Dave Powers: Up Close and Personal at the 2017 Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival

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The Gahanna OH Convention & Visitors Bureau is prepping for the city’s BIGGEST signature event of the year this weekend (June 16-18, 2017).  Richie Cole and the Dave Powers Trio will take the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival Jazz Stage (presented by Heartland Bank) from 4:30-6 pm on Sunday to close out the 2017 event with an outstanding performance. We caught up with Dave Powers for a little Q & A about how he became one of Central Ohio’s most acclaimed Jazz musicians.  

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When did you discover your passion for music?
I discovered my passion for music as soon as I heard my first note. I’ve had the same passion for music all of my life.

What influenced you in the beginning?
The record player was by biggest influence, and I would listen to whatever I could get my hands on. By playing records and listening to all forms and styles of music, my own playing style is shaped by whatever I’m listening to. If I wasn’t playing music and entertaining and performing, I’d be just as happy playing and listening to records.

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Who inspires you now?
I’m inspired by anybody with a musically open mind. There are so many “genres” and labeled styles that pigeon-hole different classifications of music. My personal philosophy is that of Duke Ellington who said, “There are two types of music – good and the other kind.” My approach to playing and making music should transcend musical genres and styles. In other words, I’m just as happy playing polka as I am playing jazz, rock, soul or pop.
How would you describe your music?
I would describe my music as interactive, inclusive, creative, vintage, positive and emotional. Again, “transcending” styles, just like our country being a melting pot of different cultures with many different influences.

What’s your greatest achievement to date?
My greatest achievement to date is winning two EMMY® Awards – the first one for work that I did on the PBS TV Series “The Piano Guy,” and the second one for music for a documentary film about television pioneer Ruth Lyons. There are many other great achievements too, like producing album projects and traveling around the country doing corporate events and conventions. I really enjoy those too!

Do you have a favorite number that you like to perform?
I have many favorite songs that I like – it’s hard to pick one favorite number. It depends on what’s playing in my head that day, or what mood I’m in.

 If you had to pick a personal theme song, what would it be?
I don’t know if I would have a personal theme song, but my phrase that describes me is “Listen To This,” because that’s what I always say when I want to play a piece of music for somebody. It’s my often used catch-phrase. I have a CD release titled “Listen To This,” and my record label is LTT Records – the LTT stands for “Listen To This.”

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What can Creekside Blues & Jazz Fans expect from your performance this weekend on the Jazz Stage?
It’s always a fun time playing at the Creekside Blues and Jazz Fest, and I’m sure that the people that come to see us will enjoy the energy and creativity that we will bring to our performance. This year’s performance will be especially exciting because the legendary alto saxophonist Richie Cole will be performing with us. I brought Richie to Columbus in February as a featured guest for one of my “House Jazz Concert Series” events at the Clintonville Woman’s Club, and I’m glad Richie was available to play Creekside with us.

Tell us about the artists who will be performing with you?
Our guest artist, alto saxophonist Richie Cole (originally from Trenton, New Jersey) currently lives in Pittsburgh after living on the west coast for many years. Richie has developed a trademark style of playing called “alto madness” and his background consists of having played with Buddy Rich, Lionel Hampton, Doc Severinsen and has recorded albums with Eddie Jefferson, Mark Murphy, Nancy Wilson, Tom Waits, The Manhattan Transfer and Boots Randolph to name just a few.  Dayton, OH bassist Chris Berg and drummer Louis Tsamous will round out the group along with yours truly on the piano.

Where can fans find you online – to learn more about your background and music?
My recordings are available on iTunes, amazon and CDBaby.com (keyword: Dave Powers), and my performance schedule, bio, pics and videos (also recordings) can be found on my website – davepowers.com

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For a full schedule of 2017 Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival bands and artists (and their bios), visit CreeksideBluesandJazz.com.  The Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival celebrates it’s 19th anniversary in the Creekside District of Gahanna, Ohio (117 Mill St.), June 16-18, 2017.  It is presented annually by Visit Gahanna (the Gahanna Ohio Convention & Visitors Bureau). 

