Tuesday, August 30, 2011


"Only in Ohio."  I hear that phrase a lot.

Only in Ohio can you drive an hour in one direction and mingle with the art community, then drive an hour in the opposite direction and hang out with farmers and cowboys. 

Over the weekend, we did just that.  We started with dinner at a new (to us) Indian restaurant called Jaipur Junction.  After filling up on curry, garlic naan and the Maharaja Grill, we braved Cleveland traffic for a screening of a movie that won the Audience Award for Best Film at the Cleveland International Film Festival.  It's a German film with subtitles called Vincent Wants to Sea - a darling, quirky tale about three unlikely friends who escape a treatment facility in search of the ocean and themselves.  It has some unsavory language, but for sure it's a charmer.

One of my favorite elements of this experience was the audience we got to share it with.  They were my people: fully engaged in the movie and laughing with all their guts.  It was remarkable, really. I'm usually the one who's audible response stands out in a movie theatre, but here I was right at home in bolstered enthusiasm.

© photo credit: http://loraincountyfair.com/wordpress/

The very next night we drove an hour the other way to Wellington, Ohio for the 166th annual Lorain County Fair.  Our friends, Carrie and Josh Porter, invited us to join them for an evening under the stars watching the state's one and only combine derby.  The initial conversation occurred at a wedding we all attended last June.  Chris and I had both been to demolition derbies before, but not like this. It's one thing to watch old cars and retired school busses smash in to each other, but farm equipment?  

You have to see it to believe it.

Carrie used to drive one of the derby cars when she was a teenager, so I quite enjoyed hearing her stories while we waited for the event to start.  Carrie is now three weeks away from giving birth and is super cute.  Clearly, her daughter will grow up with motorsports in her blood.  The derby really was everything you could hope for (including a segment devoted to pick-up trucks).  All of the combines were painted and some were dressed up like animals.  We saw a dog-bine, shark-bine and bull-bine.  Each vehicle had sponsorship listed on it somewhere, including one for Chico's Bail Bonds.  

The Lorain County fair is (to quote Carrie) "more old school" than the Medina County Fair.  As soon as we walked through the gate, we were overwhelmed by the smell of manure, cigarettes and fried food. There were extra large waistlines and mullets everywhere you turned and women lacking.. ummm.. support.  

This fair had contests for decorating hay bails and fiddle playing, a Corn Hole tournament, and one lone camel for riding.  

After two and a half hours of demolition awesomeness, footlong corndogs, pizza and a perfectly fried elephant ear, we said our goodbyes to the Porters and retrieved our car in the parking lot manned by Boy Scouts.    

By the way, I was serious about the camel.

Only in Ohio.

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