Twinsburg — Visitors saw double during the 2017 Twins Days Festival, but twins considered the festival Aug. 5 and 6 a giant family reunion.
This year the "TwinCentennial" theme celebrated Twinsburg's Bicentennial, as the city was founded in 1817. Twins dressed according to their country of origin or to show state or city pride.
According to information at the entrance of Glenn Chamberlin Park, 1,520 twins and multiples registered this year; however, that was probably low — committee member Sandy Miller said the unofficial number was 1,905 sets of twins or multiples. Approximately 25,000 to 30,000 people were in and out of the popular festival throughout the weekend, she said.
"We had so many beautiful costumes for the theme," Miller said. "And we couldn't have asked for better weather."
Miller said it was the first year for many twins in attendance, while others returned after years of being absent.
Being a twin places multiples in a special family, and Twins Days offers a reunion of "family" every year, many of the twins said.
Steve and Jeff Nagel of Dayton have been attending for 29 years. Dressed in German costumes, they have won most identical twins every year for 29 years for their age group.
"We love the heritage theme and that Twinsburg is 200 years old," Steve said. "We turned 100 this year – 50 years each."
"We meet up with great friends we made 29 years ago and meet great new twins," Jeff said.
"It's like a family reunion," Steve said. "Love and happiness are felt from everyone. We have a common bond."
Melody Joy Snelen and Rachel Crismond of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., came as monozygotic or identical twin Americans. This was their sixth year attending the event.
"We have relatives all over," Rachel said, referring to other twins.
Irish and British, the twins celebrated their American pride by wearing red, white and blue.
"We love the family dynamic," Rachel said about the festival.
They participate in the 5K run, the talent show and the parade, Rachel said. They hoped to take first place in the costume contest with their Civil War period gowns.
"It's a big celebration of our twin bonds," Rachel said. "We spend time with our twins."
"It's like a family reunion," Melody added. "The twin family [at Twins Days] is like nothing in the world."
Carolyn Perdue and Sharolyn Becker of Titusville, Fla., were dressed as pioneer women, whose ancestors arrived in the United States in 1849 and traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah.
"It's fun to be with everyone and enjoy the talent show and the food," Carolyn said.
They first began attending Twins Days in 2013.
"We come every other year and do it together," Carolyn said.
Miller agreed that Twins Days offers a unique opportunity.
"It's the largest support group for multiples," Miller said. "They can share problems with each other."
Michele Nelson of Norton, Ohio, and Mindy Nelson of Sebring, Ohio, are identical twins who have been coming to Twinsburg since they were 8 months old. This is their 28th year.
"It's a great way to stay in contact with twins all over the world," Michele said. "It's a normal day for us with no one asking if we're twins or sisters."
They have been dressing up for the last six years and collaborated on the costumes. Michele worked on the dresses and Mindy worked on the boxes for their German ancestry.
Carol Bond of Greeley, Col., and Connie Morey of Denver attended for the first time. They didn't know about the theme but wore red, white and blue and their shirts had International Twins Association, which they were presidents of in 2010. The group meets in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Labor Day.
"With a twin, you always have someone to talk to," Carol said.
They were participating in the research line for reflective measures for forensics offered by one of the myriad universities and research institutions at the festival.
The committee provides 16 areas for research projects, and twins lined up to volunteer a fingerprint, photo or answer questions, Miller said.
"Three to five years of research can be done in one weekend," Miller said. "It beneficial for them [the researchers] to be here, and it helps everyone not just twins."
Martha Newberry of Cincinnati and Mary Connors are identical twins who have been attending for 15 years. Martha and Mary posed with two sets of other twins, a common occurrence at Twins Days.
Someone will ask to take a picture and other twins will join in without asking, Martha said. Sometimes a non-twin will sneak into a picture as well.
"We all met the first year and visit each other," Martha said, about the other twins with them.
Dressed in Civil War period dresses, Martha talked in a southern drawl, "Our ancestors hail from the South and have been in the Common Wealth of Virginia but now we live in the Yankee state of Ohio."
The great thing about being twins is you have a best friend," Martha said. "We moved around a lot [when younger] and when we went to a new school, I took my best friend with me."
The Kings of the Festival were Nathan Hasbrook of Denver and Scott Hasbrook of Houston, Texas. Born in Oklahoma, they dressed as mountain men.
Nathan said the costume depends on keeping their long hair and beards.
"The costume has to fit us," Nathan said.
Miller, who has attended the festival nearly every year, said she has made friends with many of the twins.
"A lot of them get together outside of Twins Days," Miller said. "It's a great thing. I wish I was a twin sometimes. It's a special bonding."
"The festival was awesome, and everyone had a great time," Miller said. "It ran very smoothly. Even the committee enjoyed it this year."
A committee of about 20 people begin planning Twins Days 10 months in advance to secure sponsors and raise funding, Miller said.
"It's a lot of work but a labor of love," Miller added.