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Benjamin Coll

Benjamin Coll
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In addition to his roles as reporter and graphic designer at The Weekly Villager, Benjamin is also deeply involved with a number of local organizations and events including G-Men Unite and Garrettsville Summerfest among others. Currently serving as President of the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce, Benjamin has worked hard to develop the 'Think Local' campaign which promotes awareness of what our community has to offer. In his downtime, Benjamin enjoys graphic design; researching entertainment industry marketing trends; performing arts; hiking; and photography.

Garrettsville – On Monday night over sixteen concerned Portage County residents gathered for the first of many community meetings with the Portage County Drug Task Force. Led by Village Councilwoman Becky Harrington the meeting was a “barebones” version of the presentation delivered at a special meeting in Nelson Township on April 10th (coverage on page 6 in this week’s Villager). The evening’s meeting was the starting point for the establishment of a community group focused on coming together to address the growing epidemic of drug use in the area.

Nelson Twp – Officials present at the April 2, 2014 trustee meeting were fiscal officer J. David Finney and township trustees Joe Leonard, Mike Elias, and Tom Matota. Also present were, Roads Supervisor Chuck Vanek, Zoning Inspector Anna Mae VanDerHoeven, and Community House Caretaker Michelle Cmunt.

As the first order of business, Finney presented the minutes of the special meeting & regular meeting from March 19 for approval.  Matota made a motion to accept the minutes as presented;  Elias seconded the motion. All trustees voted to approve the minutes

Rachel King and her team of stylists at Facet Salon & Day Spa held a “Cut & Pedi – thon” last Saturday to raise money to help rebuild Garrettsville’s historic district. The salon was thrilled to announce that they had exceeded their goal of $1,000, and would be donating $1,260 to the GarrettsvilleStrong fund at the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce’s April meeting. Facet Owner Rachelle King (left), and salon Intern Amber Burnworth (right) pose for a photo between haircuts.

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Garrettsville - Main Street Grille & Brewing Company’s Brewmaster Mike Mallone (left), and Head Brewer Brian Koptis (right) are brewing a special GarrettsvilleStrong Pilsner. The beer goes on sale April 26th at $5 glass. 100% of proceeds benefit the GarrettsvilleStrong fund established to aid reconstruction of the block of shops and offices lost to the fire that ravaged Garrettsville’s Historic District on March 22nd.

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Nelson Twp – Officials present at the March 19th, 2014 trustee meeting were fiscal officer J. David Finney and township trustees Joe Leonard, Mike Elias, and Tom Matota. Also present were, Roads Supervisor Chuck Vanek, Zoning Inspector Anna Mae VanDerHoeven, and Community House Caretaker Michelle Cmunt.

Finney made copies of the NOPEC annual Report available on a first-come first-serve basis. 

Garrettsville - After months of intensive refurbishments and upgrades, the new owners of Garrettsville Cinema, Justin & Desiree Dlugokecki, held a weekend-long Grand Re-Opening celebration at their cinema. The owners were joined Saturday afternoon by Garrettsville Village Mayor Rick Patrick and Chamber of Commerce President Benjamin Coll for a ribbon cutting commemorating the event. 

Nelson Twp – Officials present at the March 5th, 2014 trustee meeting were fiscal officer J. David Finney and township trustees Joe Leonard, Mike Elias, and Tom Matota. Also present were Roads Supervisor Chuck Vanek, Zoning Inspector Anna Mae VanDerHoeven, and Community House Caretaker Michelle Cmunt.

As the first order of business, Finney presented the minutes of the February 19th meeting for approval.  Matota made a motion to accept the minutes as presented;  Elias seconded the motion. All trustees voted to approve the minutes.

Garrettsville - O’Henry, O’Malley, O’My! Grab your friends and neighbors, and follow the road to Garrettsville on March 17th for a fun-filled St. Patrick’s Day you won’t soon forget. And that’s no blarney!

The historic village of Garrettsville knows how to celebrate, and it will start first thing in the morn’. Start off with a hearty breakfast, and a beer if you are so inclined. Sean’s Pub, Miller’s Restaurant, SkyLane Lounge to name a few are serving up morn’ meals that will help get you started for the daylong celebration.

