I’ve taken food tours, conquered escape rooms by the skin of my teeth, and let’s face it—I’m no stranger to the various downtown eateries. And yet, I was delighted to discover that there are a few things that even this fully initiated downtowner had left to learn.

The team at Visit Canton recently brought Kristi Dosh and Chad Scott, an impressive wife-husband team of sports and travel journalists, into town to experience all that the Hall of Fame city has to offer.

As part of their various excursions, three downtown businesses teamed up to unveil a brand new, themed immersion experience into prohibition-era Canton, complete with run-ins with rum runners, historic points of interest and the very beer they drank at the founding of the NFL.

Read on for insight into our series of exploits. Want to have some fun of your own? Contact Canton Food Tours (cantonfoodtours.com) to get started.

Canton Food Tours

Barb Abbott has done it again! Though her portion of the trial run and our time together was relatively brief this time around, her expertise in Canton’s history, teamed with her ability to understand how to make it interesting, really did the trick in submerging our group in the theme of the night. Stops included the National First Ladies’ Library and the Frank T. Bow Federal Building.

Escape Room Downtown

This is not the first time Chuck Duplain’s Escape Room has graced the pages of The Jess Files. My experience tackling the Detective’s Office served as the subject of my inaugural filing back in the January 2016 issue. I was impressed after that experience, but after a visit to Duplain’s third room, The Bootlegger’s Lair, I am utterly blown away.

Seven months of research and construction in the making, the company’s site advertises the lair as “the best escape room in Ohio,” and this escapee has no doubts.

Our team of eight was plunged into a gambling den in search of cash, booze and a book of business, with just an hour before police arrived to raid it. As complex as it is satisfying, the room has complicated puzzles to solve, hidden treasures, red herrings and more. We all were engaged in individual pursuits to beat the clock, and yet it all came together in the end beautifully.

Canton Brewing Co.

After our harrowing escape, just before the coppers arrived, we made our way to Canton’s most popular Speakeasy at the Canton Brewing Co. for a tasting menu featuring prohibition-themed eats and a sampling of the brewery’s offerings, including Cascade, adapted from the same recipe that was undoubtedly the beer of choice in Ralph Hay’s smoke-filled dealership the night of September 17, 1920 when professional football was founded.

About The Author

Vice President

Jess Bennett leads a dynamic team in overseeing all facets of About magazine, Stark County's award-winning lifestyle monthly, and other specialty publications. Bennett was previously the director of marketing and events for the Canton Regional Chamber, where she directed all advertising, marketing, PR and web, including promotion and publicity for more than 70 events annually. She is the founder and volunteer executive director for Indigo Ink Press, a nonprofit literary publishing house in Canton. She currently serves on the board of the YWCA of Canton, is a winner of the ‘Thrive Under 35′ marketing award and the Twenty Under 40! award, presented by ystark! and The Repository.

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