3 things you shouldn’t miss at Bellbrook’s Sugar Maple Festival

Published: Thursday, April 20, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Scenes from the 38th annual Bellbrook's Sugar Maple Festival, which took place April 22-24, 2016. Photos by Tom Gilliam, Contributing photographer.
Tom Gilliam

The Bellbrook Sugar Maple Festival traditionally kicks off festival season in the Dayton area, and this year’s 39th annual event is no different.

Beginning Friday, April 21, the three-day party will fill downtown Bellbrook with music, food and superheroes. You read that right: Batman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman and more will parade through nearby Bellbrock Park as part of the festivities. 

>> The 10 festivals we just cannot wait for

Here are three things you must take part in while at this year’s festival.


Anyone who’s tried real maple syrup knows it sends Mrs. Butterworth and her version packing every time. The Dill Family Farm in West Liberty has been producing authentic sugar maple syrup for more than 125 years. There’ll be plenty of their syrupy goodness available for purchase at this year’s Sugar Maple Festival. 

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An all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast will be held Saturday, April 22 at the Bellbrook United Methodist Church, 47 E. Franklin St. from 8-10:30 a.m.


Plenty of music is planned for this year’s festival, including Spungewurthy (Friday), Wasted Potential (Saturday) and Danny Voris (Sunday).

But you definitely owe it to yourself to check out Todd The Fox on Saturday at Bellbrock Park from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. His brand of classic bluesy American songwriting and charm is guaranteed to win you over.


Festival organizers say this event has grown every year since its inception several years ago. Area businesses and community organizations are tasked with creating a sculpture completely out of recycled materials to promote themselves for various prizes. The results are displayed throughout the weekend. 

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What: Sugar Maple Festival

Where: Downtown Bellbrook

When: April 21-23

Cost: Free

The 10 festivals we just cannot wait for

Published: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 @ 11:21 AM

It’s hard to believe, but festival season is officially here starting this weekend!

Thanks to our friends at the Sugar Maple Festival (happening this weekend), we officially have festival fever. 

Mark your calendars, grab some stretchy pants and get ready to eat, drink and ooh and aah your way through these 11 festivals.

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So.Much.Food. Dig into the first festival of the season with giant pork tenderloin sandwiches, sugar maple candies, barbecue ribs, giant grilled pork sandwiches, firehouse hot dogs and waffles drenched in sweet syrup. New this year? A soda fountain and a sugar maple food contest. Crafts, a parade, an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, dog show, beer garden with local craft beer and more fun. You might spot a superhero or two while you’re there.

WHEN: April 21-23, 2017

WHERE: Downtown Bellbrook

INFO: WebsiteFacebook

>> PHOTOS: 2016 Sugar Maple Festival


This festival, which will celebrate its 44th year, showcases and celebrates the different cultures that have made the Dayton area what it is today. Expect lots of different food, drinks, entertainment and great culturally-themed booths.

WHEN: May 19-21, 2017

WHERE: Dayton Convention Center, 22 E. 5th St., Dayton

INFO: Website 

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>> PHOTOS: A World A’Fair 2016

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If you truly want to indulge, this is the festival for you. Chocolate-covered berries, strawberry shortcake, strawberry smoothies, strawberry burritos, strawberry cheesecake and Troy’s famous strawberry donuts are just a few of the treats you’ll find at this festival. Need something more savory before dessert? Giant pork tenderloins, pulled pork, burgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob and more festival favorites will be scattered around the Public Square, downtown Troy. Tons of craft vendors, games and entertainment, too.

WHEN: June 3-4, 2017

WHERE: Downtown Troy, along the Public Square

INFO: WebsiteFacebook

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There will be more than 400 beers from more than 100 different breweries. You’ll have the chance to try imported and local beers, along with craft brews and hard ciders. 

