Ohio activities

Best friends Katie Helfrich, Kim Fulks, Stephanie Snee, Marella Murphy, Summery Rowlands, and Brittany Buch pose for pictures while embarking on a night out with Canton Food Tours.

Besties’ retreat

Like many moms whose children play sports in school, Kim Fulks of North Canton has formed close friendships with other moms just like her.

They embarked on a night out with Canton Food Tours, a service that local entrepreneur Barbara Abbott established a decade ago as a fun way to explore the city through its assorted eateries.

And as she lightly dips a spoon into a bowl of turtle soup at Bender’s Tavern, Fulks says she relished the opportunity to kick back without a game result, homeschooling chores, or the uncertainty of the pandemic to worry about.

Caches are hidden above ground. They can range from shoebox-sized containers to micro-caches a few inches long, but you’ll know what you’re looking for before you begin.

E-gaming in the outdoors

Geocaching — a smartphone version of hide-and-seek — turns GPS technology into a family-friendly game for getting outside.

When it was created 22 years ago, it was described as a “high-tech treasure hunt,” and though geocaching has evolved over the years, the basic premise remains the same. GPS coordinates are used to track down caches, or “treasure” hidden in containers. From the first cache hidden near Portland, Oregon, the number of caches has grown in two decades to well over 2 million worldwide, according to www.geocaching.com, the hobby’s worldwide coordinator. There’s sure to be a few near you right now.

Kalida Pioneer Days holds the distinction of being the oldest Ohio festival, dating back 150 years.

Something for everyone

Nothing says summertime more than festivals, and Ohioans are more than ready this year to pack up the wagon and picnic blankets and hit the town for a day of food, fun, and music — all in the name of community spirit and a good time.

Kalida Pioneer Days

Kalida Pioneer Days (Sept. 8–11) holds the distinction of being the oldest Ohio festival, dating back 150 years to the first meeting of the Putnam County Pioneer Association, now known as the Putnam County Historical Society. The event, now co-sponsored by the Kalida Lions Club and the Kalida Firemen’s Association, has become a homecoming of sorts, drawing folks by the thousands.

As a girl, Annie Oakley was a market hunter before she became a sharpshooter.

Little Sure Shot

The greatest exhibition shooter of all time — male or female — was a young woman from Darke County, Ohio: Annie Oakley (1860–1926).

“The museum has the largest display of Annie Oakley photographs, firearms, and memorabilia anywhere in the world,” says Katie Gabbard, marketing director at the Garst. “An entire wing is dedicated to her, chronicling Annie’s many shooting accomplishments as well as her lesser-known philanthropic endeavors.”

In fact, very few of Annie’s medals and awards survive today, as she had most of them melted down near the end of her life so she could raise money for charity.  

Young's Jersey Dairy

Cold and creamy

It's no surprise that Ohio ranks in the top 10 of ice cream-producing states. Its rural heritage provides a steady supply of the main ingredient — and several families through history began traditions that remain in place today.

Velvet Ice Cream

Utica, 1914

Immigrant Joseph Dager arrived in Ohio in 1903 and began making ice cream in Utica in 1914. Within two years, he was producing 200 gallons of ice cream every month, and the creamy, velvety texture inspired the name Velvet Ice Cream.

In 1960, an old grist mill became the company’s permanent home. Ye Olde Mill houses a turn-of-the-century ice cream parlor that opened in 1970 and welcomes 150,000 guests each year.

Tall ships festivals are scheduled at two Lake Erie ports this summer: Cleveland in July and Erie, Pennsylvania, in August.

Tall ships

On Sept. 10, 1813, a few miles northwest of the Bass Islands on Lake Erie, a David-versus-Goliath confrontation pitted the fledgling United States Navy against a fleet of mighty British warships during the War of 1812.

Shortly after the cannon smoke cleared, Perry scrawled what has since become a famous note on the back of an envelope to send to his commanding officer, Maj. Gen. William Henry Harrison (who would, of course, go on to become the ninth president of the United States):  

Dear General: We have met the enemy and they are ours.

A rusting old Ferris wheel.

Ghost parks

Theme parks never really die.

Amusement parks in Ohio date as far back as the mid-1800s. In fact, Cedar Point originally opened as a public beach in 1870. Kings Island, while celebrating its 50th anniversary this summer, traces its origins to nearby Coney Island, which also opened originally in 1870.

The 'Lake Lady'

Gone fishing

If you’re an angler, at least once during your lifetime you must experience the unique, majestic beauty of a Lake Erie sunrise.

“I enjoy teaching people, male or female, young or old, the sport of walleye and yellow perch fishing on Lake Erie’s Western Basin,” she says. “I probably average about 100 guiding trips per year, from the islands east to Huron, depending on where the fish are biting.”

Bob Hope chats with Indians players during his time as co-owner of the team (photo courtesy of the Cleveland Guardians).

Rise of the Guardians

When the Cleveland Indians changed their name to the Cleveland Guardians last year, the rebrand was more than a tribute to the stalwart, Art Deco-style statues — known as the “Guardians of Traffic” — that grace the Hope Memorial Bridge near Progressive Field.

Born Leslie Townes Hope in a London suburb in 1903, Bob Hope was the fifth of the seven sons of English stonecutter William Henry “Harry” Hope and his wife, Avis. Harry brought his family to Cleveland in 1908, and in the early 1930s, he helped create the “Guardians of Traffic” for the city’s Lorain-Carnegie Bridge. After extensive repairs were completed in 1983, it was rechristened the Hope Memorial Bridge because of Harry’s work on the now-iconic “Guardians.”  

Funny cars are one of the crowd favorites at Dragway 42.

Wanna drag?

Jeff Gates, a tool and die maker from Republic, was hoping to introduce his 1965 Ford Ranchero to the world during Thursday Night Thunder on this fine evening at Dragway 42 in the Wayne County village of West Salem. The car, however, had other ideas.

When asked if he couldn’t just drop it off at a local garage and have them repair it, the veteran racer laughs. 

“No, this is the fun part,” he says. “At least most of the time, so long as you get to run them every now and then. I just enjoy building this stuff.”