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Columbus native hopes to appeal to free spirits and adventurers

614now Staff

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View More: http://derksworks.pass.us/2015-1108-the-campfire-experienceAmy Gillespie is a Columbus native, a self-described free spirit. And one of her greatest loves is the enjoyment of the great outdoors. With her new venture The Campfire Experience, she hopes to find many others who feel the same way.

Would-be outdoor enthusiasts or those simply looking to get out of the city for a couple of days can contact Amy to arrange for rental of a teardrop model-inspired camper or a Sibley bell tent.

The campers come complete with air conditioning, luxury linens, a flatscreen tv and more. So, you’re roughing it, but…..not.

The bell tents are great for those wanting something different than the trailer and are perfect for events like festivals, weddings and other such activities.

For both the campers and the bell tents, think luxury camping.

Campers are available for $159 per night, 2-night minimum. Contact the company directly for pricing on the bell tents.

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5 reasons to attend the Circleville Pumpkin Show

Regina Fox

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For over a century, the small town of Circleville, OH has played host to one of the largest fall festivals in the midwest. The Circleville Pumpkin Show attracts more than 400,000 visitors over the course of the four day event who enjoy multiple parades, live entertainment, delicious eats, and plenty family fun.

If you're not already convinced, here are five reasons to check out the Circleville Pumpkin Show October 16- 19.

The Parades

Each day of the 4-day festival features unique and festive processions. To kick things off on Wednesday, the Little Miss Pumpkin Show Parade and Miss Pumpkin Show Parade are scheduled. Baby Parade and Bands & Youth Organizations are planned for Thursday with the Pet Parade and Fraternal Organizations slated for Friday. The Pumpkin Show will round out with a parade of Ohio Festival & Events Association Queens.

The Entertainment

In addition to the parades, live entertainment will swoon the festival crowd including Buckshot Band, Smokin' Ham Band, Brianna Hill, Todd Berry Music, Mac Thomas, Buckeye Nutz Cloggers, Kingston Kickers Line Dance, and many more!

Largest Pumpkins Show

We all love a good basketball-sized pumpkin for porch decoration, but have you ever seen a 1,607-pound bounty? Awe in the wonder of local farmers' harvests at the Circleville Largest Pumpkin Show!

The Food

From your deep fried favorites to seasonal creations like pumpkin pizza, the Circleville Pumpkin Show's food lineup does not disappoint. Approximately 23,000 pumpkin pies and over 100,000 pumpkin donuts are sold at the fest—will you be among the sales?

Also, don't forget to check out the 400-pound pumpkin pie from Lindsey's Bakery on West Main Street!

The Rides

Got the kids in tow? After gassing them up with pumpkin-spice everything, let them loose in the Circleville Pumpkin Show amusement park. For just $25 a day, your tikes will have access to 25-30 thrills across the fest—some even suitable for moms and dads!

The Circleville Pumpkin Show runs from Wednesday, October 6 through Saturday, October 19. Admission is free. For more information including parking and shuttle details, visit pumpkinshow.com.

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Food & Drink

You’d be whack to miss the Mac & Cheese Fest this weekend

Regina Fox

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I've had the pleasure of trying loads of different foods in my life—some even from different continents—but I have to admit, mac and cheese is still one of my top picks. And so, it might sound cheesy, but the Columbus Mac and Cheese Festival has become one of my favorite events to attend.

The Columbus Mac and Cheese Festival at Easton Town Center features creative mac and cheese creations from some of the best restaurants in Columbus. Your ticket grants you entry to the festival and full access to samplings courtesy of the following restaurant partners:

The fest also features live entertainment, family-friendly activities, and beverages for purchase. Tickets are on sale now and start at just $25 for adults.

Proceeds from the event benefit the adolescent and young adult cancer program at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. More than $210,000 has been raised through the Mac and Cheese Festival to date.

The Mac and Cheese Festival is going on this Friday, September 27 from 4pm- 8pm at Easton Town Center. Click here for more information.

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Review: Matt & Tony’s dishes out classic comfort food in downtown

Regina Fox

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I've gotten to try a lot of interesting cuisine with this job, but it's rare that I get the opportunity to sample a mother's spaghetti recipe outside of my childhood home. This is the type of experience that Matt & Tony's Wood Fired Kitchen, which recently opened inside the former CBC Restaurant space, offers its guests.

At Matt & Tony's, you don't have to sneak off to the bathroom to Google what a menu item is so you don't look ignorant in front of your date, and that's what makes it so great.

The menu bodes familiar comforts like fried chicken, fish & chips, veal parmesan, and burgers. There's no proprietary flare or fancy sauce smears around your plate—it's all just damn good food.

I sampled Madeline's Spaghetti & Meatballs, which is straight from the cookbook of co-owner Matt Rootes' mother. The sauce was sweet and plentiful while the meatballs were hearty and succulent. I didn't want to gorge myself on the first entree, but I couldn't seem to stop twirling those perfectly-boiled noodles around my fork...

Next up was a Wood Grilled Steak with mashed potatoes and broccoli. I heard once that butter wasn't a carb, so I spread it on thick and cut myself a piece with a crispy fat edge—juicy, tender, and lean. I didn't eat all 12 oz., but I very easily could have.

The Fork N' Knife BBQ Ribs at Matt & Tony's are straight out of a BBQ fairy tale. This healthy helping of slow-cooked, fall-off-the-bone meat is smothered in sauce and almost impossible to put down. You may not be excusing yourself to Google what you just nervously and unknowingly ordered, but you'll probably require a bathroom mirror to make sure you've wiped all the sauce off your mug after devouring these racks.

Feeling like Thanksgiving? Have a little alternative celebration for yourself with Matt & Tony's Half Roasted Chicken with crushed herbs and lemon butter. Slip into a food coma with the sides of potatoes and seasonal vegetable. Dream a little dream of country gravy (which can be found drowning the fried chicken dinner entree).

Rootes says he and his partner Tony Wildman chose to open Matt & Tony's to give the people of downtown an option for high-quality steaks and seafood at a reasonable price without all the "frou-frou." I, for one, think that's exactly what downtown needs.

While so many other restaurants are reaching for globally-inspired dishes made with ingredients you can pronounce, Matt & Tony's is executing classic comfort dishes you grew up on in a warm, inviting atmosphere—it's like a little slice of home on Short St.

Matt & Tony's is located at 525 Short Street and is open 11am- 10pm Sunday through Thursday and 11am- 11pm Friday and Saturday. Visit mattandtonys.com for more information.

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