Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Just for Fun’ Category

Wheeling Jamboree Celebrates 85th Anniversary – The Country Music Show with Tradition Like No Other

 

Capitol Theatre

Capitol Theatre in downtown Wheeling, WV will host the 85th Wheeling Jamboree Anniversary.

Wheeling Jamboree lives on! The Historic 85th Anniversary of the Wheeling Jamboree will be held on April 7, 2018 at The Capitol Theatre in downtown Wheeling. Many of the stars will be familiar, and some new, but the country atmosphere will still fill the theater.

The jamboree originated in 1933 on the first Wheeling radio station, a 50,000 watt clear channel station – WWVA. One of its early announcers was Howard Donahoe, who later came to Cambridge to start WILE in 1948.

Mel Tillis

The late Mel Tillis was beloved by country music fans everywhere.

The working people of the Ohio Valley and the Northeast US have their roots in country music so the words in the songs ring true to their lives. That’s why the Jamboree became a popular Saturday evening entertainment.

A unique diversity also appears in Wheeling. The Jamboree and the Wheeling Symphony both take place in Capitol Theatre. So no matter what your musical taste, it can easily be satisfied in Wheeling.

JohnnyCashOnStageatJamboree1968_Enhanced

Johnny Cash made an appearance at the Jamboree early in his career.

William Wallace”Bill” Jones and the Sparkling Four was the first hillbilly act on the radio. They took requests over the telephone. Jones received many requests for yodeling songs and you may have heard him called Silver Yodelin’ Bill Jones.

Due to the popularity of the Jamboree music shows, it was decided to add a live audience to the Jamboree on Saturday nights. The first stage performance of the World’s Original WWVA Jamboree took place at the Capitol Theatre later in 1933 with all local talent, in front of an audience of over 3,000 fans. Then for decades, they broadcast from a different spot each Saturday evening.

Dolly_Parton_Jamboree_3_1976

Dolly Parton performed at Wheeling Jamboree in 1976.

During WWII, the Jamboree returned to the studio due to the war effort, then began stage performances after the war at Wheeling’s Virginia Theater. One of the most popular Jamboree stars at that time was honky-tonk vocalist, Hawkshaw Hawkins. Add to that the Sunshine Boys and “Yodelin’ Ranger” Hank Snow and people began looking forward to another evening of the Jamboree. If you were a top artist, you did the Jamboree.

Men would bring their cow bells with them as each bell had a unique sound. That way their family back home would know they were in attendance. Today, you’ll still hear the sound of cow bells over the radio on Jamboree nights on WBPS in Cambridge and WWOV in Wheeling.

JamboreeVirginiaTheater1946Color

The cast of the 1945 Wheeling Jamboree gathered on stage.

During the late 1940s, my parents took me on perhaps my first gypsy road trip to Virginia Theater to see the Wheeling Jamboree. Two names stick in my mind from that long ago show – Hawkshaw Hawkins with Dog House Boogie, and Grandpa Jones, who later starred in Hee Haw. At the time, this was quite the adventure from the hills of Indian Camp.

When the Virginia Theater was demolished after 16 years of hosting the Jamboree, their new home became the Rex Theater for four years. Then it was moved to Wheeling Island Exhibition Hall in 1966.

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Brad Paisley began playing at the Jamboree when he was ten years old.

Over the years, the Jamboree provided the perfect place for young local talent to get their start. Brad Paisley, from nearby Glen Dale, sang on the Jamboree at the age of 10 and played with their band weekly for eight years before moving on to Nashville.

Ronnie Milsap

Ronnie Milsap will be one of the performers at the 85th Anniversary.

The 85th Anniversary will be celebrated with well known country stars including Country Music Hall of Fame Members Ronnie Milsap and Charley McCoy. Add to that Wheeling native Tim O’Brien along with Darnell Milller, Rachel Whitcomb and more surprises. Emcee for the evening will be long-time country music personality, Keith Bilbrey.

Craig Wayne Boyd Jamboree

Craig Wayne Boyd was a winner on The Voice, but appeared at the Jamboree long before winning.

Today the Wheeling Jamboree broadcasts on WWOV to the air waves of the greater Wheeling area. Dave Heath, president of Wheeling Jamboree, Inc. and WWOV, has been instrumental in keeping this musical program alive.

Capitol Interior Post Renovation

The interior of the Capitol Theatre has recently had a grand renovation.

