Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Just for Fun’ Category

Road Trippin’ in the USA at McPeek’s Mighty Maze

If you want to get lost, McPeek’s Mighty Maze is the perfect place with Roadtrippin’ USA as the theme of their corn maze for 2020. Located at the Coshocton KOA Campground on County Road 10, it’s more than just a maze. They have many activities that those young at heart from 0 – 99 will enjoy.

This all began in 2015 after Ryan McPeek had purchased a campground near Coshocton and was trying to create something extra that campers and area residents would enjoy. A corn maze came to mind.

That first year was a learning year and a busy one for Ryan as he married Camille in August. They spent their honeymoon at McPeek’s Mighty Maze! This was a new experience for both of them as they had never created a corn maze before.

The entire Mighty Maze is shown in this overhead view.

The maze is more difficult to create than you might think. First, Dave Phillips of Maize Quest draws the maze for the year. After the corn is planted by Brian Mason in the spring, about July 4 the maze is created while the corn is knee-high, young, and tender making it easy to cut down.

Climb the steps to the platform for a great view of the maze.

Tim Day of Maize Quest then arrives with his tractor, rototiller, and GPS unit. Phillips’ Road Trippin’ USA maze is placed into the GPS and the tractor cuts out the maze in a few hours. Day is very busy as cuts about sixty corn mazes each year around the country.

Maize-O-Vision glasses help you see a special map of the maze.

Since the pandemic has made traveling on vacations a bit more difficult this year, the maze takes the shape of Road Trippin’ USA . You can take a fun road trip right here in Coshocton. The Route 66 logo is in one corner of the maze. Another section features a camper and you’ll find a few mountains along the edge.

Along the way, you’ll find stations to help you explore the USA.

At the end of August, holes were drilled to set up nine game stations. Colored ribbons were placed along the miles of pathways inside to help people find their way. Each section has a different color ribbon to help people know where they are. While at this giant corn maze you will learn a bit of history as you play the games and travel through the cornstalks for answers. Play Word Game and learn about 18 different National Parks.

Enjoy the challenge of the Rat Wheel – similar to what a hamster might use.

There’s also a Kid’s Corn Maze for little ones who don’t want to get too lost. Cornelius M. Quest’s Picture Find has children discovering nine Ohio animals hidden at picture stations inside the maze.

McPeek’s Giant Corn Maze is the best place to get lost in the stalks for the 6th season. Enjoy a tasty treat from their three food carts – mini donuts, ice cream, and special favorites like hot dogs and french fries or lumpia and chicken fried rice.

The Jump Pad is the perfect place to use up some extra energy.

There’s all kinds of Fall Fun available as well as the maze. Their giant Jump Pad will have you bouncin’ for joy. Or you might try your luck in a Rat Roll, which is similar to a hamster wheel. Even adults have fun with these! There’s also a Barrel Train ride for the youngsters. Don’t forget all the pumpkins.

Ryan McPeek enjoys driving the tractor for the hayrides.

A hayride winds through the corn maze as it heads to the top of Mt. Everest. Seating will be limited for each ride to assure social distancing. Some traditional events will not be held this year due to pandemic guidelines. The corn box is closed as well as the playground.

Have a different kind of experience at Flashlight Night, which was held earlier this season. Imagine the darkness surrounding you as the cool night breeze moves the cornstalks with eerie sounds. Be sure to pick up a map so you don’t get lost for the night. Take a Glow Hayride that same evening. You’ll have to come back another year for all the fun!

The barrel train ride is great fun for youngsters.

McPeek’s Mighty Maze will be open four weekends in October on Saturday and Sunday from 12 – 6 so plan ahead for a time of family fun roadtrippin’ through the corn or maybe gettin’ lost in the stalks.

Ryan and Camille will help make your adventure a memorable one. Check their website for further information and additional events at www.mcpeeksmightymaze.com or visit them on Facebook.

All ages enjoy the Duck Race to see whose duck will win the water race.

Admission at the gate is $10 per person with children under 2 free. If you register online ahead of time, admission is $8 per person. Staying at the KOA Campground in Coshocton gets you free admission to the Mighty Maze and a chance to enjoy the night air sitting around a campfire.

Sounds like Roadtrippin’ USA could be great fun for everyone at McPeek’s Mighty Maze. Get lost in the stalks!

​McPeek’s Mighty Maze is located at the Coshocton KOA Campgrounds on County Road 10 just east of Coshocton. You can’t miss their signs!

Barefoot McCoy Captures Real Life in His Songs

 

Surrounded by music since childhood, Jake “Barefoot” McCoy of Newark, Ohio now provides musical entertainment all over Ohio and across the United States. His popular folk music developed step by step throughout his life.


