Monday, September 30, 2013

Ohio Sausage Fest

Sausage Fest at Brandywine Country Club
by Brit Charek

"The United States is known as a melting pot, but it’s really more of a sausage fest," says Ohio Sausage Fest organizer, J Hudson. "Immigrants bring their sausage traditions to America and refuse to let their culinary ancestry be lost in their new land. They grind their meat, blend in spices, fill their casings and cure or cook their links in the traditions of the homeland. It can be experienced across our land every Fourth of July or summer weekend in the sweet smoke drifting from backyard grills."

Ohio Sausage Fest on October 5th at Brandywine Country Club will highlight the state’s rich tradition of ethnic sausage creators and crafters from Ohio cites and the surrounding countryside using strictly hormone-free and pasture-raised meats in their links and patties. There will be a chance to sample sausages from many cultures and countries crafted by local shops and farms.

When guests are done sampling the fare, they'll have the chance to vote on their favorite sausage and the winner will be awarded the First Ohio Sausage Fest Best Sausage Award Certificate.

In addition to meat, Sausage Fest will also have a variety of great craft beer from Northeast Ohio’s award winning microbrewers and ethnic brews from the home countries of our diverse links. There will be Sausage Fest t-shirts for sale, arts and crafts vendors and because we cannot live by sausage alone, there will be other food vendors like pierogi, ice cream and soda.

Manly Mart will be setting up shop at Sausage Fest. (We wrote about Manly Mart's first event back in June-- Click HERE to see that post again.) Besides endless innuendos, Manly Mart and Sausage Fest make perfect partners since they share a common demographic: dudes. Manly Mart will be slinging messenger bags and cycling gear, sports memorabilia-based art prints, punk rock buttons, beard oil, handmade robots, die-cast monsters and other handmade and vintage items made for dudes, by dudes.

For more information, see or like Sausage Fest on Facebook

Ohio Sausage Fest 
5555 Akron Peninsula Rd, Peninsula, Ohio 44264
October 5, 2013 10:00am to 6:00pm

Friday, September 27, 2013

What a Great Hat!

What a Great Hat!
by Brit Charek

Until recently, I had never considered consulting a milliner. (A milliner is a hat-maker.) As a soon-to-be-bride, I found myself a bit overwhelmed with never-ending options for hair and headpieces. A custom made hat is a great option for a bride or anyone else attending a formal event. And fortunately we have an award winning milliner right here in the Akron Empire!

All photos courtesy of JaNicki Photography
Paula Singleton owns the store What a Great Hat! in Fairlawn. She graduated from the Virginia Marti School of Art and Design in Lakewood, which is home to one of the few millinery programs in the country. Since then, she's won numerous awards for her work, including having a hat displayed in the Kentucky Derby Museum every year for the past four years-- one of the biggest honors a milliner could receive!

Singleton's considers her signature style to be "the cloche"-- a fitted, bell shaped hat that reached the height of its popularity in the 1920's. Thanks to the amazing costume designers who worked on such projects as last year's film adaptation of The Great Gatsby and PBS's addicting television series Downtown Abbey, we're seeing more of these hats in contemporary fashion.  “The trick to keeping any hat style looking fresh is to take inspiration from the past and add a contemporary spin," says Singleton.

The average price of Singleton's hats range from $100-$175 and can last decades with proper care. The intricate craftsmanship, high quality of materials and unique design are what really set her work apart from those that are mass-produced and made by machines. Her hats are works of art, some appropriate for everyday wear and some that are perfect for special occasions.

You can check out What a Great Hat! on Etsy to see what hats are for sale online, or you can see them in person at Ohio Mart at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens Thursday October 3 from 10am-6pm or Sunday October 6 from 10am-4pm.

Tomorrow, Saturday September 28 What a Great Hat! will be hosting an open studio event from 11am- 3pm at the address below. Stop by, admire the beautiful hats and learn a little more about the custom work Paula does. Enter under the Plaza Office Building sign in the center of the building. Take the stairs or elevator to the second floor, Suite 202, and tell her that Akron Empire sent you!

What a Great Hat!
Plaza Office Building
2855 West Market Street, Suite 202
Fairlawn, OH 44333

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Good Life Gives Back: Sun Sept. 29th

Good Life Gives Back--charity event Sunday, September 29th, 2013
by Joanna Wilson

Want to improve your image while doing something good?  Now's your chance.  Good Life Tattoos and Piercings in Highland Square has organized an extremely worthwhile charity event.  They are raising money to buy new toys for the playrooms at Akron Children's Hospital by hosting a special tattoo day.  On Sunday September 29th, for the flat rate of $50, you can choose from a pre-selected list of designs for a new tattoo.  All of the money will be used for purchasing the new toys. 

