August 3rd — It was a confluence of circumstances: a rainy Sunday morning in northern Ohio, me looking for something to pass some time, and the annual Twins Days Festival that weekend in Twinsburg, not more than 10 miles from where we were camped. My afternoon was set.
As we have mentioned, as we travel we will endeavor to see things of interest beyond the national parks, such as the world’s largest frying pan, or the largest ball of twine, and what I had in Twinsburg this weekend, was the world’s largest gathering of twins – most of them identical – and other multiples. I had first seen a segment on the annual event on the CBS Sunday Morning Show and then more recently read about this year’s event, which is always the first weekend in August. This is the 38th year for the gathering and 1,800 sets of twins and multiples were in attendance. As an aside, the record attendance was 2,789 sets in 1995.
There are various events over the three days of the festival including contests for most identical twins, youngest twins, oldest twins, a talent contest and a costume competition. I attended the costume competition and was amazed at the lengths to which the participants went to achieve a mirror-like image. One of the age-bracket winners were two brothers dressed like Austin Powers, and they fully embraced the role from the blue velvet ‘60s-style suit that they wore, to all of Powers’ quirky mannerisms. Overall, I was also struck by how competitive the participants were in wanting to win their particular age bracket. I talked to sisters dressed as the Wrigley’s Doublemint girls who after not being chosen for the podium, lamented that the contests have become a younger twins’ game.
It was somewhat surreal walking around the festival seeing one set of generally identical twins after another strolling by, dressed exactly alike. In the case of one set of older women, both were enjoying a root beer float which they held in the same hand. When I commented on this they simply said that they do everything the same. To a person, everyone that I talked with was very friendly and enjoyed having their picture taken. Initially, I was a bit apprehensive about taking photographs as I thought that it might come across as me wanting to capture a picture of some strange oddity. But on this day, in this place, I was the one who stood out, as there was only one of me.