Seeing Double in Twinsburg – Over 2,000 Twins Come Down in Ohio City Pipa News

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For Marko and Nico Martinovic, identical twins from Toronto famous for the jokes they post on YouTube, there’s probably no better place to learn about other twin hairstyles than the world’s largest gathering of lookalikes.

“We traded during school, we often did,” says Marko Martinovic, 30.

“So we ask people exactly what they did when… twins,” his brother Nico chimed in [pair of] twins dropped out of school together. Other twins lied to each other’s wives. So they’re great stories.”

Dressed in matching wine-colored T-shirts and caps, the Martinovics spent last weekend in Twinsburg, Ohio, about 25 miles southwest of Cleveland, during the annual Twins Day Festival.

It was founded in 1819 by identical twin brothers, Moses and Aaron Wilcox. The city, with a population of just under 20,000, reserves a few days a year to celebrate “the uniqueness” of twins and multiples.

The festival began in 1976 to celebrate its bicentenary, with the decision that a town named in honor of the Wilcox twins set aside a day to celebrate twins every year. Since then, it has attracted more than 80,000 twins and multiples at 47 festivals.

For three days, pairs of identical twins, dressed alike, roam the city to gather and bond over their twinness. The event is also a magnet for researchers – a potential treasure trove of human data for scientific research.

Marko and Nico Martinovic, identical twins from Toronto, are known for the jokes they post on YouTube. (Mark Gollom/CBC)

“It’s great to see so much support from other twins,” Marko said. “It’s a bit bizarre to see how many twins there really are all over the world…to come together like this every year.”

“She all united as one,” Nico continued. “So it’s pretty cool to see that bond between everyone here. It’s really cool to be a part of that.”

This year’s final count of registered twins and multiples was 2,145, but that doesn’t include many more that come but aren’t counted. The organizers estimate that a total of between 20,000 and 30,000 people will come to the festival.

“It puts the spotlight on the city of Twinsburg, where we would probably never get such recognition,” said Twinsburg Mayor Sam Scaffide.

A ‘gold mine’ for scientific research

The festival also provides a unique scientific opportunity for researchers to collect subjects with identical DNA to learn whether certain conditions are influenced by genetics or environmental factors.

Researchers set up tents on the festival site, where twins can voluntarily be tested. This year there were researchers from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, biometric researchers from West Virginia University and the department of dermatology at nearby Cleveland university hospitals.

“We can ask some questions about skin diseases. This year we focused some on responses to COVID vaccinations and COVID disease,” said Tyler Coleman, a University Hospitals researcher.

“It will help us answer some really interesting research questions.”

Researcher Alison Treichel, also of University Hospitals, said the Twins Day festival is truly a “gold mine” for research topics.

“It really is a unique opportunity. Probably one of the few places in the world where so many twins come and come together in one place from all over the world.”

The Double Take Parade

The makeshift research center, along with most of the Twins Day events, is held in the city’s Glen Chamberlin Park, which has been transformed into a mini-fair with food stalls and booths, along with activities such as a twins talent show and a volleyball tournament.

Twins gather in front of a large group store at the Twins Day Festival on the weekend of Aug. 6. (Mark Gollom/CBC)

Contests include prizes for the twins who traveled the longest distance to attend. While the majority of the twins are from the US, the festival also has international reach. This year twins from Spain, Japan, Iceland, Syria, Sweden and Africa attended.

I may have read about it 20 years ago when I was on holiday in Australia. And then I spoke to my twin sister Anno and we decided after thinking about it a lot and decided that this year [we would attend] because we turned 40,” says Ulrika Carlstedt Jönsson from Stockholm.

“It’s overwhelming and amazing and crazy and beautiful.”

The highlight of the festival is arguably the Double Take Parade. It draws hundreds of spectators, who set down their lawn chairs on either side of Ravenna Road, the city’s main stretch, to watch a sea of ​​twins march through the city.

This year’s theme was “Welcome to the Jungle,” meaning not only did more than 2,000 twins descend on Twinsburg, but many were also dressed in tiger-like costumes or safari attire.

Steve Nagel, left, and his brother Jeff, from Dayton, Ohio, have been coming to the festival for over 30 years. (Mark Gollom/CBC)

“Walking that parade route is almost like walking into the Macy’s Day Parade,” said Steve Nagel, who drove from Dayton, Ohio. “Those people, I mean, the fact that they’re lining the street in front of us is just amazing.”

He and his brother Jeff have been coming for 34 years and the fellow twins they met have become like family, they said.

“Why not a weekend to celebrate something you can’t buy?” said Steve Nagel.

“It’s something we were just born into, and being able to celebrate that with everyone is something we look forward to every year.”

A chance to bond with other twins

It is certainly a unique opportunity for twins and multiples to meet, take photos with other twin sets, exchange fun twin stories and bond.

Keith Wells, 59, from Maryland (left) and his brother Kevin say they come to the festival to be with “like-minded” people. (Mark Gollom/CBC)

“I think we’re coming with like-minded people. Because when you walk in here, you see us alone, doubles and triples,” said Keith Wells, 59, of Maryland, who came with his brother Kevin.

“We can all empathize with life. I mean just about anything we can say, no matter how old, small or young. It doesn’t matter. We can all empathize.”

It is also a way to learn about the experiences of others. Many at the festival identify themselves as Twin A or Twin B – Twin A is the older sibling – and usually only minutes away.

“I’m basically asking, ‘Who’s the more talkative, the more outgoing?'” said Joni Grant, Jamie Drapel’s older twin sister, of Lincoln, Neb.

Nagel said he will ask questions to compare identical twins to married people, and to find out how their husbands accept it and whether their children think they have two fathers or two mothers.

“It’s kind of amazing really, because where else can you find this wealth of knowledge? It’s not someone who just tells you what they think. These people have felt it. They experienced it,” Nagel said.

“We always say when we drive home, we say, ‘Oh my god, we’re very normal here.’ We thought we were just these freaks and all those other twins experience about the same as our whole lives.”

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