Remember our previous post about Good Life?  Courtesy of guest blogger Laura Maidens.

Not only will your favorite artists from Good Life be there but they are also inviting several of their favorite visiting tattoo artists.  Customers will be accepted on a first-come, first served basis--walkins only (no appointments!).  There are at least 40 designs to choose from--sorry, no changes--but the traditional tattoo designs will satisfy a wide variety of tastes, appropriate for both men and women.  Tattoos will begin at noon and artists will be available until 5pm.  I've also been told that if people are still in line at 5pm, some artists will be staying longer!  If you're not interested in getting a tattoo on Sunday, Good Life will also be accepting brand-new, still in the package toys which they will add to their donations.  If you're like me, I'm sure you want to support these generous efforts to help improve the playrooms at Akron Children's Hospital.  And, who doesn't want an awesome excuse to get a new tattoo?

Good Life Tattoos and Piercings is located at 752 W. Market Street, Akron OH 44303
For more information, check out the facebook event: Good Life Gives Back
or call: 330-374-0100

Good Life Tattoos and Piercings on Facebook
Good Life on Instagram

Friday, September 20, 2013

This Band Could Be Your Life: The Singular

This Band Could Be Your Life: The Singular
 by Brit Charek

Things were going pretty great for James Pequignot back in the summer of 2008. After recording two EPs and the rotating cast of members had finally settled down, his band The Singular were about to record their first full length album. And then he met the girl of his dreams. Which was great, until she was offered an internship in LA. He had to face an age old question: the band or the girl? 

Pequignot refused to give up both-- he moved, recorded the album when he was visiting home for the holidays, and mixed it in his tiny North Hollywood apartment when he got back. The album, The Sad Machine, was not only a personal success but received great reviews.

Fortunately for the Akron music scene, LA didn't work out Pequignot and his future bride. The couple moved back to Ohio in February of 2010 and The Singular re-formed immediately with the exception of new drummer Mark Bradbourne, who played with Pequignot in the band Emmet, who broke up back in 2006. Terry Mortensen plays bass and Nichole Catalan plays keyboard.

In order to produce their music and maintain creative control, Pequignot teamed up with his friend Jeff Klemm (of Akron band Maid Myriad fame) to create Diskette Records. All of the CDs produced are packaged in 5-1/4" floppy discs, and with download codes as the labels on 3-1/2" disks. "Being born in the mid 80's, people in my generation seem to respond to the disks with a strong feeling of nostalgia," says Pequignot. "It helps to create a personal connection between the listener and the physical media itself." In addition to the Singular and Maid Myriad, Diskette Records has also produced music by MINTS.

The Singular's latest album, Artifacts, "straddles the line between ambient indie-rock and modern Americana." It starts off upbeat and fun-- heavy with egg shakers and keyboards and even whistling-- and later takes on a more serious tone with some beautiful storytelling. You can get a taste of it on their Bandcamp site.

The band has recently launched a documentary-style video web series called "The Singular This Week," in hopes to connect fans to the band. Check out the first episode below-- you'll see a great performance and get a glimpse into keyboardist Nichole's home life, which is honest and charming. (Maybe I'm just relieved as a mom that she admitted her kid is "weird," which is undoubtedly my favorite thing about my kid.) Nichole's husband Eric manages the band as well as does their photography and graphic design work, so it's no wonder that their kids are so comfortable around the band.

Go to and subscribe to make sure you don't miss future episodes.

The Singular is: Mark Bradbourne, James Pequignot, Terry Mortensen, and Nichole Catalano

"This band is my family," says Pequignot. "I think we all experience music very intimately and to be able to share it with each other is very special."

You can see the Singular play live at the Auricle in Canton on Friday, September 27 with the Shilohs (travelling all the way from Vancouver), White Buffalo Woman and Cody Martin. For more details and to RSVP on Facebook click here!

The Singular's Website
The Singular's Facebook
The Singular's YouTube Channel

Monday, September 16, 2013

Blue Eyed Dog--local art, vintage, and more

Blue Eyed Dog is located at 1599 Main Street, in Peninsula--across from Fisher's Cafe & Pub.

Blue Eyed Dog Gallery
by Joanna Wilson

When two friends on two separate occasions recommended that I check out a new place--I took that advice seriously.  My friends were right.  Blue Eyed Dog located in the heart of downtown Peninsula is a one-of-a kind place.  Opening just this past summer, Blue Eyed Dog is owned and operated by two sisters, Elizabeth Stafford and Leslie Hampshire.  They have filled the converted house into a funky shop with art by local artists, vintage items, upcycled furniture, jewelry, and garden art.

