Monday, September 22, 2014

Akron Empire Favorites: Favorite Parks

Akron Empire Favorites 2014: Favorite Parks
by Joanna Wilson

We are rolling out the results of our poll each week through the rest of the Fall.  Thanks so much to everyone who shared their voices in selecting our favorite things in Akron.  To see the results of all the voting so far, be sure to click on the Akron Empire Favorites badge on the right hand side.

The winner for Favorite Park comes as no surprise.  1. Sand Run Metro Park

Located along Merriman Valley, Sand Run is one of the outstanding gems within the Metro Parks system.  Not only do visitors enjoy the Parkway Jogging Trail but Sand Run also offers several more rustic and challenging hiking trails.  It is also a popular destination because of the shelters, the soccer fields, ice skating, and my favorite, the drivable water crossing (ford).  Because of its wetlands, Sand Run also offers curious animals lovers the unique opportunity to witness the springtime salamander crossing.  Wouldn't THAT make a great post for Akron Empire in the future?

North Hill's Waters Park

Voters created a four-way tie for second place.  2. Canal Park, Cascade Valley Metro Park, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and Waters Park.

We recently featured guest blogger Jenny Jones who shared her 5 Great Hikes in the Akron Area which included several in the nearby Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  Our own Brit Charek wrote about her experiences at Canal Park two years ago (before they changed their team name to the Rubber Ducks).  But it's the same ball park and the same fun location for Akron residents to enjoy.  It's also great to see not just the Metro Parks appreciated in our Favorites poll but also a city park, namely Waters Park, which is located across from St. Thomas Hospital in North Hill.  Not only does Waters Park have public shuffleboard and tennis courts, but the top corner of the park offers some stunning views over the valley of downtown Akron!  Another reason Waters Park is an Akron Empire Favorite.

Thanks again to everyone who voted! Check back next week as we reveal more of your favorites.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Akron Empire Favorites: Favorite Annual Event

Akron Empire Favorites: Favorite Annual Event
by Brit Charek

We asked our readers to tell us their favorite things to do in the Empire, and you responded with amazing ideas-- some of our own old favorites, and some things new to us that we're excited to check out! This is the second post in the series. We started last week with your Favorite Thing to do in the Summer-- click HERE to see that post again.

This week, we're revealing your Favorite Annual Event!

1. Porch Rokr

A free festival will feature more than 80 bands, no-cost workshops, dramatic performances, food and art vendors and activities for children? Sign me up!

The Highland Square Neighborhood Association, a community focused organization, is hosting the 2014 PorchRokr Festival which is tomorrow, Saturday, September 20th from 10am to 8pm. Opening Ceremonies begin at 10:30 with a parade, a performance by the PorchRokr
Performers will be hosted on stages and porches across several streets, including Belvidere Way, Beck Avenue, Byers Avenue, Dodge Avenue, Grand Avenue, S. Portage Path, Crosby Street, Westmoreland Terrace, Payne Avenue, West Market Street and at Perkins Stone Mansion.

For more info, check out HSNA's website. Make sure you stop by the mini-Crafty Mart pop up shop on Byers!

2. Hamburger Festival

This year marked the 7th anniversary of the National Hamburger Festival. Over 120,000 hamburger fans have enjoyed family fun, great entertainment and one of the largest assortments of hamburgers ever assembled in one place.

The festival is held at historic Lock 3 Park in beautiful downtown Akron in August and raises money each year for one of Akron’s favorite charities, the Akron Children’s Hospital.

For more info, and to make sure you don't miss out next summer, visit the National Hamburger Festival's website!

3. The Akron Arts Expo at Hardesty Park

The Akron Arts Expo at Hardesty Park has been running strong every summer for 35 years now! This free outdoor festival features over 160 fine art and craft vendors. 

