Who says cooling temperatures are a signal to put festival season on ice for the year? Not us! In fact, Northeast Ohio's fall festival calendar is packed full of action-packed events, no matter whether your speed is bicycling or beer.
Flats East Bank, Sept. 2-3, gates open at 1 p.m.
If Labor Day Weekend is summer's last hurrah, TanZ Summerfest will certainly help the season go out with a bang. Now in its second year, the riverfront dance music-centric fest is an all-day celebration of local and international house music luminaries, including EDM-pop darling Zedd and DJs Nicky Romero and Tritonal.
Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, Sept. 1-4, times vary
Dubbed "Northeast Ohio's Largest Annual Outdoor Festival," Cleveland Oktoberfest is an exuberant bacchanalia devoted to beer, brats and family-friendly fun. Besides music—tribute bands Bruce in the USA (Bruce Springsteen), Hollywood Nights (Bob Seger) and E5C4PE (Journey), as well as polka enthusiasts and Oktoberfest big bands, the Labor Day weekend event boasts shopping, art, children's activities and a belly-busting menu.
Edgewater Park, Slavic Village, Cleveland Metroparks Bedford Reservation, Sept. 8-10, various times
Each year, Cleveland's cycling community gathers at various locales around Cleveland for a weekend full of races and camaraderie. Old favorites such as a night ride, Velodrome and an XC Mountain Bike Race are returning, although new this year is Cranks on the Banks: A Bicycle Scramble Event, an eight-stage event for competitors of all skill levels. Even if cycling isn't your bag, NEOCycle is treating Edgewater Park as home base—replete with a weekend music festival consisting of local bands and national acts, including indie-folk upstarts Saintseneca and stormy rockers Strand Of Oaks.
Crocker Park Wine Festival
Crocker Park, Sept. 15 (4-10 p.m.), Sept. 16 (2-10 p.m.)
Sip on a selection of 150 wines (or craft beers and spirits, if that's more your thing) while noshing on food and enjoying art and music outside on Crocker Park's South Main Street. Best of all, the festival is a benefit for Northeast Ohio-based health, wellness and military support organizations.
Tremont Arts & Cultural Fest
Tremont, Sept. 16 (11 a.m.-6 p.m.), Sept. 17 (noon-5 p.m.)
Located in Lincoln Park, the 17th-annual Tremont Arts & Cultural Fest highlights the enduring arts community in one of Cleveland's most beloved neighborhoods.
Village Peddler Festival
Lake Metroparks Farmpark, Kirtland, Ohio, Sept. 16 (10 a.m.-6 p.m.), Sept. 17 (10 a.m.-5 p.m.)
Chances are, one of the 175 vendors at this annual two-day marketplace will have something you'll like—whether your tastes run toward furniture, home décor and jewelry, or delicacies such as produce, maple syrup and sweets.
St. Clair-Superior, Sept. 22-24
One of the longest-running celebrations of the city's cutting-edge creative community, IngenuityFest is taking up residence at the community hub Hamilton Collaborative (5401 Hamilton Ave.) in late September. This year's festival theme of “Metamorphosis” will inform the artists, makers, innovators and go-getters taking part n the fest—although familiar features such as IndusTree Alley, Makers Mecca, ARTchiTECHtonica, MOTOmagination Station and Music Meadow will once again greet attendees.
Vermilion, Sept. 24
As any Clevelander will tell you, the woollybear is a type of caterpillar that's said to predict how harsh winters might be in a given year. The annual festival, which has been spearheaded for decades by beloved local meteorologist Dick Goddard—who will be on hand this year—pays tribute to these fuzzy prognosticators. Not only is there a huge parade, but the all-day festival boasts the Woollybear 500 Race, a King & Queen Woollybear Costume Contest and Woollybear Animal Look-A-Like Contest.
Ohio City Street Festival
Ohio City, Sept. 24, noon-8 p.m.
West 25th St. tends to be bustling on weekends, but chances are good that the Ohio City Street Festival will take things to a whole new level. Music, games, food, art, a printing station and the West Side Market—what's not to love?
Ohio Mart 2017
Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, Akron, Oct. 5-8
Art aficionados, rejoice: The 51st annual Ohio Mart is a well-curated shopping paradise boasting sculptures, jewelry, textiles, ceramics, glass, dried flower arrangements, books and clothing. Best of all, Ohio Mart is also a fundraiser for Stan Hywet—so you can scarf up some hot gingerbread and cider without guilt.
Cleveland Beer Week
Various Neighborhoods, Oct. 13-22
Sure, every week feels like beer week in Cleveland, thanks to the many breweries that have opened here in recent years. However, Cleveland Beer Week—which actually runs 10 days this year—is especially an action-packed festival with tastings, dinners, unique keg tappings and tons of other beer-centric events.