“You’re So Akron If…” (It’s a Rubber City thing.)

A beginner’s guide to the unique and quirky side of the Rubber City.

by the readers of The Devil Strip

What’s this ‘You’re so Akron if…’ about anyway?

Anyone willing to scratch beneath the surface here knows Akron is unique. In fact, you don’t even have to be willing to scratch beneath the surface because Akron might just scratch you first. We’re talking about a city that spawned the greatest basketball player of his generation, multiple world-touring musicians, an astronaut, a US Poet Laureate, Alcoholics Anonymous, hamburgers, a Nobel Prize winner, actors and filmmakers, Quaker Oats, a heavyweight champion, the toy industry, the “Edison of Our Age,” Thomas Edison’s wife, two serial killers, professional women’s mud wrestling, the way your church is probably laid out and the most famous dirigible on the planet.

And that’s before you get to the food—sauerkraut balls and jo-jos, oh my!

This issue is dedicated to all our collective quirk (and then some)—announced, celebrated and dissected by you, the people who make this city great. What does it mean to be a real Akronite? It’s certainly more than a matter of mere geography.



You’re so Akron if…

You clearly get upset when you get lumped together with Cleveland. – Theresa Attalla

Someone tells you to do the “Wobble” and you say, “Yeah, I played in WABL.” – Mike D.

You know that Stan Hywet isn’t a person. – Jason Chitwood

Over half your wardrobe comes from Rubber City Clothing. – Jeremy Lile

You fought in school over whether Goodyear of Firestone was better. – Bill Hall

You vacation in Florida wearing only a t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops in 60 degree weather. – Diane S.

It’s “St. V” rather than “St. Vincent-St. Mary”. – Jason S

Your bra was on the wall at Frank’s. – Sue Knapp

You grew up with a rubber tire shaped ashtray prominently displayed in your living room. – Jackie Mc. (also Jenny C.)

You and Archie the Snowman are on a first-name basis. – Ed Haas

You cut through the Glendale Cemetery to get to school and back. – John Zofchak

Either you are a Lone Star or you have partied with them. – Anthony Hall

You’re on time for parties. – Bridget A.

You lift your feet on a Sunday drive through the creek at Sand Run Park so they don’t get wet. – Diane S.

You turned your brother’s old soap box derby cars into dangerously awesome go-carts. – Jenny C.

People elsewhere look at you as if you have three heads when you mention jojos, devil strip or cream sticks. – Erin F. Grady

Every time you try to move away, something keeps pulling you back to the AK. – Colleen I.


You’re so Akron if…

You carry around your checkbook just in case you have a spontaneous Luigi’s craving. – Alison Caplan

You order a salad at Luigi’s just for the cheese. – Jeff L

Every visiting out-of-town guest insists on one meal at Luigi’s, one at Swensons and a grocery trip to DeVitis Italian Market. – Robert S.

You’ve considered getting a job at Swenson’s to help you train for the Akron Marathon. – Jeff L.

You wear a Swenson’s lanyard at work but have never worked at Swenson’s. – Monte Chris DeCarlo

Your parents fought over whether Swenson’s or Skyway is better. – Karen W.

You’ve eaten at both Swenson’s and Skyway in one day. – Colleen I.

You consider sauerkraut balls our official food. – Becca B

You call El Rancho “Mexican Yoconos.” – Shane Wynn

Anything fried in lard automatically makes you think of Barberton chicken. – Karen W.

You’ve bought chicken and jojos from more than a dozen pizza carry-out places. – Amanda S.

You plan your summer around the appearance of your favorite Strickland’s flavor. – Linsy Biege

You eat cream sticks and drink pop, not soda. – Vicki Owens

You believe hamburgs are the reason we’re the home of the Inventors Hall of Fame. – Rick Stockburger


You’re so Akron if…

You know Exchange Street and Market Street meet twice. – John Zofchak

“Driving through the Valley” means taking a short cut. – Brian Harrell

Someone says “down in the Valley” and you know exactly where they mean. – Jason S.

You ever went sledding down Cadillac Hill on a trash can lid. – Jim Kormanik

You describe Akron to people as North Akron, South Akron, East Akron and West Akron, instead of just Akron. – Wesley Ian

Instead of saying you live in Akron, you say you live in Wallhaven, Merriman Hills, Highland Square, the Valley, Summit Lake, Firestone Park, Goodyear Heights, etc., etc.- Katie L .

