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Usually I don’t go to a place like Clark’s Elioak Farm twice in one year. But when I went to that 60th anniversary celebration of the opening of the original Enchanted Forest that included the unveiling of a sign announcing the arrival of dinosaurs on the farm, I knew I had to return to check them out.

The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

On top of it, that 60th anniversary took place in August when it was a very hot and humid day, which is why I personally prefer to visit that farm either in the spring or fall.

So I finally made it back to Clark’s Elioak Farm in early October, which meant that the dinosaurs had been there for a few weeks so I didn’t have to endure any crowds.

I started my trip with a stop at the original location of the Enchanted Forest amusement park, which is now the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center. I wanted to see what the place was like now that the few remaining items from its theme park past had either been torn down or relocated to Clark’s Elioak Farm. Here is what it looked like when the original castle and storybook were still in their original location.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

And here’s one close-up shot of the castle in its original location.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

Here is what that area looks like now.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center

Back in 2014, if one stood in a certain area along a fence that blocked people from trying to access the former theme park in the back of the shopping center, one could see the giant ice cream cone that used to decorate the outside of the Gingerbread House.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

Here is the same area sans giant ice cream cone. The forest now looks indistinguishable from other forests and woods throughout North America.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

The only other new thing I noticed at the shopping center is the addition this charging station for electric cars.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 9, 2015

With all of the Enchanted Forest attractions either torn down or relocated to Clark’s Elioak Farm, Old King Cole pointing the way to the shopping center is the sole remaining vestige of the shopping center’s theme park past.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

So I ate lunch at this bagel place that’s located in the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center then drove to Clark’s Elioak Farm. Here is what the place now looks like with dinosaurs added with the old Enchanted Forest attractions.

Clark's Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark's Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark's Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark's Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015 I noticed that the Hickory Dickory Dock clock is now joined by a mad scientist who wasn’t there before. For some reason I look at that mad scientist and think Jurassic Park. LOL!

Clark's Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 9, 2015

There are now dinosaurs everywhere among the old Enchanted Forest attractions. It’s kind of surreal at times to see dinosaurs milling along with the tea cups from Alice in Wonderland or Little Boy Blue but when I was there I heard kids squealing with joy over seeing those dinosaurs everywhere.

Clark's Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015
Clark's Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark's Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015
Clark's Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark's Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015
Clark's Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark's Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015
Clark's Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark's Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015
Clark's Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark's Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark's Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

The Tortoise and the Hare have been joined by a two-headed turtle from the dinosaur era.

Clark's Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark's Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark's Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Interspersed with the dinosaurs were these signs describing what type of dinosaur they were along with some real-life facts.

Clark's Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark's Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015Historical purists will definitely have issues with this one. LOL!

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

A Tyrannosaurus Rex stands next to the sign pointing the way to the home of Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother. Which means that not only does Little Red Riding Hood have to deal with that wolf who’s pretending to be her grandmother but she may also have to contend with a T-Rex. (That sounds like a story along the lines of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.)

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

I also spend some time walking around the farm while checking out some of the attractions that I skipped back in August because I became so overheated from that hot and humid weather that I felt the need to split after I finished checking out the 60th anniversary stuff. Here’s a giant pumpkin patch.

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

I also hung around the petting zoo, which was another area that I bypassed back in August due to the intense heat.

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

I ended my trip to Clark’s Elioak Farm with sitting on the old Little Toot boat for a while. I can remember when my parents used to take me to the old Enchanted Forest when I was a child and we used to take the Little Toot boat ride along a giant lake. Little Toot now sits in a much smaller lake (although one could argue that the body of water is really a big pond) and he’s permanently docked there. One can still walk the plank and just sit on the benches on board. Sometimes I feel sad that Little Toot is no longer a functioning boat but, on the other hand, that boat was literally rotting behind the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center for many years before it was relocated to the farm so I have to admit that its current location is better than the alternative.

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

The next photo shows the birthday area where people can have birthday parties. It was pretty quiet the day I was there. If you go on the weekends, you can easily see two or more such parties in progress.

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Pumpkins line the back of the farm entrance/gift shop.

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

A monkey hangs from the ceiling inside the gift shop.

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

This last photo shows the one souvenir I purchased from Clark’s Elioak Farm. It’s a pumpkin. It currently sits in my living room but I’ll eventually carve it up into a jack o’lantern while roasting the seeds inside.

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 9, 2015

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It’s been two years since I last attended the annual Sakura Matsuri street festival that’s held in downtown Washington, DC as part of the larger National Cherry Blossom Festival. I thought about going down early in the morning so I could check out the Cherry Blossom Parade that precedes the Sakura Matsuri by starting at 10 a.m. But I was too lazy to get my act together so I could arrive that early so I basically ate breakfast and lunch at home then headed out to the Sakura Matsuri in the afternoon. (I was glad I ate my meals at home because nearly all of the food vendors had very long lines.)

