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Twins Days is a festival for biological twins (and other multiples, e.g. triplets, quads) which has taken place every summer since 1976 in Twinsburg, Ohio, when the festival was founded by Revco’s Charles R. DeHaven. It is the largest annual gathering of twins in the world, and draws thousands of participants from all over the United States and elsewhere in the world.
The event, which takes place on the first full weekend in August, routinely attracts about 2,000 pairs of twins. About 1,140 sets of multiples pre-registered for the 2014 festival, including people from Nigeria, Brazil, Australia, Ghana, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, France, Italy, England, Belgium, Germany, Japan, China and India. The 2014 festival was themed as a "peace and love" event, and billed as "Twinstock: Groovy in Twinsburg".
The festival has developed its own traditions over the years. As the writer Tony Barrell noted in a major press article in 2003, “An unwritten festival rule means that identical twins are identically dressed, too. This applies as much to 70-year-old men as to 17-year-old girls, and to tiny babies, wheeled around in fleets of twin buggies.” The festival is opened every year with a performance of The Star-Spangled Banner, sung by John and Jerry Starlet and signed in ASL by Jamie Maassen and Jodie Qualkinbush, and a parade along Ravenna Road (former SR-14).
The festival attracts many members of the scientific community, who use the presence of thousands of identical and fraternal twins to conduct voluntary twin studies, in order to determine the genetic or non-genetic basis of a wide range of human traits. Twins are customarily rewarded for their participation.
Barrell also noted that there was a tendency among Twins Days attendees to form human patterns: “Pairs of complete strangers seem continually, magnetically drawn to one another, to shake hands, slap backs – and, sometimes, take the relationship further... Another extraordinary thing is happening: clumps of twins keep making human patterns. Every few seconds, two or three or more sets get together in symmetrical formations and smile for somebody’s camera. They seem powerless to resist the compulsion, and watching it is like seeing the colors coalesce in a giant kaleidoscope.”
The Twins Days event was inspired by a pair of enterprising 19th-century twins, Moses and Aaron Wilcox. “They were the identical twins who bought about 4,000 acres of land here in 1819, and then offered to donate six acres for a town square and $20 towards a new school, on one condition: that the place drop its dull old name, Millsville, and become Twinsburg. More than a century and a half later, in 1976, the town was celebrating the United States’ bicentennial and decided to throw a party the Wilcoxes would have appreciated. Just 36 pairs of twins showed up, but the burghers of Twinsburg saw its potential and made it annual.”
"Our America with Lisa Ling", Twin Lives episode