Do you like spicey foods, hot dancing ala cha cha cha, great latin rythyms. Well if you answered yes, and you happen to be in Columbus is Mid-June. Then come on down to the riverfront area of downtown for the annual Festival Latino. A huge variety of mexican dishes, reasonable price (for a festival) and a general good time if you like Latin music and atmosphere. This is pretty well attended, but not so much as the Columbus Arts Fest.
Tipping in general
As a student I have had many jobs around Columbus.... One of them is as a server, serving can be a very demanding and stressful job, so leaving the right about of cash for you server is essential. Remember that servers make $3.34 and hour... they count on their tips to pay bills.
In a restaurant you should tip about 20%:
20% is AVERAGE, it doesn't mean that if you have had excellent service you shouldn't tip more, or a horrible experience you shouldn't tip less.
Parties larger that 8, gratuity is usually added at 18%, but not always.... check your bill.
If you have kids that make a huge mess (you know it happens even with the most well behaved kids) you need to tip more. Kids usually eat very cheaply so 20% of 6$ isn't very much. Remember that the server have to clean up that saltine crackers and cheese.
But what about the busboy you say? Sometimes restaurants do have busboys to clean that foody mess, usually servers then have a mandatory tip out for the busboy, (this can go for food runners and bartenders too.)
In a non-sitdown restaurant/carryout orders too: if paying in cash put the change in the cup. If they do something special for your meal, stick in a dollar or two. People that work at these places are getting paid more that regular servers, usually double.
Coffee shops are similar. Like many students, I tend to camp out at coffee shops, so every time I get a cup of Joe I don't necessarily always tip. Two methods I use are every time I go up I put the change in the cup, or a give them a good tip in the beginning, and not worry about it for later cups.
Bars can have the mentality of Coffee shops, but you have to tip them a lot more. Bartenders again make 3.43$ where coffee brewmasters...double. Even if it is 1$ drink night, that doesn't mean you can tip less.
Pizza delivery: never ever give less that a dollar! I would say that 15% is pretty good here, but I just tend to give 2-4$ depending upon the vastness of the order.
Hope this helps!
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Every 4th of July, if you are in Columbus, and if you want to laugh out loud and be very entertained, check out the annual Doodah Parade at Goodale Park. This is a crazy parade where the participants are basically making political and cultural statements by the way they dress and how outrageous their dress and cars are decorated. This is pretty liberal biased, but they are the most fun with these things anyway. If you are a republican, you might go blind watching this. Fair warning.
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Tuesday night concerts at Grandview Library
What a wonderful way to spend a Tuesday summer night, listening to music on the lawn of the Grandview Library. Some of the top artists in town play to more of a family crowd spread out in blankets on the lawn. The music starts at 7:30 pm to 8:30pm. So if you are here during the summer, come hang with the locals at the Grandview library. What is great about this location is that it is located right off of Grandview Ave which has many pubs and restaurants.
Buckeyes are all about luck
There are many local customs about the Buckeyes (People from Ohio are often referred to as Buckeyes, because Ohio is the Buckeye State).
What is a Buckeye? Well it is an inedible nut, that resembles an eye of a Buck (male deer). Kind of self explanatory. What are they good for if you can't eat them?, being lucky.
For instance all incoming freshmen as The Ohio State University receive a buckeye upon orientation. Keeping a buckeye in your pocket is to bring you good luck.
Columbus is all about University football. Ohio State U's big rival is University of Mi... ...the University of Mich...Michigha....n... Michigan.... It is very common to no say their name (unless you are singing "We don't give a da** about the whole state of Michigan") and refer to them as "The State Up North" Saying the name of the "State Up North" is considered bad luck around game time.
Buckeyes will also flock to Mirror lake (a small man made lake on the Ohio State campus) the Thursday before the big game (Mich vs Ohio), and jump in. Now this may not seem like such a big deal, but if you know anything about Ohio and it's unpredictable weather..... This day is usually pretty flipping cold. Also the lake is pretty grungy, even grungier after the fact. Days later flipflops, cellphones and other miscellaneous things appear in and around the lake. (I've done it once, I had to through away my shoes, and it was a pretty chilly adventure back to my apartment). You don't have to actually jump in if you want to see it, but I don't recommend standing close to the edge if you don't want to get wet!
