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5 things you ought to know about this year’s Strawberry Queen 

Brooke Klopfenstein has been eyeing the strawberry crown since she was 5 or 6 years old. 

This year, the 18-year-old Troy High School grad’s goal became a reality. 

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The daughter of Steve and Tawnee Klopfenstein, Brooke is the 2018 Troy Strawberry Festival Queen.

>> 4 reasons to visit Troy 

She’ll be the one in the sash and crown at the Troy Strawberry Festival from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 2 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, June 3, in Troy downtown and Great Miami River levee.

“I think it is a great opportunity to be that type of role model for young girls in our community and even girls my age,” she told this news organization. 

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Here are a few things to know about Klopfenstein: 

1 🍓 Oh say she can sing 

She will sing the National Anthem during the festival, which is themed Strawberry Palooza. There will be a bigger emphasis on music at this year’s festival. 

2 🍓 She can tear it up on the ukulele

Brooke sang and played the ukulele during the Strawberry Queen’s Pageant in April at Troy High School. 

Unfortunately, she said it would be pretty tough to perform “The Star Spangled Banner” on the instrument. 

>> Little Caesars abruptly shuts down one of its Dayton-area restaurants after 6 years

3🍓 She’s going to be a Bobcat

Brooke hasn’t settled on a major, but plans to attend Ohio University in Athens. 

4🍓 She’s an athlete

Brooke was a member of Troy’s track, cross country and swim teams. 

5 🍓She is excited about this weekend’s festival. 

“I just wanted to be that ‘part’ of the community,” she said.  (I just) want to see everyone and get to see all the visitors.”

>> PHOTOS: Troy Strawberry Festival 2017

🍰 WANT TO GO? 🍰 

What: Troy Strawberry Festival 

When: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 2; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, June 3 

Where: Troy downtown and Great Miami River levee

Admission: Free. 

Online: WebsiteFacebook | Twitter

Soar high and toast with royalty at picturesque wine and beer festival this weekend

You’ll have no reason to “whine” if you miss this year’s Valley Vineyards Wine and Beer Festival. 

Valley Vineyards in Morrow is celebrating its 48th anniversary with two packed days of entertainment, cellar tours, hot air balloon rides for $10 per person and of course, the vino will be flowing.

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To hold you over between festivities, there will be plenty of food from local establishments and producers from all over Warren County, according to Valley Vineyards’ website.

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This is the perfect opportunity to see first-hand, how some of the best wine and beer in the Dayton-area is crafted, followed by an official toast given by Royalty from the Ohio Renaissance Festival on Saturday. Tastings will be available by the bottle or glass all day Friday and Saturday. 

LIVE music will be performed Friday evening by the Marsha Brady Band, and on Saturday by David MullikenTemplin Rd. and DV8

WANT TO GO?

WHAT: Valley Vineyards 2018 Wine & Beer Festival

WHEN: 5 p.m.- 11 p.m. Friday, June 1 & 11 a.m.- 11 p.m. Saturday, June 2

WHERE: Valley Vineyards, 2276 E. US Highway 22, Morrow

MORE INFO: Facebookvalleyvineyards.com

The popular Lights Festival is returning to set the summer mood at the Ohio Renaissance grounds

Whenever The Lights Fest has come to town, thousands of people have flooded in to take part in the surreal event. 

On Saturday, June 2nd, The Lights Fest is returning to the Dayton-area at the Ohio Renaissance Festival grounds in Waynesville, just a 40-minute drive from Dayton. 

>>Your guide to Dayton-area food truck events in May

The Lights Fest is a company that tours worldwide, creating enchanting memories for people across the country and around the globe. Family and friends gather to listen to LIVE music, fill-up on lots of food from the festival’s vendors and then release their lantern to join the hundreds of others floating into the night sky. 

>>10 amazing festivals we just cannot wait for

The mood at the festival is magical, as each person in attendance has their own meaningful reason for participating. According to Light Fest’s website, “It creates a surreal ambiance, where time slows down as your single flame rises with thousands of others.”

>>PHOTOS: Troy Strawberry Festival 2017

Environmental impact is a sensible concern, considering hundreds of lanterns are regularly released at a single event. That’s why The Lights Fest has a clean-up crew ready and waiting in the designated landing zone. All lanterns are also biodegradable, according to Light Fest’s website.

