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Visit Me in CLE Weekend
By John Luteran and Annie Zaleski
Yes, we know you’ve got jokes about the Cuyahoga River catching fire and they’re hilarious and you’re smart and attractive. But 2019 marks the 50-year anniversary of that fabled event. In Cleveland, we only know one way to mark such a milestone – throw a kick-ass party with great beer, awesome food and tons of live music.
We throw a lot of parties here because, well, why not? But this one’s different, because proceeds from the ticket and beer sales – courtesy of local brewing luminaries Great Lakes Brewing Co. — go to support the Burning River Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving, maintaining and celebrating the vitality of our regional freshwater resources.
Check out all the fun Burning River Fest has on tap at this year’s party with a purpose.
Image © Cody York
Burning River Fest takes place at the sleek, refurbished Coast Guard Station, a landmark on the National Register of Historic Places that offers picturesque views of the lake and surrounding environs. As if this venue wasn’t cool enough, it’s located on Whiskey Island – a party island has never been so aptly named.
Getting to the festival is super easy. If you’re driving, carpool if you can and park your car for free at Edgewater Park, which will lead you to a shuttle to the Coast Guard Station. If you’re feeling extra environmentally friendly, Burning River Fest encourages its guests to ride their bikes down to Whiskey Island and take advantage of the free bike valet at the front gate.
Image courtesy of Great Lakes Brewing Co.
As the festival’s lead sponsors, did you think Great Lakes Brewing Co. was going to leave their delicious, golden nectar at home? Of course they’re bringing the goods.
Two of Great Lakes’ newest brews will be on tap in Rally Drum Red Ale and Turntable Pils. The Rally Drum is a double header of bitter hop and roasted malt flavor in honor of Cleveland Indians superfan and legend John Adams. Turntable Pils celebrates Cleveland’s musical history – not sure if you’ve heard, but the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is right down the shore – with a refreshing, classic pilsner. Great Lakes classics like Commodore Perry IPA, Oktoberfest and the event-appropriate Burning River Pale Ale round out the selection.
In keeping with the environmentally conscious theme of the event, all beer is served in 100% compostable corn cups, which is just one part of Burning River Fest’s zero-waste program for diverting as much waste as possible from the landfill.
Cleveland knows food. Just ask our world-class, nationally recognized chefs and restaurant scene. You’re going to need to get a good base in for drinking all that amazing beer, anyway, and the fest has you covered.
Grab some “grandma-approved” pierogis from the Pierogi Bus, some coastal “Floribian” flavors from The Beachcomber Truck or munch on some of Cleveland’s favorite tacos from the Barrio truck. 216 Bistro offers burgers, sandwiches and Lobster Mac, while Sauced Wood Fired Pizza serves up hand-stretched, fired-oven pies to order.
Finish it all off with dessert from Cleveland staple Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream and a delicious cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes, completing that ultimate sweet combo of cake and ice cream.
Will there be music at this festival? Oh, I don’t know, this is just the birthplace of Rock & Roll and all, of course there will be music.
Headliners include Arlie (Friday) and Cloud Nothings (Saturday) on the Great Lakes Stage.
The Great Lakes Stage also will feature acts that range from blues to pop, funk to 60s and more featuring Angela Perley, Austin Walkin’ Cane, Daddy Longlegs Homegrown Revival and other great artists.
The Acoustic Stage will feature folksy pop and fusion music from artists like Independent Music Award winner Luca Mundaca, Apostle Jones and Madeline Finn, among others.
If you feel like dancing, head over to the Silent Disco to grab a pair of headphones and groove to music spun by live DJs like DJ Red-I, DJ MIMO and Candi Fresca.
Yes, in 1969 the Cuyahoga River caught fire due to high levels of pollution in its waters, but such was the state of many of our country’s waterways around that time. While that fire landed on the cover of “Time” magazine and sparked the punchlines of hundreds of hack comedians for years after, it also helped spur the 1972 Clean Water Act along with the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Burning River Fest is Cleveland’s way of renewing our commitment to keeping our beautiful natural resources clean and encouraging environmental thinking in all attendees. That certainly calls for a celebratory beer … or two.
So get yourself to Great Lakes Burning River Fest 2019 June 21 – 22, 2019 at the historic Coast Guard Station on Whiskey Island for some of the most fun you’ve ever had while serving a great environmental cause. Tickets are available for purchase online.
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