Holidays In CLE: Indie Style

November 20, 2014
Indie Rock to Local Artists

From Indie Rock to Local Artists: #ThisIsCleveland Holidays

So, holiday light displays and Santa suits aren't your thing.

Ba-humbug, right? WRONG.

Cleveland is a hotbed for indie artists, local music with national cred and a craft beer scene that has hipster mustaches quivering for more.

So, when it comes to celebrating that holly jolly time of year, Cleveland knows a thing or two about how to do the holidays in an uncommercialized, locally sourced, under-the-radar, handcrafted way.

Cleveland Flea: Holiday Maker Mart

So, here you've got an organization that brings hundreds of local artists, crafters and other vendors together to sell their handcrafted goods, vintage finds and homemade goodies.

Beyond that, the Cleveland Flea holds its shows inside vacant and underutilized spaces, which then brings newcomers to undiscovered portions of Cleveland's neighborhoods.

So, when you shop their free Holiday Kickoff Market in Midtown on Nov. 22 -

23 or the Holiday Maker Mart in Slavic Village on Dec. 13 - 14, your dollars are going back into the local economy, while also activating a neighborhood. Cool, huh?

Larchmere Holiday Stroll

With its cool antiques stores, independently owned restaurants, art galleries and niche boutiques, the neighborhood of Larchmere showcases its ever present indie funkiness during the Larchmere Holiday Stroll Nov. 28 - 29. Walk Larchmere Boulevard, peruse small businesses, listen to live music and purchase all sorts of locally-made art.

DJ Kishka: How the Kishka Saved Christmas

There are DJs who spin EDM. And, there are DJs who spin Top 40. And, then...well...then there's DJ Kishka. What does he spin? Polka. Yes, folks, you heard that right. Hold your eye roll for a sec and listen.

This guy puts on massively popular Polka Happy Hours, which beyond anything else, are absolutely hysterical.

On Dec. 12 at the Happy Dog, he hosts "How the Kishka Saved Christmas" where fans and newbs will enjoy the whole Kishka experience - complete with fake beard and fedora.

Besides running across the stage wielding huge sausage links, the DJ encourages show attendees to help him decorate the Kishka Tree with real sauerkraut. [Click to see video; we couldn't make this stuff up if we tried.]

Cleveland Bazaar

If you're looking for tissue box covers, cheesy knickknacks and other grandma-inspired craft projects, we'd like to suggest not checking out this event. 

The Cleveland Bazaar, Northeast Ohio's longest running indie craft show, is chocked full of cool handmade wares, locally-made gifts and other unique hand-crafted items that you'll (thankfully) never find at a big box retailer.

Its signature holiday event happens at the 78th Street Studios on Dec. 13 - 14.

Tremont BrewHaHa

What are the holidays without a few cold ones and some good old-fashioned brewhaha? We don't know - nor do we care to find out. All we know is that Tremont puts on one heck of a party Dec. 12 - 14.

This artful neighborhood gets its glitz on starting Friday, Dec. 12 with a special version of the Tremont ArtWalk where the local stores, boutiques, art galleries and restaurants offer later hours and all sorts of holiday specials including live bands, a pop-up shop, free trolley transportation around the neighborhood and a beer hop to several restaurants and bars.

The fun continues on Saturday, Dec. 13 with the Santa Shuffle, a run through the neighborhood where everyone's decked out in his or her Santa gear. And, of course, there's a bunch of beer specials throughout the neighborhood, too.

On Sunday, Dec. 14, the event concludes with a holiday concert by the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra at the historic Zion United Church of Christ.

The Last Minute Market & Screw Factory Artists Open Studio

Referred to locally as the "Screw Factory," the Lake Erie Building in Lakewood was a former factory built in the 1900s. Today, the unique industrial space serves a number of different purposes, but is most known for housing dozens of artists' studios.

The facility opens its doors to the Last Minute Market and an open studio shopping experience featuring more than 100 artists and craftspeople on Dec. 20.

Ohio City Singers

This is what happens when a dozen buddies (who also happen to be in several successful local bands) get together at a holiday party, down a couple glasses of eggnog and get to thinking. The Ohio City Singers are an indie rock tradition here in Cleveland.

But, they're not crooning classics. This local band - which only performs around the holidays - sings their own original holiday sets while simultaneously hosting a series of rather epic holiday parties throughout December.

Shows happen all month and offer reason #2,333,249 to enjoy a couple of Christmas ales (responsibly, of course).

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