For years, the Newark Kiwanis Club has been holding an annual fundraiser in Downtown Newark called the Newark Strawberry Festival or, as it has been nicknamed, "Strawberries on the Square."

It is a miserable weekend for those of us who live and work on the square, and many of us down here have complained over the years.  But it never gets any better; in fact, it keeps getting worse.  "But it all goes to a good cause," they say.  "But it's a tradition," they say.

I dedicate this page to the decision makers of Newark, both those who are government officials and those who are members of the Newark Kiwanis, that could listen and help but won't.  Please: wake up, open your eyes, and look at what you are doing to our city.  

And the next time you hear someone say that Newark is nothing but a bunch of welfare trash, this page proves you can't argue with them.  At least not until you've done something about this. 

I'm not saying quit having it, I'm saying either clean it up or move it somewhere else.  Preferably, both.

(click on pictures to enlarge)

s Thursday morning, June 2:  no parking permitted anywhere around the inside of the square.   I guess it's so they can do laps around the Courthouse towing that yellow trailer.

On nice days, I like to ride my bike down to my office, where I park it, every day, right in front of my building.  My property line is where the joint in the sidewalk is, and it's just enough room to park my bike on.

Shortly after lunch on June 2, an armed Newark policeman in a patrol car is dispatched to my office.  He is answering a complaint about someone parking their motorcycle on a public sidewalk. 

I show him where I am parked on my private property, and he is very nice about it and leaves.


 s By the end of the day on Thursday, the streets are pretty much shut down, and a long caravan of trucks and trailers arrives.

Friday Morning:  that yellow building there is my office.  An out of state client asked me to do a closing here at 4pm, and I had to tell them no.....

that is, unless they really like country music.


Here's the view from my office.

 OK, I'm curious... what the hell is the ladder for?


 We downtown businesses love how this event draws so many people downtown, where they can browse our shops and spend their hard earned cash...

 or at least look at the back ends of the caravan.

 sAt least they left a little space where you can get through to see the bail bondsman.

 And yet, on the other side of the square, it is business as usual.

Huh...why is that, do you suppose?  Could it be the Midland Theater, pet project for Newark's godfathers?  or maybe the Chop House, which is housed in a building owned by City Councilman David Rhodes?

or am I just being cynical?


Anyone who has ever tried to do electrical work in downtown Newark can testify to the infinite joys of dealing with Newark's electrical inspectors.

I don't see an "approved" sticker on this setup anywhere.  I suppose it's ok, as long as it doesn't rain...


I hate to tell you, folks, but I don't think they flushed this out.

"You want a coke with that?" 

No thanks, I think I'll just go back to my office and drink out of the toilet.

This setup is about 25 feet away from that awsome electrical work.

Funny, no meter...and yet the Newark Water Office charges commercial property owners a minimum of $33.40 per month for the privilege of having water.  I'd like to know what these vendors pay.


The Licking County Administration Building, where our County Commissioners preside over the welfare of the people of Licking County.

I guess they like helicopters.


Hey, guys, anyone sell strarwberries?  Anyone?

OK, how about fried strawberries?  No?

And we can't figure out why we have an obesity problem in America.


No way.  REALLY?

I was JOKING!!!!!


 sHow about you?  Got any strawberries?  or anything made in America?

"Pocket-swords?"  What, to cut strawberries with?  "Is that a pocket-sword or are you happy to see me?"

Better not pick up one on your way into the Courthouse.  "Excuse me officer, it says no weapons but can I bring in my pocket-sword?"

I really hope they are checking with probation officers to make sure their customers are allowed to have sharp objects.


And jewelry for every hole you aren't supposed to have.

If you don't have 9 holes, find someone with a pocket sword.  It would be a shame to waste a deal like this!


Ahhh... Jesus and racism.  It's like the Reese's peanut butter cup of midwestern values.  Love thy neighbor as long as he's white.

This is almost as wholesome as... strawberry shortcake.


A confederate flag dreamcatcher.

For the Native Amercian that's so racist he hates himself?

 s Check this can pick up a hat that says "No. 1 Bitch" on it on your way into the Courthouse!

You just can't make this stuff up.  The City of Newark's booth was just a couple down from the "No. 1 Bitch" hat guy. 

You'll never guess what that blue thing on the table brags about:

Community Development.


An entire booth dedicated to our local hospital's dental clinic for children.

Wow.  Might as well put up a sign that says, "Don't let your kids turn out like you."


And here's a whole section of bras.

This one I actually was glad to see.  It's a valuable public service to make bras available to some of the women wandering around down here....

and some of the men, for that matter.

 sEver wonder whether the Kiwanis Club would be liable for helping this guy sell fake Coach purses?

11:30 am, and only the first day.  Guess I shouldn't have put up that sign that said "Feel free to sit here on my steps, block my doors and shovel crap into your face."

Please tell me that liquid isn't drool.  Gross.

Seriously, how much of that belgian waffle actually made it into your mouth?


This family was very offended when I asked them to move aside so I could get back into my building.

As I left, the little girl curtly said "You're Welcome" in a tone dripping of sarcasm.

I don't recall thanking her.

 sAnd so the weekend went, with this event bringing in throngs of visitors in to revitalize our economy.  Here's a shot during the peak of activity on Saturday.

And I will leave you with this final bit of irony: half of the "Platinum" sponsors that made this possible were -- you guessed it -- trash companies.  Maybe "trashapalooza" isn't so much a stretch after all, huh?

In case you can't read all the names, here they are:

  • Luikart Heating and Cooling
  • Edward Jones Investments
  • Waste Management
  • Big "O" Refuse
  • Park National Bank
  • Huntington National Bank
  • Ohio State and Central Ohio Technical Collage
  • Licking Memorial Hospital
  • Kiner Dental Care
  • Fiberglas FCU.

Be sure and thank them for all they've done for the City of Newark this year!

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