Cleveland's 2016 Summer Festival Season
By Lexi Hotchkiss, Image by Cody York
You want to get to know Cleveland? I mean, really get to know Cleveland? Then check out one of the summer's multitude of festivals showcasing the city's true eccentricities, flavors and culture.
May 14: Kamm's Corners, a neighborhood boasting a rich and rather admirable Irish heritage, hosts The Hooley. Dance an Irish jig to the bagpipers or tip back a few cold ones with the live bands at this mother-of-all block parties.
May 21 - 22: Dive into freshly made Chinese steam buns, Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches or Indian chutney rolls during the Cleveland Asian Festival held in Cleveland's burgeoning Asia Town.
May 21 - 22: What happens when a funky little street near University Circle hosts a bohemian-style music and art festival? A weekend of drum circles, 20+ live bands and poetry readings during the Hessler Street Fayre.
May 27 - 30: Lip-smacking ribs are all the rage at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds during the 18th Annual Berea's National Rib Cook-Off. The event is family-friendly with a rock-climbing wall, mechanical bull and inflatable rides.
May 27 - 30: Work off that homemade baklava and a big plate of braised lamb with some traditional Greek dancing during the 46th Annual Tremont Greek Fest.
June 11: University Circle becomes the centerpiece of a unique, art-centric parade called Parade the Circle where you'll see everything from stilt walkers to life-sized puppets - but absolutely no motorized vehicles or the use of signs.
June 17 - 19: From a designer fashion show to a full-fledged parade, everything at the Avon Heritage Duck Tape Festival revolves around - no joke -duct tape.
June 18: That frolicking stretch of Clifton Avenue in the Edgewater community draws roughly 40,000 people to a street festival celebrating pride, vitality and diversity during the Clifton Arts & Musicfest.
June 18: Want to hang out with Clevelanders on their very-own front lawns? [Why wouldn't you?] The eclectic and oh-so-cozy neighborhood of Larchmere comes alive during PorchFest where 30 indie bands perform on 30 of the neighborhood's porches. Cool, huh?
June 25: The Cleveland Museum of Art puts on an eclectic music bash on its back lawn for the annual Summer Solstice party. The massively popular event is highlighted with artistic performance art and exotic world music coming from as far as Africa and South America.
June 25: It's no surprise that the eclectic, artfully emerging neighborhood of North Collinwood puts on an uncanny art festival. This year's Waterloo Arts Festival is no different with its eccentric art and musical experiences, as well as a unique street art project.
July 8 - 10: To say this three-day outdoor art festival is big would be an understatement. The Cain Park Arts Festival features 150 juried artists and crafters at this Cleveland Heights park.
July 9: A massive backyard party with 5,000 of your newest friends? The urban-cool town of Lakewood comes alive with 40+ street vendors, games, activities, a 5K race, great food and, of course, a beer garden during the Lakewood Summer Meltdown.
July 10: This artsy pocket of Cleveland is known for its high-caliber chefs, unique dining establishments and cool little watering holes bursting with character. During the Taste of Tremont, many of these restaurants set up booths along Professor Street for passersby to purchase samples of the award-winning food.
July 22 - 24: Don't wait until next St. Paddy's Day to celebrate your Irish heritage (or your wanna-be Irish roots) when you can get your jig on at the Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds. Complete with Irish dance groups and pipe bands, you'll also get your fill of musicians and bands direct from Ireland.
July 23 - 25: The largest music festival in Ohio celebrates the zest of jazz music and culture. Tri-C JazzFest offers music ranging from blues to big band, zydeco to gypsy swing, Latin to calypso, and bop to smooth jazz. This year's lineup features Diana Krall, Al Jarreau, and Chick Corea.
Aug. 4 - 7: With more than 20 events held over two weeks, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival is every pig-skin lover's fantasy. More than 700,000 people from all over the country converge onto Canton, including legendary Hall of Famers, celebrity athletes, team owners and a host of fans.
Aug. 5 - 6: Of the 150 licensed wineries in Ohio, Northeast Ohio is home to the vast majority. Rather than taking days to experience them all, head to the gorgeous, outdoor Vintage Ohio Wine Festival to get a taste of all of them in one spot.
Aug. 5 - 7: Get to the suburb of Twinsburg to celebrate Twins Days, the largest gathering of twins and multiples in the world. Swing by the "Double-Take" parade, spectate contests, enjoy food and watch the fireworks.
Aug. 7: There ain't no party like a Downtown party, ‘cause a Downtown party don't stop. Specifically...the Warehouse District. Live bands, art demonstrations, performers, excellent food, beer, dancing (in the streets) and even a cutest dog contest top off the Warehouse District Street Festival Downtown.
Aug. 13: Help Cleveland celebrate pride, diversity and equality during the Cleveland Pride Parade, Rally and Festival featuring a downtown parade followed by a colorful bash on Mall C set along the backdrop of Lake Erie.
Aug. 13 - 14: Picture a kiddie pool filled with ketchup and burger fans in goggles bobbing for burger patties at the annual National Hamburger Festival, at Lock 3 Park in downtown Akron. [Yum.] This delicious weekend celebrates all that is the hamburger.
Aug. 12 - 15: 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 know as "The Feast," features both religious and secular activities, as well as food from the incredible ethnic eateries within the neighborhood.
Aug. 23: With a population that represents 117 different ethnicities, Cleveland's unique melting pot culture means that One World Day is a pretty big deal around these parts. Appropriately held in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens, the event features a naturalization ceremony, a parade of nations, ethnic food and cultural performances.
Aug. 26 - 27: Burning River Festival is a two-day fest dedicated to the city's ever-growing eco-consciousness. Oh, did we mention the local beer, indie bands, sustainable food and an extra cool location? That, too.
Yep, There's More!
The sheer volume of unique festivals happening across Northeast Ohio is a true testament of how we Clevelanders like to spend our summers. We couldn't include them all. So, check our event calendar regularly.
And, if you're a passionate local, tell visitors about your favorite summer festival in the comments section below. #TIA