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

I even dug out this Japanese imported Stitch hat that I purchased at one of the Otakon anime conventions that were held in Baltimore. I know it was before my marriage broke up because I bought it with my then-husband in mind because he was such a huge fan of the Disney movie Lilo & Stitch and Stitch was his favorite Disney character. I also remember when I modeled the hat for him and he was thrilled with it. That hat had been sitting in a drawer since my husband left but I decided that I could continue to use it because I think it’s a cute hat. Besides, it enabled me to blend in a little bit with the other people who were cosplaying. I even had several people at the festival notice my hat and telling me that they loved it. When I arrived in downtown DC, the one of the first things I did was to take a rare selfie of me wearing that hat.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Like most other years, the festival was very crowded. I still enjoyed myself as I looked around at the sights and sounds of the festival. I even took a few silly pictures while I was there. I recently started to follow the official Sonic the Hedgehog accounts on Facebook and Instagram and it was through social media I learned that there is something called Travel Tuesday where people can submit photos of a Sonic doll or stuffed animal either at an event or some famous landmark (like the Eiffel Tower). I decided to pack my articulated Sonic vinyl doll so I could take his photo for Travel Tuesday. Here are the photos that I submitted but, as of this writing, none of them have been selected for Travel Tuesday.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

I also played around a little bit with the Hatsune Miku photo app on my smartphone. I thought it was appropriate since that character originated in Japan. (Although now that I look at the pictures, I realized that I should’ve varied the girl’s pose just a little bit since she had the same facial expression and pose. Oh well.)

Hatsune Miku at the Sakura Matsuri

Hatsune Miku at the Sakura Matsuri

Hatsune Miku at the Sakura Matsuri

I basically walked around shooting pictures of cosplayers and the various items I saw on sale. I noticed a lot of ram and sheep plushies on sale this year, which makes sense since 2015 is the year that’s known alternatively as the Year of the Sheep, the Year of the Ram, or the Year of the Goat.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

I only purchased one thing at this year’s festival.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Yes, it’s chocolate gelato made by Dolci Gelati and it was very delicious!

While I heard musicians perform on the various stages throughout the festival, I only managed to capture one of the acts with my smartphone because it was one of the few times that I was even able to get close to a stage because everything was so crowded. As for the act that I captured, according to the program book, she is a pop singer from Kyoto named Jonetsu Mariko. I thought I recognized the name for some reason and the program book said that she was making a return appearance to the Sakura Matsuri. After I got home, I searched through this blog and I found out that I previously saw her at the 2010 Sakura Matsuri and I had also videotaped her that time. (She appeared under the name Jonetsu Marie and Shabondama High School.) In any case I took a still photo of her.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

I even shot a short video of her performing on stage.

That video was the only one I shot at this year’s Sakura Matsuri.

I also saw that NASCAR driver Akinori Ogata was there with his race car, just like the last time I attended the Sakura Matsuri two years ago. Once again he appeared with Eneos, which makes motor oil. Eneos also had a bean bag toss game called “Cornhole.”

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Getting on the Metro so I could go home was a bit of a hassle. The last photo shows the long line that I had to stand in just so I could enter the Federal Triangle Metro Station. I’m only lucky that I had the foresight to put enough money on my Metro SmartTrip card for a round trip so I wouldn’t have to stand in another line at the farecard machines.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Asian Lunar New Year

Most years Lunar New Year has one animal designated as its year. This year it’s not quite as certain. I’ve gone on some sites saying that it’s the Year of the Sheep. Other sites say that it’s the Year of the Goat. Then there’s today’s Google Doodle where, to me, the animal looks like a ram.

Apparently there’s a reason, according to this article in The New York Times.

“Few ordinary Chinese are troubled by the sheep-goat distinction,” Xinhua, China’s main state-run news agency, said in its report on the debate. “However, the ambiguity has whipped up discussion in the West.”

The reason is that the word for the eighth animal in the Chinese zodiac’s 12-year cycle of creatures, yang in Mandarin, does not make the distinction found in English between goats and sheep and other members of the Caprinae subfamily. Without further qualifiers, yang might mean any such hoofed animal that eats grass and bleats. And so Chinese news outlets have butted heads for days on what to call this year in English, recruiting experts to pass judgment.

I think I’ll make things easier by just saying Happy Lunar New Year to everyone regardless of whether they are celebrating 2015 as the Year of the Sheep, the Year of the Goat, or the Year of the Ram.