Barefoot as a child

Even as a child, Jake attempted to play his dad’s musical instruments.

   His family was homeschooled and piano instruction was part of the curriculum. At the age of five, he began classical piano lessons from a teacher who came to their house every week. A half-hour of practice was required daily.

   Jake feels lucky to have started his musical training at an early age. Music filled his heart and soul so by the time he was eight, he played as much by ear as by reading the music. It wasn’t until age 13 that Jake wrote his first songs using piano and guitar as accompaniment.

Barefoot at Apoxee Trail Florida

The Apoxee Trail in Florida is a great place to go hiking with your guitar.

   When attending Newark High School, Jake also participated in cross country and track. Running and being in nature got in his blood too, and he still gets pleasure from hiking today or taking long walks in the woods.

   Jake attended Asbury College in Kentucky for four years where he earned a degree in music and performance, with minors in accounting and agriculture. In that small town of Wilmore, locals met on the porches or in local clubs and enjoyed sharing music. That’s where he developed as a banjo player.

The same teddy bear is available in multiple, playful settings.

Historic Roscoe Village featured Jake at their grand piano for a Christmas concert.

   It was while enjoying music on those hot summer evenings along the Kentucky River that Jake began playing without wearing shoes. A couple of his friends, Rainwater, a Cherokee, and Gail Roe gave him the Indian name of “Barefoot” at that time and this unique name distinguishes him easily from other performers.

   While in Kentucky, he performed with many local bands from 2010 to 2014 and immersed himself in Appalachian culture, including readings of Thoreau and Wordsworth. If you listen closely, you can hear traces of his beliefs and values in the songs he writes.

Barefoot at South Florida Fair - West Palm Beach

Fairs are a popular venue. Here he performs at the South Florida State Fair in West Palm Beach.

   2015 created a memorable year for Barefoot as he went to California to visit a relative. He stayed the year playing every day as a street performer on the Santa Monica Pier. In the evenings he would play at local clubs and bars. While surrounded by all that music, he wrote over 100 songs that year.

   He began performing solo in 2015 and has since delighted crowds at over 1200 shows in Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Indiana, New Mexico, and California. His most recent festival took place in March at Dawsonville, Georgia.

Barefoot April

Jake Barefoot McCoy writes meaningful lyrics for his folk songs.

   A special relative that influenced his music tremendously was Doc Watson. His folk guitar playing inspired much of Barefoot’s technique today. During the American folk music revival in the 1960s, the award-winning Doc played acoustic guitar and banjo with a special picking style.

   A multi-talented young man, Barefoot is a singer, songwriter, and musician. A specialty he has mastered is putting poetic lyrics together that tell stories of yesterday and tomorrow. Barefoot is a truly great lyricist able to capture beauty, happiness, frustrations, and pure fun.

Barefoot at Keyboard

The keyboard is a central part of his performances.

   He varies his performances by playing guitar, banjo, harmonica, and piano. No matter what instrument he picks up, his skill and feelings come pouring through. Those bare feet keep him in close touch with his foot percussion, which is often his guitar case.

Barefoot at Cherokee, NC

Cherokee Nation in North Carolina has a festival that he thoroughly enjoys.

   While playing around on the piano at home, he often just happens across his next song. He loves telling a story through his music and usually is working on several new songs. Sometimes he might work on a song idea for years, but often it happens in just one day, maybe even ten minutes.

Barefoot Latest Album

His album “Back to Virginia” takes you on a musical adventure from valleys to mountaintops.

   His albums are Bye Bye Bluebird, Ballyhoo, American Lady, and Back to Virginia. At concerts, Take Me Away and Cali top the list of requests. Summer in My Soul is his latest hit.

I will not grow old

While my heart is full

The world outside is so cold

But it’s Summer in My Soul.

Tourism Barefoot McCoy

He was a featured entertainer at Ohio Tourism Day on the Ohio Statehouse steps.

   Some of his favorite concerts have occurred at the Cherokee Festival in Cherokee Nation, the Paul Bunyan Festival at Old Washington, and Apple Butter Festival in Coshocton. My first concert of Barefoot’s occurred on the Ohio State House Lawn at a State Tourism Show and later listened when he performed at the Guernsey County Senior Center Picnic.

Barefoot at Senior Diner

Guernsey County Senior Center asked him to play for their Senior Picnic in the park.

