Art and Culinary Events in Cleveland
Throughout the year, art and culinary events heat things up another notch in Cleveland. From food festivals dedicated to everything from garlic, wine and hamburgers; events showcasing local farmers, producers and sustainability; to art and multicultural parades and demonstrations, there’s never a dull moment.
Aug. 31 – Sept. 3: The Cleveland Labor Day Oktoberfest held at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds is a Cleveland tradition, attracting a diversity of fun-lovers from every walk of life, generation and ethnic background, offering an exciting menu of activities, entertainment, dancing and traditional German food and beverages.
Sept. 8 – 9: Shaker Square, home to the ever-popular North Union Farmers Market, once again becomes the place to be for “all things garlic” in the region during the Cleveland Garlic Festival. Attendees, armed with breath mints, enjoy garlic-themed food (everything from ice cream to oysters) prepared by local chefs, an onsite celebrity chef Grill-Off, live music, cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, taste and grow tents for children and more.
Sept. 10: Culinary giants and Cleveland Browns football greats tackle hunger with the annual Taste of the Browns event, where visitors dine on signature samples from more than 25 of Cleveland’s finest restaurants, as they mingle with playeys and enjoy live music to benefit the Cleveland Foodbank.
Sept. 14 – 16: The inGENUiTY Festival is Cleveland’s annual weekend-long celebration of art and technology, designed for audiences of any age and experience. Staged on the Lakefront at Docks 32 and 30, this unique festival brings together artists, engineers, programmers and creators who show projects based on annual themes.
Sept. 15 – 16: The Cleveland Museum of Art presents its annual Chalk Festival, an art that is a 16th century Italian tradition. A great afternoon for kids and adults.
Sept. 22 – 23: The Cleveland’s RIPE! Festival, presented by the Cleveland Botanical Gardens, celebrates the edible gardening revolution and today’s thriving commitment to buying local. This festival shows visitors what, when and how to grow and eat. And, with the help of onsite farmers, local restaurants and regional food experts, guests learn great ways to enjoy fruits and vegetables while sampling local offerings.
Oct. 16: NEO Food Tours allow visitors to learn about multiple restaurants from the chefs themselves, and interspersing these “courses” with guided tours of historic neighborhoods, noting history, architecture and stories along the way. This fall, explore the picturesque town of Chagrin Falls on one of NEO Food Tour Signature Series events.
Oct. 19 – 27: Visitors can enjoy an entire week dedicated to beer! Cleveland Beer Week showcases local breweries, restaurants, bars, taverns, grocers and specialty beverage stores. From music and activities to ale tastings and brewmaster meet-and-greets, all events offer unique specials for and raise awareness of craft brews.
Oct. 28: For those looking for a completely unique take on Cleveland’s burgeoning culinary scene, why not experience an event created by Emerging Chefs? This Cleveland-based firm specializes in creating distinctive events around emerging chefs, culinary trends and destination dining experiences such as the Roaring Twenties, catered by Chef Steve Schimoler at Ohio City’s Crop Bistro.
Nov. 1 – 14: The Cleveland Independents present Cleveland Restaurant Week offering $30 prix fixe, three-course menus at 90 locally-owned restaurants, giving diners a great opportunity to try a new restaurants.
Nov. 9- 11: Foodies who desire to learn the latest techniques from top chefs, shop for the holidays, sample outstanding food and taste fantastic wines should take a trip to The Fabulous Food Show, a consumer culinary show at the I-X Center. Take a trip down the aisles and aisles of cooking products and savory samples mixed in with a dash of cooking demos and the zest of celebrity chef appearances.
Dec. 31: For more than 15 years thousands have gathered in Port Clinton for the Madness at Midnight Walleye Drop. The town lowers a fiberglass walleye replica, approximately 30 times larger than the average walleye, at the stroke of midnight while guests enjoy walleye flavored chowder, sandwiches, cinnamon chips, and even popcorn. Mon Ami, a local winery, has even created a “Walleye White” wine to honor the city’s walleye reputation.