Want to go? 

WHAT: The Lights Fest 

WHEN: 5 p.m.- 8 p.m. Saturday, June 2

WHERE: Ohio Renaissance Festival grounds, 10542 E State Route 73, Waynesville, Ohio 

COST: $55 Your ticket includes a packet to be picked up at the event. The packet contains a lantern, marker. Any child under three years old is free to the event. Children ages 4 - 12 need to purchase our kids ticket. Lanterns are not included with a child's ticket. 13 years and older will be charged an adult ticket.

INFO & TICKETS: Facebookthelightsfest.com

The 4 best parts of the 40th annual Taste of Cincinnati — and some have nothing to do with the food

As the Taste of Cincinnati enters its 40th year, organizers work per usual to keep the event new while also retaining those popular elements that keep hungry Cincinnatians returning.

See below for what’s new at the Taste along with reassurances that your favorite parts aren’t going anywhere.

1. Music Bash

Apparently, 45 live musical acts on five stages is not enough. To ensure Taste-goers have more live music than they know what to do with, organizers are inaugurating a special, separate “Music Bash.” The lineup is The B-52s (“Love Shack”), Rick Springfield (“Jesse’s Girl”), and Loverboy (“Working for the Weekend,” “Lovin’ Every Minute of It.”) The Bash will take place on May 27 at 5 p.m. at the Sentinel Street entrance onto 5th St. Tickets are $29.99.

»»RELATED: Your next weekend trip: 20 things to do, see, eat in Cincinnati

2. New to the Taste

While food vendors at the Taste can fluctuate wildly from year to year, organizers say it’s slowed down a bit for 2018, allowing for a bit of continuity. That being said, there will be seven brand-new vendors offering their delicacies at the Taste this year. They are: Bridges (Nepalese), Dewey’s Pizza (craft pizzas, calzones, and salads), Quite Frankly (homemade beef franks and specialty sandwiches), Rovey’s Turkey (turkey burgers, sandwiches, dogs, and tacos), S.E.A. Cuisine Food Truck (Southeast Asian tacos, steak, sandwiches, rice, and salads), Sis’s on Monmouth (American comfort food), and Slice, Slice Baby (pizzas, calzones, and Italian subs).

RELATED: Your 2018 Dayton Bucket List: 50 ideas for fun

3. Best of Taste

About a month before the Taste, mystery judges visited the upcoming vendors and handed out awards for best dishes in various categories. Alfio’s Buon Cibo, an Italian eatery, did particularly well, winning first place both for Best Restaurant Dessert (chocolate raspberry tiramisu), and Best Restaurant Entrée (veal short rib ravioli). Other first-place winners include Island Frydays for their jerk chicken pasta (Best Appetizer), Tickle Pickle for their mac and cheese with crushed BBQ grippos (Best Soup-Salad Side), and the Silver Ladle for their Silver Ladle Salad (Restaurant Best GoVibrant!). GoVibrant! items are those who meet the American Heart Association’s standards for low fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

Food trucks also got into the Best of Taste action. Adena’s Beefstroll cleaned up with their Ma’s meatball sub (Food Truck Best Entrée) and The Stroll (Best Food Truck Appetizer). Other winners include Packhouse for their jalapeno mac and cheese (Best Food Truck Soup-Salad Side), streetpops for their pineapple passionfruit streetpop (Best Food Truck GoVibrant!), and SugarSnap! for their “Make It A Sundae” Brownie (Best Food Truck Dessert).

RELATED: Everything you need to know about Country Concert ‘18

4. Other Highlights

As if there wasn’t enough food, courtesy of Findlay Market, there will actually be a “Taste within the Taste.” Over 20 vendors – some from Findlay Market, others “foodpreneurs” from Findlay Kitchen, will provide the Taste of Findlay Market, a diverse grouping of “bites” that will be available all weekend.

Students from the Art of the Piano Festival, otherwise known as the classical “rock stars” of today and tomorrow, will perform on the main stage on May 26 at noon.