   Like all young men, he has his dreams. One of those would be to go on an international tour. He’d also enjoy playing with Tommy Emmanuel, who he admires for his complex fingerstyle technique on the guitar. The talented Jake “Barefoot” McCoy certainly has a wonderful chance to fulfill his dreams.

Barefoot Tee

This Barefoot tee shirt could be a fun gift.

   Visit his website at www.barefootmccoy.com to hear some of his music. It’s an easy place to order an entertaining CD. Bluegrass fans might like to pick up a Barefoot Raglan Tee Shirt or Hoodie for themselves or a friend.

   Watch his schedule and plan to listen to his delightful musical creations sometime soon. Barefoot McCoy is a pure American Folk Music treasure.

The Camels Are Coming – Father’s Day Story

Dad, Mom and Bev 001

Mom, Dad, and a shy gypsy enjoy Father’s Day long ago. 

Dad would truly “Walk a mile for a Camel.” He thoroughly enjoyed his Camel cigarettes. No other brand would do. Why at that time their advertisements stated, “More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.” Purchases were made by the carton.

   Needless to say, Dad always knew how many packs of cigarettes he still had left. One day when Dad and Mom returned from town, he found some of his packs of cigarettes missing. Mom questioned him as to whether he had smoked more than he thought. “No, Kate, I didn’t smoke that many packs. Someone had to take some.”

   Two weeks later, the same thing happened. This time they noticed that someone had come in through the cellar door while they were gone as the door was still wide open.

   Then Dad decided to play detective. He sent Mom to town at the regular time with me, wearing his work hat and white shirt, driving their car. We headed down the road to Indian Camp as we didn’t plan on staying away too long just in case Dad needed help.

   Before long, Dad heard someone pushing open the cellar door. Now was his chance to see who had been taking his cigarettes. He patiently waited at the top of the steps as he heard what sounded like young laughter.

   When the door to the upstairs opened, there stood Dad to greet the intruders. They happened to be two neighbor boys who wanted something to smoke and of course, their parents would not permit that.

   How surprised they were! He told them to come on upstairs and sit down in the living room. “Well, boys, should I call your parents? Will they approve of what you have done? You both know that stealing is wrong.”

   “Oh, please, Rudy, don’t call them. We’ll be in big trouble. We promise never to take your cigarettes again if you don’t tell.”

   Then Dad surprised them both by saying, “It will be our secret. If you ever want to smoke a cigarette, come over and ask me for one.”

   When Mom and I came back to the house, Dad was sitting on the porch with a smile on his face. “I caught two young boys and taught them a lesson. I don’t think it will ever happen again.” He was hoping that might cure their desire to take things that didn’t belong to them…and it did!

Ohio Sunday Springtime Drive

Sunday drives have been part of our family tradition since I was a child. Dad always loved to travel those back country roads to see what we could see. Today this gypsy is trying to carry on that tradition as often as possible.

Spring Salt Fork Lake 2   On a recent Sunday afternoon, my car headed out to one of my favorite spots for thinking and dreaming at Salt Fork Lake Dam. From there, it was a matter of luck where the next stops might be. Ride along and see what interesting places appeared along the way.

Spring Hillside   Along the way the trees were finally getting their leaves in that beautiful spring green with some colorful redbuds thrown into the mix to add a little color.

  Spring Plainfield flags     The small town of Plainfield made my heart swell as their main street was lined with the US flag. Houses and businesses all along the street had a flag in their front yard to show their support of our country.

Spring depot   Coming into Coshocton, I spotted an old depot no longer in use but a great reminder of how railroads were an important part of our past.

Spring Roscoe   A drive through Roscoe Village always gives pleasure. Today there were a few people out walking but not much traffic. The little shops along the way looked like they were lonesome for customers.

Spring Clary Gardens   Nearby Clary Gardens has not only a flower garden, but a hillside amphitheater for entertainment and weddings. There is also a lovely Quilt Barn on the premises.

Spring Basket   Down the road at Dresden, you can witness the largest basket in the world. This delightful, small town continues to make handwoven baskets at Dresden & Co.

Spring Whit's   Coming through Zanesville, a Whit’s custard ice cream cone called to me. The flavor of the month was Almond Joy, a delicious treat.

   Hope you enjoyed the ride!

LEGOLAND Discovery Center – The Ultimate Indoor Playground

LEGO tub of bricks

Use your imagination with a tub filled with LEGO bricks.

Kids love LEGO bricks! There’s no doubt about it. They enjoy the creativity involved in designing their own building, vehicle, or person by using their imagination. Not only does it grab the interest of youngsters, but many dads and moms had their own collection of LEGO years ago.

LEGOLAND front

LEGOLAND Discovery Center can be found at Easton in Columbus.

