You may have heard the saying, "Everyone has a twin that they'll probably never meet."
Well, if you're looking for your twin, or interested in meeting a set or two, the most likely place to find them would be in Twinsburg, Ohio, on the first weekend of August.
This city, the only city named after twins, has been host to a unique event known as the Twins Days Festival every summer for the past 24 years.
It's a weekend where twins and other "multiples" gather from around the world and celebrate their uniqueness. They call it "twinship."
The giant opening Double Take parade will leave newcomers in shock that there are so many people in the world who look exactly alike. All of them dress alike from head to toe. Some wear crazy costumes, others juggle, Rollerblade, ride bicycles built for two or march side by side. And you can't help but smile as the triplet and quadruplet marchers pass you by.
With the youngest twins in attendance this year being 3 weeks old and the oldest 92, you can guess there are things for all ages at this festival. There are children's rides and games, arts and craft booths and live entertainment and a large variety of great food.
There's even a twins or multiple-only talent show and contests for the "Most Alike" and "Most Different" twins. Awards also are given to those who traveled the farthest to attend.
There's also all sorts of interesting twin information seminars and medical research going on. Researchers just love having all these twins in one place for use in all kinds of studies.
Sometimes twins are paid a small fee after just answering a few questions. My 11-year-old twin sisters Emily and Eileen will finally find out in a few months if they are identical or fraternal twins, thanks to a free DNA study they participated in at Twins Days. All they had to do was a painless cheek swab.
"We've always wanted to know for sure. This is really cool!" Eileen said.
Emily and Eileen also were fingerprinted for a criminology research project looking at whether or not twins have identical fingerprints. Their fingerprints look very similar, but they'll find out for sure when they get the results in the mail.
Emily and Eileen also stuck their feet in water for a few minutes so researchers from Northwestern University could see if they have identical bone density at age 11. The study aims to find out whether diet has anything to do with osteoporosis -- a condition that makes people's bones grow brittle with age. Now the twins will have to mail back information about what they both ate over a three-day period.
"Their grandmother had osteoporosis and the study wants to see how much diet has to do with it," said their mom, Sharon.
If you're a twin, or just interested, this is an event not to be missed. It's the largest annual gathering of twins and other multiples in the world. Thousands of sets of twins gather for a group photo that is documented in the Guinness Book of Records.
Although my sisters enjoyed the festival, after seeing all those other twins, Emily remarked: "We don't feel as special about being twins as we used to."
Next year's festival will be held Aug. 5-6. Children's games, an opening hot dog roast and a gala ball on the Friday evening before the festival starts the fun early.
It's not every day you get to see 20 sets of twins doing the macarena!
Twinsburg is about a 3 1/2 -hour drive from Buffalo, just south of Cleveland, and very close to SeaWorld and other attractions.
For information on how to register, call 330-425-3652, or write The Twins Day Festival Committee Inc., P.O. Box 29, Twinsburg, Ohio, 44087. Or visit the Web site at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bridget Coughlin just started her freshman year at St. Bonaventure University.