Bernadette Glorioso's mixed media paintings.

I immediately recognized several local artists' works.  Bernadette Glorioso's gorgeous eclectic paintings on fabric covered one wall, while Michael Marras' inventive metal sculptures occupied another section of the shop.  I've been told that both of these up-and-comers are featured in the latest issue of Akron Life Magazine!

I just love this sailboat!  One of several metal sculptures by local artist Michael Marras.

A wide range of comfy pillows made by local artist Sara Edwards--upcycled from Turkish rugs.

The shop is also planning an expansion to include a second floor with items exclusively for women and babies.  If you are a local artist, Blue Eyed Dog is always looking for new items for the shop.  They specialize in featuring items by local artists as well as upcycled and vintage items of furniture, jewelry, and outdoor garden art.

Looking for a vintage decorative piece?

Lots of one-of-a-kind jewelry and decorative pieces to discover.

If you're looking for an excuse to head over to Peninsula to check out Blue Eyed Dog, might I suggest going over on Saturday, Sept. 28th?  That is the day Peninsula has organized their very own Music on the Porches all-day music festival.  In fact, Blue Eyed Dog will host two musicians' performances on their own porch that day.  Check the schedule for those performers and times.

Look for the funky white house--with convenient street parking.

Blue Eyed Dog Gallery is located at 1599 Main Street, Peninsula, OH 44264--across from Fisher's Cafe & Pub.  Tell them Akron Empire sent you!
For more information, check out Blue Eyed Dog on facebook.
Open: Wed-Fri: noon-5pm, Saturdays: 10am-5pm, and Sundays: noon-5pm.
Music on the Porches is Saturday, Sept. 28th 11am-11pm.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Global Village Festival in downtown Akron--Saturday, Sept. 14th, 2013

Global Village Festival, Saturday Sept. 14th, 2013
by Joanna Wilson

The buzz around town is the excitement for the 2nd annual Global Village Festival being held this weekend at Lock 3 in downtown.  This celebration of greater Akron's history of diversity and ethnic communities looks to be a fun-filled event with attractions for the whole family.  You can expect to find ethnic food, international wine tasting, cooking demonstrations, and a fair trade market place.  Stages at Lock 3 and Lock 4 will host cultural entertainment with authentic ethnic music, dance, and other performances.  There will also be interactive cultural, religious, and holistic health exhibits.  This family-friendly event also has special attractions for all ages including Kids Nation, a space for cultural crafts, games, and other fun activities to include everyone.

Last year's event included Indian dancers.

Global Village Festival runs from 1pm-8pm with free admission and free parking.  Check out the festival schedule for more information and for the list of musical acts and bands participating and their performance times.  This year's theme is "Walking Through the Looking Glass" an opportunity not only to examine but to reflect--a fascinating theme for cultural awareness in the Akron Empire.  You'll find a wide range of cultures represented at this event from European, African, and Caribbean traditions to a variety of Asian and Central and South American cultures.

The Cleveland Chinese Music Ensemble performing at last year's festival.

The Festival Committee Coordinator Helena Larios shared her passion for this annual event with me.  "Where else are you able to be entertained with 16 Music and Dance Performances and 7 Group fitness/health classes; without paying for admission or parking? We are so thankful that the City of Akron has graciously provided sponsorship to make that possible."
"It is my hope that readers will take advantage of the opportunity to have real life interactive experiences that may not otherwise ever occur without a passport.  This is an opportunity- rain or shine- to allow your senses to celebrate the delicious smells wafting from the World Café and taste amazing foods.  Touch and examine the intricate detailing of  handmade merchandise that is unique and one of a kind.  Dance with our performers or experience new holistic health practices.  Have your name written in another language or with different alphabet characters.  Simply put; we are reflecting what is happening in our neighborhoods and are glad to share it with the community at large.  Akron should be proud of its ethnic and cultural diversity."
I asked Larios what this festival means to her personally and she explains, "The Global Village Festival of Greater Akron is a way to preserve my traditional cultural heritage and also share its evolution with family, friends and the community at large.  We are taught, in error, that traditional customs are rigid and unchanging.  I am of the opinion, that our cultures continue to change, as in times past, in order to be preserved and also to bring unity and common bond to humanity.  It is my goal to respectfully demonstrate the concept of Walking through the Looking Glass to closely examine things that are new and unknown to us while also reflecting deeply upon our own thoughts and opinions.  (A looking glass is a magnifying or telescope as well as a mirror).  I know that I have learned so much about humanity over the past few months that remind me of the basic human need to be loved and show love to our fellow mankind."

