Ohio Festivals!


This is the website of a friend of mine whom I met last year at a festival. Little did I know that his wife was also pregnant and we would be in the same birth class. Small world but I guess we were bound to meet up since he’s been to several other festivals while I was working at them as well. As this is the start of the festival season in Ohio, check out his awesome blog and read about some of our local festivals. I thought I had a fun job but Colonel Kristian might have me beat!

PS. If there is a video ad below this don’t click it. I didn’t put it there. I think wordpress is just trying to get money somehow. Thanks


Summer In Ashland, continued

The summer I met Stacie we had a lot of fun traveling around Northern Ohio with our respective talents. I went to gigs with her, she went to some of mine. Mostly I goofed around trying to work but mostly having fun. It was nice to have that kind of freedom back then… I had no expectations of making a lot of money, but keeping busy was a must. I set up on the street once in Ashland for an afternoon. I set up in front of the Chinese restaurant on Main Street near the antiques store and what used to be known as the Nook. I sat there on my milk crate, listening to the doors in the cold shade of the mostly empty downtown buildings and watched the traffic go by. This is shortly after my father, who worked for ODOT designed the 250 bypass so there was a lot less traffic downtown than there used to be. It was very boring, I only made $6 and I never did anything like it again, ever. 

Even though I did not work at Camp Mowana, Stacie and I spent a lot of time there on the weekends when it was just counselors and former campers and I even spent the night out there in some friend’s cabins once or twice. (I would eventually propose to Stacie on the edge of Flemming Falls, so it has a lot of significance to the two of us)

Stacie went with me to an airshow at the Ashland County Airport once. ACA is so small, if you’re lucky, Tattoo will announce your arrival and Mr. Roarke will come greet you and ask you what your fantasy is! We hung out in a hanger with an old guy and his new wife. He was bottom heavy, balding and very hairy. Like a tall Danny Devito with pop bottle glasses. She was equally heavy, but more apple shaped with long, red/grey hair that she had put in a bun on top of her head. He was dressed in a wife beater with dress pants and she had on a pair of pink polyester pants with a sleeveless floral printed shirt that reminded me of every outfit my grandmother ever wore in the summer. (I must have a photographic memory because I remember details like this sometimes. Either that, or a good imagination!) They had been married only a few years and they were just over the moon for each other. Very cute. I don’t remember what they were doing or selling there but they liked our music. He had some jazz tapes and we took turns listening to the likes of Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington in fits between the Dead Milkmen, The Cure, Arrested Development, The Beastie Boys, NWA and Enya- Yes, it was an an afternoon for the eclectic. I drew a few people. Thinking back, I can only remember the jazz fans, but I’m sure I drew a few paying customers. I didn’t care though at the time I guess. I doubt if I made more than $35 but I was having fun and Stacie and I got to enjoy each other’s company all day. We got a free ride in a Cessna out of the deal and it was the first time either of us were in a plane. We were scared shitless! It was cool seeing the familiar countryside from such an unfamiliar point of view. We went to some other venues like this with the WNCO Car that summer too. Some I drew at, most I just stopped by to bring her a Snapple and a sandwich or something. (We were hooked on Kiwi Strawberry Snapple I tell ya!) I wish I could remember some of the stories… Between car lots, antique barns, restaurant openings, fairs, festivals, etc… I’m sure Stacie Thompson could tell you some stories too. I used to love to hear about the crazy fans who stalked her over that summer, lol. She had groupies, (swear to god!) and they were some characters to be sure!

Stacie also joined me at the Huron County fair where I was set up near one of the smelly animal barns and didn’t do very well. I think I only spent a few days out there because it was so far away and such a poor location. I remember Stacie being there and not even caring that I hadn’t made any money. I saw some people I remembered from the Ashland county fair and I think I had set up with them at another festival in the same space because I shared the price of the spot with them. Yes, it is frowned upon but it happens. I was a newbie, I was poor and I didn’t know any better at the time… Later in the summer my parents and I went to a festival about an hour away from home just to look around where I saw someone there doing caricatures. I introduced myself and asked her if she needed any help because I do caricatures too. LOL! I thought she was so rude for telling me off at the time. I didn’t understand how competitive festivals can be. Kind of funny actually. Sometimes I wonder if she’s still around. I bet she never forgot it.


I wasn’t around to do the Ashland County Fair, or the Bucyrus Bratwurst Festival that summer. I had gone to Pittsburgh with my parents to find some other living arrangements in Oakland borough, where there weren’t as many parties and I could have a real apartment of my own. Found a nice spot but the landlord wanted me to move in right away, so I was packed up shortly after and was back in PGH about 3 weeks earlier than anticipated but I was well settled when classes started.


At the end of the summer I had the sweetest girlfriend ever and had earned and saved enough money to buy a nice mountain bike and a little bit extra for my chinese food fund. I spent the next several weeks running up my phone bill talking to Stacie, making friends in Oakland and exploring Schenly park on my new bike.

