Archive for the ‘Medina activities’ Category

Aug
02

It’s Fair Week!

Posted by Jennifer

Ah, there’s nothing like the sights and sounds and smell of the fair!

Sorry, but in my opinion, that’s a good thing.

I know, it’s probably very un-Medina of me to admit this, but I’m really not a fan of the fair. To me, it’s loud and dirty and smelly and expensive and greasy.

I’m a city girl. And here in the city of Medina, 98 percent of the time I get along just fine driving past the “cute” cows and horses and bucolic pastures and musing about the what appears to be the relative simplicity of country life.

Yeah, right. I know country life has its challenges. My cousins who grew up on and around farms and are active with 4H work long and hard to take care of their animals and land. I know it’s just a different kind of life, not necessarily simpler and definitely not easier.

But once a year at fair time, the overwhelming percentage of Medina County that’s still genuinely “country” bursts through the gentrified veneer and demands its day in the sun. Go to the fairgrounds, and you’ll be surrounded by plaid shirts and cowboy boots, demolition derbies and cow showings, pigs penned and chickens cooped. And all those people who live in their tidy neighborhoods built on former farmland traipse around the fairgrounds to ooh and ahh at the animals, and binge on some greasy fair food while they talk about how much spinning they’ll have to do to work it off.

It’s not that I dislike the farming side of our county. Quite the opposite. I’m grateful for our farmers for coaxing our food from the land and sustaining the Earth from which it grows. I have nothing but admiration for the hours they spend working the ground, studying the science of fertilizer and weed control, all without a vacation because plants and animals don’t take a week off of needing their care.

What I dislike is the carnival atmosphere that develops around the fairgrounds. The guys and gals (and oh yeah, they’re gals, not girls) who call out for your attention from their game booth. The layers of crud — grease, mostly, but also mud and animal crud — that lingers in the air and seems to cake on every surface. The plethora of bad food we shouldn’t eat at prices we can’t afford, so walking down the midway becomes an exercise in discipline. No, we aren’t buying that. No, you can’t have that. No, no, no.

That’s why I was glad this week when my husband amiably took a day off of work so that he could take our little boys to the fair while I worked. It was a fair trade (no pun intended). It was Kids Day — which always makes me smirk since the fair hosts the honors youth band and honors youth chorus the very next day, when it’s full-freight to ride the rides and for siblings to enter the fair. (I know, they’ve got to raise money somehow…)

But I digress. On Kids Day, children 11 and under get in free (saving $2) until 5 p.m. and can buy a wristband for $10 so they can ride (most things) all day. So, off they went for the afternoon, and they had a ball. They left just before the rain started, came home for dinner, and then we all went back that evening — yes, me too. Of course, the children weren’t free then, so we paid another $14 (Craig and Teagan’s hand stamps were still valid from earlier in the day) to go back and they could ride some more. Cha-ching.

By then, the weather had cooled considerably, and it turned out the rain wasn’t done. The boys rode one ride, then we waited out the heavier rain looking at the fair entries — jellies, cakes, photographs, sewing projects, Lego creations, toothpick holder collections (they have a category for everything!), and more. The boys loved it. Haha!

From there, we darted over to see the pigs, sheep, goats and rabbits — all of which was much more their speed. No, we aren’t getting a rabbit. Yes, they’re very cute. I know you have $25 at home. No, we’re not getting a rabbit.

Once the rain stopped, we ventured back to the rides, and although it was cold and the seats were wet, the boys were eager to try a few more. My 9-year-old gave up his sweatshirt to his 6-year-old brother in an act of chivalry that made this mom proud — and shiver. Just like the teenage girls running around in their Daisy Dukes. (Put some clothes on! Boy, am I old…)

About 10 p.m. we convinced the boys that it was time to head home. They conned us into letting them use their money to buy a caramel apple for one and Dipping Dots for the other as we headed for the gates. I was glad to be escaping to a warm, dry car, and soon to my warmer, drier bed.

