For more than 30 years, Cool Cat Sites Entertainment has enhanced birthdays, carnivals, festivals, and parties with a plethora of rental equipment, including inflatables and carnival games. The festivity experts boast more than 39 character-themed bounce houses, a 22' inflatable water slide, and sumo-wrestler outfits for duking it out on a cushioned mat. Along with professional DJs and face-painting artists, fortunetellers enhances soirees by illuminating the future long enough for youngsters to peek their destined cholesterol score. Cool Cat also endows backyard parties with putt-putt courses and interactive petting zoos, complete with an animal handler and gentle members of the wildlife community.
Top Shelf Mixologist dispatches licensed and certified bartenders to serve guests at private parties, weddings, and other events. These bartenders draw upon decades of experience as they mix together a variety of cocktails and beverages from customer-provided liquor, creating classic drinks or working around a theme.
The headquarters of the nonprofit Ohio Historical Society, the Ohio Historical Center abounds with exhibits and activities that showcase the state's diverse social, natural, and archeological history. Built in 1970, the museum's towering Brutalist edifice is a piece of history itself, lauded as "bold" and "imaginative” by the American Institute of Architects. Inside, a 15,000-square-foot gallery explores pivotal moments in the Buckeye State’s past, examining everything from Ohio’s role in the Civil War to Boomer Esiason’s stint as Secretary of State. A natural-history exhibit regales guests with interactive displays of animals, plants, and geography. In addition to its permanent exhibits, the center hosts an ever-changing selection of featured exhibits and special events.
Outside the museum sits Ohio Village, a re-creation of a Civil War–era town. Costumed villagers bustle about the square, performing chores and activities of the era, such as churning butter and checking wooden PalmPilots. The town's 15 buildings showcase the height of 19th-century architecture and include a Gothic-revival church, a large town hall, and an open market. The village is also the home of the renowned Ohio Village Muffins, who regularly compete in games of baseball played by 19th-century rules.
An old-school charm and a modern quirkiness pervade the work of photographer Jessica Nash, owner of Elegant Events Design & Photography. Her black-and-white, color, and paled-and-retro-tinted images capture babies, toddlers, and couples against idyllic natural backdrops. Working primarily with natural light, Jessica commemorates milestones and events at local parks or beaches. She puts her skills in the editing room to good use by carefully editing images to be used for prints, CDs, and cave paintings, and she also works in the abstract to design custom invitations, logos, and T-shirts. Elegant Events has recently teamed up with a Megapixel Party to liven up special events with photo-booth rentals.
Referencing the tasty time-honored recipes of his grandmother, J. Gumbo's founder, Billy Fox Jr., designed a comforting menu of home-style sustenance. All dishes are prepared using only the freshest ingredients and zestiest spices available, as well as enough love to turn a wooden puppet into a real boy and a sock puppet into a foot. Dive fork first into a hearty bowl of jambalaya, bursting with tender chicken, sausage, and the ubiquitous "trinity" of Cajun cuisine: bell pepper, onion, and celery ($6.50). To deliciously deny the impending mitten season, wrap your hands around a voodoo-chicken po' boy sandwich, a belly-warming feast of spicy chicken and green onions atop french bread ($7.25). The menu is friendly to mild-mannered and thrill-seeking diners alike, with each entree item labeled according to heat––one hot-sauce bottle denotes mild, whereas three signifies a concentration of capsaicin powerful enough to send tongues rocketing to the sub-zero climes of Pluto in search of relief.
The Maennerchor—which means "men's chorus" and is the shortest word in the German language—was established as a private German singing club in 1848 and hasn't changed a thing since, other than knocking down a poorly placed wall in 1989. Men, women, and children proud of their common heritage with Heidi Klum still gather to sing drinking songs from the fatherland, wear festive rawhide shorts, file paperwork, and dine on delicious German essen und trinken at Zum Rathskeller, the Maennerchor's traditional cellar restaurant, which was constructed by authentic German crafts-gnomes and exudes a cuckoo-clocked, Old World atmosphere. Der menu is packed with classic Deutscher dishes such as potato pancakes served with apple sauce ($6.90), schnitzel with potato salad ($12.90), and sauerbraten ($15.90), which comes with braised cabbage and pairs well with Warsteiner lager ($3.50 a glass, $9.75 a pitcher). And ask about the Rathskeller's wildly popular sauerkraut balls; they go really well with the bratwurst ($10.90), for some reason.