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carnival

Snapshots: The Ohio State Fair

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Snapshots: The Ohio State Fair

Ah, State Fair! The mere mention of State Fair brings back so many fond memories from my childhood. Roasted corn on the cob, flying down the Giant Slide on a sack, cream puffs and little piglets were always the highlights for me. It was wonderful to be able to visit the Ohio State Fair in Columbus and relive some of those memories. It was great to see there are still hawkers selling shammies and cookware, and the guy who will guess your weight, age or birth month. I also loved visiting the crafts area and seeing the award winning dollhouses and quilts and muffins. State Fair was also my only real connection with agricultural life when I was a kid, and it was great to see farmers still sitting by their prized cattle and sheep. I also enjoyed the "butter cow", apparently a beloved local tradition. This year's was a recreation of one of my favorite holiday movies: A Christmas Story. Fairs are also fun to photograph as the colors are vivid and the patrons come in all shapes and sizes. I hope you enjoy these shots from the Ohio State Fair. 

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Inside the Sideshow

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Inside the Sideshow

I met Charles Hoffmaster at Monkey Town Brewery in Dayton, Tennessee. In retrospect, I guess a place with a name like that is as good a place as any to meet a clown. But Charles didn't strike me as a clown at first, just an affable guy with a big smile and a cool hat. He had been talking to some guys down the bar while I was working on writing my next podcast, and while their laughter made me smile, I was paying more attention to my work than to the people around me. His friends got up and left about the time that I was finished writing for the evening, and he came over and introduced himself. It was then that he told me he was a professional clown who worked for Hawthorne's Circus Bizarre Sideshow at the carnival that just pulled into town. The carnival was part of the annual Tennessee Strawberry Festival to be held in Dayton the following weekend. He said they had just arrived and set up their tent so he thought he'd go for a wander and see what was happening. As a traveler myself, his story certainly caught my attention...

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National Cornbread Festival

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National Cornbread Festival

I really love good small town festivals, and my visit to the National Cornbread Festival in South Pittsburgh, Tennessee was one of the best I can remember. Apparently, when the Tennessee Department of Transportation built a bypass around South Pittsburgh, downtown really took a hit. Town leaders gathered to try and think of a way to bring business back to town. Since they are home to Lodge Cast Iron, they decided to try and stage a cornbread festival. After all, who doesn't like cornbread? The first year they brought out their card tables and folding chairs and hoped for 500 people to show up. An hour after the gates opened there were 5,000 people there... and they were out of cornbread. In the 21 years since, they've learned a lot about throwing a festival, and it really showed…

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