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Reunions
Come Together As A Family In Ohio
Doesn’t it seem like things move so fast these days? New grandchildren, children, cousins, nieces and nephews are born and the kids are growing up. Summer 2010 is the perfect time to slow it down and celebrate the joys of family African-Americans have a history of coming together to celebrate family and culture with family reunions that create cherished memories. Ohio is the ultimate family reunion destination and this summer is the perfect time to take advantage of everything this beautiful state has to offer to reunite your loved ones. Whether you’re looking to please a crowd under age 10, over 50 and everything in between, Ohio has the history, events, destinations and attractions to make your family reunion a celebration of culture, family and the good life! And, Ohio is accessible to families no matter what their budget. Here are some great reunion ideas from big events everyone will love to budget-cutting strategies to help you make this summer a time your family will never forget.

Make it Large!
What could be more fun than joining one of the largest Black Family Reunions in the nation? How about the fact that it’s free? This August, Cincinnati will host more than 100,000 family members at the 21st Annual Midwest Regional Black Family Reunion Celebration. This weekend of free events includes a parade, a scholarship golf open, a R&B concert, a gospel concert and of course tons of food, games and music. With all these free attractions, concerts and events, you can afford to bring the whole family and splurge on room service. Another Ohio reunion weekend your family will love is the O’Jays Family Reunion, which features the famous group of musicians “Livin' for the Weekend,” in their hometown of Canton. The event includes many fun family activities, and in Canton you’ll be close to the Football Hall of Fame and the famous Clearview Golf Course, the first African-American owned and operated course in the United States!

Make it Pop!
Music is something that brings people together from all walks of life. Let music bring your family together this summer at the Macy’s Music Festival, one of the largest jewels in the Queen City’s (Cincinnati’s) crown! The Macy’s Music Festival is a two-night extravaganza in late July that features R&B, jazz, hip-hop and soul. Or, if you’d like to get together earlier in the summer, build your family reunion around Cleveland’s Rock and Soul Festival in June at the world-famous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum or the Annual American Rib Cook-Off and Music Festival in May. In mid-June, take the whole family to the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival in Gahanna, near Columbus where they can hear some of the best blues and jazz in the Midwest and enjoy 60 hours of entertainment for just a few dollars per person. Or, stop by the Art Tatum Jazz Heritage Festival in Toledo in June and enjoy a family reunion near the shores of Lake Erie.

Make it Real!
With the great outdoors of course. Ohio has some of the most beautiful parks and recreational areas in the country. Whether you want to enjoy some of your family's famous barbeque chicken or organize a day of friendly sports competitions, Ohio’s parks are ready for you. One of Ohio’s greatest natural resources is the beautiful, Lake Erie, and right on the lake, Put-in-Bay is a great location for your family reunion! The island features wonderful outdoor attractions for the kids and a winery and active nightlife for the adults. If you’re looking for a more athletic reunion, consider a canoe or kayak adventure in Mohican State Park near Mansfield. The park also features fishing, hiking and mountain biking. For the “extreme” reunion, head to Hocking Hills where you can take the family rock-climbing, zip-lining or rappelling. Whether you want to relax, cook out, and toss the ball back and forth, or rappel down a rock ledge, Ohio has dozens of picturesque parks where your family can reunite and have fun.

Make it Memorable! Memories are so important in remembering where we’ve come from and where we’re going, both as a family and as a culture. Visit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati and take time to reflect on past triumphs and struggles. With dozen of compelling exhibits, activities and events, the Freedom Center can be a full-day activity. If you are very interested in the Underground Railroad, your family can visit some of the hundreds of Underground Railroad stops throughout the state. If you’re visiting the Columbus area, don’t forget to catch a show at the Kings Arts Complex, a performing arts center devoted to African-American art and music. Another museum that really rocks is Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. With Exhibits on everything from Motown to the late, great Michael Jackson, this famous museum has something for everyone in the family.

Make it Last! Ohio has great options for lodging, from elegant bed and breakfasts for small family reunions to resort lodges that can accommodate all the second-cousins and grandchildren. For an intimate reunion, visit the Whispering Pines bed and breakfast on the shores of Atwood Lake. The B&B features plenty of wonderful amenities that will help your family enjoy some much needed R&R. For a spot under the stars, reserve a cottage or space in the resort lodge at Shawnee State Park near Portsmouth. Or, for family fun right on location, check out Kalahari, the largest indoor water park resort in North America!

And start Livin’ For the Weekend in Ohio with exciting things to do for all family members as you plan your family reunions. Share your travel experiences: photos, videos and stories by uploading to MyOhio.com, visit consumer.discoverohio.com/myohio.

For more fun and exciting multicultural events and locations to travel to and throughout Ohio, visit discoverohio.com/multicultural.
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