All content is copyrighted by Adam Pate, 2013. All rights reserved.

Straight Outta High School!


During my last year of HS, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh sent some people to our HS to recruit. I visited their campus in the summer at an overnight orientation, met some cool kids (and perdy girls…) and had a blast. Since I really wasn’t prepared for doing the SAT’s or ACT’s and was accepted, I took the bait and went to AIP after the summer of 1991. Which I spent working at Camp Mowana in Mansfield (One of my favorite jobs to this day but I’m skipping over it since it had nearly nothing to do with caricatures.)

The AIP semester started late in the fall so I was around when Ashland High School started up again. It felt weird to be out wandering around aimlessly some days when I had always been in school at this time of year and many of my friends still had to go to class. I had money from graduation and my summer job but I currently had no job, no classes, no worries- and my whole life ahead of me! Life was good and it seemed like I must have been experiencing the meaning of the word FREEDOM!

About a month after Mowana closed and schools were back in session, the Ashland County Fair happened. It was only about 60 degrees at the coldest but little did I know you could actually get hypothermia at that temperature because sitting in one place makes you very, very cold! I found myself shivering every night of it and on the last night I damn near shook my chair apart while I sat there in the buzzing mercury lights under a blanket!

I had bought a lightweight French easel from Jerry’s Artorama that pretty much fell apart right away. The fair board put me on a corner with lots of traffic and I did pretty well considering I was selling my drawings for only $2. I made my first signs with cardboard and the sharpie markers I drew with back then. I learned the hard way how to write “CARICATURES” so that it all fit on a sign correctly. This is harder than it seems and I must have ruined 4 sheets of posterboard trying to get it right that first day. I duct taped the sign to my rickety easel. Then I re-taped it. Then I taped the easel together by using the sign. Then I taped it again when it fell apart again. Then I had to make a new sign because the other one blew off and ripped… Next thing you know the whole contraption looked like a total catastrophe! What a piece of crap!

My mother had talked me into drawing at the fair and I was pretty nervous. She had even given me the money to pay the vendor fee at the fair. It sure beat my first job working at Hawkins Market as a bagger that’s for sure!

Charlie Daniels played the Ashland County Fair that year. Anything by Garth Brooks, Billy Ray Cyrus’s “Achy Breaky Heart” and Alabama’s “Mountain Music” were really big too. I was not a fan of country music back then but I had to listen to it day in and day out and actually started to like it a little. (Shhhh, don’t tell anybody!!!) There was a pavilion across the walkway from me where they had country bands, banjo music and barbershop quartets. When it rained, it would be packed full of people (and myself- I didn’t have a tent!) It was loud and the music sucked, but I saw how folks doing a similar thing to what I was doing made their living entertaining people at fairs and afterwards a few of them would come over and get a caricature from me and talk a little shop and tell me about how they do things at other fairs and festivals and some of the cool things they’ve seen.

The weirdest thing to me was being at the fair early and having lots of cash to buy anything I wanted! I hadn’t gotten there that early or been there all day and actually gotten to see the agricultural stuff since I was a kid and went there with the pre school group. I still had a twinge of guilt for not being in school, so it was quite an awakening to see how the ‘Carnys’ lived, and to realize I WAS ONE OF THEM, HA HA!!

I got into the fair for free and could go anywhere I wanted. I had donuts for breakfast, I had coffee every morning, and as many hot dogs or whatever I wanted for lunch and French fries for dinner! I saw sheep being sheered, cows being exercised, pigs running around in their racing stables, no lines for games or rides and I saw the “dumb kids” from school working at them. I made friends with them and some of the other vendors and we bartered for goodies. I saw old people speed-walking around the grounds, I saw fat people on Rascal Scooters going into the pole barns early to collect bucketfuls of free stuff, I saw old people who have a special day where they can go and walk really slow and know everybody and sit and talk all day without all the noisy, annoying kids there to bug them, I saw days where little kids came and took over the place like a rowdy gang of kittens, I saw days when all the 4H kids took over and it was very business like and serious (and surprisingly interesting) I saw days when the displays changed in the craft barns, all the old ladies would come put their best baked goods out, their best knitting up and their finest garden treasures out for everyone in the county to see. I saw some quite fascinating displays from the Ag kids at the HS. One of them was a dissected cow eyeball. (I saw a kid get in the way of a wayward fishhook and it got stuck in his eyeball when I was a kid. Gahhhhbrrrrrelcht!!! ….AH!!!!! Never have gotten rid of that image in my head, even after all these years…) When the days were over I saw dirty, creepy carny ride people drinking beer and making out with sluts from my HS behind the animal barns. I saw hard working, rough looking gypsy people go to their trailers for the night and I saw things the health department would probably frown upon -in just about every direction.

I have seen the Ashland County Fairgrounds almost completely empty. It was sad but it felt kinda cool at the same time. It was like peeking behind the curtain and seeing that the wizard is just some little dork like me. I was officially a carny and it was kinda awesome.