The holiday season is upon us once again. Before you know it, out-of-town loved ones will be knocking on your door for holiday gatherings, merrymaking and plenty of Christmas ale-fueled late nights. Radios will ceremoniously blare those classic holiday tunes while folks enjoy time-honored family traditions like watching "A Christmas Story" or endlessly quoting Uncle Eddie from "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation."*
But another way to get into the holiday spirit in Cleveland is to experience the city's attractions as they bustle with cheer during Holiday CircleFest. And, this year, the beloved Cleveland event has been extended to two days.
On Saturday, Dec. 2 (12-5 p.m.) and Sunday, Dec. 3 (1-7 p.m.), more than a dozen arts and cultural institutions near and within Cleveland's University Circle neighborhood open their doors free of charge.
In addition to the treasure trove of arts and cultural offerings at these world-renowned attractions, visitors can stroll around a decked-out Wade Oval, take carriage rides in a real "one-horse open sleigh" and even skate at the outdoor Rink at Wade Oval with the big man himself--Santa Claus. And, new for this year, CircleFest will present its first-ever Holiday Market, an outdoor shopping experience.
Additional activities include ice-carving demonstrations, holiday toy displays, a gingerbread house competition, live music, crafts and all sorts of holiday treats.
The event concludes with the dramatic Winter Lights Lantern Festival put on by the Cleveland Museum of Art on Dec. 3 from 5:30-6 p.m. Led by guest lantern artists, illuminated dancers and giant puppets, this unique festival features a centuries-old, cross-cultural lighting procession through the neighborhood. Visitors also can gander through the stunning light installations located outside the Cleveland Museum of Art while sipping hot chocolate and warm coffee.
- By the way, you also can pay homage to both of these holiday flicks by visiting the nearby A Christmas Story House and family-friendly Castle Noel. It's at these attractions where you can watch the stories come to life through a myriad of interactive exhibits and displays.