Previous entries in the Occupy the Dollhouse series can be found right here.

The dolls and their allies continue their fight for equal justice for all by staging a die-in at American Girl Place.

30a-dieinatamericangirlplace

30b-dieinatamericangirlplace

30c-dieinatamericangirlplace

A few American Girl dolls currently on sale decide to raise their hands in solidarity with the protesters.

30d-dieinatamericangirlplace

30e-dieinatamericangirlplace

This protest was one of many that have been taking place all over the United States as a protest against police killing unarmed African Americans. The largest one to date took place at the Mall of America (a.k.a. the biggest shopping mall in the United States) on the last Saturday before Christmas.

I made a return trip to Clark’s Elioak Farm this year, which is notable for being a farm that has many of the old attractions from the former Enchanted Forest amusement park, which closed years ago. For this trip I added an excursion to the site of the original Enchanted Forest park.

I’ve already written extensively about the history of The Enchanted Forest before so I won’t go into too many details here other than to say that it originally opened at a location that now houses The Enchanted Forest Shopping Center.

Old King Cole originally pointed the way to the amusement park and he continues to point the way to the shopping center.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

The castle, which not only housed a gift shop but also provided the main entrance to the park, is still there.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

The lute playing dragon still remains at the top of the castle waiting to see visitors.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

Here’s the front entrance to both the castle gift shop and the park itself, which is now permanently shuttered and locked.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

If you walk off to the side of the shopping center, you’ll see a wooded area surrounded by a fence with “NO TRESPASSING” signs. In some places there is additional heavy rope to discourage people from even coming up to the fence. If you look in the background of the photo really close, you’ll see the old Gingerbread House.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

Here’s a very close-up shot of the Gingerbread House. Even though the official name was Hansel and Gretel’s House, many kids dubbed it the Gingerbread House because of the fact that it looked like, well, a gingerbread house. That building was one where parents could rent for an hour so they could hold birthday parties for their children. I’ve always wanted to have my birthday party in the Gingerbread House but I never had one mainly because my birthday is in December, when The Enchanted Forest was closed for the season. (The amusement park was only opened six months a year.) Nowadays no child can have a birthday party in the Gingerbread House and that structure looks like a shadow of its former self.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

As for the rest of the shopping center, it’s a typical suburban shopping center. Without Old King Cole and the castle, it would be pretty indistinguishable. I shot this video a five years ago showing the jarring juxtaposition between the site’s origins as a fairy tale theme park and its current incarnation as a shopping center.

And here’s an old Super-8 movie of The Enchanted Forest when it was still operating that someone uploaded on YouTube. The colors in the film are faded and it’s mostly a silent film but it gives you an idea as to what The Enchanted Forest was like.

I ate lunch at the bagel place in that shopping center (BTW the food is pretty good) then I drove three miles to the place where many of the old attractions from The Enchanted Forest are currently displayed, Clark’s Elioak Farm.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

I had taken extensive photos of the place last year so I’m just going to focus on some things that I haven’t photographed before, like this display of pumpkins that the farm is currently selling.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

One of the teacups from the old Alice in Wonderland Teacup Ride is now permanently stationery as a funky chair among the other plainer wooden chairs.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Here’s are a few landscape shots of the old Enchanted Forest attractions that sit side-by-side with the farming fields. (Yes, Clark’s Elioak Farm is a working farm.)

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

The one new thing I noticed is the addition of a dinosaur family. I don’t recall seeing any dinosaurs at the old Enchanted Forest. Maybe it’s something new that was put up because dinosaurs remain a perennial favorite among children. This attraction was among the more crowded ones as children clamored for their parents to take their pictures in that area.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Here is one of the trucks used for the hayride. I didn’t go on it because the lines to buy tickets were so long and that ride was frequently packed with people.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Here is the birthday cake which used to be the centerpiece inside the old Gingerbread House (as I wrote earlier, that building was the ones that parents could rent for birthday parties).

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Baby Bear peeks out the window of the Three Bears’ Home while Goldilocks looks terrified.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

A framed portrait of the Three Bears inside their home.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

The ceiling of the Three Bears’ Home provides an interesting picture.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

A line of gingerbread men.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Another new thing I noticed this year is the re-creation of the old Mt. Vesuvius attraction at The Enchanted Forest. Mt. Vesuvius was a giant manmade mountain over a giant lake where the Little Toot boat ride used to ride through an opening in the mountain. There was a giant sliding board on the side of that mountain. While Clark’s Elioak Farm’s version of Mt. Vesuvius is way smaller than the original, it is still a sliding board and the kids seemed to enjoy going on it.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

There was a hay maze added that the kids seemed to enjoy.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Another addition was that some of the trees on the farm now have faces on them.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Here’s a really cool artsy shot of the Crooked House.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Here’s another artsy shot of the Easter Bunny’s Home and Mother Goose. I especially loved the clouds in this picture.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Here’s a painted map of the old Enchanted Forest.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

The biggest addition is this mining attraction where people can either mine for gems or do some geode cracking. (There are separate fees for each option.) This attraction is only in operation on the weekends. The seven dwarfs from the Snow White story are at this attraction, which is fitting since they were depicted in the Disney movie as being miners.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

I also had some more fun with that new Mikuture smartphone app where I managed to insert a few photos of international pop superstar Hatsume Miku having fun on the farm. Here’s Miku rolling down the hill alongside Jack and Jill.

Jack and Jill and Hatsume Miku at Clark's Elioak Farm in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Here she is sitting on a mushroom.

International pop superstar Hatsume Miku sits on a mushroom at Clark's Elioak Farm in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Hatsune Miku is risking being swallowed alive by Willie the Whale.

International pop superstar Hatsume Miku gets eaten by Willie the Whale at Clark's Elioak Farm in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Last, but not least, she’s sitting in front of the Crooked Man.

International pop superstar Hatsume Miku and the Crooked Man at Clark's Elioak Farm in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Here are the animals on the farm.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

The last photo shows the two bars of handcrafted soaps that I bought at Clark’s Elioak Farm. I’m keeping one bar for myself and give the other to my mother since her birthday is this month.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Like I wrote earlier in this post, I had taken extensive photos of Clark’s Elioak Farm last year so if you want to see those, click here.

UPDATE (April 24, 2015): The current owners of the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center have just announced that they plan on moving the original giant storybook and the castle with the lute-playing dragon to Clark’s Elioak Farm while razing both the Gingerbread House and Cinderella’s Castle. Once these changes are complete, Old King Cole with his pointing finger will remain the only vestige of the shopping center’s theme park past.

I once had a cousin tell me about this annual expo for pets that is held at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium and it sounded really interesting. I’ve been without a pet since the death of Spike the Hedgehog last September. I thought I would attend the World of Pets Expo while researching potential future pets.

The only bad thing was that I have been battling a nasty chest cold since late on Martin Luther King Day (the day before this snowstorm mixed with yet another Polar Vortex) and I was still feeling congested. But I had been looking forward to going to The World of Pets Expo and Saturday was the only day I could attend. If I didn’t attend that day, I would have to either 1) wait a couple of weeks for the World of Pets Expo to open in Hampden, Virginia (which would be at least a four-hour commute for me) or 2) wait a whole year for the expo to return to Timonium.

So I decided to tough it and make the drive to the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. I quickly found that it was so crowded that it took me a while to find parking. As I walked in the very cold Polar Vortex air, I kept on huffing but I was lucky enough that I didn’t have a long walk to get to the entrance to the building where the expo was held. Across the street from the expo building was this trailer that offered dog teeth cleaning.

World of Pets Expo, January 25, 2014

Here’s the banner that graced the box office where one bought admission tickets.

World of Pets Expo, January 25, 2014

When I entered the expo, I found that the building was warm, which was the good news. The bad news was that I started to wheeze. I have no idea if it was because of the overabundance of pet hair or I’m still suffering from that chest cold or some combination of the two. I tried to take frequent breaks but I constantly felt like I was out of breath. I had such a hard time breathing that I left after about 45 minutes. I managed to take some pictures but I definitely know that going to this event when I was still sick with the chest cold was a major mistake on my part.

It’s a shame that I had to get sick because it was a really good expo, which was filled with all kinds of things that one could purchase for Fido or Kitty as well as pet-themed arts and crafts, information tables about the various animal rescue groups, and even jewelry for humans. Many of the visitors brought their animals on leashes so pet and owner could enjoy the expo together.

World of Pets Expo, January 25, 2014

World of Pets Expo, January 25, 2014

World of Pets Expo, January 25, 2014

World of Pets Expo, January 25, 2014

World of Pets Expo, January 25, 2014

World of Pets Expo, January 25, 2014

World of Pets Expo, January 25, 2014

World of Pets Expo, January 25, 2014

World of Pets Expo, January 25, 2014

World of Pets Expo, January 25, 2014

World of Pets Expo, January 25, 2014

World of Pets Expo, January 25, 2014

World of Pets Expo, January 25, 2014

World of Pets Expo, January 25, 2014

World of Pets Expo, January 25, 2014

World of Pets Expo, January 25, 2014

World of Pets Expo, January 25, 2014

World of Pets Expo, January 25, 2014

World of Pets Expo, January 25, 2014

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