The weekend kicks off with the Taste of Akron food sampling from area restaurants on Thursday evening. On Friday evening we host our premier Wine Tasting and Silent Auction fundraiser. The fest often includes contests, like the steak cook-off sponsored by West Point Market. I wrote about that a few years back when my dad was competing! Click HERE to see that post again.

Check out their website for more details.

Honorable Mentions: Squarefest, Crafty Mart, the Akron Marathon

Thanks again to everyone who voted! Check back next week as we reveal more of your favorites!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Portage Trail Barn: 5 Steps from Thrift Store to Fashion

The 5 Steps from Thrift Store to Fashion
by Mary Beth Filion

Hello!  I'm Mary Beth and I'm the owner of Portage Trail Barn in Cuyahoga Falls.  The Barn is a seasonal shop open a few weekends each year. It features local vendors of handmade and repurposed goods.  I'm not only the owner, but a crafter too and I love to work with repurposed materials.  I'll shop garage and estate sales, auctions, and thrift stores. Using repurposed materials is so easy!  Today I'm going to share the 5 steps I take to go from thrift store to finished item. 

1. Gather ideas. 
This is my favorite part.  I’m on Pinterest everyday.  I have over 3,000 pins and counting.  Having a visual way to organize ideas is the best. I have boards by season or product line.  I also look at manufactured items and devise a way to use thrifted materials in the reproduction.  

2. Be familiar with your local shops.  This will help you decide where to go for what you want.

Goodwill on State Road is good for books, small furniture, and sundries (you never know what you’ll find).
Salvation Army in Montrose is good for large furniture and I love the way they display home goods by color.  All thrift stores should do that.  It makes it so much fun to shop.  

Salvation Army in Montrose

Village Discount Outlet on State Road is great for clothing.  This is where I picked up some great belts all at half price or lower!

Village Discount Outlet on State Road in Cuyahoga Falls

3. Know how much you’d be willing to pay.  This comes with time and research.  I always keep in mind that on discount days I could be getting it for as low as $0.50!  That makes that belt for $6.00 seem overpriced and I’m likely to pass it by.

Know your Discount codes!

4. Don’t be afraid to buy and try.  
The beauty of buying thrifted goods at a low cost is you can be brave about your trial and error process.

5.  Proudly display your handmade goods…and let the compliments stream in.  Take note of what materials you enjoyed working with. Each time you hit the thrift store keep an eye out for something to add to your stash.  

Leather belt ring

These leather belt rings will be available at the Fall Barn Sale, as well as more of my repurposed goods.  Come see us opening night form 3-8p September 18, 10a-4p Saturday and Sunday.  Also the second weekend Thursday September 20 from 3-8p and Saturday and Sunday from 10a-4p.

For information on seasonal sales check out the website.  
To get a peek behind the scenes find me on Instagram.  
And to see what inspires me follow me on Pinterest.  

Friday, September 12, 2014

Akron Empire Favorites: Favorite Thing to do in the Summer

Akron Empire Favorites: Favorite Thing to do in the Summer
by Brit Charek

We asked our readers to tell us their favorite things to do in the Empire, and you responded with amazing ideas-- some of our own old favorites, and some things new to us that we're excited to check out! We'll be rolling out the winners over the next few weeks, starting with your Favorite Thing to do in the Summer!

1. Riding Bikes in the Park
Some readers like riding in the metroparks, and some specifically recommended the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. A while back, Joanna wrote about How We Roll UA, a program that offers free bike tours through downtown. Click HERE to check out that post again.

Similarly, guest blogger Jenny recently wrote about her top 5 places to hike in the greater Akron area. Click HERE to check out that post again

2. Going to an Akron Rubber Ducks Game
A few summers ago, I wrote about going to a game when they were still the Akron Aeros (Click HERE to see that post again.) I've been several times since the team rebranded to the Rubber Ducks, and it's one of my favorite family activities in the summer! With all the cool promotions, from giving out free Akron rockstar bobbleheads to Thirsty Thursday featuring dollar draft beers, the Rubber Ducks have something for everyone.

