Tomato plants are imperfect, yielding just as many inedible fruits as the healthy, tasty ones. The organizers of The Tomato Bash devised an alternative employment for the unworthy bounty, transforming the leftover tomatoes into ammunition for a massive ketchup making party. Participants are encouraged to sport silly costumes for the big event, as they are inevitably going to get utterly filthy.
To kick off the festivities, revelers are entertained with a cadre of food trucks, beverage vendors, and DJ playing tunes, including rebellious anthems encouraging the tomatoes to throw themselves. At 3 p.m., the tomato foam machine outside of the tomato arena powers up, pumping the stage area full of bubbly, pink fruit foam. Then the hordes of goggle-clad contestants descend upon a large arena and lose themselves in a sea of red goo.
While on their honeymoon in Napa Valley, Meza owners Tatjana and Jason Brown came up with the idea to turn their shared passion for wine into a full-fledged business endeavor. They began laying down the blueprints for a wine shop in their hometown of Westerville that would specialize in high-quality yet attainable wines from around the globe. Today, their ever-growing inventory features more than 200 different labels, each handpicked and put through a rigorous interview process to ensure paramount taste and value. Atop the shop's shelves, the duo mingles domestic selections from Napa, Sonoma, and Columbia Valley with international bottles from New Zealand, Australia, and Spain. If customers are unable to find a desired bottle, Tatjana and Jason promise to hunt it down. Meza's tidy, modern décor pairs deep-purple walls with neatly lined shelves and dark hardwood floors that gleam beneath a plentiful amount of overhead lighting. Aside from themed wine tastings each week, the shop plays host to a variety of special events every month, including girls' nights out and Sip & Sketch sessions, where guests sip from glasses while drawing what they think wine would look like if it were an actual person. In addition to wine, Meza also carries an assortment of artisanal food products and candles to match with favorite bottles.
Tony Klausing traces his interest in winemaking back to watching his father prepare 1-gallon batches in the basement, where the inexperienced vintner would mix ingredients in the only method afforded to him: trial and error. Later, when Tony went on to open his own winery with the skills he learned, he decided to give it a name from a classic song, and landed on a shortened version of “Good Vibrations.” Now that he’s perfected his winemaking process, his wines bear the names of other favorite songs, acting like a mix tape that declares his crush on the craft.
Tony shares his ardor with the visitors to his storefront, where they’re greeted in a room with exposed brick and wood accents. The tasting bar encompasses a selection of more than 20 vintages, each of which pairs readily with available cheese plates. Clients can even charter the winery to produce wines of their own design that also bear custom labels.
Craig and Laura Decker seem to have a difficult time making up their minds. They also seem to have a knack for turning this indecisiveness into an advantage at every turn. When it came to opening their new business, for example, they briefly wondered whether it should feature a wine shop, a wine bar, or a gourmet bistro. Their solution? All three.
This spirit of inclusivity pervades The Wine Guy Bistro, where the Deckers pair seasonal wine varietals with globally inspired cuisine. Rather than choose between European elegance and New-American pizzazz, they settled on a compromise they describe as “Old World chic.” This label suits a menu that features small plates of housemade meatballs and bruschetta alongside assorted cheeses from around the world. The focus on small plates is in keeping with the Deckers’ have-it-all mentality and gives diners the option to sample several dishes without having to barter with adjacent tables.
Founded by world-class duo Igor and Svetlana Iskhakov, Dance Centre is dedicated to the empowerment and physical fitness of the everyday person via the art of dance. The studio features both high-level instruction for budding Baryshnikovs as well as a host of beginner-friendly classes in a variety of dance styles. Group classes consisting of as few as five pupils practice basic steps within the Gahanna facility's grand 6,000 square feet of studio space, the perfect place for dancing and drag racing floor buffers. Igor and Svetlana also host regular practice parties for their students, which present festive opportunities to show off new skills in a no-pressure social setting or mingle with accomplished star students.
Racks of obsidian and golden bottles line the monolithic wine wall of Camelot Cellars's rustic boutique, bringing together varietals crafted by the winery and selections from around the world. Beneath chandeliers and brick facades, guests clink glasses of aromatic vintages and play favorite xylophone songs on themed tasting flights served atop the smooth contours of the locally hewn wooded bar. Small plates of cheeses, meats, and bread also gather nearby, cleansing palates and bringing out the wine’s subtler tones. Nearby, the convivial sound of good cheer emanated from the Tuscan Table and the private Tuscan Room, which house large groups and may be rented out for gatherings.
Not satisfied to fill their casks with only their own brews, the winery also aids clients in handcrafting their own artisan wines. With the help of a resident expert, prospective vintners assemble their preferred style of wine, leaving it in the capable hands of the winery for 6–12 weeks. Each bottle is then identified with a custom label, making perfect keepsakes for weddings, parties, or obedience-school graduations.