Who says you can’t go home?
This week’s Ohio Homecoming events in Cleveland give everyone quite a few reasons to do so. The days of July 22nd through the 25th are jammed packed with music, competition, athletics and community, all as a part of “a celebration of and for those who still believe and love the state of Ohio and its great cities.”
Clevelander and event organizer Alonzo Mitchell has had high expectations for this event for a long time. “This has been a dream and vision of mine for six years of my life. But now is the time. We need to come together and celebrate, not tomorrow, but today.”
And what better reason to celebrate than the 214th birthday of Cleveland? Kicking off the party Thursday is a variety show concert featuring Cleveland native headliner, Kid Cudi. Also, enjoy Hispanic musical stylings by a local band and KISS FM’s DJ EV. The show itself is free with the purchase of $10 tickets to other events in the weekend (STOMP For Ohio or the Lee Evans Celebrity Flag Football Game) or purchase an “I am Ohio” T-shirt from local t-shirt manufacturer, Fresh Brewed Tees (Tees are available in the Cleveland Plus Visitors Center at the Higbee Building, 100 Public Square.) The concert will take place on Mall C in Downtown Cleveland, so bring your own blanket or lawn chair. Food and refreshments will be available for purchase.
Friday evening’s highlight is “Step Up to Step Out,” a college and alumni Greek step show. Teams from Kentucky, Baltimore, Chicago and more face off with local teams for the $5,000 top prize. Downtown Cleveland’s Mall C is the spot for some enchanting group coordination movements from 5 -9pm.
Cleveland is a football town, and the celebration continues in appropriate gridiron fashion as teams take the field in the Lee Evans Celebrity Flag Football Game in the Bedford Bearcat Stadium. Celebrity coaches include Lee Evens and Donte Whitner from the Buffalo Bills, Lindsey Witten from the Pittsburgh Steelers, Syndric Steptoe and Steve Sanders from the Cleveland Browns.
During halftime of the game is when the real battle begins as Shaw High School marching band faces off against Chicago, Illinois school King College Prep. After a heated history of back and forth championships, the two schools take the field for a chance at the $5,000 prize as determined by a panel of judges. Check out a video of the bands’ preparation for this battle here.
Sunday wraps up the weekend with a March on Ohio Wellness and Unity Walk beginning at 9am at the Westside Market. Walkers enjoy a Sunday stroll through Cleveland and conclude their 3.5 mile walk at Progressive Field, just in time for Slider’s Birthday. This kid-friendly celebration includes face painting, games, Slider appearances and more. Stick around to watch the Cleveland Indians take on the Tampa Bay Rays at 1pm for a discounted, $5 admission price.
“These seven events, all packed into four days, are all about reconnecting with each other,” explains Mitchell. “Ohio Homecoming is a celebration for everyone. This is bigger than race, gender, culture, age, it’s about coming together and looking forward to the future.”
For more information about Ohio Homecoming events or to purchase tickets, check out www.ohiohomecoming.com. – Submitted by A.I.