     Visit LEGOLAND Discovery Center at Easton in Columbus for a unique indoor attraction based on the LEGO bricks. Since it was specifically built for children ages 3-10, all adults must be accompanied by children. You’ll want to plan your visit so you have two to three hours at LEGOLAND, which was opened in September 2018.

LEGO leaders

Their leadership team includes Benjy Johnson – Guest Experience Manager, Maxx Davidson – Master Builder, and Chris Shoemaker – General Manager

     With the assistance of a great guide, Benjy, my tour of the facility covered every aspect from building blocks to rides and movies. LEGOLAND is highly interactive in numerous areas.

Lego Interactive

The Friends section holds a special interest to girls and moms.

     LEGO began back in 1932 when a toymaker in Denmark began making wooden toys and blocks and called them “leg godt,” meaning “play well.” It wasn’t until 1958 that LEGO bricks were made out of plastic with their interlocking design so all would fit together easily.

LEGO building

How tall can you build your tower before it falls at Earthquake Shake?

     It would take forty billion LEGO bricks end to end to reach the moon. The company makes forty-seven billion bricks each year. A special addition in 1978 was the popular minifigure. Since that time there have been enough minifigures made to wrap around the earth eighteen times.

LEGO OSU

Miniland has an interactive section of the OSU Stadium built of LEGO bricks.

     An interactive Miniland attracts adults as well as children. In Columbus, you will see parts of the city built with LEGO bricks. They also have highlights of Cleveland and Cincinnati. There are over a million and a half LEGO bricks in Miniland. Little details will have you exploring the sites carefully.

LEGO Build and Test 2

Families have fun building vehicles and racing them at Build and Test.

     Several play areas give youngsters a chance to build their own LEGO creations. LEGO Build and Test entices families to build their own vehicles so they can race them on extreme ramps and see how fast they can go. Earthquake Tables are the perfect place to erect buildings and see how they withstand an earthquake.

     With all the children handling bricks, special attention is paid to cleaning and sterilizing the bricks on a daily basis. Anytime a brick is dropped on the floor, it is swept up and taken to the room for cleaning. At the end of the day, all the bricks that children play with are taken to the washroom where they are washed and sterilized.

LEGO movies

Everyone will enjoy a LEGO 4D Cinema adventure.

     Want to take a break from building? Sit back and watch a fantastic LEGO 4D Cinema. Here you will experience rain, snow, wind, and bubbles while you watch the LEGO excitement. There are four different movies for your enjoyment. The 4D glasses are also disinfected after each use.

LEGO ticket booth

Even the ticket booth to the movies looks like a LEGO brick.

     You won’t want to miss two rides that take you on LEGO adventures. Kingdom Quest takes you on a laser journey to free the captured princess. Hop aboard a chariot and use blasters to zap beastly trolls and sneaky skeletons along the way. Rescue the princess!

merlins-apprentice-1

Fly to new heights as Merlin’s Apprentice.

     Merlin’s Apprentice Ride takes place in Merlin’s magical chamber. Here you pedal the enchanted cart as fast as you can to soar to new heights of up to 12′. Only the most powerful charms will reach the sky.

LEGO clock

The dragon emerges every fifteen minutes from the LEGO clock to Rock Around the Clock.

     Many special events are held throughout the year so check out their website at www.columbus.legolanddiscoverycenter.com to find all the activities. They even have special Adult Only Nights for grown-ups who always enjoyed LEGO bricks and would like a chance to be a kid again.

     Visit LEGOLAND Discovery Center at Easton in Columbus to experience building and creating with LEGO bricks. There’s free parking close by in the West Garage.

LEGO birthday

LEGOLAND is the perfect place for a birthday party.

     This is a great place for a birthday party or a school field trip and it’s open every day of the year – all 366 days this year! The children will certainly remember this unique indoor adventure.

     Go inside and play!

LEGOLAND is located inside Easton Center just off I-270 at Exit 33. Their address is 157 Easton Town Center with free parking close by in West Garage. Put the address in your GPS and go play!

Gypsy Highway

Snyder's BluffWhile visiting Vicksburg, Mississippi to do some research for a Civil War Diary, my journey took me to Snyder’s Bluff, one of the places frequently mentioned in the diary. This is where my GPS took me that hot, southern day.

   Dust settled over my gypsy car while exploring a dirt road not far from that grand Mississippi River that divides our country. With temperatures near 100 degrees as the sun beat down, I felt fortunate that the Chevy’s air conditioning worked properly.

