Free Summer Events
2016 Free Summer Events in Cleveland
by Lexi Hotchkiss
Who says having a great vacation means you have to defer your student loan payments another month? Take your Cleveland visit from awesome to amazing by sprinkling in some summertime events that showcase the best of Cleveland - all while offering free admission.
The last time you went to a parade you were like what - eight years old? Parade the Circle is totally different. This completely free arts celebration incorporates the drama and artistry of handmade colorful floats, giant puppets, bright costumes, handmade masks, stilt-walkers, dancers and musicians. It's a completely striking celebration of the arts (no motorized vehicles or signage is permitted during the event - art only!). Artists come from all over the world to be a part of this incredible day.
Celebrate the utility adhesive that's currently holding together half the stuff in your house (don't lie - you know it's true). Just west of Cleveland sits the upscale ‘burb of Avon, home of ShurTech Brands, the makers of Duck Brand duct tape. Each year, the town goes all out to celebrate the sticky stuff with duct tape fashion shows (yes, prom dresses made of duct tape), a parade comprised 100 percent of duct tape, music, food and more duct tape crafts that you can shake a stick at. It's kitsch. It's awesome. It's unmistakably Cleveland.
When it comes to the world of music festivals, Larchmere Porchfest is anything but ordinary. Get this, residents in the progressive east side district of Larchmere (which also boasts a pretty amazing antiques district) open up their front porches as "stages" for local bands, musicians and performers of all kinds. That means that front yards become the place you sit to really discover Cleveland's indie music scene (30 bands to be exact). Looking for something pretty wild on vacation? This is it.
The up-and-coming arts district located on Waterloo Road in Collinwood (east of downtown) is something to witness. Art, music and culture have literally transformed this neighborhood into an incredible destination. Much like the neighborhood, the annual outdoor arts festival is as unique and edgy as they come with bands, free art projects, record stores and ethnic food straight from the nearby neighborhood joints.
Consistently rated within the top ten orchestras in the world, The Cleveland Orchestra offers an unparalleled musical experience - even for those of us who didn't major in music composition. But, to have the opportunity to hear the orchestra perform at no cost is a real treat. Each year, 80,000 people head downtown to experience a free, patriotic concert by The Cleveland Orchestra. After the concert, the orchestra performs to a pretty insane fireworks display in the heart of downtown. It's a mind-blowing experience. And, did we mention it's free?
Foodies BEHOLD! If there's ever a neighborhood that the locals would like to keep to themselves, it's Tremont. This artsy pocket of Cleveland (close to downtown) is known for its high-caliber chefs, unique dining establishments and cool little watering holes bursting with character. During this festival, many of these restaurants set up booths along Professor Street for passersby to purchase samples of the award-winning food you keep reading about in those national food magazines. It's become a very popular event - so get there early. And, of course, come HUNGRY!
If you're looking for an incredible way to experience Cleveland's famous Little Italy neighborhood, make sure to enjoy the Feast of the Assumption. This four-day festival features both religious and secular activities centered around the Catholic religious day of Assumption. Known by locals simply as "The Feast," the incredible ethnic eateries that line Mayfield Road bring samples of their Italian delicacies onto the street. It's a huge event and one that has quickly evolved into a Cleveland mainstay.
We Could Go On For Days
Check out these other free events below and always be sure to check our Cleveland event calendar:
- Sunday Market in Hingetown: Various Sundays
- Open Air in Market Square: Saturdays June-Aug.
- Wade Oval Wednesdays: Wednesdays June 15 - Aug. 31
- Clifton Arts & MusicFest: June 18
- Shaker Heights Arts and Music Festival: June 18-19
- Cain Park Arts Festival: July 8-10
- Lakewood Arts Festival: Aug. 6
- Warehouse District Festival: Aug. 7
- Tremont Polish Festival: Sept. 3-4
Free is good, right? What other free events are you checking out in CLE this summer?