I appreciate that there is a large segment of this county who love the fair, and I’m happy for them that we seem to have a good one, as far as they’re concerned.

It’s just not for me. To be fair, it doesn’t have to be.

Jul
09

Handel’s to offer $1 ice cream cones

Posted by Jennifer

Be prepared for a traffic jam south of town this weekend: Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream, on South Court Street in Medina, will sell single scoops of its fabulous ice cream for $1 each on Saturday, June 12.

There’s no limit to the number of cones you can buy, nor any coupon required. Last year, we managed to stop by twice — heck, it’s open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., so that means lunch AND dinner :) — because there are far too many flavors to sample with just one cone.

Based in Youngstown, Handel’s and featuring more than 100 flavors of ice cream and frozen yogurts, this ice cream is made with the best ingredients available. I like ice cream with lots of “stuff” in it — lots of chocolate chunks, creamy caramel, nuts, marshmallows, whatever — and this place doesn’t skimp with flavors like Graham Central Station, Funky Monkey and Blueberry Cheesecake Chunk. Just heavenly. (Can you tell I’m hungry?)

So grab your sweetie, treat the kids or be the hero for the whole baseball team — you aren’t going to beat $1 a scoop for some of the best ice cream around.

Jun
26

Free ice cream on the Medina Square today

Posted by Jennifer

The Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities (MCBDD) is hosting Sundaes on Thursday in the Medina Square.

The free ice cream social that runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday will feature chocolate, caramel and strawberry toppings to add to vanilla ice cream, which is provided by Smith’s Dairy.

There will be other family-friendly attractions, including Patches the Fire Dog, the Windfall Industries Balloon Sculpture Team, the Cranksters Classic Car Club and the Medina Square Dancing Club, along with carnival games, face painting, crafts, a scavenger hunt, contests and prizes.

The event is open to all — not just those with disabilities. The idea is to provide opportunities for people of all abilities to enjoy time together as one community. What’s more universally appealing than ice cream?

Jun
20

Take a ride on the rails for free this Saturday

Posted by Jennifer

Got a train buff in your family?

Here’s a chance to let him or her see trains close up in one of the coolest model railroad sets you’ll ever see. And it’s all free (although donations are appreciated).

The Northeastern Ohio Live Steamers will offer free rides on the club’s small-scale replica trains from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Lester Rail Trail.

The park is located on Lester Road in York Township, about a mile north of state Route 18, west of Medina.

The club will offer five free ride opportunities this year. The other dates are Aug. 2, Sept. 20, and the very popular and heavily themed Halloween rides on Oct. 17 and 18. Click here for more information.

Trains take riders through grasslands and replica train stations and across miniature bridges and trestles. Passengers — adults and children — ride atop replica box cars and other train cars pulled by miniature diesel and steam engines.

Medina County Parks allows the group to use park district land along an abandoned railroad line in exchange for periodic free rides to the public. At Halloween, it’s not uncommon to wait more than an hour for the chance to ride.

Jun
04

Regal $1 summer movies start next week

Posted by Jennifer

Summer’s off to a late start thanks to that pesky polar vortex and the extended school year, but it’s not too soon to begin mapping out cheap diversions.

We have enjoyed taking in the Regal Summer Movie Express that kicks off next week (June 10) at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

The movies cost $1 (we remember when it was free) with the proceeds benefiting the Will Rogers Institute, a charitable foundation supporting research in asthma, tuberculosis and pulmonary diseases.

The first week’s movies are: “Hotel Transylvania” (a surprisingly enjoyable film for adults too) and “Smurfs 2.”

Week 2 (June 10 and 11): “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2″ and “The Pirates: Band of Misfits.” (I haven’t seen either of these.)

Week 3 (June 17 and 18): “Arthur Christmas” (another sentimental favorite in our house. Grandpa Santa is hoot!) and “Despicable Me 2″ (also not bad).

Week 4 (July 1 and 2): “The Lego Movie” (Everything is awesome!) and “Free Birds.”

