Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Mum Fest -- Barberton, OH


September 26 and 27th marked the 25th annual Mum Festival in Barberton. This year's festival had over 20,000 mum plants arranged in artful designs, amounting to over one million mum blossoms. There are vendors throughout Lake Anna park selling various wares as well as food vendors. Events are held throughout the day on Lake Anna including a show from the Chippewa Lake Water Ski Team. We arrived just as the Mum Festival was starting, so we missed out on the events, but based on pictures I've seen from the Mum Festival Facebook page, we will be timing our visit around the Water Ski Team's event next year.

Although there was a free shuttle from Barberton Middle School to and from the event, we parked at Barberton Middle School and walked the half mile to the festival. It was a beautiful day last Sunday and Dave insisted that a walk would be more enjoyable.

The event is held yearly at Lake Anna Park. 

The mums were gorgeous. Immediately upon entering the park we were greeted by sprawling patterns of mums. The sight was breathtaking, the different colors planted into concise patterns was beautiful.


O.C. Barber the founder of Barberton was getting in on the fun near the mum sale. We don't have a lawn, but in the future, I'd like to purchase some mums and plant them. There was still a pretty decent variety of colors on Sunday morning, but by the end of the day the selection was quite sparse according to Facebook posts. If you'd like to purchase mums at the Mum Fest, make sure to go early.

The mum arch in the center of the landscaping made for pretty photo ops, we played photographer for two women in exchange for them taking our photo. The rest of our stay at the festival there were people taking photos under the arch.

The Mum Festival itself is a great place to take photos, there were a lot of parents with children taking family photos and sibling photos. The littlest children were especially cute with the mums, because they're a lot closer to the mums then we are. I watched one little boy run from plant to plant trying to smell each plant.


Another popular photo location was the B spelled out in mums. 

It was difficult to get a photo of, but mums near the "B" spelled out that it was the 25th anniversary. Lucky for me, Dave is pretty tall and was able to get a picture of the burgundy mums among the white mums.


The festival extended all the way around Lake Anna, after basking in the blooms and attempting to get a photo of a monarch butterfly on the mums (there were many butterflies, but I didn't succeed in my photo attempts).

After weaving through some food and craft vendors we ended up on the other side of Lake Anna where the sand sculpture was located.

The shade of the tree wasn't forgiving when it came to lighting, but it was cool to see a sand sculpture decorated with mums, normally they're stand alone art pieces. 

There were additional vendors past the sand sculpture, including the University of Akron's Hospitality Management students working on food sculptures, their creations were pretty neat.

We ended our visit walking along Lake Anna back to the start of the Mum Festival. 


Our trip around the lake ended back at the beginning where a chalk artist was finishing up his mum design. 


I don't have the capabilities to take an aerial shot of the Mum Fest, but someone did! This photo shows an aerial view of the Mum Fest landscaping taken by Buckeye Drone. To see more aerial views of the Mum Fest and to see a video of the aerial view, check out the Buckeye Drone Facebook page.

My rating for the Mum Festival:

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Lager & Vine -- Hudson, OH

Last week Dave and I visited Lager and Vine with some friends of ours for dinner. We've passed this restaurant in Hudson many times and thought it would be nice to try something different for a change. Since there were four of us, I was able to get twice the amount of pictures and twice the opinions about the food. We went on a busy Saturday night, but were seated immediately due to the fact that we made reservations. I cannot stress the need for reservations enough! 

The martini I ordered was called the Good Life, amaretto, Sprite and cranberry juice.

Dave and I split the Lager & Vine House chips, described as "hand-cut potato chips with creamy garlic gorgonzola sauce, spiced bacon, and gorgonzola crumbs. Garnished with scallions and white truffle oil."

We don't eat meat, so we omitted the bacon from the chips and left everything else. I liked this as an appetizer, it was a nice amount for two people. The sauce was nicely flavored and the chips were crisp.

Stephanie ordered the Lobster Bisque. She had nothing but good things to say about this soup.