Nelson Twp – Officials present at the February 19th, 2014 trustee meeting were fiscal officer J. David Finney and township trustees Joe Leonard, Mike Elias, and Tom Matota. Also present were, Roads Supervisor Chuck Vanek, Zoning Inspector Anna Mae VanDerHoeven, and Community House Caretaker Michelle Cmunt.

As the first order of business, Finney presented the minutes of the February 5th meeting for approval. Matota made a motion to accept the minutes as presented; Elias seconded the motion. All trustees voted to approve the minutes.
Following the presentation of the minutes, Finney provided the trustees with copies of the bills and wages to be paid totaling $19,202.02; he also presented the trustees with a fund status report showing $285,809.11 in total township funds. Finney also informed the trustees that he has received the final loan repayment amortization schedule, which requires semi-annual payments $156.15 in the spring and fall. Following this schedule, the township’s debt would be retired in January 2044.

Garrettsville – Spring is right around the corner, probably buried in a snowdrift but it is coming nevertheless.
One of the first signs of spring is the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration. Grab your friends and neighbors, and follow the road to Garrettsville Monday, March 17th for a fun-filled St. Patrick’s Day you won’t forget. The restaurants and shops of Garrettsville know how to celebrate, and will be kicking off the morning with a variety of great fare. Whether you’re looking to start off the morning with a hearty breakfast, and a beer; or simply perusing historic Garrettsville’s shops there will be plenty of options to choose from. Corned beef and cabbage will be on many menus throughout the village. Family entertainment includes The Kindred Spirits, carriage rides (weather permitting), and balloon art by Jason Adkins; and will be scheduled from 5:00pm–8:00pm.
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Start sorting through the garage…the Garrettsville Area Chamber’s 21st Annual Community Yard Sale is slated for May 17 & 18, 2014, beginning at 9am until 4pm. So start cleaning out the closets and get ready to make some cash on those unused and unwanted items lying around. Remember, what might be considered trash by some could be another’s treasure. This annual event is not limited to village residents, Windham, Hiram, Nelson, Freedom residents are encouraged to participate as well.  Even if someone lives outside the immediate area, they can participate by registering for a space at Sky Lanes Bowling Alley the Freedom Township Park (an additional charge may apply for these spaces).

Looking ahead to the start of summer, Garrettsville’s first summer Cruise Night is scheduled for May 24th (Rain date: May 25th). Be a part of the crowd and take a stroll down Garrettsville’s Main Street while checking out tons of great classic cars.

For a complete list of Chamber events or to check out many of the areas offerings visit GarrettsvilleArea.com

Nelson Twp – Officials present at the February 5th, 2014 trustee meeting were fiscal officer J. David Finney and township trustees Joe Leonard, Mike Elias, and Tom Matota. Also present were, Roads Supervisor Chuck Vanek, Zoning Inspector Anna Mae VanDerHoeven, and Community House Caretaker Michelle Cmunt.

Nelson Twp.  – Officials present at the January 15th, 2014 trustee meeting were fiscal officer J. David Finney and township trustees Joe Leonard, Mike Elias, and Tom Matota. Also present were, Roads Supervisor Chuck Vanek, Zoning Inspector Anna Mae VanDerHoeven, and Community House Caretaker Michelle Cmunt.

As the first order of business, Finney presented the minutes of the January 8th meeting for approval with the addition of Jacob Seinc’s last name. Elias made a motion to accept the minutes as presented with the addition of Seinc’s last name; Matota seconded the motion. With a 3:0 vote to approve, the motion carried.

Nelson Twp.  – Acting as the Chairman-Pro Tem, Nelson Township Fiscal Officer Dave Finney called the first trustee meeting of 2014 to order on January 8 and lead those in attendance in reciting the pledge of allegiance. Officials present at the meeting were trustees Joe Leonard, Mike Elias, and Tom Matota. Also present were Chuck Vanek, Anna Mae VanDerHoeven, and Michelle Cmunt.