For more information: Global Village Festival website
The Festival is Saturday, Sept. 14th, 1pm--8pm, at Lock 3 downtown
FREE admission, free parking--rain or shine!

Keep up to date with the Global Village Festival on Facebook

Monday, September 9, 2013

Bloggers Discover Hartville Getaway Giveaway!

Bloggers Discover Hartville Getaway Giveaway!
by Brit Charek

I've recently been invited to blog about two great businesses in Hartville, Ohio: Modern Vintage and Maize Valley Winery. This was part of a promotion from the Blog-- they invited several area bloggers to write about local businesses, and now they're offering readers a chance to win a free Discover Fall in Hartville Getaway Package!

Win your own visit by entering below!

Enter Monday September 9th-Friday, September 13th, 2013.
There is only one mandatory way to enter. Enter your name and email (or log-in with Facebook) in the box below then click "Click Here to Enter". Extra entries can be added by liking participating blogs on Facebook or leaving a comment on their posts.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the prizes below:

Discover Fall in Hartville Grand Prize ($450 value) includes:

Overnight Stay at Clearwater Park/Jellystone Camping Resort
Come hang out with Yogi Bear! Your family will enjoy an overnight stay in an Amish built, log style cabin. There is a bedroom with a queen bed, a common area with bunk beds, and a fold out sleeper sofa to comfortably sleep six guests. A fire ring and picnic table are located outside. A Yogi Bear bedtime story reading can be arranged prior to your visit! Must be redeemed September 16th, 2013-October 12th, 2013.
A tray of Apple Dumplin's from Quail's Covey Bed and Breakfast
$50 gift card from Hartville Kitchen
$40 gift certificate from Hartville MarketPlace
$30 gift certificate from Hartville Thrift Shoppe
$25 gift certificates from Hartville Hardware and Hartville Collectibles
Six 2013 Fall Fun passes from Maize Valley Farm and Winery 
2013 Farm Passes for up to 6 guests from Kingsway Pumpkin Farm

Historic Downtown Hartville Shopping Package ($150 value) includes:

$30 gift certificate from Best Bib and Tucker
$30 gift certificate from Hartville Tool Exchange
$30 gift certificate from Modern Vintage
$30 gift certificate from The Plus Boutique
$30 gift certificate from Two E's in a Pod

Get Pampered Prize Package ($85 value) includes:
1/2 Hour massage from Sunrise Massage Therapy
$30 gift certificate from Beginnings Salon and Day Spa
$25 gift certificate from Shear Possibilities

Good luck!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Maize Valley Winery in Hartville

Maize Valley Winery in Hartville
by Brit Charek

Whether you're looking for a romantic dinner on a patio with live music or an afternoon family outing, Maize Valley Winery is the perfect place to enjoy the fall harvest. Located about 25 minutes from downtown Akron, Maize Valley is a restaurant, a market that sells locally sourced foods and an award winning winery with a comfortable tasting room.

I recently spent the afternoon at Maize Valley, sampling some wines in their tasting room and then eating lunch on their beautiful patio out back. The staff were pleasant and very knowledgable about the wines and the food was great, especially considering how reasonably it was priced. Take a peak at their menu by clicking here.

My friend Dina, a fellow blogger who wrote about Shear Possibilities and the Hartville Thrift Shoppe, ordered the best of both worlds: a burger with a quinoa and black bean salad

I opted for the soup and half sandwich-- the homemade Roasted Red Pepper Soup was amazing!
While I was roaming around the market, I saw employees setting up a private dining room for a wedding rehearsal dinner, which was absolutely beautiful.

Private dining area. Photo couresty of Maize Valley's website

Maize Valley will be hosting special fall activities including a corn maze and pumpkin cannon firing starting on September 12th. They are also having a Hot Air Balloon Lift Off and Art Fest on September 28th, and on October 12 they will be hosting a giant car crushing, pumpkin eating robot dinosaur called Megasaurus-- I made certain to mark my calendar for that one. For more details about upcoming events and family friendly fun, check out Maize Valley's event calendar.  

Make sure to check Akron Empire next week to see how you can win a Fall Hartville Getaway!

These chairs on the back of the patio are the best place to relax, have a glass of wine and enjoy the fleeting warm weather.

Maize Valley Winery is located at 6193 Edison St. NE (St. Rt. 619) in Hartville, Ohio.