Whether you know the Jamboree as the Original WWVA Jamboree, Jamboree USA or The Wheeling Jamboree it remains the 2nd oldest Country Music Radio Broadcast Stage Show in history, behind the Grand Old Opry. Celebrate their 85th Anniversary on April 7 at 7:00 at the Capitol Theatre.

Ticket prices range from $20-$65 and can be purchased online at www.capitoltheatrewheeling.com .You’ve got me thinkin’ that a trip to the Jamboree would be the perfect way to spend an evening.

Capitol Theatre in Wheeling, WV can easily be reached off I-70 at Exit 1A. Take Route 40 straight downtown. The Theatre is on the right hand side at 1015 Main Street.

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The Many Artistic Abilities of Michael Warren

Michael Warren

This carving of a Native American from South Dakota came to Michael in a dream.

See the visions! Live your dreams!

Those words are an inspiration to artist, Michael Warren, who is talented in several different areas of art. Most of all, he is known for his outstanding woodcarvings, which feature the nature he enjoys so much. That’s why he calls his business, “Lost in the Woods Art Gallery”, which is located in Cambridge.

Michael Warren deerhunter

Deer hunting lets him be out in nature and perhaps be lucky enough to get meat for dinner.

Michael has been an avid hunter and fisherman since his youth. Right now he’s anxious for deer season so he can use his favorite bow and get some deer steaks and jerky. Wildlife seems to work its way into most of his life and art work.

Michael Warren sketches

Michael’s sketches also center around the wildlife he enjoys so much.

His first grade teacher at Lincoln School noticed his advanced creativity at the age of six, since he could look at something and recreate it even at that young age. Having a great art teacher in high school like Mr. Al Joseph continued his development. That led to studies at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Michael’s thankful for all those who inspired him throughout the years.

Michael Warren SF Festival

His booth at the Salt Fork Festival attracted much attention from the sound of the chain saw.

For the past two years, his work has been featured at the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival, where he has won honors in People’s Choice both years. The first year he had a large carving of a turkey, while this year, a fish won honors.

Michael Warren Fish

A carved fish, when completed, won the People’s Choice honors at the festival.

His carvings tell a story. The fish, for example, has his mouth open as he leaps from the water to catch a dragonfly going by. Unfortunately, the fish didn’t catch the dragonfly, but did catch a ribbon at the festival. The artist actually saw this bass in action at a farm pond in New Concord.

Michael sees something in every log, then puts a little part of himself into the carving. Staying focused with each cut becomes important. Then the sanding and detail work are a must. Much thought and prayer go into his detailed designs.

Michael Warren Caricature

He draws people, as he sees them, in his caricatures.

Carving is only one of his talents. A special attraction to children and the young at heart are his caricatures. Children enjoy watching him while he creates a picture of them…as he sees them. This gypsy is even going to have a caricature done.

At the Soak ‘Em Festival in Caldwell, Michael noticed a three year old boy dressed in cowboy hat and boots watching him draw. When Michael asked him if he would like a picture drawn, the little cowboy said he had no money. That didn’t stop Michael as he made that young lad smile with a cute caricature. Later in the day, the little cowboy ran up to Michael and put a quarter on his knee. They both smiled.

Michael Warren etching

His glass etchings also carry the wildlife theme.

Pencil drawings and glass etchings are also something that Michael does well. Again his love of nature shines forth in them.

Michael Warren mural

This mural by Michael covers a 127 foot wall at Deerassic Park with animal mounts in front.

A large mural measuring 127′ X 54′ can be found at Deerassic Park.When Michael painted this mural he hid scripture throughout. Look carefully the next time you’re out that way and see what you can find. Hint: There’s something in the pond.

Michael Warren Turkey

He has carved several turkeys, a popular item.

Michael is a very quiet soul and like many strong men, doesn’t like to be thought of as having any weakness. However, Michael was born with a heart disease and now has frequent bouts with congestive heart problems. But, he keeps going just a bit slower perhaps than he did a few years ago. No one would ever realize this because of his amazing smile and kind soul.

Often when he is creating, he likes to listen to gospel music. The song “Enough” is one of his favorites.”All I have in You is more than enough.”

Michael Warren feather

Hand-painted turkey feathers take time and patience.

