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So last weekend I got a nice little sunburn working at the Historical Society for the World of Ohio Fair. This was the first year for what they hope will be an annual event, and it was a ton of fun!

Throughout the weekend, we had entertainment–Irish step dancers, local independent artists, German dance, as well as historical dance and musicians presented by OHS volunteers. I wish I’d brought my camera!

All of this takes place in the Ohio Village, the little reproduction 1860s village behind the museum. Each building is occupied with a different group or activity–the Geneological society was there, with computers to help people track down their ancestry. Over in the newspaper office, we had WOSU (local public television station) showing one of their programs about various neighborhoods in Columbus.

Some of the buildings house family/kid friendly activities, like the Invention Station, where I was working. We had tons of information about things that were invented in Ohio (like Play-Doh, the flat-fold paper sack, and glass marbles to name a few) as well as several inventors who have roots within the state.

To be honest though, most of the kids were bypassing that, and going straight for the activity table! We had a selection of appliances laid out, and they had a ball tearing them apart to see how they work. One group of high school boys spent about an hour and a half dismantling a television set, and had a grand old time. They were so much fun to watch!

On the second day, I brought in a few items of my own–typewriters, of course! I brought in a damaged Smith-Corona portable that was damaged when it was shipped to me, beyond what I could repair. The body was bent out of shape and there were problems with the carriage, so I donated it to the cause. More popular, however, was the Sterling–not for dismantling, but for writing! In the morning, when we weren’t terribly busy, I sat at my table and banged out the rest of an outline I’ve been working on. The clack clack clack drew more than one person into our building.

As the afternoon wore on, a group of  young girls, maybe 6-8 years old, became very interested and spent quite a lot of time banging away at it, typing messages to each other. Our last group of the day was a couple with their two young girls, maybe 5 or so at the most. The mother heard the typewriter from down the street, and as a former typist was drawn to the sound. Thrilled, she typed up a page about herself and her family, thrilled to pieces to be back at the keys, and letting her girls try it out. They had never seen a typewriter before, and were fascinated by the idea of doing school work on it. As I packed up, I handed them the typewriter case and said, “Before computers, this was how you brought your laptop to school!” Their eyes bugged out at the weight of the machine. It made me wish that I’d brought the Woodstock or the KMM, too, but I wasn’t about to haul 100lbs worth of typewriter around the village by myself!

Out in the field between the museum and the village, the Muffins played a game of baseball, drawing a crowd of a few hundred spectators. Across the way, local businesses selling everything from jam and honey to roving and handspun yarn set up tables, while the smells of homemade pasta and hotdogs were carried on the breeze from the food vendors.

All in all, it was a really fun way to spend the weekend, and I’m looking forward to next year!