TALKS ON LONG CAR RIDES
One of my favorite fatherly duties is going on college visits with my daughter. Later this month, we will head to the University of Pennsylvania, a trip that was timed more for her convenience than mine, but one that coincides with some of the most vibrant fall foliage in any part of the country.
You learn so much about your kid on a car ride. Like how she wanted to use the Canton Arts District as a backdrop for homecoming pictures. I didn’t even know that she knew there was an Arts District in Canton, and I sure was impressed that she did.
She and a group of friends had so much fun and made lasting memories of downtown Canton, and they will have a story to tell at their 20th class reunion. One of the members of their group knew someone who knew someone and before anyone knew it, they were in City Hall as guests of Mayor Thomas Bernabei, snapping photos with the mayor.
And then she wanted to attend First Friday in October. While walking with a friend in downtown Canton, they remarked about how they should pay the mayor another visit. Guess who was walking in front of them? Mayor Bernabei. They shared a good laugh and thanked the mayor for his time.
Canton is fortunate to have elected leaders who care enough about tomorrow’s leaders to engage them, speak with them and interact with them.
So on this trip to Philadelphia, I’m hoping she appreciates the scenery during our trek across Pennsylvania. I’m hoping we have time to stop by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and I’ll see if she recognizes the steps from my favorite movies, if not the 8 1/2-foot tall statue of Rocky Balboa.
And, of course, we will have to grab a Philly cheesesteak from a street vendor.
On the trip back, of course, we will digest the cheesesteaks and the visit. These trips are coming to an end soon. It is time to appreciate these times together, because, soon, they will be few and far between.
SCARIER THAN EVER BEFORE
Apparently our day-to-day lives aren’t scary enough.
For many, the terror we can experience for free at any time—sharing the road with folks obviously texting while driving or watching a Cleveland Browns game, for example—is not enough.
We are willing to pay for extra chills and thrills.
This year, a lot extra.
According to the website The-Numbers.com, Americans really liked their horror movies in 2017, spending almost $900 million on tickets to jump from their seats or let out a scream. That’s far and away the highest annual total in the 23 years for which the site has collected box office figures, even adjusting for inflation and with three months of data left to reach us from beyond the grave, including the fright-festiest time of the year, Halloween.
At the time of print, spending on Halloween—decorations, costumes, candy and other goodies—was expected to reach a record $9.1 billion this year, up almost 10 percent from a year ago. Nearly 180 million Americans will celebrate (is that the right word?) Halloween this year, up from 171 million last year, according to the National Retail Federation.
I don’t get it. Why an adult would spend a nickel on a costume or attend a costume party escapes me, although any day that includes chocolate by the pound is worth keeping.
Maybe haunted houses are your thing. They are extremely popular, and we are blessed (is that the right word?) to have one of the best—anywhere—in our backyard. Factory of Terror in Canton boasts the longest indoor attraction area of its kind in the world, having converted an old aluminum foundry into a space billed as a three-time Guinness world record holder. That’s scary-good repurposing!
Its website and literature say Factory of Terror includes five attractions covering more than a mile in length. I can only take their word for it. I don’t own a pair of pants dark enough to find out for myself.
Besides, if blood-curdling screams were my thing, I’d just sit next to an Ohio State fan and wait for the Buckeyes to come up short on a third-and-3.
A SURE SIGN IT’S CLAM BAKE TIME
You know the day is close when the ground starts to get crunchy. Everything seems dull, and the colors outside grow rich in response. This is the time of year when my wife and I question whether or not buying the house with all of the trees was such a good idea.
And in a backyard in Northeast Ohio, marked by a silver sliver of smoke coming from a small fire pit, my family is hosting its annual clam bake.
The thing I love most about tradition is it often requires the consumption of a whole lot of good food. So, the family clam bake is right up my alley. I was married into the clam bake, and I don’t know its origins. I do know there are a lot of people, and even more clams.
“What’d you think?” My wife asked during my first time at the clam bake. It also was my first time eating clams.
“It’s great,” I replied with real enthusiasm. “Except some of those clam shells were hard to get open.”
Three sets of eyes peered at me in a way that told me I did something wrong. The look, I would soon discover, was pity. Pity for the messed up stomach in my future. I learned two things that day: You don’t eat the clams that don’t open, because they were dead before they were cooked. And, I have an iron stomach.
The key to not getting sick, I later told my wife, was to dip everything in a lot of butter. Everything.
“And then you layer it with beer,” I continued, stacking my hands on top of each other to show layers being built. She had left the room by this point.
Every year, I look forward to this family tradition. I look forward to seeing how much all of the kids have grown; how time has changed everyone, really. I look forward to the moment grandpa brings the lobsters on their death march to the boiling water. Each of the kids decides if they are brave enough to touch the lobster. My daughters always touch it, I mean how often do you get to touch a lobster? And they enjoy the fact that their older, male cousins decline the offer.
It’s a day to look forward to. A moment to take stock in the things that matter most in life. And a day to eat a lot of food.
DANCING WITH CANTON’S STARS
This year marks the seventh season of Dancing with Canton’s Stars. This fun event pairs local celebrities with professional dance instructors to help raise funds for the Canton Palace Theatre.
Before the event, contestants practice with their dance instructor partners and fundraise, fundraise, fundraise—asking friends, family, co-workers, people in the community, whoever to donate in their name for the Dancing with Canton’s Stars contest.
The winner of Canton’s version—and the coveted mirror ball trophy—is the local celebrity who raises the most funds. They can go about fundraising however they would like. In the past, one winner hosted a silent auction at a local restaurant. The guests got something out of it, too.
Don’t be fooled; there is voting involved. But it’s in the form of money. Supporters can vote online before the event, which is at 7:30 p.m. November 11 at the Canton Palace Theatre. During the VIP reception and the event itself, attendees can vote using cash, check or credit cards.
The excitement for this event hasn’t faded over the years. Executive Director Georgia Paxos is looking forward to another great show this year.
“Dancing with the Canton Stars is a great example of the community coming together to celebrate the Canton Palace Theatre and the 91st anniversary of its opening. It is one of the most entertaining, fun-filled, family friendly events we do each year here at the theater. We look forward to seeing everyone on Saturday, November 11,” said Paxos.
Taking to the stage this year is Adrian E. Allison, superintendent for Canton City Schools; Gina Bannevich, marketing director at Belden Village Mall; Michael T. Brown, executive director at Eric Snow Family YMCA; Ryan Miller, owner of Deli Ohio; Sara Myers, corporate relationship specialist at Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank; Lamar Sharpe, police officer with the Canton Police Department; Gail Snyder, human resources at Avalon Foodservice; and Roger H. Wacker II, owner of Roger W Hair Design.
Tickets are on sale at the Canton Palace Theatre box office, over the phone by calling 330-454-8172 or online at cantonpalacetheatre.org. Reserved tickets are $12 each; VIP reception tickets are $40 each. The VIP Reception will take place at the Joseph A. Saxton Gallery at 6 p.m. and includes light hors d’oeuvres and an open bar. All proceeds for this event go to the Canton Palace Theatre Association to assist in its operations and programming.