Get Out: Pez Dispensers, Hamburger Festival, Taste of Tremont and More 

This week's events picks


The Rock Hall's Summer in the City

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has been hosting summertime concerts on its plaza for years. Sometimes they've been heavy on local acts, while other years they've featured big-name stars. This year's four-concert series showcases bands that appeal to multiple indie-rock factions. The Carolina Chocolate Drops, who perform at 7 tonight, aren't rockers but they nod to traditional American music in a way that appeals to hip rock fans. The North Carolina trio has been reinventing old-time Appalachian string-band music since forming in 2005. Sometimes, on bare-bones tracks like "In the Jailhouse Now," they almost convince you they're back-porch amateurs. But then they'll pull out something like "Hit 'Em Up Style," where Rhiannon Giddens' elegant, almost jazzy vocals give the game away: The 2000 Oberlin Conservatory grad studied opera and performed with Cleveland Opera on Tour before returning to Carolina for graduate music studies and a stint in a Celtic band. They kick off the series tonight, and will be followed by Free Energy (July 21), Deer Tick (August 11), and Trans Am (August 18). The shows are free; if it rains, they'll be held indoors on the Rock Hall's lobby stage. Go to rockhall.com for more information. — Pantsios


Annual Sidewalk Sale of Hudson

Downtown Hudson is pretty chi-chi. There's a bunch of high-end retailers, fancy old buildings, and plenty of old-school charm that give this brick-streeted shopping hub its distinct feel. It's the type of place where you try to wipe your feet before hitting the sidewalk. But for four days, the merchants and shops in downtown Hudson will offer their best bargains when they set up for their annual Sidewalk Sale. Retailers in the First and Main neighborhood bring their offerings to tables on the sidewalks, and all of the fine dining and other services available downtown will be ready to treat you right. The bargains begin Thursday at 10 a.m.; the sale runs during normal business hours through Sunday evening at 5. Call 330-653-9530 for more information.

— Nick Baker


You bide your time throughout the year, keeping your peculiar passion under wraps. Well, Pezheads, it's finally your day to celebrate just how great these babies really are. Pezamania basks in everything Pez, complete with opportunities to add more Pez characters to your collection and win all sorts of Pez-related prizes. You can trade dispensers like they were baseball cards and enjoy Pez-centric activities for the young and old. For three days, you can soak up the glory that is Pez and not be the slightest bit self-conscious. It happens today through Saturday at the Holiday Inn at 6001 Rockside Road in Independence. It's open each day from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Admission varies from $2 to $10. Visit pezamania.com or call 813-507-4485 for more information. — Jordan Zirm


Hudson Wine Festival

Wine festivals are a fine way to justify consumption in the name of culture. Plop one down in downtown Hudson's First and Main shopping district, and you have added a hearty dose of class to your festivities. Do it for the benefit of the Humane Society of Greater Akron, and you can add humanitarianism to your list of justifications. Whatever your reasoning, the third-annual Hudson Wine Festival is sure to be one classy event. More than 250 local, national, and international wines will be showcased, in addition to tasty foods, wine seminars, and live music. There's also the Artists' Vineyard, an outdoor art gallery set up next to the wine festival. It all begins with a VIP event tonight from 6 to 10 p.m., complete with hors d'oeuvres and premium wine tastings. The regular festivities take place Saturday from 1 to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m. at Hudson's First and Main area (101 Village Way, Hudson, hudsonwinefestival.com). VIP passes for the whole weekend are $90 in advance and $100 at the gate; weekend passes are $30 in advance and $35 at the gate, and general admission for one day is $20 in advance, $25 at the gate. Ages 7-20 are $5, and under 7 is free. $10 for designated drivers. — Baker

Roller Disco Dance Party

So you were at the thrift store and picked up a pair of those satin running shorts with the scallop-edged slit, but you just don't have anyplace to wear them. You're in luck: Relive that classic 1979 film Roller Boogie at the Friday Night Fever '70s Roller Disco and Dance Party, a fundraiser for the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland, at United Skates of America (30325 Palisades Pkwy., Wickliffe). There'll be skating, dancing, arcade games — all manner of cheesy retro fun. DJ Jerry Szoka and hip-hop artist Captain Magik will provide entertainment, and satirical cabaret artist Lounge Kitty and female impersonator Twiggy Morgan will co-host the '70s costume contest. (Disclaimer: You will be competing against gay men, so you're gonna have to be outrageously creative to win.) Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door; admission includes skates, nachos or pizza, a drink ticket, and five game tokens. Go to july16rollerdisco.com for more information. — Pantsios