Preston had the Asian Chicken Satays, which he gave a mixed review. He thought the slaw was unnecessary and that the chicken lacked seasoning. However, he really liked the sweet peanut dipping sauce, he thought the sauce was stellar and that had the chicken had more salt, that it would have been one of the best dishes he's had in a while.

For dinner, Steph and I both ordered the same salad. The Farmer's Market described as "mixed greens, tomatoes, red onions, goat cheese, garlic croutons and dijon vinaigrette." 

She added seared Ahi tuna to her salad, I had mine with no protein. We both really enjoyed the mix of flavors and ingredients. Their Dijon Vinaigrette was amazing, it was a nice consistency and it helped to elevate all of the other ingredients in the salad.

Dave ordered the Balsamic Onion & Bacon flat bread. Once again we omitted the bacon from this, so it had balsamic glazed onions, artichoke hearts, braised spinach and asiago cheese. It was good, but lacking something salty, which was our fault since we removed a salty element from the dish -- you live and you learn as a vegetarian. We thought the crust had a nice consistency and that the balsamic helped to mellow the onions in a way which made the flat bread more appealing overall. 

Preston had the IPA Braised Pork Tacos with a side of homemade tater tots. The tacos had charred corn, salsa verde, cheddar jack cheese and lime sour creme along with the braised pork. Preston was underwhelmed with this dish as well, he thought it was lacking seasoning again and was just okay. He mentioned that a crunchy slaw might have been nice on the tacos. 

As you can see, Lager and Vine got mixed reviews from our dinner party. I can't speak to any of the meat based dishes, since I don't eat meat myself. The martini I had was excellent, it was a nice blend of flavors and was refreshing enough that I didn't even order a second drink. I enjoyed the three items that Dave and I tried, but overall my favorite was the Farmer's Market Salad.

The menu at Lager and Vine changes seasonally, so although we won't be going back soon (I have a lengthy list of places I'd like to try) we are in Hudson frequently visiting family and I wouldn't be opposed to checking out their menu changes or trying their patio.

My rating for Lager and Vine:

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Oktoberfest -- Kent, OH

Today from noon to 10 p.m. is Kent's Oktoberfest. Dave and I got there a little after noon today to experience the beginning of the event and get a commemorative mug, and as of publishing, there's a chance to check out the review and then head over yourself. The weather is supposed to be wonderful all day, so you still have plenty of time.

Franklin Avenue (where Pufferbelly and Ray's Place are located) is cordoned off for the event. There is a variety of vendors serving food and beers, plus the main stage is at the end of the street.

These are the Oktoberfest beers which are available for purchase. Stop by one of the drink tents to purchase your beer tickets and to receive your wristband. 

The first 1,000 people to stop by the beer tents received an Oktoberfest mug. For $10 you got the mug plus one beer ticket. Additional tickets are $5 each. 

There were several tables so that you could enjoy your German eats while sitting down. Which is good, because everything is pretty messy and it's windy today.


Dancers from the German Family Society. 

Dave enjoying some Spaten Oktoberfest to celebrate the occasion. 

 Make sure to get a photo with Hans the Black Squirrel.

For lunch we split a Stuffed Pretzel from the Pufferbelly.

We also enjoyed some German Potato Salad from Ray's Place.

For dessert we had Apple Strudel from the Pufferbelly. 

I think our favorite was the Stuffed Pretzel. It was stuffed with Swiss cheese, caraway seeds and onion. The mustard they served along with it was a perfect complement to all of the ingredients.

From 1:00-3:00 Polka Revolution was the entertainment. 

There were plenty of people gathered throughout Franklin Avenue enjoying the food, entertainment and beer.

We had a great time. This is a fine event for the whole family -- there were many people young and old enjoying the festival. If you have traditional lederhosen, an Alpine hat or a dirndl you can dress the part to celebrate Oktoberfest. If not, come as you are for good beer and great food.

My rating for Oktoberfest in Kent: