The Twins Day Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio
The traveling doppelganger duo seen above — who are based on true-life itinerants I observed as I awaited an early morning commuter flight out of my local airport — would certainly fit right in at the annual Twin Days Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio.
I happen to live a mere two miles from the modest and quiet suburban community of Twinsburg, Ohio. Having near-identical twin sisters (who, at toddler age developed their own unique 'twinspeak' language, which I, as their elder and next closest sibling, was required to interpret for friends as well as the remaining members of the family), I have had a decades-long familiarity with the twin phenomenon. Not only were my sisters almost always identically attired for the first dozen years of their lives, but they could easily have served as impostors to one another as situations warranted. Even today, their infant grandchildren will sometimes be confounded as to who is Grand Ma and who is Grand Aunt.
For three days clustered about the first weekend of August each year, the City of Twinsburg, Ohio hosts The Twins Day Festival. Paired siblings — as well as some triplets, quads and, ever so rarely, quints — arrive to partake of games, concession foods, talent contests, picnics, tailgating and the ultimate look-alike competition and photo shoot. In near-identical attire, the many near-identical kin seek to draw the consummate double-take from the many gathered attendees.
The Twins Day Festival centers on Twinsburg, currently home to about 17,000 residents, renamed by emigrant identical twin brothers Aaron and Moses Wilcox (formerly of Killingworth, CT) back in 1819. The former Township Five of the Connecticut Land Company’s tenth range had been called Millsville for just a few years, when the Wilcox brothers offered a public square and the township’s initial school funding in exchange for the new name of Twinsburg. Now at rest in the local Locust Grove Cemetery, Aaron and Moses lived intertwined lives as lifelong business partners, marrying sisters, and dying of the same ailment within hours of each other. Reportedly only their best friends could distinguish between the two.
Twinsburg is a suburban, predominately residential community, situated roughly halfway between the cities of Akron and Cleveland. The Twins Day Festival in fact encourages attendance by all sorts of related ‘multiples’, though a welcoming event is limited to pre-registered twins and their families. Each annual festival now follows a given theme; that of the 2011 Festival was the circus, with many multiples dressing as clowns, high-wire artists and ringmasters. More than 1700 sets of twins registered for the event.
The Twinsburg Twins Day Festival has its own website, and is regularly sponsored by more than a dozen regional and national entities, often including such names as Cedar Point, The Home Depot, and Old Navy, among others. The Twins day Festival also draws a rather unique range of affiliated pursuits, ranging from medical researchers trying to unravel the subtleties of inheritable or genetic diseases to the developers of the FBI’s face recognition software.
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