Marion Popcorn Festival

60.) Marion Popcorn Festival – September 10, 2010

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When I lived in New York City, I remember being slightly bothered when non-Ohioans referred to my home state as a “farm state.” With my childhood mostly taking place in the Cleveland metropolitan area, Ohio had a different feel to me.

Still, I was completely aware of all the farmland out there…

…and all that corn.

But what I wasn’t aware of, until recently, was just how important that corn was in Marion, Ohio…
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…the “Popcorn Capital of the World”…

…and holder of the 30th annual Popcorn Festival.

Taking place in downtown Marion, this festival is huge, consisting of…

…4 side streets…

…that connect to a midway that runs almost 6 city blocks.

For kids, the festival had…

…rides and games anywhere they could fit them…

…a zoo…

…the opportunity to travel…

…and an open mic performance stage.

Of course, they had professional performances as well at their various stages.

For adults…

…they had a Craft & Commercial Area.

This was an interesting area, since it had an odd mixture of booths. Not only did you find…
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…glass art, for example…

..you found J.R Watkins products, crafted bowls, religious organizations (Baptist, Church of Latter Day Saints), the Republican Party, and ACT Out Delaware, an advocacy group from Delaware, Ohio for the awareness of issues affecting gay/lesbian/bi/transgender people.

An interesting mix.

Along the midway…

…there were more vendor booths speckled about…

…and a large selection of food. Greek, Italian, southern, and more…there was something for everyone at the festival…

…including me.

But, along with all the usual food vendors you saw, there were two special ones that caught my eye…

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…Critters Country Sweet Tea (because I loved the name)…

…and this bacon-lover’s paradise with chocolate covered bacon, country fried bacon with cream gravy, BLT’s and deep fried peaches for dessert.

But you probably want to know more about the popcorn.

Whereas Marion’s popcorn may have been what you remember in theaters or fairs…

…it’s now used as microwaved popcorn for ConAgra Food‘s Act II and Orville Redenbacher.

But that’s not to say they sold microwaved popcorn at the festival (although purchases at the ConAgra booth helped a cancer-related charity).

They sold popcorn balls…

…normal popcorn…

…flavored popcorn…

…and even the pre-popped variety.

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