October 20, 2014

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Oberlin resident makes hobby out of attending Ohio’s festivals

Some of the festivals that Kristian Campana of Oberlin has attended include The Giant Fest in Seville. PHOTOS COURTESY KRISTIAN CAMPANA

Some of the festivals that Kristian Campana of Oberlin has attended include The Giant Fest in Seville. PHOTOS COURTESY KRISTIAN CAMPANA

OBERLIN — Kristian Campana’s love of travel has taken him 20,000 miles across almost all of Ohio’s 88 counties and to interesting locales, including a small town with a population of less than 300 who participate in an annual event to eat fried animal testicles.

Campana at the Dublin Irish Festival.

Campana at the Dublin Irish Festival.

An accountant and Italian translator by day, Campana began attending festivals in 2009 after a trip to Ireland. Campana said he caught the travel bug and wanted to explore some of the unique cultures in his home state.

“I started seeing what else is out there, and I started seeing some crazy festivals, like a pickle festival in Illinois,” he said.

Campana, who lives in Oberlin, has visited festivals with such themes as pawpaws, skunks, pork rinds, twins, moonshine and giants. On Friday, he will attend his 300th state festival — the Festival of the Trees in Wooster.

He said the milestone will be a fitting one, given his upcoming 40th birthday.

“My birthday is Christmas Eve, so a holiday festival will make it more personal,” he said.

Campana at the Dean Martin Festival in Steubenville.

Campana at the Dean Martin Festival in Steubenville.

Campana attended 14 festivals before he decided to start his blog, dedicated to his travels throughout the state.

Campana said the website is popular, particularly his reviews of peculiar festivals, such as the Testicle Festival, a day in which festival-goers in the small town of Tiro visit Tiro Tavern to partake in the consumption of fried animal testicles.

Campana’s blog, which lists nearly 1,000 Ohio festivals, has brought in more than a half-million viewers who read his reviews or browse his schedule of festivals.

During his first year in 2009, Campana attended 26 festivals. In 2010, he attended 101.

Campana’s first festival was Lorain’s International Festival and Bazaar, a weeklong festival celebrating various nationalities and cultures through traditional foods, music and costumes.

Campana said he hopes to continue traveling to new festivals and would like to offer consultations to help festival organizers improve their events.

For more information on Campana’s travels or area festivals, visit www.OhioFestivals.net.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.