As the first order of business, Finney opened the floor to the trustees for the nomination of a Chairman. Matota nominated Leonard, and was seconded by Elias. All three trustees voted to close the nomination for Chairman making Leonard the Chairman. Finney then turned over control of the meeting to Leonard who opened the floor for the nomination of a Vice Chairman. Matota nominated Elias, and Leonard seconded the nomination, and the trustees voted to make Elias the Vice Chairman.

Garrettsville – The Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce  wrapped up 2013 by celebrating another successful year of community involvement at its annual Holiday Social held on December 18th at Sugar Bush Golf Course. Over forty chamber members were treated to a delicious meal prepared by The Pasta House & Sherry Quiggle. They  even enjoyed a brief visit from Santa Claus himself. Thank you to everyone who was able to attend this year’s event, we hope to see even more of you at the 2014 Holiday Social!

This year over $104,000 was spent locally during  the Chamber’s annual Christmas on Main promotion. Unlike previous years, the 2013 shopping season was shorter and  lasted only 17 days — yet brought in over $6,000 a day for participating area businesses.

Following the Holiday Social dinner, chamber treasurer Erika Frankel selected the three winning cards from an assortment of over 1,040. The 2013 winners were:

1st Prize:  Lisa Ramsey who won  $500 in Chamber Bucks to be spent at area chamber businesses

2nd Prize: Sally Dier won the  Poinsettia Lottery Tree

3rd Prize:  Karla Veon  received a gift certificate to Sean’s Pub.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the event. Your continued support of our local businesses helps to make Garrettsville a great place to work, live, and visit.

There will be a board meeting in January to se the 2014 event calendar. The next chamber meeting will be held on February 5th at 7:30 am  at The Villager.

Garrettsville – On Saturday, November 30 hundreds of area residents gathered at Garrettsville’s clock tower for the annual Clock Tower Lighting & Visit with Santa Claus. At exactly 5:30 PM, village mayor Rick Patrick flipped the switch illuminating Garrettsville’s historic timepiece in dazzling yuletide colors. Those in attendance were also treated to delicious hot chocolate and cookies from McDonald’s, story time with Mrs. Claus courtesy of The Village Bookstore, carriage rides from the Bixler family, and caroling led by Chamber of Commerce Vice-President Barb Bejger, and Iva Walker. Hitching a ride aboard one of the GFN Joint Fire District fire trucks, Santa Claus arrived promptly at 6:00 PM and spent the evening catching up with area children and their families. Thank you to Garrettsville McDonald’s, DQ Grill & Chill, and the Villager for contributing items for the gift cups handed out at the event.

Nelson Twp - Meeting at 7:15pm on November 20, trustees Tom Matota and Joe Leonard were in attendance for a special meeting scheduled to decide the fate of two proposed amendments. Outgoing trustee Jim Turos was once again absent.

After the November 6 meeting, the trustees followed up with Township legal counsel Chris Meduri for advice on two proposed amendments. Meduri informed the trustees that the amendments could be approved at their discretion, but noted that accepting “Amendment 2” as valid would set a precedent for future proposals. Amendment 2 was thought to be “null and void” at the November 6 meeting due to the fee for submission remaining unpaid. Trustees Matota and Leonard were in agreement that the amendment needed to be rejected as void to avoid setting a precedent. 

Garrettsville — Break out the ice cream cake, another area business is celebrating a major anniversary. This November marks the 40th anniversary of Garrettsville’s Dairy Queen, and the 38th year of Roger and Connie Angel’s ownership of the franchise. At the November 6th meeting of the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce, Roger presented a timeline of notable events in his franchise’s history. 

Following the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, trustee Tom Matota opened the floor to those present. Jacob Seinc of Scout Troop 465 presented the trustees with updates on his Eagle Scout project (the cleaning and restoration of the Pixley Park hiking trail). Seinc has revised his plan to trade off the mulching of the trail with the construction of stone ramps at the trailhead—enabling Seinc and others to get equipment needed to clear brush on the trail to the job site. Trustee Jim Turos made a motion to accept the changes as presented, to which all trustees agreed.

Bruce Abraham, and his team at Charles Auto Family recently celebrated the Grand Re-Opening of the newly remodeled Charles Chevrolet. Hundreds of local residents, and customers  — past and present –  were on hand for a day filled with great food, family activities, and entertainment by K-105. Attendees also had the opportunity to enter drawings for a ton of great prizes. 