Week 5 (June 24 and 25): “Adventures of TinTin” (an oldie but a goodie) and “Rise of the Guardians” (I like the cast (Jude Law!) but found the whole thing long and not as good as I would have hoped).

Week 6 (July 1 and 2): “Kung Fu Panda 2″ (Jack Black – yawn) and “Madagascar 3″ (hopefully we’re at the end of the run for that franchise).

Week 7 (July 8 and 9): “The Croods” (ugh) and “Epic” (didn’t see that one).

Week 8 (July 15 and 16): last year’s “Turbo” and “Walking with Dinosaurs.”

Week 9 (July 22 and 23): “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” (I’m intrigued for $1)and “Rio 2.”

And with that, it’s almost time for school to start again. Did you enjoy your summer? Haha. With my oldest daughter graduating from high school on Friday, I’m feeling a bit like time is moving too fast. But for my two little guys, whose last day of school is today, it can’t move fast enough. I remember those days, and I’m excited for them. We’ll celebrate by walking with a bunch of their friends and mothers to Lemonberry (hope somebody warned them we would be coming!) this afternoon. Let the summer begin!

Apr
23

Old Navy departure leaves big void in Medina

Posted by Jennifer

I was shocked the other night to see “news” on Facebook that Old Navy, Marshall’s and Bath and Body Works were closing their doors in Medina.

Thankfully, that post was only partly true — but confirmation from Mayor Dennis Hanwell that, of those three, only Old Navy is indeed shuttering its Medina location on Friday was not good news for our city.

Old Navy’s departure is part of a larger problem stemming from the big, gaping hole that is the former Kmart building just across the dirty parking lot.

When Kmart opened there in 1991, it was hailed as the first “Super Kmart” in the country because it had groceries as well as household items. Even Sam Walton supposedly visited, then opened a competing Walmart across the street. As the store lost profitability, it was scaled back to a regular Kmart (no groceries) in 2011. Since it closed in 2012, all 151,000 square feet of this mammoth carcass have been left to decay in what used to be the city’s center of “modern” retail.

Residents have watched and waited for what new retailer would come along to transform the space. Menard’s was rumored to be interested, as “for lease” signs disappeared from the storefront. A temporary Halloween store occupied part of the otherwise vacant space for a few weeks each fall. And yet, nothing more happened.

Although he was unaware of the news before my email Monday night, Mayor Hanwell responded immediately, explaining to me that Kmart pulled out of our city with several years left on its lease. It continues to pay rent to Benderson Development Co., which manages the property through its Buffalo, N.Y., location, even though the place sits empty.

“We have sent numerous leads to Benderson, but they are not even interested in showing [the] building as they still get the rent checks each month from Kmart,” the mayor says. “It is quite frustrating.”

He went on to explain that Old Navy and the other retailers in the adjacent plaza have a clause in their contracts that if the anchor store(which was Kmart) leaves, they get either reduced rent or can their vacate lease. On Tuesday morning, he confirmed that Marshall’s was not closing, but had not yet heard from Bath and Body Works. I also wonder about the remaining tenants: Dress Barn, Shoe Carnival and Sally’s Beauty Supply.

I don’t blame Old Navy and other retailers in the adjacent plazas for getting weary of that huge eyesore. I would argue that in the almost 14 years we’ve lived in Medina, Old Navy has behaved more like the anchor of that plaza, seemingly attracting more shoppers than Kmart. Quite honestly, a huge percentage of my family’s clothing that I have bought new has come from that store. (Those of you who know me well know that I take good advantage of thrift stores and garage sales.) Of course, we often wait for deep clearance prices, so we probably haven’t contributed much to the store’s profitability. But I digress.

It is disheartening that an out-of-state management company is content to let the building sit vacant as long as it collects its rent checks from Kmart. One might argue that the lingering vacancy is merely a symptom of a struggling economy, with no one particularly at fault, but it is hard to think Benderson is doing everything possible to fill that space if it has ignored prompts from the city.

