The Marion, Ohio Popcorn Festival

Posted on September 8, 2008


One of my favorite things about living in Ohio is the multitude of agricultural festivals that populate the summer. We have a tomato festival, multiple corn festivals, a garlic festival, a massive pumpkin festival, a honey festival, etc etc. Each follows the same basic formula. Lots of locals eating fried goodies, drunk and happy. Music and talent shows that you wish you missed. Small town cops anxious about maintaining order in their normally very quiet towns.

One of the biggest variables is the connection that the festival has to the agricultural product that shares its name. The Pumpkin Festival in Circleville, Ohio has hundreds of pumpkins on display, pumpkin bread, donuts, pumpkin candy, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin beer. The Garlic Festival at North Market near downtown Columbus has garlic ice cream, foods infused with garlic, and lots of varieties of garlic on sale for culinary or planting purposes.

The Popcorn Festival was a disappointment as there was very little popcorn to be had. One popcorn vendor with the specialties you would expect (popcorn balls, carmel popcorn, etc) and of course there was a kettle corn vendor. Tons of other food but it was all things like elephant ears and fried bologna.

The band (Molly Hatchett) was about twenty years past their prime though the audience was mildly into it. I felt sorry for them when they asked for applause and got a tepid response. No fear though, there were two more stages with other entertainment. One had a talent show with twirling little girls followed by gospel music. The other had random locals playing rock music.

The weather was fantastic and despite all the negatives I listed above it was a lot of fun. Where else can you peruse the wares of Deb’s Homemade Do Rags? In a place like Ohio this is about as exciting as it gets (excluding anything associated with Ohio State football, of course). And we like it that way darn it.

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