Second Style resale boutique held their grand opening on Saturday, September 7th in downtown Garrettsville. Located at 8089 Main Street (the former Denette’s Designs), Second Style is packed with a range of new and gently used clothing items, accessories, children’s gear and toy.

Hours of operation for Second Style are 10am–6pm Tuesdays through Fridays, and 10am–5pm on Saturdays.

Second Style is owned and operated by Brandi Wiles-Evans and James Evans, both residents of Freedom Township. Stop by the store and check out Garrettsville’s latest retail location!

Nelson Twp. – Calling the meeting to order at 7:30 PM, Chairman Tom Matota opened the floor to those in attendance. A resident from Kyle Road was present to ask whether Dave Finney had been able to find information regarding cable service contracts within the township. The resident mentioned that SuddenLink (one of two providers in the township) continues to raise prices on cable/internet services of marginal quality. In his research, Finney found that contracts with SuddenLink and Time Warner had both expired in 2010; he also stated that townships no longer contract with cable companies for service, as the companies are able to deliver service in any areas they desire—paying the township 5% fee on their quarterly gross income.  After successfully navigating the labyrinth that is Time Warner Cable’s phone system, Finney learned that for Time Warner to consider extending service to an area, at least 20 houses per mile would need to be interested in service. Finney will call to inquire whether Time Warner can extend service to more locations in the township.

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Garrettsville–On Tuesday, August 6th Rachelle King and the staff of Facet Salon and Day Spa played host to over 100 area residents and business owners during their business open house. Attendees were treated to a tour of the entire TLC facility, comprised of vision, wellness, and fitness centers in addition to the Rachelle’s salon.
After their tour, attendees had the opportunity to meet with the “artists of Facet” and learn more about each service offered at Facet. More than a new place to get a haircut, Facet offers manicures, pedicures, body wraps, waxing, tanning, facials and an infrared-sauna—all at prices on par with other area businesses.
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Photo courtesy Richard Teresi

Photo courtesy Richard Teresi

Garrettsville–Following a brief history of the Garrettsville Freedom Nelson Joint Fire District, and the Fire Station, representatives of the district Fireman’s Association held a dedication ceremony Saturday evening during the 2013 Peach Social & Car Cruise. The new outbuilding located between the fire station, and Community EMS houses an assortment of antique fire equipment and memorabilia. The structure was dedicated to the communities of Garrettsville, Freedom, and Nelson.
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Video courtesy of Richard Teresi

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Garrettsville  -  On Sunday, July 7th the Villager’s own Iva Walker recently hosted a Riparian Lawn Party to celebrate the repetitive 39th Birthday of one of Garrettsville’s own. This time with live entertainment.
The crowd of over 100 “close personal friends” gathered at The Walker Riparian Cottage & Convention Centre was treated to the sounds of WIXY 1260 who played   all of the great radio hits from 1965–1975.
A wonderful time was had by all those in attendance.

Windham Library and the Renaissance Family Center invite everyone to a fun filled July.  We’ll start off being entertained with the magic of Drew Murray on Tuesday, July 16 at 12:30 p.m.  Kent State Summer Stock 2013 will be doing their theatrical performance of Puss & Boots on July 29 at 10:00 a.m.  These events are open to everyone.
Join us Thursday, July 25 12:30-2:30 p.m. for a garden tea party.  The Windham Library Children’s Garden Club invites the community to view the ongoing progress of their garden.
For more information, call the Windham Library at 330-326-3145.  The library, located at 9005 Wilverne Drive, is open Monday and Friday, 10:00 am-4:00 pm; Tuesday and Thursday, 12:00 pm-6:30 pm; and closed on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. For additional information about library programs and services, please visit Portage County District Library online at www.portagelibrary.org.