   Soon the road went through a narrow pass cut into the ground with sides ten feet high and trees extending their roots like tentacles reaching out to capture something or someone. Because of the desire to do research for the book, my curiosity led me forward. After a few miles, no end seemed to be in sight so when the road widened, giving an opportunity to turn around, I maneuvered the car back and forth until it was headed out.

   Returning through the pass, a loud sound reached my ears and there was more dust up ahead. Around a slight bend headed straight toward me rumbled a semi loaded with logs. Imagine they were as surprised to see me as I was to see them.

   Somehow we passed with inches to spare between us and between the banks of the road with tree roots waiting to grasp. No walls came tumbling down!

   After that close call, it was necessary to stop for a few minutes. With my hand resting on my chest, I could feel the rapid heartbeat. The smell of dust filled the car.

   My lips felt like sandpaper from the dust and heat, and my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth. Perhaps back on the main road, there would be someplace to buy a cold ice tea to wet my whistle.

   You never know what you might encounter when taking a Gypsy Highway. It made me wonder how Pvt. George Painter, the writer of the diary, handled the dangers in the area back in 1863 when he was a member of the Mississippi Marine Brigade.

Find Handmade Unique Gifts at Jane’s Dolls & Things

Jane Booth

Jane currently has a booth at Deal Busters Marketplace in Byesville.

Dolls, bears, and doll clothes are just a few of the things created by Jane Parks of Kimbolton. When she talks about her creations, you can tell by the sparkle in her eyes that she truly enjoys what she does.

Jane Barbie dress

She got her start at making doll dresses with clothes for Barbie.

   She remembers those first clothes she made back when she was fifteen. That was a time when Barbie dolls were very popular. Jane made clothes for Barbie and sold them to children on the school bus. That year she made enough money to buy Christmas presents for the entire family.

   For a while, life took over and Jane was busy with work and family. She did find time to make some doll clothes for her daughter.

   1978 was the year when she became more interested in making dolls and their clothes. She and her husband, Bill, were at a Steam Engine Show where they saw someone selling doll clothes in one of the booths. Bill told Jane that her doll clothes looked much better and she should try selling hers.

Jane doll dress

Creating a fancy pinafore for an 18″ doll takes much time.

   That next year, Jane took all the things she had made to the Steam Engine Show at Stumptown. She sat on the tailgate of an International Scout with her creations spread on wooden boards between two wooden horses. She charged fifty cents a dress and made $40 in four hours. She was hooked! Her business, Jane’s Dolls & Things began.

   One of the first patterns she purchased was for a Shirley Temple doll as that doll had always been special to her. She still has that doll at home but it looks rather rough compared to what she makes today.

Jane Katie Dolls

Her Katie Dolls are cheerful and soft to hold.

   Her file cabinet is now filled to overflowing with patterns for dolls and dresses. Of course, Jane adds her personal touch to each item. Her biggest challenge is finding just the right peach-colored fabric for skin tones on the dolls.

Jane Memory Bear

These Memory Bears were made from a loved one’s suit jacket.

   Memory Bear might be made from a pattern, but each bear takes on a different presence. These bears are made in memory of loved ones who are deceased. What a comfort to hold a bear that is dressed in the material from a favorite suit, dress, jeans or scrubs of your loved one.

Jane Memory bears.jpg

These are just a few of the requested Memory Bears.

   As a wife and grandmother, Jane has many chores that must be done but she smiled, “I’d rather be sewing.” If she was free, she could make ten Barbie pioneer dresses in one day. Or sometimes with interruptions, she could be working on a Memory Bear for a week. But there are times when she is so busy with orders that she can do nothing else.

Jane My Sweet Baby

My Sweet Baby has four faces that can be turned to match the mood.

   An unusual doll is called My Sweet Baby. This doll has four faces which can be turned to fit the mood of the child…or the adult! The sides include faces that are sleeping, angry, crying, and happy.

Jane dragons

Dragons have become popular with young boys and even teens.

   Jane also makes all the jewelry, shoes, and hats that go on the dolls. One of her most recent creations for the girls is a mermaid dress, which became popular after Disney’s “Little Mermaid.” Boys from child to teen prefer Elliott, the dragon.

Jane Wooden dogs

Layered wooden dogs, which look exactly like your dog or pet, can be made from pictures sent.

   Another recent venture has been making layered wooden animals. People will send her a picture of their dog or horse and she will make a small wooden replica that looks remarkably like the picture. What a talented lady!

   During the year, Jane and Bill set up her display at Roscoe Apple Butter Festival, Utica Ice Cream Festival, and the Caldwell Harvest Festival. Word of mouth from these and other festivals have sent many customers her direction. My first contact with Jane was at her Ohio State Fair display.

