Monday, September 14, 2009

Ch. 1b - Of Pop and Popcorn

Saturday was the big day, the day I had been anticipating all week, the day that I was sure would define my stay in Ohio. Mitch and I would be conquering the Marion Popcorn Festival, "the largest popcorn festival in the world"! I love the slice of life and livestock that is a good state fair and it had been a few years since I had been to one.. I was primed! Well, Saturday arrived and I have to say.. It was sadly disappointing. Maybe it suffered from my high expectations (clearly it did), but if this is the biggest popcorn festival, I'd hate to see the smallest! There was hardly any freaking popcorn at the Popcorn Festival for crying out loud!

I mean, we took it for what is was and still had fun, but we only had about two hours of fun.. and that was stretching it. It was just a totally generic street fair that could have been in any town U.S.A. and with any theme randomly attached to it. There was nothing that made it special. Anybody remember the Grady Squash Festival from the overlooked movie classic, "Doc Hollywood"? Well, this is what I was expecting.. this is what I wanted. A genuine old-fashioned Middle-America small town festival with lots of local color. There should have been all kinds of popcorn exhibits and popcorn related products for sale, there should have been a popcorn ride, there should have been people dressed in giant popcorn costumes singing popcorn songs, etc..What we got was three downtown Marion blocks of standard deep-fried fair food, rickety fold-up rides, and barking carnies. They didn't even have deep-fried popcorn (a so-obvious-it's-brilliant idea Margaret had).. sheesh!

We did eat our way through there, nonetheless.. I got kettle corn (the most "exotic" popcorn they had), a corn dog, and a pork sandwich... and a bison burger. That's right, three different types of meat. Don't judge me. The funniest/grossest/most awesome food item we saw there, though, was the above pictured "PorkTato" Fries. Say PorkTato out loud and you will giggle. Neither of us could bring ourselves to actually eat the thing but Mitch did have some other kind of grease and fries combination bowl.. worst part is, being a future coroner of America, he knows exactly how that will look on the inside. And yet he smiles... he's a strange man.

Pop-quiz: Quick, what do you say when you want a brown carbonated beverage?

I say coke.. any regular, brown-colored cola product is coke to me, even when it is not actually Coke. Not soda, not cola, and certainly not pop. Well, people in Ohio say pop, and at the popcorn festival I ordered a "pop" for the first time and it felt weird! It was literally hard for my brain to make my mouth say it. I was doing my best to blend in, though... somehow I think I still stood out like a sore city boy.

Now it is Monday, my last day in Columbus. I am doing laundry and looking up barbecue joints in Kansas City, MO, the next stop on my trip. Jesse told me I have to get a "burnt-end" sandwich, and I can't see why I wouldn't.


  1. same thing happened to me last year at the Main Lobster Festival-I thought there would be tons of lobster and lobster themes. No, just a fair with a big lobster tent. Still fun but disappointing.

    And I do likes the lobster!

  2. also, that should be Maine Lobster Festival