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Mum Fest in a Magic City

Originally printed in the Sept. 23, 2010 Barberton Herald by the late

Steve Kelleher of the  Barberton Historical Society 

The Mum Fest represents the best of the best of Barberton.

For one thing, it is a massive community effort that takes coordination and cooperation. I think that what makes the Mum Fest so special is that it demonstrates the pride that exists in our town. 

Barbertonians have always felt that pride.

“Watch us grow and hear us crow,” was our first mantra until a newspaper reporter upon seeing how fast the town had grown over a three period coined the term, “The Magic City” in 1894. 

When we dedicated the O. C. Barber statue at Lake Anna Park we invited descendants of O. C. Barber’s sister to attend. They were last in Barberton as small children in the 1950s and were not even familiar with Lake Anna.

As we walked with the Barber relatives down Paige Avenue past the mum sales staging area Paige dead ends into Third Street. I was immediately struck by the immensity and the sheer beauty of the situation. There spread before us were thousands of people milling about Lake Anna heading to and from the Mum Gardens.

To me Barberton never looked more beautiful. “Why what a lovely town!” said Barber’s great grand niece who lives in Colorado. “Yes,” I immediately replied. “Isn’t it.” I had never been more proud than I was on that day. 

The Mum Fest is the premier annual event in Barberton.

The Mum Fest is really one of the premier annual events in Ohio. A lot of work goes into the festival but a lot of joy and pride come out. In life you get back what you put into something.

Every Barbertonian should be equally proud on this day.

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