2015 IBC Best Guitarist Headlines Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival

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Noah Wotherspoon has been immersed in the blues and mesmerizing audiences with his soulful guitar playing since he was a teenager. Wotherspoon and his band have earned top honors at the International Blues Challenge. This year, the band released its debut studio album entitled “Mystic Mud,” which was selected by the Cincy Blues Society as the Best Self-Produced CD for entry into the 2016 IBCs. The release was was presented a “Jimi Award” for Best Blues/Rock Album of the Year by Blues411. Wotherspoon and his band will take the Electric Blues Stage (presented by Benchmark Bank) at the 18th Annual Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival in Gahanna, Ohio at 9:30 pm on Friday, June 17.  We interviewed Noah to learn more about his blues journey.

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When did you discover your passion for music?
I started playing guitar at the age of 11 and was out playing gigs when I was 13. From early on, I was attracted to music and just naturally became more & more immersed. Music has been a vehicle to meet a lot of beautiful people and led to experiences I couldn’t have imagined. It’s served as a medium to be creative and grow spiritually.. not too mention it’s also been a lot of fun and therapeutic.

What influenced you in the beginning?
Music was always around. My mom would listen to a lot of 50’s rock n’ roll and reggae. Around the time I was 10 years old, my older brother Adam’s best friend started bringing over recordings of Stevie Ray Vaughan and other guitar-oriented music to the house. I remember it was around that time I felt a burning desire to get a guitar. When I was growing up, my mom always had a lot books/classic literature on the shelves, and I think that would end up informing and inspiring a lot of my song-writing and creative endeavors down the road.

Who inspires you now?
Musically, my listening is all over the map. Lately, I’ve been paying closer to attention to the trail-blazing blues guitar players like Gatemouth Brown & Otis Rush, and trying to take a deeper look at the way they would phrase and speak with their instruments. I also listen to song-writers like Dylan, Neil Young and Townes Van Zandt. I like old movies and try to read as much as I can; right now I’m reading Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth which is really phenomenal. I try to fill my brain with a hodgepodge of imagery and ideas that I can hopefully channel into song-writing.
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How would you describe your music?
All along, my music has always been rooted in the blues. Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, all the classic blues performers, the folklore & mystique surrounding the music. It’s what really pulled me in when I was first learning to play. Just the other day, “I Ain’t Superstitious” by the Wolf came on the radio.  I still get transported to another dimension. Over the years, I’ve been introduced to a lot of different musical styles. I have a love for everything from the Beatles & Harry Nilsson, to world music and vintage country. In effect, that probably all goes into the hopper and my writing/guitar playing is a cross-pollination of things. It’s always been my hope to stay connected to my roots & the things my teachers generously showed me, and balance that with creativity and giving something new.

What’s your greatest achievement to date?
In 2015, I received the Best Guitarist award at the International Blues Challenge and my band came in 2nd Place in the Band Category. It was a huge honor and still surreal to think about.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened during a performance?
This wasn’t at one of my shows, but was one of the wildest things that’s ever happened to me in a musical setting. When I was about 16, I had long blond hair. Bobby “Blue” Bland was in town and performing at Gilly’s (legendary blues/jazz venue in Dayton, OH). I went to the show and found a seat up in front of the stage. They introduced Bobby, and the very first thing he did was start singing “You’re Red Hot Little Mama”.. right to me (assuming I was girl). The table of ladies I was sitting with were breaking up with laughter and shouted up to Bobby, “He’s a boy.” He abruptly stopped the song, and it turned into this whole little scene. They then shouted up to him that I also play guitar and he ended up inviting me on stage. His guitar player handed over his guitar and we went into “Stormy Monday.” He ran me through the paces … asking me to “play like T-Bone Walker,” “play like Wayne Bennett” etc.  I still talk to his son Rodd who was on drums that night; we still laugh about it.

If you had to pick a personal theme song, what would it be?
I’d want to say Also Sprach Zarathustra (Theme From 2001: A Space Odyssey)… but that goes to Elvis! Mine would probably be a bit goofier.. maybe the Looney Tunes theme?

The Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival draws blues and jazz fans from throughout the region. What are you most looking forward to that weekend?
Of course I’m really looking forward to playing; but I’m also really looking forward to seeing our friends Deuce & a Quarter who are on right before us. They’re awesome people and put on a great show.

What do you hope fans “take away” from your performance?
It’s always my hope that people have a fun and that we’re able to offer an escape in that window of time. Thinking back to my favorite performances I’ve gone to see, the ones that stayed with me were ones that I walked away from feeling inspired and rejuvenated somehow. Rob Thaxton (bass), Brian Aylor (drums) and I, always try to give our best and have a good time on stage. I want to show my gratitude and hope to make a connection with the people that take the time & energy to come out to watch and listen.

Where can fans find you online – to learn more about your background and music?
noahwotherspoon.com. All of our band dates are listed there; you can also order our album “Mystic Mud” (digitally &/or physically) in the store page.

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Check out the entire 2016 Creekside Blues & Jazz Schedule, and learn about other activities for all ages at: www.CreeksideBluesandJazz.com or the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau (presenters of the CBJF) at 614/418-9114.  $15 Weekend wristbands for the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival are available online only, prior to the event.

 

Cocktails, Beer & Wine, Oh My!

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Guest Post by Betsy A Decillis, Owner/Marketing Consultant with BAD Consulting, LLC and Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival devotee.  The 2016 Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival will be presented Fri, June 17-Sunday, June 19 in Gahanna Ohio’s Creekside District, 117 Mill St.

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TastingsMy husband and I have developed an addiction: We’re addicted to learning about the craft that goes into craft beer, cocktails and wine. That addiction has led us to go on countless tours of breweries, distilleries and any other location that promises to tell us about the drinks we were drinking. We have been lost in a mess of rich history, carefully picked ingredients and pure love for the past few years.

But we soon discovered a problem.

As our knowledge grew and we felt more confident, we slowly became those annoying people that have a million questions on our tours. We were just that addicted to finding out more about the process. Well, nine times out of ten, we would be talking to a salesperson who did not know much about the actual process, and we would leave disappointed.

Enter the Gahanna, Ohio Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival.

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My husband came home one day, practically bouncing. “The Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival is having tastings this year! We’re going.” I just nodded. The next day, “I signed us up for the cocktail tasting!” I tweeted something along the lines of, “We’re going to the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival cocktail tasting. Anybody want to come?” I instantly got an email from him saying, “I don’t know what retweeting is, but I just did it to your tweet.” He was really excited.

The day of the cocktail tasting arrived, and it was packed. If you plan on joining Watershed Distillery for this on Friday night, make sure you sign up ahead of time or else you may be out of luck. We took the last two seats in our tasting group and realized quickly that we were not talking to just some random salesperson. We were talking to the owners, the people that started this company and have poured their love into their products.

The Watershed owners took us through each cocktail, but as they did, they also took the time to go through the thought process that went into each one of the spirits they brought with them. And as a bonus, they made sure that each cocktail they created for the event could easily be replicated at home. So not only did we leave with the story of their spirits, we left with some great summertime cocktail ideas.

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Since the cocktail tasting was such a success, my husband quickly decided that we needed to do the wine tasting as well. But then he lost all self-control and signed us up for the beer tasting too.

The beer tasting was with the owners of Pigskin Brewery and we ended up sitting with the parents of one of the owners. His parents beamed with pride as we lobbed questions and they handled them with ease. They then thanked us for supporting their son. This is not the kind of thing that happens on a regular day at the brewery.

Next, we spent time with Wyandotte Winery. Our taste buds were stretched as we tasted wines we wouldn’t normally pick ourselves and explained each one to us perfectly. And you know what? We found a new favorite wine that we actually agreed on. That never happens.

This year, we were excited to find out that the tastings are making a comeback! Like I said, Friday night is cocktail tastings and you will want to call ahead. But the beer and wine tastings are getting just a bit more exciting.

Saturday is the beer tasting with more breweries participating. In addition to Pigskin, you’ll find Kindred Artisan Ales, Columbus Brewing Company, as well as other breweries on the plaza. That means you will purchase tickets and visit the beer tables at your leisure. Sunday’s wine tasting will work in much the same way, but you will also have the option to try appetizer pairings from 101 Beer Kitchen (our favorite local restaurant!).

