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Python Day brings slithery fun to Peninsula

7/11/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Shown is a large python float that was featured in a past Python Parade. The parade this year will take place July 20 at 1:30 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Karen Walters
PENINSULA — Real pythons will mix with artistic ones as Peninsula Village once again hosts Python Day.

The July 20 event will feature a day full of special activities to celebrate the mythical creature that was said to have once roamed the village.

“There are various activities, but it is so geared toward children,” said Diane Seskes, of the Log Cabin Gallery. “If you bring children, there are all kinds of things to do.”

The festival started in 2008, but the tale of the Peninsula Python has been told since the summer of 1944, when some residents reported finding strange tracks on their property. Others said they saw the creature, a huge snake estimated to be 15 to 18 feet long, that was rumored to have escaped from a traveling circus.

According to a history of the python written by Randy Bergdorf, of the Peninsula Library and Historical Society and a Boston trustee, those who said they saw the python or evidence of its existence hold true to the story today. Many others think the story was a hoax perpetrated by Peninsula resident and writer Robert Bordner, whose account of the story appeared in the November 1945 issue of Atlantic Monthly.

Regardless of its truth, the tale has made a great theme on which to plan a festival, Seskes said.

“We have such a unique history here,” she said.

Children’s arts and crafts events will be one of the main activities, with projects planned at the Peninsula Library from 10:30 a.m. to noon (call to reserve a spot at 330-657-2291), Boston Town Hall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Cuyahoga Valley Historical Museum from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Heritage Farms from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The GAR Hall will be the site of a Python Platter lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors to the Boston Town Hall also can meet two live pythons, Abraham Slincoln and Monty Python.

Other food items include free ice cream at the Yellow Creek Trading Co. from 1 to 3 p.m., with donations accepted for the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, and footlong Python Dogs from Stray Dog Cart at the Log Cabin Gallery. The gallery also will feature a juggler.

For the second year, Seskes said the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad will offer its Cryptozoological Creatures Excursion, departing for Peninsula at 10:40 a.m. from the Akron Northside Station, 27 Ridge St. The train ride, recommended for ages 10 and older, will feature fantastic tales of mysterious creatures said to roam throughout the Cuyahoga Valley and Northeast Ohio, such as Bigfoot, the Mothman and the Peninsula Python.

Ken Summers, author of “Haunted Cuyahoga,” and Jeri Holland, who wrote “Haunted Akron,” will be on board sharing stories about the creatures found in local backyards. Riders will get to spend time in Peninsula before returning to Akron. For more information, go to www.cvsr.com.

The event this year also will feature the Python Parade, starting at Terry Lumber & Supply Co. at 1:30 p.m. and heading up Main Street to the Peninsula Library. Spectators will get to see a large python float, and Seskes said some community members may enter additional floats this year.

For more on Python Day, including a schedule of events, go to www.explorepeninsula.com.

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