Star Spangled Spectacular

June 24, 2014
Star Spangled Spectactular

A Star-Spangled Spectacular The Cleveland Orchestra's Free Concert on Public Square

For most people, the thought of Independence Day conjures up images of hamburgers, weenie roasts, parades and, of course, fireworks. But here in Cleveland, we associate the holiday with the distinguished musical stylings of an illustrious and world-revered orchestra.

We sound pretty fancy, don't we?

Truth be told, but Cleveland's musical crown jewel known as The Cleveland Orchestra comes out to play a huge free concert during this patriotic holiday. The concert, The Star-Spangled Spectacular, is one of the biggest Independence Day celebrations in CLE and offers the perfect kick-off to the July 4th holiday weekend.

On July 2, you, too, can be a part of the more than 80,000 people who head to Public Square (the heart of downtown Cleveland) to experience this free community concert that happens only once a year.

With lawn chairs and picnic baskets in tow, these concertgoers - ranging from twenty-something young professionals to grandparents hand-in-hand with their grandchildren - snag a spot on the closed-down streets surrounding a stage back dropped by the iconic Terminal Tower.

At 9pm, Public Square comes alive with a breathtaking performance by the orchestra. This year's program will include popular American favorites including The Star Spangled Banner, The Battle Hymn of the Republic and Stars and Stripes Forever.  The program also features "Superman March" by John Williams, commemorating the hero's origins and creation in Cleveland.  The concert culminates with Tchaikovsky's "1812" overture.

This all begs the question: Who doesn't get a kick out of a catchy John Philip Sousa medley? But, when it's performed by The Cleveland Orchestra, "catchy" becomes "sublime" and the experience is taken to a whole new level.

Widely lauded as one of the top 10 orchestras in the entire world, The Cleveland Orchestra is an experience within itself. The orchestra performs in venues around the globe including residencies in Miami, Florida and Vienna, Austria.

Immediately following the concert portion of the Star-Spangled Spectacular, stick around for a massive fireworks display blasted off right there on Public Square. It's almost impossible to get a "bad" view of the breathtaking spectacle.

Getting to the Star-Spangled Spectacular is a cinch. With the centrally located performance space outside of Tower City, you really ought to consider taking the RTA Rapid Transit Line. Whether you're on the blue, red or green rail line, you'll make it to directly to the stage for only $2.25. Not to mention you can leave your parking woes with your car, which will be parked at a free RTA parking lot.

While The Cleveland Orchestra kicks off its concert at 9pm, concertgoers can get there early for an even richer experience.

Starting at 7pm, the event will showcase "Make Music!" videos created by the Cleveland area community on a rather giant screen on Public Square. Watch as musicians of all ages and types perform on videos submitted through social media during this unique program.

Additionally, the Cleveland Public Library - located just a stone's throw from Public Square - will offer a variety of family-friendly activities centered around Independence Day.

Various food trucks also will be on site serving up plenty of heart Cleveland fare.

If dining via gourmet food truck isn't your style, check out some of these nearby restaurants for a pre- or post-concert bite (some offer specials on the day of the concert): Pura Vida, Noodlecat, MUSE, Sans Souci, Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse, Morton's The Steakhouse, The Spread Buffet at Horseshoe Cleveland and the pubs and eateries on East Fourth Street and in the Warehouse District.

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