Seeing Through a New Lens


Caring for the community means more than buying local – it means volunteering, too.

... I just think that’s really
special, that people go out of their way
here to help other people.”
— Olivia

Here in Ohio, it can be difficult to plan for the so-called perfect day. In the summer, it can be easy to stay in because it’s too hot and sticky; in the fall because it’s to raining and gray; in the winter because it’s too icy and dry; in the spring because allergens are everywhere. But what if you choose to venture out anyway? What if you decide to don your yellow galoshes and splash in the puddles? Or let yourself ignore the sweat running down your face? Or dig out the snow boots from the back of the closest and play in the snow? What if you let yourself be a kid again?


Olivia Bigg’s journey fell on a relentlessly raining fall Saturday. Olivia jokes she’s the kind of person who brings three umbrellas wherever she goes so her hair doesn’t get wet, but with two adventurous sons and a day planned for exploration, it was too late to turn back. And, as it turns out, the day went swimmingly.

The team of seven consisted of Olivia; her husband, Justin; their two children, Jenner, 6, and Roman, 3; Olivias cousin, Allison; and Allison’s children, Cooper, 7; and Bree, 4. With four children to three adults, the day was going to be full of energy, laughter and, because of the rain, maybe a little sogginess. First, though, the Biggs had to prepare for their cousins to arrive, and that meant stocking up on goodies.

The night before the journey, the family went to Canal Market District and Market Street Soda Works to gift some delicious local popcorn to the cousins. Olivia, a health and fitness nut, picked up her usual cucumbers and peppers, checking to see if her favorite pickle vendor was around. Olivia’s Love for the community just stop at food, though, and caring for the community means more than buying local- it means volunteering, too. Just the next morning, she would be deep in the Licking River, participating in the Licking County River Round Up.


With the River Round Up complete and the cousins’ arrival in just a few hours, not even the rain could prevent the group from heading outside to pick apples and peaches, which, Olivia says, the kids were excited to do. Staring out through the orchard, alone with her cousin, husband and children, the world may have stopped for just a moment. Picking apples in the rain with the people you love – does it get any better?

With a renewed energy – and maybe a small desire to get out of the rain – the group headed to Velvet Ice Cream Co. in Utica. If there’s anything that can brighten up a rainy day, it’s ice cream. Roman decided on moose tracks, and Jenner on super friends, a swirl of vanilla and bubble gum. Ice cream has a funny way of reminding us of our childhood, and Jenner’s choice brings Olivia back to her own childhood in Michigan.

With the kids at their own table, the parents were able to take time to choose where to head next. The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology has always been a needed stop in downtown Newark for residents, but with the new 30-foot, 4K SciDome projection planetarium, it’s become a destination for those visiting from outside the community, too. While they were deciding, however, the children were creating their own adventure.


The Works may be marketed to children, but it’s just as fun for adults as they watch the kids play as the outside world passes by. And after delicious ice cream from Velvet, the kids were certainly filled with energy, ready to play and create. “They played in the kids’ play area, dressing up as firefighters, serving us food, playing with magnets and pretending to be in a farmers market. Then we decided to build cars. We ended up building six cars, and the kids were able to race them down a race track. They each put their own finishing touches on the cars,” says Olivia. “We go to The Works often because it’s so close. Even if I just have a free hour, I can pop in.”