Garrettsville – After briefly franchising-out their flagship restaurant in Garrettsville, owners Tim and Joselle Weiss have returned to the helm of The Italian Garden. Opening fifteen years ago in the former Mario Angelo Pizza building (8116 Main Street), The Italian Garden quickly became known as the place to go for affordable “home-made taste without the hassle or wait”.
Since returning to the Garrettsville location, Tim has listened to the comments and concerns of former “long-time customers”.
“We spent over fourteen years building The Italian Garden’s reputation”. Tim assures  his  customers that they are returning back to their roots, which is  what made Italian Garden locally famous.
In the coming weeks, customers can expect a return to the original recipes and fresh ingredients they fell in love with fifteen years ago, and an enhanced dining space complete with comfortable booths.
As word of Tim and Joselle’s return spread amongst the area residents, they have slowly seen the return of familiar faces.
Be sure to check out the Italian Garden’s  website for this week’s specials, or visit them online at http://theitaliangardenpizza.com.

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Garrettsville – Congratulations to the students and staff of the James A. Garfield Local School District. The district as a whole has achieved an “Excellent”, or “Excellent with Distinction” rating for five consecutive years with many of the schools holding these titles individually much longer than that. Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, schools will be ranked using a new metric and awarded a letter-grade instead.

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Garrettsville – On June 5th the Garrettsville Area Chamber held their annual Scholarship Luncheon at Cal’s Restaurant.  Pictured above are the 2013 recipients of the scholarships.  Kaleigh Gilmer (left) will be attending the Indiana University of Pennsylvania to study nursing and psychology; Garrett McArdle (center) will be persuing a degree in actuarial sciences at Ohio University; Caitlin Chartier will attend the University of Notre Dame where she will be studying architecture with a focus on historic preservation.

Congratulations and best of luck to all!

O’Henry, O’Malley, O’My! Grab your friends and neighbors, and follow the road to Garrettsville on March 17th for a fun-filled St. Patrick’s Day you won’t soon forget. And that’s no blarney!

The historic village of Garrettsville knows how to celebrate, and they are starting first thing in the morn’. Start off with a hearty breakfast, and a beer if you are so inclined. Sean’s Pub, Miller’s Restaurant, SkyLane Lounge and the Main Street Grille to name a few are serving up morn’ meals that will help get you started for the daylong celebration.

Garrettsville – The Garrettsville Police Department, and Save-A-Lot are teaming up to “shut the door on hunger” this weekend. The first Fill-A-Cruiser promotion of 2013 will take place Saturday, February 9th from 8:00 AM—1:00 PM; allowing Save-A-Lot shoppers an opportunity to help fill Garrettsville police cruisers with donations of non-perishable items.  All food & home items donated will be delivered to the Nelson Garrettsville Community Cupboard (NGCC).

CLEVELAND—“This next band isn’t from Streetsboro High School, it IS Streetsboro High School!” quipped emcee Jeff Kutz as he introduced Streetsboro’s own ‘We Regret to Inform You’ at the Tri-C® High School Rock Off on January 27th. All joking aside, Kutz wasn’t too far from the truth. Brought together in a Streetsboro High School songwriting class, this fifteen member band comprised of  Jake Edgerton, Zack Madden, Marcus Bowman, Nathan Bailey, Maddie Oslejsek, Austin McDone, Alex Hahn, Ryan McCormack, Desiree Anderson, Samantha Palania, Jacey Kepich, Amber Lesak, Marissa Campisi, Cassidy Emch, and Dion Hetzel certainly filled the stage, and rocked the packed House of Blues. 

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CLEVELAND—The roar of dralions (a clever blending of eastern dragons and western lions) could be heard throughout lower Cleveland over the holiday weekend, drawing thousands to their temporary home within Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center. Billed as a performance that “transcends the boundaries of imagination”, the performers and crew of Cirque Du Soleil’s Dralion masterfully achieved just that.

Running April 4th through 8th, spectators were transported to a dazzling world of rich colors, moving instrumentals, flowing textiles and awe-inspiring acrobatics. Audience goers were treated to a bevy of phenomenal acts showcasing the talents of over fifty performers, at a level of perfection that could only be delivered by Cirque Du Soleil.