You know at least four routes from Montrose to Chapel Hill. – Chris Pelrine

You judge every place you go on the quality and proximity of their parks. – John Craig

You know the difference between the Innerbelt and Interbelt. – Dana W.

You’ve dined via boat on PLX. – Diane S.

You know every mile the blue line. – Brad H.

You consider your college years in Kent as leaving home. – Michael McKeon

You know about the bricks. – Lilly Alexander


You’re so Akron if…

You get upset when people say LeBron is from Cleveland. – Jeff L .

Your dad was LeBron’s teacher in 4th grade at Portage Path Elementary. – Anna Hauenstein

Dan Auerbach’s mom was your French teacher in high school . – Lauren Brady

You go to church with Pat Carney’s dad and Dan Aurebach’s mom was your French teacher in high school. – Molly Hauenstein

You know Zippy is a female. – Tim M. (also Katie L.)

You wear black-rimmed nerd glasses, right David Giffels? – Angie Miskell Haprian

You’re David Giffels. – Chris Drabick


You’re so Akron if…

You hear a low roar and run outside to see the blimp. – Rick Stockburger

You know the sound of the blimp and only casually look up to verify. – Brad H.

You’ve seen multiple Goodyear Blimps flying together over the Rubber City. – Julie Plaufcan DiVitto

You think every logo would be better with a blimp in it. – Jeremy D. Lile

Your parents met working at the Goodyear Air Dock. – John Zofchak

You know that the Goodyear Airdock has its own atmosphere with rain and clouds. – Karen Hornick Sloan

You’ve tried to shoot down the blimp with a BB gun. – Jen B.

You don’t need to qualify which blimp you are talking about when you say “the blimp.” – Jason S.


You’re so Akron if…

You know what a devil strip is. – LeAnn Greer (also: Amanda S. and Alicia Wagner)

You don’t know there IS another word for “devil strip.” – Jason S.


You’re so Akron if…

You recognize all the references in “My City Was Gone” by the Pretenders. – Angie Miskell Haprian

You’ve done the math to figure out what year The Black Keys will be eligible for induction into the Rock Hall. – Jeff L.

You couldn’t wait for Ghoulardi’s Friday night Shock Theater. – Jenny C.

You were an extra in the movie “The Dead Next Door.” – Darlene Miller Faris

You’ve listened to the “Akron/Canton Hometown Song” at the Karl and Bob’s Taj Mahal. – Noel D

When visiting a museum shop in another state, you instantly recognize work from both Don and Leandra Drumm from across the room (and you know whose is whose without checking). – Allison C.


You’re so Akron if…

You remember the smell of the rubber factories in the 60s. – Jan Patetta

You walked to school and back with Wonder bread plastic packaging inside your boots. (And stopped at Forest Lodge to skate before going home.) – Janet Sattler

You danced on the tables at the Bucket Shop. – Tim M.

You danced on the walls at the Bucket Shop. – John Zofchak

You remember Scott’s Five & Dime’s Sloppy Joes. – Cyndi McVan Dicintio

You remember the Carousel Dinner Theater. – Dan Pavlovich

You remember Dr. Feel Goods & the Sun Lounge. – Willie J. Paige, Jr.

You dressed up to go school clothes shopping at O’Neils and Polsky’s downtown. – Jan Patetta

Your grandma still gives you Halle’s boxes for Christmas. – Lauren Brady

You saw Rock Hudson and Paul Anka at the cool downtown Soap Box Derby parades. – Jan Patetta

You attended high school football games at the Rubber Bowl. – Becca B.


You’re so Akron if…

Airdock, Rubber Bowl, Quaker Square, Thursdays, West Point Market, Indian Statue?

You don’t “live” somewhere, you “stay” there.

You used to drive past a building with a big bright red sign that says “BJ” and didn’t immediately think dirty thoughts.

You don’t even notice THAT smell in the Valley.

***CORRECTION: My apologies to the owner of that submission about THAT smell in the Valley. Someone later reminded me that there is a poop factory down there on whose smell I’ve often enough gagged that I should have known better. – Chris H.***