Center for Archival Collections

NW Ohio History: Recreation

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Aquarama Parade | Armed Forces Day

As with business, recreation in Northwest Ohio reflects the region's unique resources as well as reflecting typical American leisure pursuits. We invite you to return often as we add to the examples.


Special occasions are marked by parades--they're as much fun to watch as they are to march in. There may be floats, marching bands, costumes, and animals. They highlight the occasion, whether it's serious (as Armed Forces Day, which recognizes those serving our nation in the military) or just for fun (as the Aquarama Parade, which simply celebrates summertime).

The photographs featured here were taken from the Department of Publicity and Efficiency in Toledo. During the 1950s, this city office was charged with documenting and publicizing the services provided to Toledoans by the city. They form a time capsule of life in northwest Ohio during that decade.

Festivals & Fairs

Good weather seems to call for celebrations. Agricultural fairs have long been a feature of rural life. Northwest Ohio celebrated bountiful harvests with a Tomato Festival. Although the Second World War suspended this festival, the Wood County Fair was reborn in 1947.


Cities and counties create and care for the parks and recreational facilities that make their communities pleasant places to live. The City of Toledo's Publicity and Efficiency Photograph Collection documents some of these activities.