His work is amazing and very detailed. Michael feels that’s because he usually gets a vision of something he should create. It’s a special gift that God has given him and he wants to use it to give people a little joy in their lives. A goal in his mind for the future is to carve a life size replica of Jesus on the cross.

The people the artist has met along the way have been a special blessing to him. Michael feels these three things are the best way to start your day, “Pray. Never give up. Let no one take your joy or love away from the journey God has instilled in your heart.”

Michael Warren at work

This artist stays busy creating new carvings of wildlife and various other objects.

If you would like to learn more about his work, contact Michael at michaelartest1000@gmail.com . Michael thanks God for being with him through all the good and rough times and proudly accepts the title of one of ‘His Artists’.

 


Castle Noel – A Family Christmas Experience

Castle Noel Buddy

Mark Klaus is ready to welcome you to Castle Noel and their newest movie set, “Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas”, starring Buddy!

The most amazing thing you’ve ever seen

is Castle Noel in ’17.”

That’s how Mark and Dana Klaus feels about Castle Noel, which captures the spirit of a family Christmas in several ways. The heart and soul of Castle Noel in Medina is Mark Klaus – with a name like that and a full beard, Christmas seemed a natural passion.

Sweet Shoppe Window

This Sweet Shoppe window display from Saks 5th Avenue is a favorite of visitors.

Growing up, Mark’s dad loved decorating for Christmas. Neighbors came from miles around to see his 16′ Christmas tree, as well as the reindeer and sleigh hanging from their ceiling. The Klaus house looked like a Christmas Wonderland.

Castle Noel Ornament

Mark’s sculpting skills create beautiful ornaments.

Mark, a world renowned master sculptor, displays many of his sculpted ornaments and angels in their gift shop. His miniature detail is accomplished through using dental tools and magnifying glasses. Angels are one of his favorite sculptures. Why?

Mark’s mother was killed in an automobile accident when he was sixteen. It happened on Christmas Eve. Mark said, “This all is a tribute to my mom.”

Castle Noel Church

This former Methodist church in Medina is now home to Castle Noel.

When Mark was searching for the perfect place to locate his enormous Christmas collection, he looked all over the United States but decided to come back to his home area. He found an abandoned Methodist Church built in 1891 in Medina that reminded him of a castle, thus the name, Castle Noel, which opened in 2013.

Castle Noel Lampoon Vacation

Mark drove the camper from Lampoon Vacation all the way from California to Ohio.

Usually Mark and his wife, Dana, work seven days a week and think about Castle Noel twenty four hours a day. Once in a while, they go on vacation. Walt Disney’s parks top the list as Mark’s favorite spots. But he doesn’t go there for the reasons most attend…Mark goes for inspiration for another idea to make Castle Noel even better.

Castle Noel Vortex

Walking through the Blizzard Vortex had everyone hanging onto the handrails.

Every year there’s something new to see at Castle Noel as Mark constantly makes improvements so it can continue to be “America’s Largest Indoor Year Round Christmas Entertainment Attraction”.

Castle Noel Santa Squeeze

Get the feeling of Santa going down the chimney in Santa Squeeze with 100,000 glass bulbs overhead for some extra Christmas cheer.

There seems to be something exciting around each corner, so only a few of the highlights are mentioned here.

 

Castle Noel Grinch set

This is an actual movie set from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.

His fantastic collection of Christmas movie sets, props and costumes that are worn in the Hollywood movies is mind boggling. He authenticates everything before displaying it in Castle Noel.

Castle Noel Gummy Bears

Mark was given three hours to remove this gummy bear display from Bloomingdale’s.

As you continue your journey you travel to New York City at Christmas time and stroll through the Platinum award winning animated window displays from Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor. Windows from our own Higbee’s in the 60s, Bloomingdale’s, plus Macy’s of Pittsburgh, New York and Washington state create a magical journey for all ages.

Caslte Noel Slide

Go up the stairs through the Enchanted Mountain, see Santa, and ride the slide down…just like Ralphie.

Last stop is Enchanted Mountain filled with animated animals. But it’s the slide back down that everyone enjoys. Seated on a burlap mat, all ages enjoy the thrill of sliding down the giant red slide like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story”. A great way to end the tour!

Castle Noel Alien Golf

Have some extra excitement at Alien Vacation Mini Golf.

But wait, there’s more! Outside you’ll find the entrance to Alien Vacation Mini Golf. You enter a 3D wonderland with miles of fiber optics. It now has 19 holes since the landing of the Alien Spaceship. You’ll enjoy this 3D spot whether you decide to play mini-golf or not.

