Fall Festival of Leaves - Bainbridge (Ross County)

84.) Fall Festival of Leaves – Bainbridge (Ross County) – October 16, 2010

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Although Bainbridge is important for hosting the first dental school (in the world), it’s also significant since the town’s founder, Nathaniel Massie, is a reason that Ohio is…well…Ohio.

Apart from founding Bainbridge and 13 other Central Ohio towns (including Chillicothe, Ohio’s first capital), Massie was the leader of a political group called the Chillicothe Junto, which brought Ohio’s admission as a state.

After living a full life as a surveyor, soldier and politician, Massie later died of pneumonia during the Battle of 1812, a war which Commodore William Bainbridge performed well enough to have 2 Northeast Ohio towns (Bainbridge and Bainbridge Township) named after him…

…just to confuse me in case Massie’s town decided to have a festival.

Fortunately, I double checked the location of the Fall Festival of Leaves after some previous Google map festival snafus and I showed up to the correct Bainbridge safely.

And once I found parking…

…I leisurely went down a side street lined with festival vendors.

But as I started checking out the vendor booths, I was surprised to find various subsections of vendors…

…down alleyways off the side streets…

…in tents…

…and on people’s lawns.

After a while, I noticed vendors and rides almost hidden in the scenery.

The extra caution I took with festival navigation was pointless here. I had no map to explain the festival limits and sometimes I didn’t know whether yard sales were official festival booths or not.

At one point, I even asked a woman at a booth how far down the street the festival went, but she didn’t seem to know for sure. She did inform me about a craft event in the Senior Citizens building, but I’ll be damned if I found it or even knew where to look.

To tell you the truth, I sometimes felt like I was going through some sort of labyrinth, turning this way and that and backtracking often. Being that tents and stands sometimes hid behind buildings and trailers or outside tents, I needed to put some effort into seeing everything and I’m sure I missed a fair share.

And to make things even more surreal, instead of keeping the festival to one side of Rte 50, which runs through Bainbridge…

…the vendors took the downtown over as well, slipping into any open space they could find.

I thought of how leaves fall from trees and land wherever the wind takes them. All these vendors seemed to be set up the exact same way.

At least it kept to the theme.

And although I found the idea intriguing, at first, and even a little exciting to “find” the vendors around corners, it did become frustrating in the end. I wish they were all lined up side-by-side in an open field.

I just wanted more structure.

Fortunately, the vendors did sell rather interesting items…

…and not only leaf-related crafts.

They sold just about everything you could imagine…
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…from seasonal items to “another man’s treasure.”

Incorporating flea market booths, the festival was perfect for yard sale lovers or those who love a bargain. But there was even a crazy variety of things you didn’t expect to find, including…

…trouser flower pots…

…swords…

…and puppies.

Food was normal as far as festivals go…
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…and some of it was neatly arranged in sections.
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At the time I took this, I was surprised that pork rinds had their own booth, but I would see similar booths later that day – must be the location and time of year.

Concerning other festival attractions, there were…

…a stage for contests and entertainment…

…a reptile exhibit…

…and plenty of rides and games…

One section of the festival that was actually an organized section and pretty impressive was the car show.

The front entrance gave me no indication…

…how far back it went…

…and the neighboring field was filled with yet more…

…not to mention antique tractors.

To keep the spirit of the leaves, the festival website did offer driving maps to look at the more beautiful foliage of the area as you were coming in and out of town. I think they might have had maps available at a main info desk, but I never did find it.

So as I drove in and out of town…

…I just enjoyed what I saw.

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