Or, does Kmart want to hold onto that property with an eye toward possibly returning one day? Is it trying to block Walmart from adding, say, a Sam’s Club? You know, the old “I-don’t-want-it-but-you-can’t-have-it” strategy that has frustrated other communities like Painesville Township and Willoughby.

In any case, the departure of Old Navy from the city of Medina should be a significant red flag for Medina-area development officials. The store was more than just a place to buy affordable clothing; I would call its styles “family-friendly hip” — cute and trendy, but not over-the-top edgy or expensive — that could well describe the character of our city. Does its departure mean something more than the loss of just one more tax-paying retailer?

One of the things we have always loved about Medina is that it seemed to have everything we could need. From a retail perspective, being able to say “we have an Old Navy” was as important as being able to say “we have a Target, a Walmart and a Home Depot.” I would argue that Marshall’s is another destination retailer that I am glad we have nearby.

I hope that this Friday’s closure lights a fire under our city officials to find a way to fix this blight along North Court Street. Maintaining a healthy retail segment in that portion of our community is every bit as important as keeping storefronts occupied around the square, and deserves at least that much attention.

Mar
14

The Journey

Posted by Jennifer

Lent is supposed to be a time for reflection and contemplation.

In our house, it is also a busy time that far too often makes it hard to focus on the spiritual side of our lives. There’s always a sports obligation or a class project looming that can occupy everything from a day to an entire evening.

Just this past week, we have had the Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima statue in our house. The 2-foot statue is passed each week from household to household at St. Francis Xavier, prompting special times of prayer and meditation on her — and thus, our — relationship with Jesus. We usually try to reserve it for this time of year to mark the March 5 passing of my mother.

I wish I could say we have spent a week in solemn prayer, but that simply hasn’t been the case. The usual chaos has ensued with five kids, jobs and a birthday thrown in the mix.

I must say she has offered a peaceful presence in house. It is nice to see her in our dining room, which usually is the dumping ground for all the kids’ book bags, even though we ask them constantly to take them to their rooms.

Our oldest son, who sometimes can be the source of grumblings in the house, even reminded my husband to pipe down in front of her. The fact that Junior had the presence to be respectful is proof miracles can happen.

For those looking for other ways to mark the solemn season, there is an event this weekend that might help you along.

The Passion play “Tetelestai” will be presented Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Remsen Christian Church, 1500 Remsen Road. The musical, which was written by a couple of Ohio guys and is produced in Cleveland, marks the last week of Jesus’ life.

The musical is free, with a free-will offering, and will be put on at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. It’s generally joyful and upbeat until, well, you know how the story goes. I usually find myself wiping away tears. It’s got a great ending, though!

We’ve seen it numerous times over the years and enjoy it every time. It’s definitely suitable for families (and many families are in it), and I find myself humming the music long after the show ends. If you’re not familiar with it or want to see the rest of this season’s schedule, check out www.livethepassion.org.

Dec
27

Buy, sell in local, year ’round online garage sales

Posted by Jennifer

If you’re having trouble integrating the new Christmas toys and clothing into your closets, it might be time to weed out the old things that your child has outgrown.

In the past, such closet clean-outs might have meant a trip to Goodwill or another charity, or you might have stowed boxes for a garage sale when the weather warms up in May or June.

Thanks to Facebook, we now have another option: online garage sales. Here in Medina County, we have at least two — Medina Moms Sell It and Medina, Ohio Online Garage Sale. A third site, Everything FREE Site, popped up last week exclusively to give away things for free.

This isn’t like Craig’s List. Well, it might be a little like Craig’s List. In both cases you are posting used or new items for sale (or free) and making arrangements online.

However, most of the items on these sites are smaller (such as one shirt) and child-related — equipment, toys, books, clothing and such. But there also are household items — televisions, vases, adult clothing and shoes, even automobiles.