Reflecting over 3,000 years of Chinese acrobatic arts, the various acts in Dralion successfully blend eastern traditions with western culture. Over the course of the performance, audiences were treated to spectacles ranging from juggling to a high-stakes game of “Diablos”, Cirque’s unique spin on a classic children’s toy–the Chinese yo-yo. For fans of high-flying excitement, their thirst for aerial thrills was quenched by acts such as “Pas de Deux”, an aerial dance requiring both strength and flexibility from the couple intertwined in a band of blue cloth.

The level of talent on display each night was undeniable, but what goes into bringing a performance of this caliber to an arena like the Wolstein Center? On April 4th, the Weekly Villager was offered a chance to find out.

Tracing its origins back to 1999, Dralion was originally conceived and produced as one of Cirque Du Soleil’s Grand Chapiteau (big top) tours. Production Manager Alain Gauthier explained that in an effort to increase the accessibility (in terms of location), the show was “brought into a new reality” in 2010 when the Cirque creative team “redid [the technical aspects of Dralion] from scratch”. Stressing that while “[the show] remains artistically the same”, the arena tour has enabled the production team to rework the lighting and costumes to “achieve the quality of vision that both the designers and audiences expect”. Working together to produce a “stereo image”, an attempt at creating a unifying experience for audience goers, the creative team believes that “every seat should be a good seat”.

For Cirque Du Soleil, the spectacle comes not from the performers alone, but the blending of aural and visual performances. Not even the stage–described as a “twelve-agon”–escaped the creative team’s eye.
Seeking to reduce load-in/load-out times on the tour, Cirque Du Soleil’s stage supplier developed a unique “no-tool” stage that eliminates the need for screws and nails. Relying on magnets and a host of locking pins, the individual segments that compose the stage can be quickly assembled or disassembled with the “swing of an orange rubber hammer” and an allen key.

When the Dralion trucks arrive at a venue, laden with over 400,000 pounds of equipment, costumes and supplies, it is all hands on deck. Traveling with a permanent crew of 24 technicians, the production crew typically hires upwards of 60 local workers to help with load-in and over 75 for load out. Arriving one day ahead of opening night, load-in typically lasts 8-10 hours while the set and all equipment can be loaded out within 3 hours. Gauthier states that the current load-out record for this year’s tour is about 2 hours and 28 minutes.

Whether you missed your chance to see Dralion or want to experience the magic again, Cirque Du Soleil will be returning to the region in July with a new production which promises to deliver the same level of spectacle and excitement. Cirque Du Soleil’s Michael Jackson the Immortal World Tour blends the King of Pop’s music with “[a] riveting fusion of visuals, dance and fantasy” that will draw audiences into “Michael’s creative world and literally turn his signature moves upside down”.

For more information about Cirque Du Soleil or The Wolstein Center, visit their websites at: http://www.cirquedusoleil.com  and http://www.wolsteincenter.com


Photographs from Dralion

CLEVELAND—Billed as a performance that “transcends the boundaries of imagination”, the performers and crew of Cirque Du Soleil’s Dralion achieve just that. Running April 4th through 8th at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center, spectators are drawn into a dazzling world of rich colors, moving instrumentals and flowing textiles. Showcasing the talents of over fifty performers, audience goers are treated to a bevy of phenomenal acts at a level of perfection that can be only delivered by Cirque Du Soleil.

Reflecting over 3,000 years of Chinese acrobatic arts, the various acts in Dralion successfully blend eastern traditions with western culture. Over the course of the performance, audience goers are treated to many astounding spectacles including these favorites:

Single Handbalancing
Requiring impressing strength, flexibility and control, this act features an artist executing a series of impressing figures while maintaining her balance atop canes of various heights.

Dralions
The artists of Dralion take traditional Chinese dragon and lion dances to new heights in this stunning act. Featuring dynamic and energetic tumbling sequences, acrobatics on large wooden balls and the Dralions themselves; this act is a crowd pleaser.

Diablos
Putting a new spin on a classic children’s game, Diablos features four performers each with a Chinese yo-yo attempting increasingly difficult maneuvers, attempting to outdo each other in dexterity and ingenuity.

Tickets for Dralion are still available through the Wolstein Center and may be purchased online by clicking here.


Want to learn more about what goes into bringing Dralion to an arena near you? Find out in next week’s Villager.