One of my favorite parts of seeing the Rubber Ducks is eating at the Game Bar & Grille!
For tickets and more info, visit the Akron Rubber Ducks' official website.

3. Downtown@Dusk at the Akron Art Museum

Did you know that the Akron Art Museum is free every Thursday? To top it off, on Thursday evenings the Museum hosts live concerts in their parking lot!

Even though summer is coming to a close, the Art Museum is still free on Thursday, and they still have some amazing events lined up on Thursday evenings. During the day they host family-oriented workshops and in the evening they line up more grown up events, like free films organized by Akron Film & Pixel or their  innovative speaker series called Slide Jam. 

For more info, visit the Akron Art Museum's website.

Thanks again to everyone who voted! Check back next week as we reveal more of your favorites!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Paranormal Paranoia: the other side of tattoo art(ists)

Paranormal Paranoia: the other side of tattoo art(ists)
By Guest Blogger Roza Maille

Do you believe in ghosts and aliens and witchcraft and Bigfoot? The new exhibit at The BOX Gallery, opening September 6 at 5pm, explores all those things. Paranormal Paranoia: the other side of tattoo art(ists) is a group show consisting of over 30 tattoo artists from around the country. I curated this show with my twin brother, Ezra Haidet, who is a tattoo artist himself. He grew up in Ohio but is currently residing in Austin, Texas.

by John Massie
Ezra and I contacted artists from all parts of the country; from Ohio to Texas to California to Maryland, much of the country is represented in this show. Some of the artists featured in the show include: Austin Maples (California), Henry Hablak (Georgia), Marie Sena (Texas), Tony De Rigo (Ohio), John Rippey (Maryland), Jason Phillips (California), John Massie (Ohio), Boxcar (Pennsylvania), Nathan Abney (Ohio), Cory Schofield (Texas), George Archer (Virginia), Erik Jacobsen (California), and Josh Adams (New York). There is even one international artist from Switzerland, Cyrill Neff.

by Erik Jacobsen

Some people’s perspectives of tattoo artists’ art may be narrowed to things such as the butterfly tattoo on your cousin’s ankle. The art in this exhibition goes well beyond that. The artists were asked to make a painting within the paranormal theme guidelines. Because “paranormal” is defined as anything not explainable by science, the artists could take on subjects ranging from aliens to cryptozoology to ghosts.

by Boxcar
Since the participating artists are using paper instead of tattooing a destined area of skin, they have the option to be more expressive with their work. Some of the art follows a more traditional tattoo style with black outlines while others are softer. It is interesting to see the range of styles within this group of artists.

Most of the paintings will be for sale at the show during gallery hours. At a later date, an exhibition catalog will be available for purchase with most of the artwork represented. The release date is TBA but will be announced on the Facebook event page. You can find more details about the opening and a full list of the participating artists there also.

by Cory Schofield
There will also be a short sci-fi film shown in the video salon entitled The Exchange. This film was written and directed by Ohio natives The Campbell Brothers of Compound Pictures. It was also shot on Super 8mm film for all those film buffs out there.

There is a Preview Party that is open to the public on September 5, 2014 from 5-9 pm. The show officially opens during the September Artwalk on Saturday September 6, 2014 from 5-10 pm. During the Saturday opening, a tattoo artist from Kustom Culture Tattoo in Tallmadge will be present to draw temporary tattoos on visitors. The show will be open until the next Akron Artwalk on October 4, 2014 (gallery open from noon until 9 pm on the closing day). The BOX Gallery is open Friday and Saturday from noon until 5pm and is located at 140 E. Market St. Akron, Ohio 44308. Admission is free and the gallery is open to the public.

Paranormal Paranoia will run the same duration as the Akron Art Prize! So come upstairs to the 3rd floor at Summit Artspace to the BOX Gallery after you cast your votes!