Lorain Port Fest

Contrary to outsider opinion, summers in Cleveland are actually pretty enjoyable. AOL even named us one of the "coolest" cities to visit because of our average 69.9 degree temperature during the summer months and our awesome array of festivities. So why not take advantage before we all freeze to death by November and enjoy the Lorain Port Fest. With tons of events — including the chance to sail on a two-masted schooner, lighthouse tours, live music that includes Nashville artist Sarah Wilson, and fireworks — spending a night by Lake Erie couldn't get much better. The festival runs through July 18 at Black River Landing, 200 W. Erie Ave. in Lorain. Hours are from 6 p.m.-midnight today, noon-11 p.m. Saturday, and noon till 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Call 440-204-2273 or visit lorainportauthority.com for more information. — Zirm


Groundworks Dance Theater constantly reinvents its mojo with new works — not only by guest choreographers, but by members of the company as well. They present a little of both this week, beginning with the world premiere of artistic associate Amy Miller's "Saying Yes," with music by the rhythmically driven minimalist composer Mark Mellits. Even the program's revivals are fresh: Miller's second piece on the program — last season's "Valence" — is another dance charged with beats (in this case by Oberlin professor Peter Swendsen), which put an atomic spin on the exploration of relationships and attraction. Finally, the company digs back just a few more years for a restaging of guest choreographer Lynn Taylor Corbett's "Unpublished Dialogues," which explores the life, poetry, and suicide (by jumping into a river while wearing an overcoat with pockets full of rocks) of Virginia Woolf. Performances are at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday at Cain Park's Alma Theater (14591 Superior Road, Cleveland Heights, 216-371-3000, cainpark.com). Tickets are $21 to $23. — Michael Gill


National Hamburger Festival

Nothing embodies America more than a hamburger. Add some cheese, onions, pickles, bacon, condiments, and whatever else your creative mind can think of, and you have fashioned a meal fit for the gods. If you have been feeling embarrassed over your love for these succulent creations, fret no more. There’s a soiree for people just like you to discuss how much you love burgers: Akron’s National Hamburger Festival is returning for its fifth year, and it’s chock-full of ground-beef goodness. There will be more than 50 different varieties of burgers from various restaurants, a Miss Hamburger Pageant, and even “Bobbing for Burgers,” where you can attempt to grab a foam patty in a pool full of ketchup. Just don’t wear white. The magic happens from noon-10:30 p.m. today and noon-7 p.m. Sunday at Lock 3 Park, 200 S. Main St. in Akron. Tickets are $5. Call 716-565-4141 or visit hamburgerfestival.com for more information. — Zirm

Wine Tasting With a Wild Side

Don't let the summer slip by without taking a ride out to Ohio's wine country in the northeast corner of the state, where you can revel in some of our loveliest scenery and enjoy the fruit of the vine. Or just go out there today under the auspices of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, with a trip that gives you a chance to enjoy both wine and nature. It starts with a hike through the Burkholder Preserve overlooking the Grand River Gorge, as museum staff members fill you in on the flora and fauna found in the forests there. That's followed by lunch and wine at Saint Joseph Vineyard (7874 Warner Rd., Madison, 440-298-3709, saintjosephvineyard.com). The tour starts at 10 a.m. Tickets are $35. Call 216-231-1177 or go to cmnh.org to make a reservation. — Pantsios

Chagrin Falls Art Walk

This quaint little town by the river turns into a bustling metropolis each year for the Chagrin Falls Art Walk. Enjoy the creations of more than 50 artists as you peruse the streets looking for that elusive item to add some feng shui to your home. Live music and entertainment will accompany your walk, while Lolly the Trolly will be lying in wait to whisk you around the village. Don't forget to stop in the awesome Popcorn Shop, where those of us with a sweet tooth find our own corner of heaven. The Art Walk is today from 4-9 p.m. and Sunday from noon-9 p.m. Call 440-247-1895 or visit chagrinfalls.net for more information. — Zirm

