.
120 W Goodale St.
Columbus, OH 43215
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
Why this unique look, why Comfest?
I just had it on and I wanted to bring it around. I made it earlier this year and I wanted to show it off to people.
Do you sell these pieces?
On a custom basis. If somebody wanted one, then they would have to sit down and have it fit around them.
What is the price range?
For the one I am wearing, the mask piece would be between $500 and $600. The chest piece would also be about $500 to $600.
Is there a club to which you are a member or are you just being you and showing up?
I’m just being me and showing up.
Sidebar: I love it! Confident in being unique!
Interview conducted with her daughter for MaryAnne as she was deaf in one ear and the music was loud.
Why does she come?
She likes looking at what she calls the crazy people and watch everybody dance. She always loved music and dancing.
Get your elders out into the public. Don’t leave them locked up in nursing homes. Get them out so they can mix it up.
What’s your name? What are you doing?
Jesse Jam. I’m walking on stilts.
Do you travel around to festivals?
We like to get high for a living. We put our stilts on and go where the party is.
Stilt walking saves lives.
Tell me what you are doing, what you are running for, and what is your platform.
I’m out here in the hot heat at Comfest. We are getting people registered to vote. Why?
Because I am running for Columbus City Schools Board. We want to make sure we are protecting public education and advancing education for all students to get a high quality education. We want all of our historic buildings to be rebuilt and for all of our staff and teachers to have a living wage so they are not working two or three jobs. We want our students have wrap around services and where our families are partners in the learning process where they are not afraid to come in the building to ask questions or volunteer.
Like us on social media dr_tinapierce. Encourage all our students to read for 20 to 30 minutes to avoid the summer slide. Do some math. Count some money.
This is what I do professionally. I teach fitness everywhere around Columbus. I have been doing this for six plus years. I have been doing it as an entrepreneur for the last 3 years.
One of the positive things about what I do is, it is oriented for everyone. You don’t have to come in with a specific ability, look, or age. I have an 82 year old people in my class. Size doesn’t matter. Today one of my best friends, who is 8 months pregnant, came out to perform with us. It is all in the mind. If you feel like you can do it, you will do it.
Where is all over Columbus?
If you follow me on Facebook, I list all my free events. I also teach at Lifetime Fitness inPickerington. My other drop in classes are $10 for 45 minutes to 1 hour. I teach hip hop fitness, yoga, and cardio kick boxing.
What kind of yoga?
Beginner and intermediate. Vinyasa flow style yoga. We hold poses for a few seconds, but we find a flow in it. One of the principles of yoga is to release stuff like stress, tension, anxieties, frustration, depressions, etc. It is healing from the outside in.
Why Comfest? Why free hugs?
Because it is a very fun place that I have attended for the last 3 or 4 years. I love the energy, the people, and the free hugs. Who doesn’t love hugs? Hugs are some of the greatest stuff to give.
Sidebar: According to his Instagram account, “he gave out free hugs and got 63 sweaty” hugs. In my opinion this was WAY cool!
My Take: Although there were many older women walking around shirtless, I made the decision not to include those pictures. The vibe for Comfest is relaxed. Let’s just show up, hang out, enjoy the performances, and celebrate just being there. We are all here in this moment in time, having a good time.