We plan on checking out all three days and trying a little of everything. Will we see you there?
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For a full schedule of events, plus parking, ticket and tasting info– visit CreeksideBluesandJazz.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Help spread the word about the Festival by using the #2016CBJF hashtag and you could win a Jambassador Tshirt!

Last Minutes Tips for Attending Gahanna’s Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival

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We’re just hours away from Gahanna, Ohio’s largest event: the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival (#2015CBJF). With 5 stages, 55 bands, a Family Fun Zone, Amusement rides, 60+ food/retail vendors and ALL the good stuff that an event this size brings. Here are some quick-and-dirty FAST FACTS to help you get the most out of the event. For more info, visit: www.CreeksideBluesandJazz.com

• Event: 17th Annual Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival
• Event happens on RAIN OR SHINE!
• Dates: Fri-Sun, June 19-21
• Times: Friday, 5-11 pm
Saturday 11 am-11 pm
Sunday (Father’s Day) 12-6pm
• Location: Creekside Plaza & Olde Gahanna
• Admission: $5 per person (with the exception of 5-11 pm Saturday when admission is $8/pp)
• Weekend passes: $13 (available online ONLY )
• Children under 12 and military personnel (and their immediate families) are free
• FREE admission on Sunday, 11:30 am-12:30 pm with donation of non-perishable food donations for Mid-Ohio Food Bank

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• Parking: FREE Park and Ride. Complimentary parking & shuttle service is available in 4 Gahanna locations:
o Giant Eagle (1250 N. Hamilton Road)
o Gahanna Lincoln High School (140 S. Hamilton Road)
o 101 S. Stygler Road (corner of Rte. 62 and Stygler Road)
o Gahanna Lincoln High School Clark Hall, 300 Granville Street.
o Handicap-accessible shuttles will be (in the Clark Hall parking lot, 380 Granville Street.)

• Stages include the Electric Blues Stage (presented by Benchmark Bank and Scioto Downs); The Jazz Stage (presented by Heartland Bank); The Creekside Community Stage (presented by Mount Carmel Health); Acoustic Alley (presented by Lew Griffin Insurance and Grange Insurance); and the Musical Discovery Zone Stage (part of the Giant Eagle Family Fun Zone.) The full line-up AND a downloadable schedule can be found on the Festival website.

• Be a VIP. Avoid the lines and standing-room-only crowds. Take advantage of a VIP package to make the most of your #2015CBJF experience. Options include reserved seating in Club Blues (adjacent to the Electric Blues Stage), reserved seating in the NEW All That Jazz Club (adjacent to the Jazz Stage), or a pass to the Festival’s NEW Hospitality Center. All packages can be reserved online at www.CreeksideBluesandJazz.com or by calling 614/418-9114. And all packages include VIP parking, VIP shuttle and admission.

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• SUPERFANS: Several lucky fans will snag free weekend wristbands and T-shirts just by using the #2015CBJF hashtag on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Random #2015CBJF SuperFans will be identified daily through the Festival weekend.

• NEW TASTINGS: Stop by the Festival’s “Tasting experiences” on Creekside Plaza to sample a new cocktail or savor your favorite beverage!
• On Friday, June 19, meet the owners of Watershed Distillery. Sample 4 new cocktails created especially for #2015CBJF. Seatings are every 45 minutes, starting at 6 p.m. 4 Samples – $15/person
• Certified Spirits Specialist “Whiskey Pete” returns to the Festival on Saturday, June 20. Sample a flight of 3 whiskeys or bourbons for $12, or a flight of 5 /$15. Tastings begin at 2 p.m. and are scheduled every half hour.
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• Explore the world of local craft beers on Saturday, June 20, while sampling offerings with expert brewers from the Columbus Brewing Co., Four String, New Belgium, and Sweetwater. Hour-long tastings begin at 2 p.m. 6 samples/$12.
• On Sunday, June 21, treat Dad to a “Drink Local” tasting, with samplings of wines from Gahanna’s own Wyandotte Winery. Seatings begin at 12:30 p.m. and run every 45 minutes.

