160 Easton Town Center
Columbus, OH 43219
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
Sidebar: There was plenty of close free parking and the creature comforts of Easton, if you want a break (shopping, food, a bathroom and flushes, etc.). This is an automatic benefit. Children and superheroes seemed to be everywhere.
Sidebar: I watched the young ladies faces brighten up when given the opportunity to pose and have a picture taken. This was a great idea!
Sidebar: There was only one balloon artist. She earned her keep. The line was consistently upwards of 40 children while I was at the event.
Sidebar: The make your own mask and cape, in my opinion, are the main special sauces of this event. They allow all children to feel special and a part of the event whether their parents provided a purchased costume or not.
Sidebar: Seeing the children’s faces brighten up when they interacted and took pictures with their favorite superheroes was worth the price of admission. Wait, it was free. Well, it was invaluable.
Sidebar: This lady is brave! Excited, busy, children were everywhere. Some were paying attention, most were not. Many were following instructions and some were not. The old lady in me said a prayer that a child didn’t get excited and try to hug the tall superhero and both the superhero and the child end up on the pavement.
My take: This is a fun free activity for young children and even the young at heart. I saw a couple of adults wait in line to have their picture taken with their favorite superhero.
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.