last stop willoughby festival

45.) Last Stop Willoughby Festival – August 20, 2011

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As you enter Historic Downtown Willoughby for the first time, you are struck by something awfully familiar. You know this town for some reason, but you can’t quite remember why.

Intrigued by this sensation, you decide to explore…

…finding the surroundings innocent at first…

…until you start looking more closely…

…and find frightening images hiding in the details.

Once that occurs…

…things around you get creepier…

…and creepier…

…until you begin to fear for your life.

But, fortunately, you push through until you reach the town center…

…at city hall…

…and you notice the screening of a television show going on in the basement.

That’s when it clicks. The feeling. The familiarity.

You’ve heard of Willoughby while watching The Twilight Zone.

Being a huge Twilight Zone fan myself, I actually was more than familiar with the episode in question, A Stop in Willoughby, where a stressed man dreams of being on a turn-of-the-century train that stops in the picturesque town of Willoughby – a place he wants to get off at.

(But I won’t tell you the Twilight Zone twist.)
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So imagine my delight when I heard that Willoughby was having a festival inspired by the episode…

…called Last Stop Willoughby.

Like the Twilight Zone Willoughby, the city was as welcoming as it could be to those who stopped by…

…presenting them with a nice farm market event…

…some jamming music (Terminal Blues)…

…a free historic tour on Lolly the Trolley

…free guitar lessons (Joe’s Music)…

…and plenty of kids’ activities in the park…

…including coloring, painting…

…and playing around with trains.

Connecting again to the Twilight Zone episode, there was a strong train theme throughout the festival…

…allowing kids to interact with them in the park.

There was even a really cool display made with Lego products.

Back along Erie Street…
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…the Taste of Willoughby was underway…

…where restaurants (Nickleby’s / Pranzo! )…

…pubs (Mullarkey’s) and dessert places (Baby Cakes) sold food out front.

I bought myself some pulled pork sliders from Nicklebys and, thanks to some prior research of the festival, was on the lookout for the coconut shrimp at Lure.

But even after passing by…

…the sidewalk sales…

Renee’s Massotherapy’s massage station…

…and the Finestra Gallery

…I realized that Lure was far off from the main route…

…taking me past the resale shop with the creepy dolls…

…(which offered free snacks)…

…and basically “luring” me in.

Fortunately, Rod Serling wasn’t waiting in the shadows.  Just a waitress who got me my two shrimp and a small cup of gazpacho
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…so that I could finish with a tasty lunch…

…and a wonderful overall experience in the city of Willoughby.

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