Luau on the Lake at Whiskey Island

Whiskey Island is pretty much like Hawaii, right? Sure, sure, there's a chance it could be 65 degrees, and the lake maybe not much more than that, and seagulls aren't exactly tropical birds. But get a few island drinks with umbrellas in 'em, undo a couple buttons on that flowery shirt, and get lei'd, and you'll hardly know the difference between Waikiki and Wendy Park. The event features an array of beers and wines, a menu of tropical-themed foods, and live music to set the scene. You can throw down in beach volleyball or just take in the Lake Erie view. Specialty island cocktails are available with the Big Kahuna VIP package, which also includes tickets for a raffle, a Hawaiian lei, and a souvenir cup, so you'll have some stuff to bring back from your getaway. Wear your beach shirt! The 5th annual Luau on the Lake happens from 4-9 p.m. at Wendy Park (2800 Whiskey Island). Visit luauonthelake.com for more info. Pre-sale tickets are available through July 14: $35 general admission, $50 Big Kahuna VIP. After July 14 and at the door it's $50 for general admission. It's all 21 and over only. — Baker

Otto Plays Vivaldi

Vivaldi's Four Seasons violin concertos are a rare thing in classical music, so familiar and so often performed that people in the audience can be counted on to have opinions about how they're played. Those opinions are informed by more than three hundred different recordings, including one from 1989 by the English virtuoso Nigel Kennedy, which sold more than two million copies. Violinist Peter Otto — who, as the Cleveland Orchestra's first assistant concertmaster, is best known for playing second fiddle — steps out of the shadow and into the limelight this week to put his stamp on the familiar works. The Four Seasons are the centerpiece of an all-Baroque program that begins with Handel's Concerto Grosso in G Major and, after Otto has his way with Vivaldi, concludes with Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks. The recently knighted, English Baroque specialist Nicholas McGegan conducts. It's at 8 p.m. Saturday at Blossom Music Center (1145 W. Steels Corners Road, Cuyahoga Falls, 216-241-6000, clevelandorchestra.com). Tickets are $19 to $83. — Gill


Taste of Tremont

When Tremont emerged in the ’90s as one of Cleveland’s premier gallery neighborhoods, fine dining followed. So the neighborhood’s a natural for the Taste of Tremont, an annual event now in its eighth year. Professor Avenue, home to destination eateries Fahrenheit, Lolita, Lago, and Dante, is closed between Starkweather and Fairfield, as Tremont’s restaurants — neighborhood hangouts as well as chic bistros — peddle samples of their cuisine. Be sure to stop at the little hot-pink building on the corner of Professor and Starkweather that houses Lilly’s Fine Chocolates. They’ve just debuted their new summer chocolates, which include the Hawaii 216, a confection that blends milk chocolate, pineapple jam, bacon, and five-spice ganache. Live bands, kids’ activities, booths from local organizations, and a beer garden provide a respite from eating. Taste of Tremont runs from noon to 8 p.m., and it’s free. Go to tasteoftremont.com for more information. — Anastasia Pantsios

Comedy With a #$*&%@

In so many ways, Mondays just suck. Even talk about Monday and you'll get your ass kicked, at least according to Office Space wisdom. So why not laugh away the misery of another week at the grindstone — or even try your hand at getting a few laughs — at Bela Dubby's open-mic comedy jam, appropriately dubbed Chucklefuck. The laid-back Lakewood coffee shop and bar is the perfect venue to relax and watch as Cleveland's finest amateurs and seasoned comedians alike grab the mic and either make you laugh your ass off or make you laugh just 'cause they look like asses. Comics are known to experiment, doing everything from straight-up stand-up to musical comedy to video shorts. Every Monday, five performers step up for 10 minutes of whatever they've got. Finally, Monday offers something to laugh about. It starts at 8 p.m. at 13321 Madison Ave. in Lakewood. Call 216-221-4479 or visit beladubby.com for more. Admission is free. — Baker


Mud Pies and Ice Cream

The biggest bummer about being a kid and making meals out of ingredients other than food wasn't that the final product was no good; it was that Mom and Pop inevitably frowned upon this culinary creativity and rewarded it with a bath. Now you're stifled no longer: The Cleveland Botanical Garden is hosting a day of mud pies and ice cream at its Hershey Children's Garden. It allows kids — and, vicariously, you — to make mud pies to their hearts' content. Then you both get rewarded with ice cream. Mud Pies and Ice Cream happens every Tuesday at the Cleveland Botanical Garden (11030 East Boulevard in University Circle) from noon to 3 p.m. For more info, call 216-721-1600 or visit cbgarden.org. — Baker

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