WHEN: June 16-17, 2017

WHERE: Jungle Jim’s International Market, 5440 Dixie Hwy, Fairfield

INFO: Website 

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Celebrate Dayton’s aviation heritage and honor our local military history at the Air Show. Enjoy stunning performances from U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning II Heritage Flight, several ground displays, a parade, and more. 
WHEN: June 24-25, 2017 

WHERE: 3800 Wright Dr., Vandalia 

INFO: www.daytonairshow.com 
>> Dayton Air Show: Parking, deals, dos and don’ts


Enjoy mini sandwiches from a variety of restaurants. Amy Zahora, the association’s executive director, said sliders often go beyond mini burgers. “We are going to have all kinds of sliders,” she said. “We will have a little bit of everything.” 
WHEN: 3-10 p.m. June 24, 2017 
WHERE: Fraze Pavilion, 95 Lincoln Park Blvd., Kettering 

INFO: Website

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Friends, beer and music -- what more could you want? The second annual Springsfest is brought to you by Yellow Springs Brewery and Great Guys Entertainment, and features a festival-worthy musical lineup with craft beer to match.
WHEN: July 8, 2017 

WHERE: John Bryan Community Center, 100 Dayton St., Yellow Springs. 

INFO: https://www.facebook.com/springsfest/https://www.springsfestival.com/ 

>> PHOTOS: Springsfest 2016 


Enjoy bold food, great music, and a family-friendly party at the Fraze. Several restaurants will bring their best of the best. 
WHEN: 3 p.m. July 8, 2017 

WHERE: Fraze Pavilion, 95 Lincoln Park Blvd., Kettering

INFO: Website

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Celtic music is just one of the things to love about one of the most popular festivals of the summer! There’s also the beer, the kilts and the delicious grub. Three days of free live music from Gaelic Storm, Scythian and more, beer drinking, food and cultural events. You don’t need Irish, Scottish or Welsh ancestry to go, though of course, that’s just one more reason to go — you’ll feel distinctly more Celtic by Sunday evening anyway. 

WHEN: July 28-30, 2017

WHERE: Riverscape MetroPark, 237 E. Monument Ave., Dayton

INFO: Website

>> PHOTOS: Dayton Celtic Festival 2016 


Bacon. Main dishes, side dishes and desserts all featuring it. This is THE place to get your bacon fix.

WHEN: Aug. 20, 2017, 1 p.m.

WHERE: Fraze Pavilion, 95 Lincoln Park Blvd., Kettering

INFO: Website

>> PHOTOS: Bacon Fest 2016

This small town in Ohio holds a Harry Potter Fest every summer

Published: Friday, April 07, 2017 @ 10:05 AM

Get your wands out and start apparating wizards! 

A small town in Northern Ohio holds an annual (Harry) Potterfest every summer complete with butter beer, chocolate frogs and its own Diagon Alley, according to Only In Your State.

The festival fittingly takes place each summer on the weekend of Harry Potter’s birthday! This year the Kent Potterfest falls on Saturday,  July 29, beginning at noon.

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So what are you waiting for? Pack up your wardrobes — complete with dressing robes, house-themed clothing and don’t forget your owl! The Hogwart’s Express is leaving the station for Kent Potterfest 2017. 

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The 6 best things we ate at sauerkraut festival

Published: Sunday, October 09, 2016 @ 12:33 PM
Updated: Sunday, October 09, 2016 @ 12:31 PM

Pizza, doughnuts, fudge, cookies and pies — all made with sauerkraut — were devoured at this year’s Ohio Sauerkraut Festival. Here are some of our favorites. 



We had to start off with an American classic. This is served with generous slabs of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing all served between two slices of dark rye bread. Some customers ordered extra sauerkraut for this meal, which is served with a fork appropriately enough. 



This was one of the most popular items at the festival, with a line stretching down the block at times. Patrons told us the festival actually ran out of sauerkraut pizza last year. So we made sure to get in line early. 



If the first two didn’t bust your diet, this one will. Potatoes, sauerkraut, cheese, sour cream, bacon bits all topped with an olive. The line for this bowlful of goodness was also long, and we saw a lot of festival goers enjoying it. 



Another classic you just can’t pass up while at this festival. The lines moved swift for this one as we saw people ordering cabbage rolls several packs at a time. 



Okay. We know this doesn’t have any sauerkraut in it. But we’re suckers for anything that makes eating dessert easier. 



Gross you say? Au contraire. These sweet delicacies have just the slightest hint of kraut that you wouldn’t notice if you didn’t know it was there. So it’s okay to go nuts for these donuts.