The Cincinnati Pops Poptet, the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra’s rhythm ensemble, will perform a series of standards and showtunes on the main stage on May 27 from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Last but certainly not least, local media celebrities will compete in the annual soapbox GoVibrant! Veggie Races on May 25 from noon-1 p.m.

WANT TO GO?

What: Taste of Cincinnati

When: May 26-28

Where: Fifth St., downtown Cincinnati

Cost: No admission cost

More Info: www.tasteofcincinnati.com

COSI announces plans for EPIC new science festival

Now this is going to be big. 

COSI announced today plans for one of the “largest science events in Ohio history.”The COSI Science Festival is set for May 1-4 2019.

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The four-day festival will showcase science around central Ohio and will conclude with a hands-on, day-long carnival-style celebration on the Scioto Peninsula outside COSI, according to a news release.

 “The COSI Science Festival will showcase how exciting, interesting, fun and accessible science is to all of us and how relevant it is to our daily lives. In addition, it will shine a light on the fantastic science, technology, and industry innovation in our great central Ohio region,” COSI President and CEO Frederic Bertley said in the release.

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 Battelle, a Columbus based technology company, has  pledged $850,000 over three years to the project. 

 Additional funds are being sought. 

 “This celebration will foster appreciation for innovation and technology in our community, share our enthusiasm for what our employees do every day and spark interest in the next generation of budding scientists, researchers and engineers,”  Battelle President and CEO Lou Von Thaer said. 

According to a Columbus Dispatch article, COSI’s festival will be structured like the Philadelphia Science Festival created by Bertley and others. 

The newspaper reports that it will include about 150 community partners and 60 events, many of which will be free. 

The events will be held in Columbus and surrounding communities.

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Festival to give away BIG prizes when it sells its 1 millionth famous chicken dinner

Winner winner, chicken — winner!

It’s almost time for one of Ohio’s oldest and most beloved festivals. The Versailles Poultry Days Festival — almost a “local holiday” in West Central Ohio since its beginnings in 1952 — will take place June 8-10. This year, the poultry party reaches a monumental milestone. 

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Festival organizers expect to sell about 25,000 of its world famous barbecue chicken dinners at the festival this year. Most years, these dinners sell out. In fact, they expect to hit the 1 million mark this year. The buyer of the 1,000,000 ticket will be glad they came. 

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“The purchaser of this very special dinner will receive gifts including a voucher toward a trip to Las Vegas sponsored by Zechar Bailey and a one-year supply of delicious Mike-Sells potato chips,” according to the event’s Facebook page. “The purchaser of the One Millionth Dinner will be determined by the Poultry Days Chairmen during the festival weekend.”

The festival theme this year is appropriately “Poultry Going Platinum.”

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Dinners will be sold from 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m Friday, 11:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Event coordinators recommend coming early since “chicken can sell out earlier than expected.” 

Other top events include the 37th Ultimate Frisbee Tournament, an antique car parade, music, food, beer, rides and more.

WANT TO GO?

WHAT: Versailles Poultry Days

WHEN: Friday- Sunday, June 8th, 9th, and 10th

WHERE: 459 S. Center St., Versailles 

INFO: versaillespoultrydays.com

Local men are ‘working it’ — and talking a whole lot of trash

A group of Dayton men are “working it” for a local nonprofit that serves those seeking work.

Clothes That Work’s fourth annual Men At Work competition has 24 Dayton area men from a range of fields competing to be crowned the organization’s ambassador of the year.

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The men are far from cookie cutter and range from salon owners to attorneys. 

“We try to pick people from different walks of life,” Bill Perry, Clothes that Work’s marketing and communications manager, said. “This is what success looks like. It looks like 24 different guys.”

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Voting for the month-long competition wraps up at 11:59 p.m. May 18.

Each vote is $5 on the Clothes That Work website. 

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There are three stages with awards for each:  “First Impressions,” “Workplace Image” and “Casually Cool.”

Photos are being posted on the Clothes That Work website of the men expressing each category. 

“Each week we tell people to tell you a little bit more about themselves,” Perry said.  

Perry said the contestants have gotten it to it. 

“These guys are talking smack against each other,” he said. “It is so much fun to work with them.” 

Last year’s campaign raised $27,000 through voting and sponsorship. 

