Big Book of Cleveland: Where's the Party?

Around here, it's never very far away

Want to feel like a Clevelander? Then you're going to have to party like one.

Yes indeed, there's a celebration going on somewhere every day. Following are our picks for the festivities you can't afford to miss.


Wade Oval Wednesdays

June 15, 22, 29, July 6, 13, 20, 27, August 3, 10, 17, 24, 31

Bring a blanket or lawn chair as University Circle launches its series of Wednesday-evening outdoor festivals, with music, food vendors, and a farmers market.

Wade Oval, University Circle,


Festival of the Fish

June 17-19

It's Vermilion's annual celebration of the sea, with parades, including a lighted boat parade, pet parade, and Father's Day parade — plus kids' queen and princess pageants, races, contests, and water fights.

Vermilion, 440-967-4477,

Avon Heritage

Duct Tape Festival

June 17-19

The "Duct Tape Capital" of the world hosts its eighth-annual fest celebrating the adhesive. It also honors the city of Avon itself and includes attractions from sculptures and fashion to games and a parade — all of it involving duct tape.

3701 Veterans Memorial Parkway, Avon,

Shaker Heights

Arts & Music Festival

June 18-19

Formerly the Craftfair at Hathaway Brown, this annual arts and crafts show features works for sale by nearly 150 artists, including jewelry, clothing, paintings, and other media. There's also music and cuisine from local restaurants.

Farnsleigh Rd. and Van Aken Blvd., 216-491-1412,

Boston Mills Artfest

June 24-26 (Show I)

July 1-3 (Show II)

This prestigious and highly competitive annual art and craft show unfolds in a picturesque ski-resort setting. Only 160 artists are chosen from more than 1,100 entrants.

Boston Mills Brandywine Ski Resort, 1146 W. Highland Rd., Northfield, 330-467-2242,

Gay Pride Parade

June 25

With Cleveland slated to host the Gay Games in 2014, interest is rising in gay pride. The annual downtown parade features colorful floats and costumes, live music, a beer garden, children's pavilion, numerous vendors, and organizations from the Cleveland GLBT community.

Voinovich Bicentennial Park,


Waterloo Arts Fest

June 25

Presented by Arts Collinwood, this unique blend of art, food, live entertainment, and activities for kids of all ages makes a great kick-off to the summer. Among the other highlights, don't miss the infamous Rock 'n' Roll Flea Market at the Beachland Ballroom.

Waterloo Road between East 156th and East 161st streets, 216-692-9500,

Summer Solstice Party

June 25-26

Celebrate the longest day of the year at this popular annual all-night party at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Highlights include jazz, soul, African, and electronic music, plus Mediterranean-inspired appetizers and beverages. It takes place from Saturday at 6 p.m. till Sunday at 2 a.m.

Cleveland Museum of Art,

Wade Oval, University Circle,



Stars and Stripes and

Sousa Forever! A Family Fourth of July in the Sousa Style

July 4

Loras John Schissel, the world's leading authority on John Philip Sousa, conducts the Blossom Festival Band in Sousa marches and Tchaikovsky's "1812" Overture.

Blossom Music Center,

145 West Steels Corners Rd., Cuyahoga Falls, 216-231-7524,

Cain Park Arts Festival

July 8-10

Featuring work from 150 artists, this fine arts and crafts event offers a chance to purchase quality and award-winning art at a reasonable price. In addition to the paintings, photography, sculptures, and ceramics, enjoy top-notch food and entertainment.

14591 Superior Road, Cleveland Hts.,

Painesville Party in the Park

July 15 -17

Ohio's largest free music festival, with more than 30 musical acts on three stages, plus activities and events for the whole family all day — plus delicious alcohol beverages!

Painesville Veterans Park. 76 S. Park Place, Painesville,

Taste of Tremont

July 17

The ninth-annual street festival in the heart of Tremont's restaurant district showcases the best of Tremont cuisine. Among the festivities are art exhibits, a beer garden, dance performances, church tours, and live music.

Professor Ave.,

Cleveland Irish Festival

July 22-24

It's their 29th-annual celebration of Irish heritage, with bands, step dancers, children's activities, plays, food, and Irish exhibits.

Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds,

164 Eastland Rd., Berea,


Scene's Ale Fest

July 23

Craft brews, food, and live music in a beautiful park setting: What else could you possibly need to know?

