Damaine Vonada

The second and third generations of the Stalder family of cheesemakers: John Stalder and Chuck Ellis stand behind Grace Stalder and Sally

The big cheese

For Swiss immigrants Ernest and Gertrude Stalder, 1937 was an important year. Not only was their son John born, but a new rural electric cooperative began powering their business, Pearl Valley Cheese, in eastern Coshocton County.

For the Stalders, cheese is more than a business — it’s a lifestyle that has endured for four generations. John and his wife, Grace, took over the factory during the 1960s, and though they’re now octogenarians, they lend a hand there practically every day. The couple also raised four daughters — Ruth Ann, Sally, Heidi, and Trudy — who, along with their spouses and offspring, have helped to make cheese and run the plant in various ways over the years.  

The display at Ormandy’s Toys and Trains delights visitors during the Candlelight Walk and throughout the season.

Merry and bright

Candles have symbolized the Christmas season for centuries, but how many places become merry and bright because they’re the home of a company that produces millions of candles every year?

Featuring traditional Yuletide activities such as a parade and visits with Santa, the Candlelight Walk attracts about 50,000 people every year. With genuine candlelight charm and a picture-perfect setting, the event exemplifies the glad tidings of small-town America, and it’s easy to imagine George Bailey shouting “Merry Christmas!” to folks on the square or the Gilmore Girls joining in the caroling at the gazebo. Indeed, says Sam, “Visitors often tell us, ‘I feel like I’m in a Hallmark movie.’” 

Bess Paper Goods & Gifts, Cincinnati

Ohio Cooperative Living's 2022 Holiday Gift Guide

Granted, Santa’s workshop is at the North Pole. But we think his helpers must live in Ohio. Why?

Bess Paper Goods & Gifts, Cincinnati

At her West Benson Street shop, Kristin Joiner not only designs the artwork and composes witty messages — for example, “Happy Ugly Sweater Season” — for her Christmas and Hanukkah cards, but she also prints them one at a time on an 1882 letterpress named Bess. Joiner uses paper sustainably made from recycled cotton, and her repertoire of handmade goods includes ornaments and miniature paper trees. 
kristin@besspapergoods.com; 513-748-6955

“It’s a joy to talk to people about astronomy,” says Hoehne. “I’ve been stargazing most of my life, and this park is a great way to bring others into the fold and get them interested in science in general.”

Star struck

Getting Brad Hoehne to stand still for a photo isn’t easy.

Served by South Central Power Company, the park sits on an open patch of land within Hocking Hills State Park. It’s named for the Ohio-born-and-bred astronaut who was the first American to orbit the Earth. JGAP opened in 2018, but Hoehne had been thinking for years about creating a venue where the public could connect with the cosmos. “I got the idea in 2003,” he says.

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.”  

Pence family

Popping along

One of Michael Pence’s earliest memories dates to the 1950s, when he traveled to the Indiana State Fair with his parents to sell popcorn. He was only 5 years old at the time — but his daughter, Leslie, got her start in the family’s mobile concessionaire business at an even younger age.

Pence’s Concessions originated in 1902, when Michael’s grandfather, Clarence Pence, started selling popcorn and peanuts from a pushcart at state fairs. Michael’s father, Don Pence, continued the business in home-built trailers that he towed to fairs and festivals. “My dad didn’t get a manufactured trailer until 1957,” recalls Michael. “I still have that trailer, but it doesn’t travel anymore because we use it for making candy.” In the 1980s, Michael decided to make the company’s concession trailers pink and green.

On his wedding day, Jerry Swank wore three replicas of the legendary Colt .45 single-action Army revolver that helped tame the American West.

Rootin’, tootin’ & shootin’

When Jerry Swank married his wife, Carolyn, in 2003, he wore a rancher-style felt hat, boots with spurs, and three replicas of the legendary Colt .45 single-action Army revolver that helped tame the American West. 

Swank and his wife are South Central Power Company members who reside on 81 acres of farmland in the Hocking Hills. His interest in guns began when he was growing up in the Middletown area. He was introduced to shooting sports as a member of the Boy Scouts and while hunting with his father, and learned Western riding because his parents and grandparents kept horses. 

As an adult, he worked in sales, but he also parlayed his knack for riding and training horses into a carriage ride business in downtown Columbus. 

The Christmas tree in the window of the rectory at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church

O Christmas Tree

Wooster Cemetery manager Kelvin Questel has an up-close view of the parade of visitors to one particular graveside each holiday season.

Although Questel is unsure when the tradition of trimming Imgard’s tomb-side tree began, he does know why the ritual is unique to Wooster: In 1847, Imgard was a 19-year-old immigrant from Germany living at his brother’s house in Wooster and grew homesick for his native country’s customs, especially around Christmastime. So, he went to the woods near Apple Creek, cut down a spruce tree, and positioned it in a window, adorned with nuts, apples, sweets, and candles. He even had a tinsmith make a star for the top of the tree.

Brewhaus Dog Bones, Cincinnati

Ohio Cooperative Living's 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

"Home for the holidays” takes on a whole new meaning when you choose gifts created by Ohio artisans, crafters, and makers. You’re supporting small businesses throughout the state, and you’ll impress everyone on your list  with items that are unique, innovative, and homegrown.

Brewhaus Dog Bones, Cincinnati 

A nonprofit organization founded by Lisa Graham, Brewhaus Bakery provides vocational training and employment for young adults with disabilities. Its handcrafted, small-batch dog bones are a healthy treat with ingredients including protein-rich spent grains sourced from local microbreweries and fresh eggs delivered by a Brown County farm. 513-551-7144. http://brewhausdogbones.com

Country Manor Mixes, Leesburg