The rivalry of OSU & Mich is all in fun, but I still wouldn't recommend wearing blue and maize on game day if you don't want to draw some negative attention.
Need some luck before a big test? Inside the Main library on OSU campus there is a bust of a man (I believe Rev. Oxley Thompson) is is customary to rub his nose (which is why it is a different color than the rest of him) for good luck on exams.
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First Wendys Restaurant
By the time Dave Thomas was 35 years old, he was a millionaire due to his work with Kentucky Friend Chicken. So, in 1969, Dave Thomas opened his very first Wendy's Old-Fashioned Hamburger Restaurant in, of all places, Columbus, Ohio!
Yes, there are other restaurants that got their start in Ohio such as Burger Boy, Biscuits, Bob Evans, RAX, and Sisters Chicken; however, Wendy's is the most famous with restaurants around the world.
Thomas called his business after his daughter Melinda "Wendy" Thomas..Wendy was a nickname given to her by her siblings. In less than one year, he opened another Wendy's in Columbus, and in 1971 they added the first "modern-day, drive-thru window" Modern is the key; although it was not the first drive-thru, but the first modern one.
The first Wendy's franchisee was in Indianapolis in 1972, but by 1976, there were 500 restaurants" Wendy's also claim as a milestone, "The Salad Bar for a national chain".
Today there are Wendy's in 34 countries, 5,000 restaurants in the US! Dave died in 2002, but he won't be forgotten in Columbus, Ohio, Home of the First Wendy's Restaurant.
At this first one, the walls are covered with displays, artifacts, and photographs.
Here, the original hamburger test griddle is mounted on the wall in the form of a plaque.
My favorite is the display about the "Where's the Beef?" advertisement..
Danny Thomas donated his Frosty cup and spoon that he used at the grand opening and that he saved for 25 years...it's under a glass dome..
Just walking around the town brought us luckily to a place and fact that I knew nothing about before this chance encounter!
World's First Wendy's
257 East Broad Street
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While out and about on Saturday in early May, 2006, we saw quite a commotion in the form of a gathering of people, the setting up of chairs, completion of a portable platform, musical instruments, microphones, and large cameras. As we looked closer, we realized that this was a union ralley, having to do with encouraging a vote for whether or not to fund insurance for all people.
There was one woman with a microphone who was leading the group in a typical union song to encourage participation. Of course, the radio and TV coverage was setting up to record this event.
It was a great location for such a rally because of the number of tourists who come to the Statehouse for tours on Saturday mornings. (Jill and I were going there ourselves).
It seems as though each trip that Jill and I take, we run into some kind of strike or rally. It's the way of the United States, the way of the world.
It makes for interesting conversation and a break in the "fantasy" that sometimes exists as we travel...for this is the reality of living.
- Historical Travel
People are very slow paced in Central Ohio
Columbus has nearly two million people in the central ohio area. The people in Columbus are extremely friendly for the most part, in fact its very common for the "pardon me" and "pleases" ta get annoying after a few days.
Despite the last paragraph, Columbus is a very slow paced city where people walk slow and it takes a half hour(an exaggeration, but usually at least 5 minutes) ta get a chesseburger from a fast food resturant
Columbus has the largest somali population outside of Minneapolis (around 50,000 somali populate mainly the whitehall-baldwin and northern sections of the city)
Columbus also has a large arab population that lives mainly in the Olentangy-Clintonville section
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For various reasons, Columbus...
For various reasons, Columbus has long had an insecurity complex about being a 'second class city' or 'a cow town.' Some of these reasons are legitimate: For instance, ask a East or West coast (USA) resident to name a city in Ohio, and one is most likely hear 'Cleveland'- Columbus, despite being the Capital of the state and despite its larger population, is not on most folks radar screens. (I was once in Campinas, Sao Paolo Brazil and was amused to read in the local paper a blurb about a sinkhole that had opened up in downtown Columbus in which this metropolis of 1.5 million was described as 'a village.) Some are not so legitimate: For decades, many residents have bemoaned the lack a major league professional Basketball, Football or Baseball teams in central Ohio. This complaint overlooks the fact that Columbus is home to the much beloved Ohio State Buckeyes, who intermittently excel at their various sports and draw tens of thousands of partying fans to the vast OSU campus during game seasons.