Weekends of medieval fun await at Ohio Renaissance Festival

Published: Tuesday, August 30, 2016 @ 2:11 PM
Updated: Tuesday, August 30, 2016 @ 2:11 PM

            The Knights of Valour will perform full-contact jousting at the Ohio Renaissance Festival in Waynesville. CONTRIBUTED


When: 10:30 a.m. -6 p.m., Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day Monday, Sept. 3 then weekends through Oct. 23

Where: 10542 E. State Route 73, Waynesville

Cost: $21.95 per adult ticket plus fee and $9.95 per child ticket. Seniors over 65 years, military, police, fire and EMS workers are $19.95 and an adult season pass costs $79.94. Online and at the gate, tickets are buy one and get one free for the weekend of September 3, 4 and 5.

Info: (513) 897-7000 | http://www.renfestival.com/ | Facebook

Time travel back to the 16th Century in an English village with knights, jousts, swordsmen, pirates, nobles, peasants and jugglers walking past you in timely costumes. Old English, lots of smiles and live demonstrations will amaze you during Ohio’s Renaissance Festival, Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day Monday, Sept. 3 to Oct. 23.

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There will be almost 100 shows performed in three days and old-time talent demonstrations in glassblowing, stone carving, boot making and more. Watch dueling swordsmen, fire jugglers, comedic shows, and musical performances. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Knights of Valour, the pipes and drums of Albannach, The Pickled Brothers Sideshow and more guests will be wondering the villages throughout the festival. Each guest will be present during specific weekends.

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There are several themed weekends with the most popular being pirate weekend with pirate contests and stunt shows, Sept. 17 and 18; highland weekend with special entertainment and bagpipes, Oct. 8 and 9; and romance weekend, offering a free vow renewal ceremony for couples the weekend of Oct. 15 and 16.

Here are 5 things to know thanks to the organizers of the Ren Fest:

Theme: This 30-acre permanent village has been authentically and historically re-created in the flavor of 16th Century England. 

Entertainment: Visitors will see a full day of entertainment including full-armored Jousting the way it was done over 400 years ago by real Knights in shining armor. Queen Elizabeth I presides over the festivities as dozens of Renaissance musicians, dancers, comedians, jugglers, sword-fighters, storytellers and hundreds of costumed performers entertain patrons of all ages on 11 stages in nearly 100 shows daily.

Arts & Crafts: More than 140 world-class artisans display wares in this unique shoppers’ paradise.  Master artisans demonstrate timeless arts of glassblowing, jewelry making, blacksmithing, stone carving, leather crafting, weaving and more.

Food & Drink: Giant Turkey Leggs, Steak-On-A-Stake, Barbecue, Wraps, Stuffed Spuds, Bread Bowl Stews, Pizza Parlor, Hearty Ales, Flavorful Wines, Delectable Desserts and Vegetarian selections offer even the most discriminating taste buds a true Taste of the Renaissance.

Must See Shows/Games: The Swordsmen – Two itinerant gentlemen with sharp swords, quick reflexes and even quicker wits for an entertaining balance of comedy and the manly art of swordfighting.  The Knights of Valour, real knights in shining armor, do battle in three Jousting Tournaments each Festival day. Theatre In The Ground (aka The Mudde Show) presents literary classics with a comedic twist performed in Ohio’s only Muditorium, where comedy meets Earth. Fool Hearty – Foolish fun for everyone. Test your skills in the gaming area or climb the 25’ Castle Tower, then visit the Tower of London Dungeon of Doom.  Eat, drink, shop, enjoy the shows, ride human-powered rides, and visit with Royalty at the 2016 Ohio Renaissance Festival.

A few other things to know:
  • The 1572 Roadhouse Bar-B-Q located on the grounds of the Ohio Renaissance Festival has officially opened its doors.  The eatery features rubbed and smoked meats with three homegrown sauces available, rotating microbrews and local favorites on tap, as well as a massive deck to enjoy some “great ‘Q’ and frosty brew.”
  • No pets are allowed.
  • There is a modern convenience that's new this year: the upgrade of flushing toilet facilities for women.