Castle Noel Mark Klaus

A working Mark Klaus has fun with visitors after the tour.

Castle Noel is the perfect place for folks of every generation to make lasting Christmas memories. As Mark and Dana would tell you, “We like having fun around here.”

Castle Noel is located at 260 S Court Street, Medina, Ohio. From I-77 take exit 122B for US-224 W. Take exit 7 for OH-57 into the town of Medina. 

Chris Hart Performs One-Man Shows That Receive Rousing Reviews

Chris Hart

Chris Hart delights audiences with his repertoire of stories.

One-man performances require much research and attention to detail. Chris Hart has this down to a science. Not only does Chris do extensive research, but he writes all of the programs himself. This makes it easier for him during performances, as he is the only one who knows if he strayed from the original script.

Christopher Hart, museum curator and living historian at Roscoe Village, hales from the country in Tuscarawas County these days, even though born in Cambridge. Living on Steubenville Avenue for the first few years of his life, Chris indicated that he was a “good kid”, always a bit shy.

That shyness continued through school at Newcomerstown High School, where Chris didn’t participate in high school performances. Yet he loved going to the theater and watching.

sherlock (2)

Involved in Sherlock Holmes performances, Chris often portrays Sherlock’s sidekick, John Watson.

So where did the idea for one-man shows first appear? A few years after he married his supporting wife, Suzie, they visited a restored village in Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia. There, a man dressed in full costume told a living history story of a Confederate soldier, who never went home. Chris told Suzie, “That would be the ideal job. Fun!” The seed was planted.

Ohio Northern had become his college of choice to study in their pharamaceutical department. For many years, Chris played the real life role of pharmacist all over Tuscarawas County, but has since retired.

Now he had extra time. One day he noticed an ad for a person to portray a village doctor in Roscoe Village. Four people applied and took turns being doctor throughout the season. This was the first real person he had even done, but that was only the beginning.

Chris Hart

Captain Reynolds tells tales of life of the Ohio-Erie Canal.

A Canal Boat Captain on the Ohio-Erie Canal, which ran close to Roscoe Village, was the first character he fully developed himself. He became Captain Reynolds, who in his travels meets a photographer, snake charmer and even a witch.

While Chris began his one-man, first-person performance days at Roscoe Village, it didn’t take long for listeners to know they had a talented storyteller on their hands. He doesn’t just tell a story, he becomes the character in dress, voice, and emotion.

Queen Victoria and Chris Hart

During Dickens Victorian Village season, Chris performed “Audience with the Queen” with Queen Victoria.

His characters usually are drawn from famous historic events, but he doesn’t portray the main character. He finds it much more interesting to portray someone in the background of the event as he sees it through their eyes. Plus, everyone knows what Charles Dickens looked like, but nobody knows much about his close friend, James Fields.

The only famous person he has done is Neil Armstrong giving a press release twenty years after his walk on the moon. So far he has developed nearly forty different characters, and the list continues to grow.

Main Street Bar

Chris greets visitors to Olde Main Street at the original walnut bar from Sam Douglass Saloon in Newcomerstown.

He jokingly says his ideas come from the committee in his head. He takes ideas he personally likes and finds a character to fulfill that role, or he does a request for an organization. It usually takes about two to three months to research and write one of his performances. His best writing time happens at 5:00 in the morning.

Every story has three basic elements to reach the audience. It needs a little humor, the listener needs to feel a tug of emotion, and there’s usually a twist of some kind that makes the story surprising.

Titanic 001

This is a copy of the original boarding pass used for the Titanic.

His most popular show right now features “The Survivor of the Titanic”, where he portrays Peter Daley a first class passenger on the ship. Peter remembers that fateful day when the Titanic went down and how he survived.

Another favorite, “Shepherd’s Journey”, came to him while he was driving his car. A shepherd at the Nativity moves with Jesus through several major events in his life, culminating at the crucifixion and resurrection. This is a popular religious performance from Christmas through Easter.

Prof. Chris Hart

Chris prepares for another pharmaceutical lecture at Belmont Tech.

Even though Chris enjoys his work on stage, he now also teaches pharmaceutical classes at seven different colleges. His favorite class is at the University of Findlay, where he teaches the History of Pharmacy. As you might imagine his classes are fun as well as educational, since he often appears in costume to make the lesson real.

