June 26, 2014 Slideshows » News, Blogs

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18 Festivals and Events Every Clevelander Should Hit Up This Summer 

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Strut your stuff in support of LGBTQ rights at Cleveland's 26th annual Pride Fest. Headlined by pop artist Debbie Gibson, this fest is sure to be a colorful affair. March in the parade, grab a drink at the Beer Garden or watch any number of entertaining acts on the performance stage.
Photo Courtesy of Ken Lund, Flickr Creative Commons
Spaced out across two weekends, the Boston Mills Artfest is a nationally recognized showcase of Northeast Ohio's art. Check out the local craft scene as you enjoy picturesque Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and various food and drink options. All art is available to be purchased on site, as well.
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The Jamboree has gone huge this year. With a line-up that boasts Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Tim McGraw and Brantley Gilbert, this is Country Central for the month of July. (Check out the Blossom Country Megaticket for all other related needs.) The Jamboree brings music lovers and campers to bucolic Belmont, Ohio, just a quick two-and-a-half hours down I-77/70. This event has been going on for decades and its 100,000+ annual attendees can all vouch for its cred. If you've got a cowboy hat that needs a few days in its indigenous habitat, then you've no choice but to pick up a nice four-day pass to the Jamboree.
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Irish blood runs in the veins of many Clevelanders; celebrate that heritage by paying a visit to the Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival. From traditional Irish dancers to bands hailing from Dublin and Sligo, entertainment abounds at this festival dedicated to preserving Cleveland's rich Irish history.
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Billed as the largest free music festival in Ohio, the party in Painesville kicks off in late July with a host of entertainment including food and vendors and family fun. But this is about music, and we can't wait to see what they have in store. We'll have to wait a little longer, though, as organizers are still putting together the schedule. Check out parkpartyinfo.com for more information and, ya know, the schedule.
For the sixth year in a row, Scene will descend on Lincoln Park in Tremont to dazzle thousands with the best day-drinking of the summer. Dozens of vendors pour every craft beer you can name while restaurants serve the food you need to keep going all four hours. Music, entertainment, sun, trees, and, ya know, beer. It's all here. Tickets are $30 in advance. Buy now at scenealefest2014.com.
Photo Courtesy of tasteoftremont, Instagram
Local eateries hawk their wares on Professor Avenue at a Taste of Tremont. Satiate your appetite by sampling dishes from restaurants headed by Dante Boccuzzi and Michael Symon among others. Enjoy the culture that Tremont has to offer as you make your way from food vendor to food vendor, and cool off with a drink while you're at it; beer and wine are $5 and $4, respectively.
Photo Courtesy of The Zender Agenda, Flickr Creative Commons
For more than 10 years now, the Burning River Festival (and its philanthropic offshoot, the Burning River Foundation) has pursued ecological mindfulness and conservancy for our region. The fine folks behind this event also know how to highlight good beer with good music and more than a little Cleveland sunshine. This year's installment, which will take place 6 to 11 p.m. each night at the Historic Coast Guard Station on Whiskey Island, features some of the area's top musical artists and bands from all sorts of genres. Mo' Mojo brings zydeco heat; Brent Kirby (routinely ranked among the city's top performers by Scene readers) rolls solo and teams up with Jack Fords, Hey Mavis and New Soft Shoe; Jah Messengers get all rootsy on us; and many, many more bands will light up the event's three stages.
Photo Courtesy of Deb Nystrom, Flickr Creative Commons
This free concert series takes place aptly on the front porch of Lakewood Public Library, 15425 Detroit Ave. Following the revamp of downtown Lakewood, these weekly musical events have really helped highlight what's become a dynamite dining/entertainment district. This summer's schedule features, in order, Cletus Black, Carlos Jones & the Plus Band, Vance Music Studios' Rock Ensembles (two weeks in a row), the Hollywood Slim Band, Mo' Mojo, the Syncopated Sin Swing Band, Steev Inglish and Drumplay. The shows run from 7 to 9 p.m.
