valley city frog jump

45.) The Valley City Frog Jump Festival – August 15, 2010

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In 1962, Liverpool Township was trying to plan their 150-year town celebration. Inspired by Mark Twain’s short story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” a frog jumping competition was created to give children something to take part in.

Nearly 50 years later, that competition is now going stronger than ever as the Frog Jump Festival in the unincorporated community of Valley City.

Taking place in Millstream Park, there were plenty of things for kids to check out, including…

…a jumphouse…

…a playground…

…a firetruck…

…and a poorly insulated log cabin.

But for those who came strictly for frogs…
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…there was an activity tent…

…with plenty of frog games…

…and plenty of merchandise.

There was even a great photo op.

For the gambling tykes…

…there was the Great Rocky River Frog Race.

Guests were able to place their bets…

…on each of these numbered inflatable frogs…

…before they were released…

…and cheered on.

Once a winner was declared, winning ticket holders received an inflatable frog all their own.

But although this may have gotten kids in the competitive spirit, it couldn’t match the enthusiasm…

…of the actual frog jump.

Tents and a judge’s box enclosed the frog jumping arena.

And while spectators watched behind the safety of metal fencing…

…jumpers were able to rent frogs for a small fee (that’s a rented frog in the bucket)…

…or bring their own.

Flight by flight, they waited their turn for the big moment…

…stomping…

…and pounding…

…until they got their frog to jump.

(click to see some jumping – video1 video2)

Although frog jumping strategies varied from jumper to jumper, even incorporating a bit of screaming at times, all the results were collected in the same way…

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…by measuring the distance of three jumps from the starting circle.
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Jumpers with the longest distances of each flight continued on in the competition with more jumping.

Everyone else taunted their losing frogs…

…as they chewed on these in front of them.

After watching two or three flights under the beating sun, it was time for me to move on to the next festival.

I checked out the food booths…

…and the food selection was simple with basic fair treats and hot sandwiches.

But I did notice how cheap corn was.

Being that the next festival was the North Ridgeville Corn Festival, I wondered how cheap it would be there.
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