Clothes That Work hopes to raise even more this year, Perry said.

“At $5 a vote, we have some pretty generous people coming through our website,” he added. 

>> Your 2018 Dayton Bucket List: 50 ideas for fun

Clothes That Work provides training as well as interview- and work-appropriate clothing to about 1,300 people annually. 

While many think of it as an agency that services mostly women, Perry said the opposite is actually the case.

“We serve more men than women,” he said. 

Men At Work competitors are Charles Baerman; Shawn Bauman; Ben Bergman; Kevin Cornell; Ken DeMange; Aliou Diouf; Justin Howard; Jacob Hynes; Brent Johnson; AJ Kessler; Rob Krause; Tom Maher; Sean Mitchell; John North; Stephen Offord; Peter Qumsiyeh; Josh Schierloh; Shelby Shackelford; Bill Slowden; Chris Southern; Josh Stuckey; Jonathan Thompson; Bill Twiss and Rodney Veal. 

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Festival season officially kicks off this weekend with SWEET treats at the Sugar Maple Fest

Get ready for it! Festival season is officially upon us.

>> 10 festivals we CANNOT WAIT FOR!!!

>> PHOTOS: 2017 Sugar Maple Festival in Bellbrook

It all starts with Bellbrook’s Sugar Maple Festival, which runs Friday through Sunday, April 27-29. 

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This year’s Sugar Maple Festival marks the 40th anniversary. Here are a few things to know before you go:

PARKING PRO TIPTake the free shuttle to the festival from Bellcreek Intermediate School, 3777 Upper Bellbrook Road. Parking will be virtually non-existent downtown. 

>> Your guide to Dayton-area food truck rallies this season

FOOD & STUFF

Grub vendors and 75 craft peddlers will line Franklin Street. Everything from candles to fabric crafts to window art will be up for grabs.

>> GUIDE: Food truck events in and around Dayton this season

Warped Wing, Yellow Springs Brewery and Angry Orchard brews and booze will be for sale in the beer tent near the live music. Friday night’s kickoff event will include music from Full Frontal. On Saturday, Spungewurthy takes the stage.

As for the food, you can expect local food trucks and tent setups offering an array of flavors and foods.

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PANCAKES!!!

The annual pancake breakfast is set for 8-11 a.m. Saturday at Bellbrook United Methodist Church, 47 E. Franklin St. Admission is $7 for adults and $4 for children older than 2. Family admission is $15.

THE PARADES

The Sugar Maple Festival Parade starts at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. The Mini Sweetheart Parade is at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Bellbrook Park. 

OTHER COOL STUFF

Kids, teens and adults will be able to submit entries for a recycled sculpture contest. All entries will be displayed during the festival weekend. First, second and third place winners will receive a cash prize; all others receive a participation ribbon. For guidelines and entry details, visit the event Facebook page. Commemorative tees will also be available at the information booth and beer garden for $15. 

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There will also be “Real Housewives of Bellbrook” themed steins, which grants a free beer. But only 25 will be available for sale Friday. These steins are available for presale and can be ordered through SMFPreOrders@gmail.com. 

Another stein option will be available in limited quantities at the festival — also offering free beer with its purchase. No pre-sale options are available for the second stein.  

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Dogs will get their chance to strut their stuff at the festival’s annual dog show Friday at 6:30 p.m. This show is not about breed or agility. Awards will be given out for for important things, like cutest puppy, cutest dog, ugliest, smallest, largest, best costume and silly dog tricks 

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Want to go?

WHAT: Bellbrook Sugar Maple Festival

WHEN: April 27 to 29

WHERE: Downtown Bellbrook, Ohio (1 W. Franklin St.)

COST: Entrance to festival is free; pancake breakfast is $7 for adults, $4 for children older than 2, $15 for family admission.

INFO: sugarmaplefestival.com

Beer, brats, food trucks and a few more reasons to go to Oktoberfest

For the 46th time, the Dayton Art Institute will be throwing its annual Oktoberfest fundraising party, adding the unusual component of arts and crafts to the usual German food, music, and beer. 