Photo Courtesy of laceyltfu, Instagram
You know what to do by now, Cleveland: Lace up! The second annual E.S.T. Fest will bring Northeast Ohio's own Machine Gun Kelly and some 3,000+ fans back to Nelson Ledges Quarry Park this summer. As of press time, the full line-up hadn't been announced, but MGK & Co. are promising a huge one-up over last year's inaugural shindig.
Photo Courtesy of cosmicgirlgoes, Instagram
A hub of culture, the Lakewood Arts Festival draws the attention of local — as well as national — artists. Prizes are awarded to the three best pieces, as well as the best artists. While you're there, pick up this year's T-shirt; a new design is created annually, and the money goes toward the fest's scholarship fund for high-school artists.
These pop-up concerts will bring an excellent line-up of artists to Lot #15 in Coventry for the next month or so. The schedule features, in order beginning June 24: Oldboy; Cellar Door Records' Anatomy of a Song with Tom Evanchuck, Jason Patrick Meyers and Joey Beltram; an as-yet-unannounced band on July 8; Carrie Ryan; School of Rock; Vernon Jones Blues Cartel; and Heights Jazz Group. Every show is free, and the music rolls from 7 to 9 p.m.
Photo Courtesy of Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds
Sometimes, nothin' beats a good old-fashioned county fair. The Cuyahoga County Fair offers up myriad entertainment options, from demo derbies (bring earplugs) to square dancers. Hang out with farm animals and indulge in traditional fair food; we know you've been craving an elephant ear.
Photo Courtesy of Rachel Kramer, Flickr Creative Commons
This 12th annual tribute to Jerry Garcia's life will once again see Jimiller Band helming the stage and throwing down an all-Grateful Dead set at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park. The music starts at 12:30 p.m on Saturday, and weekend passes run a cool $30. Vibe and Direct, Rusty Haywackers and the Alex Hall Project will round out the bill.
Photo Courtesy of ibowers001, Instagram
While the organizers are incorporating more of a multimedia vibe at this year's installment of WMC, the three-day festival still brings together a really dynamic line-up of bands and artists. This year, they're hooking up attendees with sets from Mr. Gnome, Hawkeye, Smoke Noises, These Knees and plenty more. The whole thing takes place at Cleveland Public Theatre, and pre-sale tickets for all three days (you must do all three days) run $85 through July 31. (Any weekend passes purchased in August jump to $100.) "Entering its fifth year, WMC has generated comparisons to TED and SXSW, but it's truly one of a kind," organizers say, and we couldn't have drawn a finer class of apt comparisons.
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Immerse yourself in Italian culture at the Holy Rosary Church's Feast of the Assumption. The festival celebrates the assumption of Mary into heaven after her death, as well as Italian heritage as a whole. The festival offers a chance to sample Italian cuisine, listen to live music and participate in a candlelight procession in honor of the Holy Virgin.
Photo Courtesy of Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds
Get ready to don the beer goggles this Labor Day weekend. At Cleveland's 10th annual Okotoberfest, beer snobs can sample authentic Bavarian brews while enjoying live polka music and other quintessential Oktoberfest offerings, such as German and Polish cuisine. Check out the lovely ladies participating in this year's Miss Oktoberfest competition, as well.
Photo Courtesy of clevelandgarlicfestival, Instagram
Sample all things savory at Cleveland's Garlic Festival. A fairly new fest, the event is sponsored by the North Union Farmers' Market and, true to its name, boasts a variety of all things garlic-flavored. Head out to Shaker Square to witness competitions between touted "garlic masters" and grill-offs for garlic-y dishes involving beef, chicken and pork. Taste flavorful dishes and relax in the live music area.
7/18
Photo Courtesy of tasteoftremont, Instagram
Local eateries hawk their wares on Professor Avenue at a Taste of Tremont. Satiate your appetite by sampling dishes from restaurants headed by Dante Boccuzzi and Michael Symon among others. Enjoy the culture that Tremont has to offer as you make your way from food vendor to food vendor, and cool off with a drink while you're at it; beer and wine are $5 and $4, respectively.
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