After seeing his schedule, it’s obvious that Chris makes good use of his time with little to spare. When he does have extra time, reading and hiking at Salt Fork provide relaxation. Mt. Everest tops the list of places Chris would like to visit. It’s the tallest mountain in the world with many stories to tell.

Chris a Salt Fork Festival.

At the Salt Fork Festival, Chris told the story, “Paws for the Cause”, about a Civil War soldier and his dog.

Throughout the year, Chris can be found throughout the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee entertaining audiences with his tales of years gone by. His most recent addition tells the story of a 9/11 survivor, “I’m Not a Hero”. Be sure to catch one or more of his one-man shows sometime soon. You’ll be a fan.

This season, 2017, he will be doing a new story for Friends of the Library during Dickens Victorian Village season. This time he takes on the role of Peter Cratchit, Scrooge’s office clerk, in a performance called “My, How Christmas Has Changed”.

When this fantastic storyteller stops to ponder, it’s not uncommon to hear him say, “That reminds me of another story.” Chris Hart brings history to life!

If you would like to contact Chris for a show at your event, phone him at 740–408-4608. You might find him at Olde Main Street in Newcomerstown or follow him on Facebook at Christopher Hart: History Comes to Life. Schedule ahead!

 

 

Summertime Drive in Southeastern Ohio

Something my family has always done, anytime of the year, is take a Sunday drive. This Sunday my goal was the Fly Ferry, but along the way there were some interesting spots as well. Come ride with me!

Willow Island Hydroelectric PlantFor some reason, power plants attract me! This Willow Island Hydroelectric Plant was located across the Ohio River on my drive going up the river from Marietta, Ohio.

Farmers MarketIt was the perfect time of year for a Farmers Market to pick up some fresh Marietta tomatoes, sweet corn and a couple pieces of fudge. Valley View Farm Market even had a U-Pic section to pick your own peppers and tomatoes.

The JugThe Jug Restaurant in Newport, Ohio was a great stop for a refreshing drink and a chance to sit along the Ohio River for a while. They had a great mural of old cars on the side of their building as well as picnic tables and a nearby shelter.

Father son walkIt’s always nice to see families enjoying the day together. Here father and son walk along the pier as they enjoy the river scene.

TugboatThis Illinois tugboat going up the river was pushing thirty barges. Later in the day they came back loaded and covered. People were guessing they were loaded with steel.

Fly FerryReached the Fly Ferry in time for a couple rides at $1 per person from Fly, Ohio to Sistersville, WV. One time there were several motorcycles riding along.

Restaurant SignThe Riverview Restaurant is a great place for a tasty lunch while watching the river activity out the window. Guess that’s why they call is Riverview! Had to agree with this sign on their wall next to a picture of John Wayne.

PipelineHeading home over a crooked back road made for a perfect ending for the day. Along the way the cows were learning to live with the pipeline that was invading their pasture.

Ohio FarmlandMost of the way, farmland and beautiful homes and barns reminded me of a saying:

“In winter’s chill or summer’s heat, a farmer works so the world can eat.”

Seneca LakeAlmost home but stopped by Seneca Lake for a peaceful time by the water. This picture looks out from the dam area to that popular island for boaters.  Guess you can tell that hanging out near the water is a favorite pastime of mine.

Ice Cream ConeOne last stop before home to get a favorite ice cream cone from Orr’s Drive-In. Always enjoy that raspberry twist!

Maybe you can enjoy a Sunday drive in the country sometime soon. Actually, any day will work for me.

 

 

Velvet Ice Cream – A True Original Since 1914

All Ice Cream is Good…

Some is Just Better Than Others.

~Joe and Mike Dager

Velvet Mill

This old mill is now home to Velvet Ice Cream Shoppe where you can find the history of ice cream as well as a restaurant and gift shop.

Velvety smooth ice cream has been produced in Utica for over a hundred years. That’s why more than 150,000 people visit Velvet Ice Cream each year and July is a special month with free samples.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan recognized ice cream as a delicious treat enjoyed by almost everyone and nutritious besides. So he declared July to be National Ice Cream Month.

Velvet First Home

This was the original home of Velvet Ice Cream in the basement of the Utica Ice Company.

