Joanna Wilson, the author of The Story of Archie the Talking Snowman, is an expert in Christmas entertainment. She will be leading a free walking tour from 4 to 6 this evening of downtown Akron's Christmas history. Following the event, which is part of the Akron 2 Akron series, Joanna will sign copies of her book. To join the tour, meet at 4 p.m. at Lock 3, which also is the site of an after party benefiting Ronald McDonald House. For more information about Joanna's book, visit her site.
This is a big season for Mr. Fun's Costume & Magic Emporium. Co-owner Marilee Pocock says that Christmas is a close second to Holloween, the store's biggest holiday. Mr. Fun's is open all year round, offering costumes for sale or rent, repairs and all kinds of festive accessories. The store is located at 4130 State Rd. in Cuyahoga Falls. For more information, visit Mr. Fun's website or call 330.923.3339.
Dave Halaby of Heather's Heat & Flavor brought in a sampling of the shop's inventory of gift ideas, including sets of hot sauces, flavorful tea, baking ingredients and holiday rubs, as well as various kitchen accessories. Heather's is located at 91 First St. in Hudson's First & Main shopping district. For more information, visit the website or call 330.653.5131.
This is a season for fun and also for taking precautions to prevent fire and theft. Randy Evans and Terry Shepherd of Koorsen Fire & Security offered tips for staying safe over the holidays that include keeping your smoke detectors up to date and making sure that you lock your doors and keep lights on when you're away from home. In addition to selling equipment such as fire extinguishers, Koorsen also recharges them. For more information, visit the website or call 330.762.3343. Koorsen Fire & Security is located at 577 Miami St. in Akron.
If you want to avoid gaining weight over the holidays, check out these five tips from personal trainer and yoga therapist Kathy Hammonds. Here's what she suggests:
1. Eat no more than three meals a day.
2. Move! Walking and doing yoga are your best bets for burning fat.
3. Hydrate. Most Americans are dehydrated, Kathy notes.
4. Get plenty of sleep.
5. Load your plate with non-starchy vegetables.
Kathy has succinct explanations for why these five tips will work for you. She teaches classes and does personal consultations, including metabolic makeovers. To reach Kathy, visit her website.
When your body burns fat efficiently, you won't have to give up some of the beverages you enjoy, like good beer. Fred Karm, founder and brewmaster of Hoppin' Frog Brewery, takes great pride in crafting the kind of beer he likes to drink. He poured us two of his favorites: Hoppin' Frog's Frosted Frog Christmas Ale, an imperial nut brown ale, and Infusion A, which is a peanut-chocolate-coffee porter.The brewery, at 1680 E. Waterloo Rd., Akron, also has great food made in-house and just started serving lunch. It's open six days a week. For more information: call 330.352.4578 or visit the website.
Mary Jo Alexander, co-founder of Actors' Summit, talked about this year's holiday show, Guys on Ice, which is a comedic musical about ice fishermen who dance an "Ode to a Snowmobile Suit" and sing "Fish is the Miracle Food." The show continues through Dec. 20 at the Actors' Summit stage in Greystone Hall in downtown Akron. For tickets and more information, call 330.374.7568 or visit the website.
Sarah Binder co-owns Ohio Stone Restoration with her partner Ron Lardie, who is an expert in restoring marble and travertine floors to their original beauty. He also restores granite countertops and has an effective way to clean even the worst-looking grout. To reach Ohio Stone Restoration, call 216.644.4176 or visit the website.
Renowned artist Don Drumm created this year's First Night button, 20 years after he created the button for Akron's first-ever First Night. The family-friendly event takes place every Dec. 31, and the colorful button serves as admission to all the venues associated with First Night. For this year's event, Don drew a Phoenix with fuchsia feathers and a long beak. It's pictured on a turquoise background. Don also designed Christmas ornaments to benefit one of his all-time favorite nonprofits, One of a Kind Pets. You can purchase the dog and cat ornaments at the animal shelter, 1929 W. Market St. in Akron. Visit the First Night website to find out where to purchase the $10 buttons; children 10 and under are admitted free with a button-wearing adult. Also, this is the perfect time of year to visit Don Drumm Studios & Gallery, 437 Crouse St., near the University of Akron campus, to buy beautiful and unique holiday and hostess gifts. At any one time, 500 artists and craftspeople from all over North America are represented at the gallery. Call 330.253.6268. or visit the website for more information.
Evelyna Nightengale and her husband Rick Kalister visited the WAKR studio from their home in Parma. Evelyna wears many hats, as long as they're Victorian. She's on the board of the Hower House Victorians, and she gives many programs on Victorian life and customs. She also serves treats that she's made from the Victorian recipe books that she collects. For today's show, she brought ginger crinkels, cranberry pecan tarts and soft pumpkin cookies. She also brought a couple of pink flamingo cookies that she made for the Ghoulardi Fest over Halloween weekend. Evelyna sells her delicious specialty baked goods through her home-based business, The Avocado Tree. You can place orders by calling her at 440.884.2165. Wearing her Hower House hat, she encourages people to come to the Victorian-era home this holiday season for events that include breakfast with Santa and self-guided tours. For more information, call 330.972.6909 or visit the Hower House website. Rick, a retired English teacher, is also a guitarist who performs at Hower House and other locations. He can be reached at the same 440 number as Evelyna.
Tim Squirek, owner of Organic Green Carpet Clean, used to clean carpets with regular products in his former commercial carpet cleaning business until he started to have ill effects from the chemicals he was using. He's been healthy since switching to nontoxic products, which are better for his customers, too. Plus, the essential-oil-based products he uses are as effective as the regular products and no more expensive. You can reach Tim at 216.661.5855 (office), 216.401.4254 (cell) or OrganicGreenCarpet Clean.com.
Mary Luecca has chaired Akron Children's Hospital Volunteers' Holiday Tree Festival for four years, and she's been involved with the event for nine. She loves it because of all the great people she's met, the fact that all proceeds support the hospital's patients, and the sheer delight on the faces of young and old alike as they take in the lavish decorations and the all sights and sounds at the John S. Knight Center, where the annual event takes place. This year, it kicks off with a gala on Friday, Nov. 20, followed by a breakfast with Santa the next day. The nine-day festival opens to the public on Saturday, Nov. 21. It's the only tree festival in the country with free admission, Mary reports proudly. For gala tickets and more information, call 330.543.0325 or visit the festival's website.
Hope Evans is in charge of marketing and promotions for Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary, which works with law enforcement agencies to rescue farm animals and horses, including the 14 malnourished and otherwise neglected horses that were rescued earlier this year in Summit County. The horses from that rescue who could be saved were rehabilitated and eventually adopted by caring owners. The nonprofit, Ravenna-based organization is having its annual fundraiser, Compassionate Thanksgiving, on Nov. 14 at Todaro's Party Center. All proceeds support Happy Trails' work. For tickets and more information, call the office at 330.296.5914 or visit the website.