Each group is closed, but Facebook users can ask to be added to each group. Once you’re a member, you can post pictures displaying what you have for sale, along with any details and a price. At least on the Medina Moms Sell It site, the sale of gift cards and store balances is prohibited, and sellers are strongly discouraged from “flipping” items they bought for less elsewhere with the intention of selling for their retail value (this became a minor issue after Black Friday).

If you’re interested in an item someone posts, you add a comment. The right to purchase the item goes to buyers in the order they comment. Then, buyer and seller make arrangements to meet at a mutually convenient place in Medina County — often, the Target or McDonald’s parking lots.

You also can indicate that you’re looking for a certain item. In fact, that’s how I made my first transaction: The morning of our first big snowfall last month, someone posted that she was looking for size 11 boys snow boots. Having just taken them out of the closet because my youngest had outgrown them, I commented that I had a pair. She asked to see a picture, which I posted along with a price: $3. Later that day, we met in the Walmart parking lot.

She was happy to have boots for her son. I was happy to have $3 — which was probably twice what I would have gotten at a future garage sale. AND I didn’t have to store them for six months.

Using the site isn’t complicated, but there’s a whole lingo I’ve had to learn:

ISO – In Search Of. For example, “ISO boys’ size 11 snow boots.”
NIL – Next In Line. A potential buyer might not be the first to express interest in an item, but he or she wants a chance to buy it if the person ahead of him or her doesn’t complete the deal. It’s not uncommon to see a popular item have five or 10 “nil” comments.
EUC – Excellent Used Condition. Most items on these sites are used. But as we moms all know, children quickly outgrow (or refuse to wear) clothing after the tags are removed and receipts long gone. They’re not new, but they may be nearly so.

I have found the Medina Moms Sell It site fairly addictive. Especially in the weeks leading up to Christmas, as sellers were eagerly cleaning out their homes to make some cash before the holidays and prepare for the new toys coming in. Buyers like me even found a gift item or two.

I’ve also found that you have to be pretty attentive — good items at great prices will not last. North Face jackets and Thirty-One bags were moving quickly in recent weeks.

The site was a godsend for me as three of my five kids started basketball practices last month and needed basketball shoes. A quick walk through Kohl’s to scout shoes sent my heart to my stomach, as I saw prices of $40 to $50 each. I really did not want to spend that much money on shoes they likely will wear one season before they outgrow them.

I decided to try the site.

“ISO size 3 boys’ basketball shoes,” I posted. Later, I tried again: “ISO basketball shoes, women’s size 9 or men’s size 7.”

Within minutes, both times, I had responses from other members. Within days, I had two pairs of Nike shoes in hand. My daughter accompanied me to her seller’s home, where she tried them on and chose from two pair available.

We were thrilled! I spent $8 on one pair and $10 on the other — a fraction of what I would have spent buying new shoes and they are perfectly good. And, I didn’t have to scour neighborhoods and thrift stores looking for exactly the right thing.

Now that I’ve had a taste of buying and selling this way, nothing in my home is safe. I now look around the house and think, do we really need that end table? We haven’t used the treadmill for awhile. What about that second coat hanging in the closet? Toys still in the box that seemed like a good idea after Christmas last year — out of here!

This probably won’t replace having a garage sale this summer; it’s a little tedious to take a picture of each item I might want to sell and post it. But, there’s something very rewarding about being able to help a fellow area mom who needs something and, like me, is trying to save a little money. And it’s a great feeling to have a little more cash in hand for something we no longer needed.

It’s also good incentive for my kids to put away the new things they just got for Christmas. If, one day, something turns up missing. . . they might know why I splurged on Starbucks that day.

Nov
08

Why did the chicken cross the road? To embarrass his son, of course!

Posted by Jennifer

I’m not sure we should take it as a compliment.

Our oldest son can quickly pick out his parents — rather, his nutty dad — out in a crowd.

The latest outward show of love came last weekend when the Medina Marching Bees took off for state marching band competitions in Columbus. This is all new to us as our son is a freshman.