Jane Raggedy Sandy

Jane holds her Raggedy Sandy doll, who has a brother Raggedy Sam.

   Jane belongs to the Ohio Canal Doll Club, which makes dolls and clothes for children who have had traumatic events in their life. The Glad Rags of Strasburg usually make doll clothes, but this year they had a special project of making dresses out of pillowcases to send to the young girls in Africa.

   What would a dollmaker collect? Dolls! But she also admits to having an overflowing collection of books. Jane has a great sense of humor about life, as she laughed, “I’m older than dirt and slower than molasses.”

Jane Tea cup doll

This tiny Tea Cup Doll gets its name from its teacup size.

   Her life is a busy one with three children, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Wesley Chapel is very important to her and she teaches Sunday School there as well as helps with many of the youth activities.

   Squeezing in time to make dolls, stuffed animals and their clothes is sometimes difficult, but the end result is appreciated by all her customers.

Jane doll in swing

Little girls like to play house with Doll in a Swing.

   Right now you can find her display at Deal Busters Marketplace on 2nd Street in Byesville. If you would like to get in touch with her personally call 740-498-8806 or email her at dollmakerparks9@gmail.com .

   Jane’s Doll’s & Things make so many special items that you’re almost certain to find something that would appeal to someone in your family – children or adults. You’re never too old for a teddy bear!

Ventriloquist Dean Bohl and Chester Encourage Audiences by Spreading Happiness

Chester and Dean

Dean and Chester teach life lessons in their school presentations.

Things are not always as they appear.

Crowds gathered around when Dean Bohl came to Dickens Victorian Village with his Twisted Balloons and Chester. The young and young at heart enjoy his charades with Chester, while children can be seen running proudly down the street holding one of his balloon sculptures.

Opening Night Balloons baby

This youngster enjoyed her balloon doll at Dickens Victorian Village’s Opening Night.

   Dean has been entertaining since he was in his late thirties when he decided to use ventriloquism, balloons, and magic to motive and encourage his audience. He twists his balloons into intriguing characters that the children enjoy.

   Chester Sidney Dolittle is this ventriloquist’s best friend on stage. His sidekick Chester, an eight-year-old, becomes so real that people forget he is a puppet. He tells the audience, “Girls are beautiful. Boys have stinky feet.”

Opening Ventriloquist

A crowd gathered as he selected a Living Puppet to add some fun.

   An unusual section of his performance involves an unsuspecting audience member, who becomes his “Living Puppet.” A mask is placed on the person’s face and he becomes the voice from Dean Bohl. Fun and excitement happen next as they sing, tell jokes, recite poetry, and become involved in interesting conversations.

  As a youngster, Dean’s mother developed polio and was told her condition would require institutionalization. But during her hospital stay, she had a dream where Jesus visited her and when she woke up, she told them, “Jesus is going to make me better.” Three weeks later she walked out of the hospital.

   This miracle changed the course of their family’s life and Dean at the age of 16 felt a call to follow the path his parents had taken. On his mind previously, this White Sox fan wanted to follow a career in professional baseball. Now, he decided, “God, give me peace and joy of living. I’ll do what you want me to do.”

Dean at birtrhday party with unicorn (2)

Balloon unicorns were popular at a recent birthday party.

   For several years, Dean was a pastor in Illinois and then decided to be an associate pastor was more to his calling where he worked with children and choir. He received encouragement from those around him and moved his family to a church in San Diego, CA where puppets entered the scene as a way to reach children.

   It seemed he was always in the right place at the right time as people just appeared when he needed to learn something new. Chester was made especially for Dean by a popular San Diego Ventriloquist Co. and became part of his life in October 1978.

Dean and Chester (3)

Dean and Chester entertain the crowds wherever they appear.

   The puppet’s name came from three sources. “Chester” was the name given by the company while “Sidney “ was the name of the pastor, who believed in Dean when he started his puppet ministry. “Dolittle” of course, came easily as Chester doesn’t do much! Dean then developed Chester’s voice and personality before their first show together on Christmas Eve.

   Since then, Dean and Chester have developed a special connection. Things come from Chester that they had never intended to say. Sometimes the conversation between the two of them is so fast that it sounds like both are talking at the same time.

Dean and Judy

Dean and his wife Judy encourage others wherever they go.

   Dean and his wife had two small children at this time so carefully discussed their new idea of traveling the United States with a puppet show. His understanding wife told him, “If we don’t do this, we will always wonder if it would have worked.” The traveled the road for a few years before settling in Dublin, Ohio.