Tremont's Lincoln Park, between West 11th and West 14th streets,


Burning River Fest

July 23-24

Now in its 11th year, the Burning River Fest remembers the infamous 1969 burning of the Cuyahoga River and celebrates the renewed sense of environmental consciousness the infamous fire sparked. Expect educational exhibits, fresh food from local eateries, live music, and a special appearance by Great Lakes Brewing Company's Christmas Ale.

Whiskey Island, at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River,

Cleveland Wine Festival

July 29-30

The sixth-annual celebration of wine, with tastings of more than 270 international, domestic, and Ohio wines, plus wine education, live music, cuisine from area restaurants, and a Belgian Beer Café (in Cleveland, there's always beer). Voinovich Park, East 9th St.,



Vintage Ohio

August 5-6

Annual wine festival featuring samples from more than 20 area wineries, plus arts and crafts, food, children's entertainment and activities, a carryout store, and fireworks on Friday night.

Lake Metroparks Farmpark,

8800 Euclid Chardon Rd., Kirtland, 800-227-6972,

Twilight at the Zoo

August 5

It's the annual music festival and fund-raiser presented by your friends at Scene magazine — complete with food, drink, and dancing under the stars to music by 14 bands playing Motown, rock, salsa, swing, country, and blues.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo,

3900 Wildlife Way, 216-661-6500,

Puerto Rican Parade

& Latino Festival

August 5-7

Now in its 43rd year, the Puerto Rican and Latino Festival celebrates the rich tropical culture with music, food, folklore, and fashion. All proceeds support the programs at the Julia De Burgos Cultural Arts Center. The parade kick offs on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at the corner of East 13th and Superior Ave., and make its way to the festival.

Cleveland Municipal Parking Lot, 1500 South Marginal Rd.,

Pro Football Hall of Fame Game and Enshrinement

August 6

The NFL season doesn't start until Canton says so. The annual Hall of Fame Game marks the start of the preseason and a sort of Mardi Gras for the fine people of Canton.

Pro Football Hall of Fame,

2121 George Halas Dr. NW, Canton, 330-456-7253,

Lakewood Arts Festival

August 6

The annual juried arts and crafts show, now in its 34th year, features works for sale by more than 160 selected artists from across the country, plus food and music.

Detroit Avenue between Belle and Elmwood avenues, Lakewood,

Cuyahoga County Fair

August 8-14

After 115 years, it's no wonder they've got it down to a science. This year's festivities include midway rides, food stations, animals, countless exhibits, a haunted house, concerts, and the World's Largest Demolition Derby.

Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds,

164 Eastland Rd., Berea,


Midwest Reggae Fest

August 12-14

At 20, the Midwest Reggae Fest has become one of the longest-running and best-attended reggae festivals in the U.S., with a lineup that includes national and international talent. A 2007 move to Nelson Ledges provides plenty of room for camping, swimming, and food and craft vendors.

Nelson Ledges Quarry Park,

12001 Nelson Ledges Rd.,


North Ridgeville Corn Festival

August 13-15

It's Lorain County's venerable celebration of maize, complete with arts and crafts, rides, games, food, and a parade — most of it wonderfully, eerily centered around corn.

North Ridgeville, 440-218-9802,

Jewish Food and

Culture Festival

August 14

Fourth-annual celebration of Jewish food, music, dance, and other cultural activities. Includes free admission to all museum galleries.

Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, 2929 Richmond Rd., Beachwood, 216-593-0575,

Feast of the Assumption

August 12-15

More than 100,000 people descend on the Little Italy neighborhood for this signature Cleveland ethnic festival thrown in honor of the Catholic holy day. Unlike most holy days, this one features carnival rides, Italian food and drink, music, art, gaming, and parades.

In Little Italy, at Murray Hill and Mayfield roads, 440-391-0386

C-Town Chow Down

August 28

A convoy of Clevo food trucks converges for a fest of food and music.

In Tremont's Lincoln Park between West 14th and West 11th streets,


The Great Geauga County Fair

September 1-5

Ohio's oldest county fair boasts midway rides, more than 2,000 animals, vendors, exhibits, fair food, demolition derbies, midway rides, games, and concerts.

Geauga County Fairgrounds,

14373 North Cheshire St., Burton, 440-834-1846,

Taste of Cleveland

September 2-5

It's our annual salute to the city's culinary scene, with dozens of eateries offering bite-sized tastes of their specialties.

Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica,

2014 Sycamore St., 440-247-2722,

Cleveland Oktoberfest

September 2-5

More than 40,000 have attended since its 2005 revival. There's ample food, arts, a Bier Garten (that's German for "drunk tank"), vintage car shows, ethnic costumes and dance, and, yes, a wiener dog race.

Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds,

164 Eastland Rd., Berea,


Made in Ohio Craft Festival

September 3

Second yearly celebration of Ohio crafts, featuring more than 85 Ohio artisans. It all takes place at Hale Farm, a stunning recreation of a 19th-century village.

Hale Farm and Village,

2686 Oak Hill Rd., Bath, 330-666-3711,

Cleveland National Air Show

September 3-5

If it's Labor Day weekend, it must be time for the annual Cleveland National Air Show, featuring the U.S. Army Golden Knights, U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, aeronautical exhibits, kids' activities, and tours.

Burke Lakefront Airport,


Yankee Peddler Festival

September 10-11, 17-18, 24-25

This popular annual event recreates the world of Ohio from 1776-1825. Handcrafts by 350 exhibitors are complemented by colonial cooking and entertainment.

Clay's Park Resort,

13190 Patterson St. NW, N. Lawrence, 800-860-4386,

Cleveland Browns

Season Opener

September 11

A veritable holy day among the faithful, the annual season opener is as much about the partying as it is the football. Revelers stake out the downtown Muni Lot early for this first of eight weekend celebrations en route to that elusive first Super Bowl appearance, with satellite parties happening in bars and homes throughout the region. This year's first victim: the Cincinnati Bengals. Three of the Browns' first four games are at home, thus minimizing frostbite and maximizing quality party opportunities.

Cleveland Browns Stadium,

1085 Alfred Lerner Way,


Scene's Very Vodka

September 16

Dine, dance, and drink in a VIP setting, with a lineup of classic and fashion martinis created for the occasion by Finlandia Vodka.

Liquid/Suite Sixx/Ultra,

1212 West Sixth St., 216-241-7550,

Ingenuity Fest

September 16-18

Cutting-edge celebration of art and technology, with performances and immersive new work. Best of all, it unfolds on the old subway level of the usually closed Detroit-Superior Bridge.

Detroit-Superior Bridge,

lower level, 216-589-9444,

Ohio Mart

September 29-October 2

The annual juried invitational outdoor show of fine arts and crafts takes place against the backdrop of the historic landscaped gardens and grounds of Stan Hywet, an historic mansion in Akron.

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens,

714 N. Portage Path, Akron,



Apple Butter Festival

October 8-9

Copper kettles will simmer with Geauga County tradition at the 63rd-annual event.

Century Village, Burton,


Scene's Tasteful Affair

October 13

This annual homage to the city's dining scene features food, booze, and a chance to watch local pros make like Iron Chefs.

Crawford Auto Aviation Museum, 10825 East Blvd., University Circle, 216-241-7550,

Cleveland Beer Week

October 14-22

An event near and dear to many Clevelanders' hearts, the second-annual Cleveland Beer Week promotes the city's vibrant craft beer industry with hundreds of craft beer tastings, demonstrations, activities, and more.

Various locations,

Boo at the Zoo

October 20-23 and October 27-30

It's non-scary Halloween fun for kids and their families at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's spectacularly popular eight-night evening party.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo,

3900 Wildlife Way, 216-661-6500,


The Fabulous Food Show

November 11-13

The largest "Taste, Try & Buy" culinary celebration in the U.S. features celebrity chefs including our own Michael Symon.

I-X Center, One I-X Center Drive,

Grape Escape

November 12

Sample fine wines aboard a Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad car on a two-hour journey.

7900 Old Rockside Rd.,

Independence, 800-468-4070,


November 25

Cleveland's annual holiday celebration includes music, dancing, and hot chocolate, culminating in the lighting of Public Square's Christmas display and tree in front of Tower City. More than 50,000 people attend every year.

Holiday Lantern Tours

November 26, December 2-3,

9-10, 16-18, 20-23

Leisurely guided tours around the Village of Wheatfield, circa 1862, offering period home visits and insight into Civil War-era holiday celebrations.

Hale Farm & Village, 2686 Oak Hill Rd., Bath, 330-666-3711,


Holiday Circlefest

December 4

The city comes together to take part in an 18-year tradition of holiday music, activities, and shopping. Experience the museums, gardens, and galleries of University Circle for free during this one-day opportunity. In addition, the Cleveland Museum of Art will host its popular Winter Lights Lantern Walk around Wade Oval.

Wade Park, University Circle,


First Night Akron

December 31

This New Year's celebration, now in its 15th year, features alcohol-free family-friendly festivities, including music, dance, theater, and art.

Downtown Akron, 330-374-7690,

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