I know what you’re thinking: summer is ending, school is starting soon and you’re sorting out your hoodie collection for the fall.
Just stop it. There is plenty of summer left to rage against the dying of the light, or at the very least get a little tipsy, eat delicious ethnic foods and dance to some decent tunes.
Check out these August festivals and give summer the going away party it deserves.
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 on Canton, including legendary Hall of Famers, celebrity athletes, team owners and a host of fans. This year’s inductees include Ronde Barber, Don Coryell, Chuck Howley, Joe Klecko, Darrelle Revis, Ken Riley, Zach Thomas, DeMarcus Ware and Browns LEGEND Joe Thomas.
A mindbending mixture of theater and other art styles, this summer festival invites artists and performers from arounf the globe to descend on Playhouse Square and delight attendees with performances intended to illuminate the borders between us and build connections acroos them. With a robust schedule of performance in multiple venues, along with family-friendly programming, it's a perfect summer escape that enlightens while it entertains.
Vintage Ohio Wine Festival, put on by the Ohio Wine Producers Association, is the annual food and wine event held in Kirkland, Ohio. It just so happens that The Land is packed to the gills with vineyards and wineries - thanks in large part to the unique soil and microclimate that rests along Lake Erie's perches. Sniff, swish and sip (or just pretend like you know what you're doing) a staggering number of varieties from 20 area wineries alongside thousands of your newest drinking buds.
If you’re like me, you’re a fan of world class local festivals and biological spectacle. You’ll get both at the Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio. Billed as the largest annual gathering of twins and other multiples in the world, events like the Double Take Parade, Twins Talent Show, fireworks and a 5k fill the weekend. This year’s theme – “Shiver Me TWINbers” - encourages their multiple sibling attendees to come dressed as pirates, shipmates and parrots as they chart their course for swashbuckling fun. People watch all you want for $5 a day.
Image © Cuyahoga County Fair
County fairs are always a window to our past, and this one is no different. The Cuyahoga County Fair has been held every year since 1893 – except once during the Great Depression (1932) and twice during World War II (1942, 1943) – and has historically been a celebration of the end of summer and the fall harvest. Check out live music, motor sports, all manner of farm animals, carnival rides and more delicious fried fair food than you can handle. Don’t worry, walking around to see everything the fair has to offer will burn off those funnel cakes and deep-fried Oreos.
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 known as "The Feast," features both religious and secular activities. Little Italy's restaurants set up booths outside their storefronts and offer throngs of hungry visitors the most authentic Italian-American fare you’ll find anywhere. With a Red Line stop nearby, you can leave the car and take the cannoli.
Image courtesy Garlic Festival
Vampires, whether the scary “Dracula” or sparkly “Twilight” variety, will stay miles away from this fragrant Cleveland festival celebrating the fact that our region is home to more than 300 varieties of garlic, which happen to be among the tastiest in the country due to our mineral-rich soil. With dozens of on-site vendors that range from independent farmers to local restaurants, competitions between some of the region’s top chefs, and a tent devoted entirely to cheese, this is a food-lover’s playground.
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. This celebration of our city’s diverse population and the contributions made by its immigrant population is appropriately held in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. The event features a naturalization ceremony, a parade of nations, ethnic food from nations represented in the Gardens, live music and cultural performances.
There is nothing quite like watching people in traditional German garb slapping their knees and boots in full folk dancing glory – all while pretending to be a giant cuckoo clock. This, my friends, is the Germanic glory known as the glockenspiel. This is Oktoberfest. Grab a boot-shaped mug and fill it with your favorite German brew, stuff yourself with bratwurst and schnitzel, then wander over to the Wiener Dog Races for some of the purest fun this side of the Danube. Enjoy live music from polka bands and dancers from around the world, as well as raucous local cover bands, at Ohio’s largest annual outdoor festival.
The Cleveland National Air Show is kind of like watching “Top Gun” but instead of a TV screen, you’re looking at the sky. And instead of your couch, you’re watching from a mind-blowing vantage point on the shore of Lake Erie. The three-day show is held at Burke Lakefront Airport, so on one side, you have the expanse of Lake Erie. On the other side, there’s the beautiful Downtown skyline.