Feb. 25 – March 3: Visitors can enjoy all that Downtown Cleveland’s restaurants have to offer at the 6th Annual Restaurant Week featuring $30, three-course dinner menus and $15 lunch specials at participating restaurants.
May: Raise a glass at the I-X Center to the International Beer Fest, the largest showcase and competition of world beers in the Midwest. The event features three public tasting sessions with 200 stellar breweries from around the world pouring upwards of 800 select beers.
May: The Cleveland Asian Festival,located in the Asia Town neighborhood east of downtown, features authentic Asian foods and merchandise, local and national performing artists, a children’s activity area, games, competitions, and a health pavilion with free screenings and health education.
May – September: Throughout the summer months, Cleveland’s gourmet cuisine on wheels comes together for Walnut Wednesdays. Nearly a dozen of the area’s most popular food trucks gather in downtown’s NineTwelve District for delicious food, live music and an enjoyable mid-day break.
May 24 – 27: Get the bib ready for some lip-smacking, finger-licking fun at the Berea National Rib Cook-Off at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds. Rib masters battle it out to provide some of the tastiest ribs in town with other events for kids, themed nights and a slew of favorite local bands.
May 24 – 27: Taste all of the delicious barbeque goodness provided when grill pros go head-to-head to earn best ribs in the land during the Marc’s Annual Great American Rib Cook-off and Music Festival at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica.
June: Parade the Circle, Cleveland’s annual art festival that draws incorporates the drama and artistry of colorful floats, puppets, costumes, dancers and musicians. Then, visitors are invited inside Wade Oval for an afternoon of activities, live music and delectable food.
June: Summer kicks off in grand fashion at the annual Summer Solstice event at the Cleveland Museum of Art. The indoor/outdoor music festival and celebration combines food and drinks with late night hours in the renowned museum’s galleries.
June: Cleveland’s top chefs serve up specialties at the annual Chef Jam event at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The chefs compete with dishes that inspired by their favorite band or musician and dress like the rock stars they are featuring, while guests enjoy a variety of music and entertainment.
July: Attendees choose from more than 200 wine samples from around the world while learning about new and exciting varieties from the experts at the Cleveland Wine Festival, located at Voinovich Park in downtown Cleveland. Some of the region’s best restaurants and caterers are on-hand selling their signature dishes.
July: Help Cleveland celebrate environmental awareness with great music, incredible food and a frothy pint of Great Lakes Brewing Company beer during the Great Lakes Burning River Festival. Held at the historic Coast Guard Station on Whiskey Island, this festival features educational exhibitors who raise awareness of environmental issues affecting the region.
July: Don’t miss out on all the exciting flavors that make up the hidden gem of a culinary neighborhood that is Tremont. During the Taste of Tremont, the neighborhood holds a street fair to showcase the best of Tremont’s food, art and entertainment options.
July: The Annual Veggie U Food and Wine Celebration brings together culinary greats and celebrity chefs for cooking demonstrations, wine classes and small dish tastings all to benefit Veggie U, a not-for-provide organization that offers earth-to-table science curriculum to fight childhood obesity.
August: Vintage Ohio Wine Festival, an annual wine festival held at Lake Farmpark, features the latest and greatest offerings by some of Ohio’s best vineyards. Besides all the wonderful wine, visitors can enjoy the fabulous food offered by participating restaurants with menu items ranging from $3-$10. Also experience great music, entertainment, crafters, exhibitors and cooking demonstrations.
August: Visit Little Italy during its famous four-day festival, Feast of the Assumption. The streets are shut down and all the family-owned Italian eateries bring their menus to the streets where more than 100,000 people visit just to get a taste of the old country. Also enjoy carnival rides, arts and crafts booths, live music, fireworks and a parade.
August: Akron’s Lock 3 Park is home to the National Hamburger Festival, kicked off with tasting competitions, competitive eating, live music and even a Miss Hamburger Festival competition.
– Lexi Hotchkiss