To ameliorate this self-loathing, the city fathers have, over the years floated various 'high concept' projects designed to put Columbus on the map and give the population a sense of pride. With few exceptions, these ideas have been pretty lame. For instance, for a time in the Early 80's, Columbus- being the largest city named after that noted Italian-Portuguese explorer who, in 1492, bumped into an island over 1500 miles from Ohio - was on the shortlist of possible sites for the Olympic games of 1992- the 500th anniversary of the celebrated voyage. City fathers, however, balked at the billion-dollar price tag and pulled Columbus from consideration. In its place, as a sort of consolation prize, it was decided that we would host 'AmeriFlora', a national flower show. It was expected that this would draw visitors 'from all over the world' and pump money into the local economy. With the exception of piquing the interest of a few european flower afficionados (mainly Dutch and German) for the most part it failed to do this. For Americans, AmeraFlora was overpriced and a bit skimpy on attractions, so it tanked. Few American out-of-towners found its 10 acres or so of attractions- able to be given a pretty comprehensive look in a single leisurely afternoon- compelling enough. The city lost millions propping up the event.
In an effort to calm the desire for major league notoriety, we've been handed various sports franchises that, while interesting, do not inspire the waves of slavish devotion and pride that an American Football, Basketball or Baseball team would. Instead of a NBA team, we were handed a WBA team. Instead of an NFL franchise, we were given 'The Crew-' a well-regarded major-league soccer team and, at the time of this writing, the only stadium in the US dedicated solely to Soccer. (Sadly, 'The Crew' still only draws about 15,000 per game.)
As of 1999, Columbus is home to a NHL franchise: 'The Blue Jackets.' The story of how 'The Blue Jackets' came to Columbus is too long to recount here, but here is one anecdote that will give a hint as to the long comedy of errors that finally resulted in this major league team, and its shiny new stadium, winding up in our city. When it was finally announced, to much great cheer, that Columbus had landed an NHL franchise, a campaign was started to get folks vote for ideas for the name of the team-to-be. Various innocuous ideas were presented- most having something to do with either hockey, winter, aggressiveness, or Columbus history. People in Columbus are not without a sense of humor- sometimes self-deprecatingly referring to our hometown as 'COWlumbus'. From early on, the clear favorite was a suggested floated by one of the popular weekly entertainment papers: 'The Mad Cows'. This was intended to be a cute jab at the reason why Columbus landed the NHL team in the first place. T-shirts were printed with angry snorting cows menacingly bearing hockey sticks. People began showing up our minor league hokey team's (now defunct) matches bearing cow bells, and sporting spiffy udders. However, city big wigs, were not too fond of this self-mockery. When the time came to finally unveil the new team name we were faced with… uh… a grimacing, yellow, wasp-like… thing: the 'Blue Jacket' bug. 'What the hell is it?' people asked. 'It's a bug with an attitude!' Lame.
Other silly ideas have come and gone. One strangely touted example from the false-cache era of 'le bag' and 'le car', is 'Brushstrokes in Flight'- a 30 foot high semi-abstract sculpture by pop artist (Known for 'BANG!,' 'Grrrr,' and 'Oh, Brad…') and OSU alum Roy Lichtenstein. Unveiled to much local-TV fanfare, ot was intended to give Columbus a kind of classy-hip zing. But most people didn't get it (not that there was much to get). Worse yet, no one could figure out what to do with it. So it gradually moved from place to less noted place, to where it forlornly sits today, in the middle of long term parking at the Port Columbus, International Airport. Here's a picture:
Brushstrokes In Flight
We've also been blessed with a scale mockup up Columbus's caravel, the Santa Maria, which is embarrassingly ill-kept.
Despite all this, many folks in Columbus maintain a very realistic picture of their city. Its accepted that a NFL team would require an expensive stadium, and probably wouldn't really do that much for the local economy or pride. Columbusites weather these efforts at salesmanship with humor. I can't wait to see what they come up with next.
Columbus is a very GLBT...
Columbus is a very GLBT friendly town. The current mayor, Michael Colemen, has publicly acknowledged the significant contribution of Gays and Lesbians to the revitalization of German Village, The Short North and the Near East side- all among the most fun sections of town. I can't imagine this sort of thing happening in conservative Cincinnati, or blue-collar Cleveland.
Ohio State Fair
State fairs are a traidition throughout the Midwest. Started originally to celebrate the agricultural products of a state that have grown to highlite all of a states products and culture.
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