When I posted last week’s Cleveland blogs roundup, I left out one blogger who’s celebrating a milestone because I figured this deserves a post of its own:
After driving over 20,000 miles through almost all 88 Ohio counties, Kristian Campana of OhioFestivals.net is celebrating his 300th Ohio Festival!
On November 22nd, he’ll visit Wooster, Ohio for their Festival of Trees.
This is the latest in a long string of festivals Kristian has attended, themed around pawpaws, skunks, pork rinds, twins, moonshine and giants. Along the way, he has entered eating contests, judged festival competitions, shared his experiences on radio and television, spoken at the Ohio Festivals and Events Association, and began writing a festival column in Edible Cleveland magazine.
As an accountant and Italian translator by day, blogging about festivals since 2009 has given Kristian the chance to use his Creative Writing MFA.
For the 300th festival, Kristian will celebrate the arrival of Santa in Wooster, Ohio with a Window Wonderland, activities throughout downtown and the Festival of Trees at the Wayne County Red Cross Building.
Although most people think funnel cakes and carnival rides when they hear the word festival, Kristian said the Festival of Trees is fitting for this milestone. “My birthday is Christmas Eve, so a holiday festival will make it more personal. It may even take the edge off of turning 40,” he writes.
Because he’s hitting the big 3-0-0, I asked Kristian to answer me these questions three.
Clue Into Cleveland: I always love hearing why bloggers picked the specific topic they did. So, why festivals – what made you want to blog about this?
Ohio Festivals: In the summer of 2009, after a trip to Ireland gave me an insatiable travel bug, I started going to area festivals for something to do. The first few were close to home, but then I researched a bit and found myself taking weekend road trips to attend festivals a little further out. Before I knew it, I had attended 14 fests and a friend suggested that I blog about these experiences (perhaps to save her from hearing me rant and rave about them).
At first, I was most likely blogging to simply share my experiences with friends and family. But then I began to really appreciate what festivals offer – open doors to communities and cultures in a celebratory environment.
Now, I try to promote the festivals to everyone, wherever they reside, even though my accounts take place only in Ohio.
CiC: You’ve attended a lot of festivals; however, if you were going to create or host a festival about something Ohio-related, what would it be?
OF: My dream festival would be a Festival of Festivals, which would bring many of Ohio’s festivals to one location as an Ohio festival sampler platter of sorts. Each participating festival would hold a booth and either sell a food item typical of their festival, present info or sell souvenirs. Its purpose would be to bring awareness to various festivals out there and promote travel and tourism to all parts of Ohio. I also like the idea that festivals with similar themes (strawberries, for example) would see how other cities did their festivals and get ideas to improve their event.
An ambitious dream, but I think it could work.
CiC: If there was one message or feeling you wanted readers to take away from reading your blog, what would it be?
OF: To go out there and explore! Attend festivals and go visit communities, whether locally, nationally, or internationally. Learn from people, their traditions and their foods and try new things as you go about your adventures.
I think those that do will learn how magical the world can be and how important community is.
I also think they would have a lot of fun doing it.
Check out www.OhioFestivals.net for all of Kristian’s reviews, plus nearly 1,000 festival listings to enjoy year-round, all around Ohio. You can also order your own Ohio Festivals t-shirt to show off your love of funnel cake.