   Along the way, he met someone in a store who asked him what he gave away at his shows. They suggested he make balloon creatures and it just happened that a balloon artist walked into the store. The right people always seemed to show up as part of God’s plan for his life.

Dean Flower Bouquet

A balloon bouquet makes a perfect and memorable gift.

   Twisted balloons are a special feature of his program and he has developed a unique way of combining three to five balloons to make Star Wars lightsabers, princess lighted rings, teddy bears, OSU football helmets and the list goes on. Ideas are shared with balloon artists all over the world.

Dean and Live Puppet

You never know what Dean has planned for the Live Puppet.

   He stumbled upon his idea for the “Living Puppet” from a show he witnessed in England and New Zealand. This is a more recent addition to his program. A man in the Phillippines makes his masks for him so Dean can control them from behind – just like a regular puppet. He is blessed with wonderful connections.

   His school programs not only entertain but also teach a lesson. In one skit, Chester calls people names and makes fun of them, but then Dean calls Chester a “Dummy” and Chester gets so upset he hides in his box and won’t come out. Calling names may seem funny but someone always gets hurt in the process. “Once you get a reputation, it is hard to shake it.”

    Or Chester might find a beautiful balloon apple on the ground. When he picks it up, a balloon worm pops out. “Things can be beautiful on the outside and not so perfect on the inside.”

Dean at travel show (2)

His balloons were an added attraction at a recent travel show at the Columbus Convention Center.

   Now Dean is retired, but he still looks forward to being with people and having fun. Life lessons seem to pop into his shows naturally. You might find him entertaining at fairs, birthday parties, school assemblies, camps, corporate events, and more.

   Watch for Dean Bohl and Chester in your neighborhood as they spread a little happiness to those that stop by. You might even get into the act!

Contact Dean to set up a performance by calling his cell phone at 614-314-0696 or email him at puppetman3@yahoo.com. Dean has moved so the address on the card is no longer correct.

Dean Calling Card

Dance the Night Away with Cambridge Social Dance Club

Fezziwig Ball at gym

This dance group has led Victorian era dances at the holiday balls for years.

Tuesday evenings you often hear music coming from the Banquet Room of Mr. Lee’s Restaurant. This isn’t to entertain the customers over a delicious meal, but lesson time for the Cambridge Social Dance Club. If you would like to learn some new dance steps, this is the place.

Sock Hop with Elvis

Elvis even joined them for a sock hop.

   Spreading the love of dancing has been something this group has been doing for several years. They often perform at community events and spin around the floor making you wish you had their nimble ability.

Ron and Sheri 2

Ron and Sheri Warren teach others to dance at Tuesday evening classes.

   Started in 2002 by Al and Lee Mularski, the dance club was a place to teach others something that brought the Mularskis great pleasure. They loved dancing. Today, Ron and Sheri Warren serve as patient instructors. During my visit to a dance session, they were teaching the merengue, a Latin dance.

Ron and Sheri 001

Instructors Ron and Sheri Warren are dressed for the Grand Victorian Ball.

   Ron and Sheri demonstrated the basic steps of the dances first. They went very slowly adding new moves as soon as everyone was familiar with the original.  The moves they taught for the merengue included: travel, bow tie, hammerlock, and pretzel. Once they had the pattern down, couples could then make choices as to which move should come next.

Social Dance Club parade

They added their charm to a holiday parade.

   Often this group goes out to demonstrate their dance skills while they endlessly encourage others to join them. Rolling Hills Middle School volleyball team was one of those groups that found it a great social activity. Several places they have been recently included nursing homes, senior centers, and church programs. They’ve even been seen twirling down the street in a parade.

Joe and Ellen Waske 001

Joe and Ellen Waske share their dance skills at many events.

   Every year they do a benefit for a local charity that has special meaning to the group. Money raised might go to the American Heart Association or Cancer Association, but they make certain that it stays locally.

Jim and Paula Bakos

Social Dance Club President Jim and Paula Bakos shine on the dance floor.

   Jim Bakos now fills the role of president for this group. He feels dance is important because “it exercises the mind and the body.” Both partners have to know the steps, but the man leads and signals the next move to his partner through a touch, an arm movement or speaking.

Ladies 001

Ladies of the Cambridge Social Dance Club are pictured in their beautiful gowns.

   On Saturday, November 23 the group will be performing and instructing at the Grand Victorian Ball held at the Eagles’ Club and sponsored by the American Heritage Historical Society. They will appear in their beautiful Victorian ball gowns, many being made by Martha Owens, one of the dancers. Audience participation in many traditional Victorian dances will be encouraged.