Joseph Dager came to the United States in 1903 unable to speak any English. That didn’t stop him from following the American dream of having his own business. His dream became a reality in the basement of a confectionery in Utica in 1914.  That first ice cream was made the old-fashioned way by hand cranking. At that time, there were only three flavors: vanilla, chocolate and strawberry.

They outgrew their basement  home quickly and built a factory behind the confectionery. Then in 1960 they discovered an old gristmill, built in 1817, at the edge of town and thought it the perfect place to build a new factory. The mill was powered by an overshot water wheel, which is 18 feet in diameter and weighs 2000 pounds.

Velvet Operation

Watching Velvet Ice Cream being made shows their high standards of cleanliness.

Since 1914 the same family has been making ice cream for four generations in Utica, Ohio. They make the world a happier place one small batch at a time. Even today they make their ice cream in small batches using local cream and the finest ingredients.

Velvet Favorite Flavor

Their number one selling ice cream is Buckeye Classic, with Southern Butter Pecan running a close second.

Watching the seven steps of ice cream being made on their Factory Tour is not only free, but during July, Monday thru Friday you’ll get a free sample of ice cream as part of that tour. Only natural ingredients are used to make this smooth and creamy ice cream. It immediately goes to a freezer where the temperature is 108-110 degrees to lock in freshness.

Velvet Cow

This Jersey cow, named Velvet of course, signifies their ice cream is all made from local Jersey milk.

Here they produce over five million gallons of ice cream each year. They are the largest producer of ice cream in Ohio. It all begins with milk, cream, sugar and water in just the right proportions. Mixing in air as it freezes is essential as nearly half of the volume of ice cream is air. That’s why you have to crank homemade ice cream so long.

On this visiting day they were making Raspberry Fudge Cordial, Summertime Peach, and Moose Tracks. All delicious!

Velvet Cleaning

After each flavor is finished, the bins must be thoroughly cleaned.

Keeping everything perfectly clean is a top priority. Their employees all change to white uniforms when they enter the factory area. Employees throughout the grounds seemed perfectly happy to be working at Velvet.

After each flavor is finished, the machines must be cleaned. What remains in the machines is placed in red buckets to be picked up later by local hog farmers. Pigs like everything except the mints in mint chocolate chip. They leave those in the bottom of the trough.

Velvet Mill Museum

To honor the old mill, there is a Mill Museum, which displays tools used there years ago.

Visit the Milling Museum to view the reconstructed Ye Old Mill, which began running in 1817. When fire destroyed the old mill in 1986, the family rebuilt it. However, the actual mill wheel is still the original.

Velvet Ice Cream Shoppe

Happy employees patiently give out samples of ice cream until you find your favorite.

Before you leave, you’ll want to stop at Ye Old Mill, where you’ll find their ice cream parlor. Perhaps you’ll want to have a sandwich followed by the freshest ice cream you’ve ever tasted. No matter what their age, everyone enjoys ice cream.

Their largest sundae carries the name “The Feed Bin” and should serve 4-6 hungry people. It contains 14 scoops of ice cream covered with four sauces, bananas, crushed nuts and cherries. Come hungry for that one.

Velvet Trail and Playground

Children enjoy the playground, while nearby walking trails give you a chance to walk off some of that delicious ice cream.

Velvet Pond

The pond offers fishing with their Buckeye Tree Grove on the left side.

Afterwards, perhaps you might want to take a short walk on their Nature Trail that follows an old canal. It’s a chance to walk off some of that delicious ice cream. Or relax by the side of the catch-and-release fishing pond, where you’ll find ducks to feed. There’s enough activity here for an afternoon of fun for kids of any age..

Velvet truck

Eye catching semis deliver gallons of ice cream to Ohio and surrounding states.

Visit Velvet Ice Cream during July to get a free sample right off the line Monday – Friday, 11 – 3.  Spend a yummy day discovering your favorite Velvet Ice Cream flavor.

Velvet Ice Cream is located off I-70 at Exit 132. Take Ohio 13 through Newark to Utica. Their address is 11324 Mt. Vernon Road, Utica, Ohio. It is right along Route 13 so quite easy to find. 

 

 

 

World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock in “Little Switzerland of Ohio”

Cuckoo Welcome

This large billboard at the edge of town announces Sugarcreek attractions.

Visit “Little Switzerland of Ohio” to see the “World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock”. Sugarcreek is now home to that famous clock, which was purchased by Walnut Creek Cheese and donated to the tourist town.