>> What you need to know about Oktoberfest 2017 at DAI

In addition to the over 60 visiting artisans displaying and selling their wares, the museum’s permanent collection, including their current special exhibition, “Alphonse Mucha: Master of Art Nouveau,” will be open to patrons.

>> PHOTOS: Dayton Art Institute's Oktoberfest 2016

“The vibe changes from day to night,” said Amy Askins, DAI Oktoberfest Co-Chair. “During the day, it’s more chill. People are more interested in perusing the artisans. At night, it’s packed. It’s a party.”

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A few notable facts about DAI Oktoberfest 2017:

LEDERHOSEN LUNCH AND PREVIEW PARTY (LEDERHOSEN OPTIONAL)

Many people like to start their weekend early, so the DAI Oktoberfest is offering heavily discounted lunch and libations Friday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Brats, metts, tenderloins will be $5, and potato salad and the homemade noodles are $3 (or you combo it with a dessert for $10).

The beer and wine is $5. The beer list includes Miller Lite, Terrapin High 5 IPA, Blue Moon, Crispin Original Apple Cider, Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest and Harvest Shandy, and Warsteiner’s Dunkel, Oktoberfest, Koenig Ludwig Hefeweiss, and Pilsner beers. Wines are Michelle Sparkling Brut, Dr. L Riesling, Rodney Strong Chardonnay, Save Me San Francisco Cabernet Sauvignon, and Deloach Pinot Noir.

The preview party will also feature these beverages, accompanied by live music from This Side Up, a Dayton-based rock cover band. Askins said that while lederhosen is certainly welcome, it is not mandatory, or even expected.

“We encourage people who work downtown to come out,” she said. “So they’ll be in their ordinary work attire. But a few people will be wearing (lederhosen) for sure.”

>> When the community came together to open the Dayton Art Institute

THE MAIN EVENT

For the main two-day party, there will be a full live music lineup and art-related activities for children. Most importantly, the one beer truck open for the lederhosen lunch and preview party will be joined by five others, bearing breweries such as Fat Head, Mad Tree, Dogfish, Great Lakes, and popular individual varieties such as New Belgium Fat Tire, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, and Stone Arrogant Bastard. On the wine side, an additional Riesling, Chardonnay, and two Cabernet Sauvignons will be added, as well as a Pinot Grigio and a Dark Red.

According to DAI organizers, the food options remain fairly consistent from year to year, with popular favorites such as Zombie Dogz and the Associate Board Alumni (the museum’s own) Brats & Metts. The few notable newbies this year are Kona Ice, Nida Thai, and the Drunken Waffle, which features such delicacies as the Reservoir Dog (a waffled corn dog), the Boba Feta Burger (quarter pounder topped with feta cheese and pesto between a waffle), and the Bocheesian Rhapsody (grilled cheddar and Jack cheese between a waffle). 

>> PHOTOS: Dayton Art Institute Art Ball 2017

ART AT OKTOBERFEST

Every year, the DAI offers an “official mug of Oktoberfest.” According to Chris Schairbaum, DAI Oktobefest Co-Chair, they typically sell over 1,000 of these each year. This year, Bubba Jones Cups, an Ohio potter who specializes in handmade ceramic items for craft breweries and enthusiasts, is designing the mug. There will be 16-ounce and 32-ounce mugs available, along with a few ceramic growlers. A mug purchase comes with a free beer ticket.

According to Askins, they had a larger-than-usual group of artisans applying to participate this year, including Renata Kelly, a wearable art artisan who makes, among other things, a shawl one can wear eight different ways.

“Every year, I go home with a new pair of earrings or a bracelet,” said Askins. “We have a handful of people who work in metal and glass, everything from large sculptures you can hang outside to centerpieces for large rooms to items that can fit in your hand. We have committee heads for all of these areas, and they really went above and beyond as far as recruitment.” 

WANT TO GO?

What: The Dayton Art Institute Oktoberfest

When: Sept. 22-24, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 7-11 p.m. Friday, noon-11:30 p.m. Saturday, and noon-7 p.m. Sunday

Where: Dayton Art Institute, 456 Belmonte Park N, Dayton

Cost: $3-$7 (general), $55-$95 (preview party), free for children 6 and younger

More Info: 937-223-4ART or www.daytonartinstitute.org/oktoberfest

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