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Twins Days Festival celebrates relative happiness for a 43rd year

August 4, 2018

Twins Days Festival celebrates relative happiness for a 43rd year

CLEVELAND, Ohio – This is the one weekend of the year when it’s perfectly all right to be seeing double . . . if you’re in Twinsburg, Ohio, of course. The city’s 43rd annual Twins Days Festival is expected to attract about 40,000 people, including about 2,000 registered sets of twins and multiples representing almost every state and several countries.

Saturday’s events included the Double Take Parade, twins contests and talent shows, a golf outing with twin and non-twin divisions and a fireworks display. The three-day festival concludes Sunday, Aug. 5, with another full lineup, from entertainment and a volleyball tournament to more twins contests and talent shows.

Andrew Miller, the event’s executive director, has seen the August festival grow from its humble origins in 1976 with 36 registered sets of twins. He attended that inaugural festival. Indeed, he and his sister, Janine, were one of those sets of twins. They were 10 years old.

Miller has attended every festival since, except one, when vacation travel plans interfered.

“There are twin conventions here and there, but this is the only annual gathering, so lifelong friendships are formed here,” Miller said Saturday afternoon in the trailer being used as festival headquarters. “It’s a family-friendly event, and it feels like family. That’s what it is. This becomes their family reunion.”

No one can argue with Miller’s credentials. He is a twin who grew up in Twinsburg, and his wife, Elena, is an identical twin.

“This is place where you can be a twin and not feel different because of it,” Miller said. “And it’s a festival for everybody.”

Certainly everybody is welcome. Yes, many people attending are twins, triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets, parents of twins, families of twins, friends of twins and people with an interest in twins and multiples.

“But the majority of people attending aren’t twins,” Miller said. “So everybody is here to celebrate twinship, and the event truly is for anyone looking for a family-friendly good time.”

Among those celebrating are the popular hosts of the festival’s Twins Talent Shows, twin brothers Jim and Tom Provencal of St. Clair Shores, Michigan. They are marking their 30th consecutive year attending the Twins Days Festival.

Entering one of those contests were Donna Dawson of Reading, Pennsylvania, and her twin sister, Diane Fiebert, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. They’ve been making the trip to Twinsburg for 11 years. This year they were dressed as Mrs. White, the housekeeper from the board game Clue.

“You not only make friends from all over the world, you end up meeting people from your own hometown you didn’t know, and they become friends,” Dawson said. “That’s happened with us, and we hear about it happening all the time.”

The festival site is on Ravenna Road (Route 14), with golf cart shuttles running regularly from parking lots at Twinsburg High School, R.B. Chamberlin Middle School and Dodge Intermediate School.

A central gathering spot at the festival is the “Put a Pin On It!” display of maps showing Ohio, the United States and all the continents. Attendees are encouraged to use pins to indicate their hometowns.

The festival set the record for registered twins and multiples in 1995 with 2,798. That same year, Twins Days made the Guinness Book of World Records as “the largest annual gathering of twins in the world.”

“Some twins tell us that they were reluctant to come here,” Miller said. “But then they get here and they always say, ‘Why did we wait so long?’”

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