But the clock had its beginnings back in 1963 as an idea of Alice Grossniklaus, owner of Alpine Alpa, a restaurant and cheese house. She thought a large cuckoo clock would help bring trade to her restaurant. Designed and built by Karl Schleutermann, twelve years and $50,000 later, the clock was up and running.

This 23-foot- 6 inch tall timepiece originally stood in Wilmot on a hill in back of the Alpine Alpa restaurant. Alice and her husband, Hans, made it the #1 Swiss cheese shop in the country. But things changed over the years and all the restaurant fixings were auctioned off, including the clock.

Cuckoo Clock

The World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock waits for all to enjoy.

Mark Coblentz of Walnut Creek Cheese purchased the clock at auction. It sat in a parking lot for two years while they looked for the perfect place to set it.

When the residents of Sugarcreek were trying to decide where to put the clock, many wanted it placed inside a building with an admission charge of about five dollars per visit. But Mayor Clayton Weller didn’t have the same vision. He wanted the clock to be free for all to enjoy, as often as they wanted.

When Mayor Weller sets his heart on something, he gets it accomplished. Land was purchased, the foundation set and a crane moved that clock between two crabapple trees without touching a limb. Clayton likes challenges, perhaps that’s why in his spare time he drag races.

Today the clock is on Sugarcreek’s Broadway Street. In 2012, the clock resumed its cuckooing duties after volunteers worked diligently to restore the electrical mechanisms. Those little Bavarian figures still do the polka.

Cuckoo Cuckoo Clock

The cuckoo is the first thing you see and hear each half hour.

Visitors are thrilled every thirty minutes when a bell rings, and out pops a cuckoo bird. Next a three-foot-tall couple on tracks dance the polka to Bavarian music played by a five-piece oompa band.

Cuckoo Swiss Hilltoppers

The oompa band, The Hilltoppers, entertains as the couple dances.

The dancers and band are made out of wood from the Black Forest in Germany. Currently, the dancers take a break as the wood started splitting on the lady’s dress. That would have destroyed her, if not fixed quickly.

The mechanical part of this clock is a marvel with many intricate pieces. When viewed through the back door, the system is even more amazing. Most incredible is the fact that this clock is forty-five years old. They even have the original eight-track tapes that played that first music.

Cuckoo Waterwheel

A waterwheel on the side of the building adds a little extra splash.

A satellite on the clock monitors the sound system so it can easily be checked from home anytime. The people of this town really care about the clock. A group of men Clayton called the Cuckoo Brothers spend endless hours working on and checking the clock. Another special group, the Four Amigos, plant and care for 165 geraniums that surround the clock in the summer time. That shows real dedication to their community!

Guinness World Records was contacted regarding the clock’s official unveiling to verify that it is indeed the world’s largest. “It has to work as a real cuckoo clock, like you’d buy at a store,” said Mayor Weller, confident that his clock would be crowned the largest in the world. “A lot of work went into it,” he said. “Everybody says it’s never looked as good as it does now.”

A friend, Big Mike, secretly made all the arrangements with Guiness World Records, and one day Clayton was called asking why the street was blocked off and a crowd of people were at the clock. He knew nothing about these plans, so headed that way. What he saw surprised him completely.

Cuckoo Mayor Clayton

May Clayton Welller has been instrumental in getting the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock up and running.

Under a blanket on an easel was that coveted Guiness Book of World Records certificate. It verified that the clock in Sugarcreek definitely took the honors of the Largest Cuckoo Clock in the World. Today the office of Mayor Weller proudly displays that certificate.

In order to pay for this project without burdening the local residents, a bedtax plan has been used. Next year the land and moving expenses will be paid in full. Then the money will be used for repairs and maintenance on this local treasure.

Cuckoo 1

This picture was taken on a summer day with all the beautiful geraniums in bloom.

People come from all over the world to visit the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock. Many remember coming years ago with their families, but most are making new memories as they watch the mechanical marvel play its song every thirty minutes.

Visit Sugarcreek, Little Switzerland of Ohio, to visit their delightful small town and unique chalet-styled cuckoo clock. Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

The World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock is located at 100 N Broadway Street, Sugarcreek, Ohio. Take I-77 to Exit 83, which will be Ohio 39. Go west about 8 miles and turn left on Broadway Street. You can’t miss the Cuckoo Clock on the corner of Broadway and Main.

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