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• NEW Little Kids Zone. Even the smallest festival fans can “get a jump” on the fun with inflatables and more! NEW LOCATION: Parking lot behind Tenza Eye Associates (78 Mill St. Gahanna). (NOTE: this activity may be cancelled in case of inclement weather. Visit the Creekside Blues Facebook page for updates or call 614.418-9114). Tenative hours of operation: Saturday: 12 p.m. to dark Sunday: 12-6 pm Admission: “Jump ‘Til You Drop” Wristbands: $8/each, or 2/$15, 3/$20

To Learn more, visit: www.CreeksideBluesandJazz.com

Gahanna Ohio’s Mykonos Taverna: A Culinary Escape from the Ordinary

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What if (without a passport and some vacation time) you could experience a little piece of Greece right in the heart of Gahanna Ohio?

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That’s what I discovered when I visited Mykonos Taverna with two friends last week. Tucked into a storefront at 1307 Stoneridge Drive (at the southwest corner of Hamilton and Morse Roads), Mykonos delivers all the flavors of its namesake island, a 33 square mile slice of paradise which is part of the Greek Cyclades. Nicknamed The Island of the Winds, Mykonos the island draws many tourists and is known for its club scene—and the food.

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Mykonos Taverna Gahanna offers a delicious array of culinary inspiration straight from the homeland. We started with an appetizer of “Beets & Skordalia,” a garlic, mashed potato dip concoction made with olive oil and more garlic. It is served with warm pita bread. Oh. My. Heaven. (Truthfully, it was tempting to scarf down the entire plate.)

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I ordered the Greek Salad with grilled chicken, served with homemade dressing (thinking I’d save room for some luscious dessert from the on-site bakery). Delicious. One of my friends ordered the Lamb Kebob Pita—marinated lamb strips grilled with banana peppers, onions and red + green pepper mix, then topped with the house dressing. My other friend selected a pizza, topped with Greek Olives and other amazing flavors. Our waiter (one of the owners?) entertained us with his humor and fun cultural facts (“Did you know the Greeks invented pizza?!”) which left me flashing back to scenes from My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”

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The décor is both charming and a tad kitschy, but oh-so-fun. All that was missing was a (real) view of the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

The dinner menu is even more expansive than the lunch menu and (as if the amazing food and fun setting weren’t enough), Mykonos Taverna features live Greek music and a belly dancing show every Friday and Saturday. (Yes. You read that correctly.)

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There was just one thing that I’m still trying to reconcile about my visit to Mykonos: the Chocolate Raspberry Baklava. Those three little words have haunted me over the past week because, for some reason that seems completely and totally irrational now, I passed on that luscious dessert at the end of my visit. (What was I THINKING??!!!) Needless to say, I’ll be going back soon.

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Next time you’re longing for something different, make your way to Gahanna’s Mykonos Taverna for a culinary adventure that will leave your taste buds singing and your belly dancing. (Seriously.)

Mykonos Taverna. 614-472-0211. 1307 Stoneridge Drive Gahanna, OH 43230.
http://greekrestaurantgahanna.com/
Mon-Thurs: 11 am – 9 pm/ Fri-Sat: 11 am – 10 pm/ Closed Sundays

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~Post by Mary Szymkowiak, Communications Manager,  Gahanna Convention and Visitors Bureau. To learn more about Gahanna’s many great restaurants, pubs, shopping and attractions, check out VisitGahanna.com

Just Desserts (and other Gahanna Sweet Treats)

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If I was going to be stranded on a dessert island and could only take one kind of food with me, I’m pretty sure it would be chocolate. Or maybe sugar. Fortunately, Gahanna Ohio has earned a (well deserved) reputation for being an ideal place for Sweet Treats. (And chocolate.)

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One of the city’s most popular (and cutest) spots to get your sugar fix is Koko Tea Salon & Bakery. Owner Ava Misseldine is the owner and creative force behind Koko. Her amazing Red Velvet cupcakes have captured discerning fans since they appeared on the Food Network’s, “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” Not a Red Velvet fan? No worries. Koko offers an ever-changing selection of cupcake flavors on any given day. If cupcakes aren’t your thing, sample the Macaron, based on a Parisian recipe. Add a cup of freshly brewed tea (pick from a variety of blends) and some good company and you’ll have the makings of a great day.