A cool tradition is that the police escort the buses of band members, Beeliners, directors, Beekeepers and instruments out of town, with the parents, students and band fans lining the Square to see them off.

We all made signs to encourage and surprise the trombone player in the family. The tradition is kept a secret from the freshmen so they are surprised by the show of support.

So, as the caravan of buses made its way onto the Square, someone in my son’s bus yelled, “Hey, there’s someone dressed like a giant chicken!” To which our son responded, “Uh oh…”

There were plenty of jokes while we waited. “I’m roasted in here,” Craig said to the delight of our little boys and slight amusement by his teenage daughters.

The chicken costume has been a special part of our family since I stumbled across it a few years back when Target’s Halloween costumes hit 90 percent off. Our friends at Hershey’s Barber Shop were so amused, they insisted that he stop in and poke his chicken head in the door to pose for a picture or two.

My husband, with his warped sense of humor, loves to break it out at Easter and wear it at egg hunts. “Which came first? The chicken or the egg?” he’ll yell then run off after the eggs.

The punchline? “The chicken!”

So there he stood on the corner in the Square last weekend with a sign urging our son not to be a chicken and win at state.

And win they did. For only the third time in school history, the Bees earned straight superiors.

While he might have been a little embarrassed, I’m sure our son was still a little proud to be a member of a family that welcomes a big chicken to its nest.

Oct
17

Indoor trick-or-treat events to celebrate the season

Posted by Jennifer

When my teenagers were little, I loved to spend weeks and weeks sewing or devising costumes for them.

One year I made an elaborate Glinda the Good Witch dress for a 4-year-old. Over the last 15 years, there also have been an American Indian girl, Cleopatra, two geishas, the Phantom of the Opera, Flash and a robot complete with silver-painted hair and face.

This year, I think we’ve got less work for me involved: my biggest challenge in the next two weeks is to find a tweed jacket for an 8-year-old 11th Doctor (from “Dr. Who”) and an orange ascot for the 5-year-old (to be “Fred” from “Scooby Doo”).

My teens are on their own. And yes, I tell them it’s fine to still trick-or-treat — as long as they make the effort to dress up. I don’t have much patience for kids who simply don a football jersey. If I’m going to give you candy, I want to see some creativity!

It always saddened me, though, that we go through all this work to find just the right costume, and then it’s all over in a 2-hour blur as they dash from house to house. In the dark, no less.

That’s why I was always scouting other Halloween events, especially indoor ones. The kids love the chance to wear their costumes again — or wear the “other” one they almost picked — and I feel somewhat vindicated that my hard work is not wasted.

Here in Medina we have a few good options.

* Giant Eagle on North Court Street in Medina will once again host its free Indoor Trick-or-Treat Scavenger Hunt. This year’s event is planned for Tuesday, Oct. 29, from 6 to 8 p.m. — a change from the usual Saturday event, which makes sense since the grocery is usually busy enough on a Saturday. This year, families are asked to sign up their children (ages 2 to 12) in advance at the Eagle’s Nest so they can plan the right number of treats.

Also new this year: Families will follow a clue list that will lead to each location, where they will pick up a puzzle piece. Once all the pieces are collected, they return to the cafe to put it together and receive a treat bag with candy, snack food and small prizes. The cafe also will have refreshments, raffles and a decorated background for pictures.

Costumes are encouraged (uh, yeah!) but not required.

* St. Francis Xavier Parish is hosting its parish Halloween Party in the gym on Saturday, Oct. 26. The event starts at 6:30 p.m.and will run through 8 p.m., with games, prizes, a costume contest and trick-or-treating. Parish families do not need to register, but they are asked to bring candy or treats to distribute on the trick-or-treat trail. For more information, see the parish bulletin.

Usually Buehler’s and WalMart have trick-or-treating in their stores the Saturday before Halloween — but I haven’t seen anything about them yet. Readers – can you help?