Martha and Gary

Martha Owens and Gary Carpenter enjoy dancing. Martha makes many of the dresses for the ladies.

   The Grand Ball is reminiscent of Mr. Fezziwig’s Ball in Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol.” Dancers from Columbus to Cleveland to Steubenville participate in this musical event. Dances they perform will include The Grand March, Virginia Reel, Lancers Quadrille, and Spanish Waltz.

   Reservations are required by November 18 for the Grand Ball at the Eagles’ Reception Hall and can be made by calling 740-435-0400 or 740-439-4150. Cost is $25 per person or $45 per couple.

Cambridge Social Dance Club Dancing

Dancing in the street gave a Victorian feel to a Street Fair in recent years.

   On Tuesday evenings they want to instruct those who are interested in social dancing. All ages are welcome from 10 -100. You might be a beginner or want to advance to another level – there’s a place for everyone. Every few weeks they change the dance they are teaching so you might find yourself doing the waltz, merengue, or tango to name a few. The dance for November is the East Coast Swing.

   The cost of lessons is very reasonable at $6.50 for members, $7.50 for non-members, and $3.00 for students. Children, when accompanied by their parents, are free! Lessons begin at 7:00 each Tuesday night except for December. For more information call Cathy Pastre at 740-826-4081 or Gary Carpenter at 740-502-8171. Join in the fun and learn how to dance. It will brighten your life.

   Dancing with the feet is one thing, but dancing with the heart is where the Cambridge Social Dance Club excels.

Vintage Voices Ring Out in Licking County

VV Group

The Vintage Voices performed recently at Kendal in Granville.

When people join in song, their hearts and voices verify they love music. In Licking County, those who love to sing join together in a group called Vintage Voices. This mixed chorus of approximately 70 members has a special characteristic that makes them unique.

     To participate you have to have a ‘vintage voice’ – one that is at least 50 years old. They have a great sense of humor and all will tell you they are “older than dirt”. Voices from all over central Ohio join in song.

Teddy (2)

Teddy Westlake

   The group began twenty years ago in 1999 under the direction of Teddy Westlake, who loved music. Those in the group liked her methods as she let them use music so they didn’t have to memorize every song. Her plan was to sing a wide variety of types of music.

Helen Addis

An old friend from 4-H days, Helen Combs Addis, invited me to hear their chorus.

   At a recent performance at the retirement community of Kendal at Granville, the room was filled with an eager audience to listen to their rousing performance. Each season they do a concert at Kendal as well as SharonBrooke, and Chapel Grove. Teddy now lives at this retirement community, so she was an additional reason for their performance.

   When directing, Teddy said she always danced a little jig to keep time with the music. Today she is in her 90s and still danced in the audience when the group was singing. Her feet were moving as well as her body. The evening with old friends brought a smile to her face.

VV Rosemary

Rosemary Hoyt was warmly welcomed to return to the chorus for the evening.

   Another one of their members, Rosemary Hoyt, had a stroke two weeks ago and is staying at Kendal now also. It warmed my heart to see how caring they were to this member. One of the ladies took off her scarf and put it around Rosemary’s neck. Then they brought her upfront in her wheelchair at the edge of the group and let her be part of the choir for the evening. How special!

VV Chuck

Chuck makes the evening enjoyable for everyone from chorus members to the audience.

   Chuck Beck serves as their new director and knows how to make everyone feel welcome. It’s a special group where you can see the caring they have for each other. After twenty years together, they have become a second family.

VV Pianist Marcia

Marcia Brannon has been their accompanist from the beginning.

   Marcia Brannon, the pianist, has been with them from the beginning. Teddy said that Marcia plays so well that she could have been a concert pianist. Sometimes they add percussion, violinists, flutists, or whatever background music is needed.

   The evening’s program contained songs about our freedom – something we cherish. Rivers have always had a great impact on spiritual growth so the song “River of Freedom” was the perfect way to begin the evening.

   River songs continued with “Beautiful Ohio”, which fifty years ago became our state song. “Jordan River” symbolized life in this world moving on to a better place.

USA Flag

   Patriotic songs recognized all branches of the service that were present by having members stand.  The show concluded with “God Bless America”, a favorite of many.

   This evening was a celebration of their 20th Anniversary of entertaining and inspiring audiences all over Licking County. May they continue to bless others with their messages in song.

Vintage Voices is always looking for new members who love to sing in Central Ohio. No auditions are required, just a love of music and a willingness to practice weekly to attain the best vocal performance possible. For more information, contact Chuck Beck (cbeck83@columbus.rr.com).

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