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The Chocolate Tree, located in Gahanna’s Creekside Plaza, offers a cocoa-laden nirvana for chocolate lovers. Whether you prefer milk or dark chocolate, you’ll find options ranging from crème de menthe candies, poured chocolates , snow caps, peppermint barks, cupcakes, several varieties of fudge and many other non-chocolate candies and treats. Do you prefer to start your day with a little liquid caffeine and something sweet? Stop at Three Creeks Coffee for some gourmet blends and pastries; it’s owned by The Chocolate Tree folks and located just north of the sweet shop.

What makes a really GOOD chocolate? Stop in Sher-Bliss Wine and Chocolate and chat with the owners. The family owned business carries 500 small production wine labels and handmade fine Belgian Chocolates. Another locally owned favorite is Anthony-Thomas Candy Company. The Gahanna store offers an assortment of treats including Buckeye Chocolate Candies. You can even tour the Anthony-Thomas factory to see chocolates being made! (Not located in Gahanna—but worth the drive.)

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Other not-to-be-missed dessert treats that can be found in and around Gahanna include: Wyandotte Winery’s Wine Cakes (Chocolate Port, Venetian Wine Cake and Blackberry!), Cap City Diner’s famous “Seriously Big Chocolate Cake” (which has been called one of Columbus’s Most Decadent Desserts), Ciao Vino Italian Kitchen’s Apple Tart (served warm, à la mode and with a side of Oh. My. Goodness) and Lola and Giuseppe’s Trattoria homemade Bread Pudding and/or Carrot Cake.

What’s YOUR favorite Gahanna sweet treat?!

~Post by Mary Szymkowiak, Gahanna (OH) Convention & Visitors Bureau Communications & Sales Manager

All They Want for Christmas: Pancakes, Origami, Face Painting and A Giant Gingerbread Man

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Does this look like your Seasonal Check List? …

  • Decorations up? Check.
  • Shopping (nearly finished)? Check.
  • Spend quality time with the kids?   …

This Saturday morning (Dec. 14), Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau hosts its popular Holiday Character Breakfast (presented by Giant Eagle)… the PERFECT opportunity to squeeze a little family fun time (and memory making) into the holiday madness. In addition to practicing your pancake-catching skills with Chris Cakes, families will enjoy activities including …

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~ Ornament crafts with representatives of the Ohio Paper Origami Association
~Bookmark crafts with friends from Kya’s Krusade
~An American Girl® holiday activity
~Face painting (offered by the Gahanna Lincoln High School cheerleaders)
~ Story time with our friends from the Gahanna Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, who will read from Laura Numeroff’s popular book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
~ A skit featuring giant (and hug-worthy) fuzzy characters including Mr. Snowman, Mr. Gingerbread Man, Mrs. Penguin and Mr. Bear

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Now in its seventh year, the Holiday Character Breakfast is a beloved event that attracts families from across Central Ohio (and grandparents from even further away)! The 2013 event will be presented from 8 am-12:45 pm at the Olde Gahanna Sanctuary (82 N. High St.). Tickets are $7/ticket in advance or $10 at the door, if seats are still available.  Note: There is LIMITED SEATING available for each session and three of the sessions are already SOLD OUT.  Tickets are still available for the 8 am, 11:20 am and 12 noon sessions. Order online HERE or call 614/418-9114 to order by phone BEFORE 3 pm Friday, Dec. 13. (After that, available tickets will be sold at the door.)

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While you’re in Gahanna, be sure to stop and share your Christmas Wish List with Santa. He’ll be at the Ohio Herb Center (110 Mill St.) between 9 am-1 pm on Saturdays, Dec. 14 and 21 AND at the offices of Lew Griffin Insurance Group (77 Mill St.) from 6-8 pm Fridays, Dec. 13 and 20; as well as from 4-7 pm on Saturdays, Dec. 14 and 21.