As the sun begins to set and reflect its summer hues onto the windows of Cleveland’s skyline, there’s no better dinner table in Cleveland than those aboard the well-known sightseeing and dining cruise vessels.
The Goodtime III, Cleveland’s largest sightseeing vessel, is known for its narrated cruises of the Cuyahoga River and the downtown Cleveland lakefront. In the evening, the Goodtime III’s 6:30pm evening departure features a full dinner buffet. Afterwards, visitors can stick around for late-night dancing on the lake, with a live band on the main deck and a disc jockey cranking out music on deck two. This four-deck ship, which can accommodate up to 1,000 guests, has a spacious top sun deck, perfect to enjoy the unparalleled scenery and summertime air, as well as an air-conditioned lower lounge.
Running Tuesday – Saturday from June 15 through Labor Day, the Goodtime III offers comprehensive two-hour overviews of Cleveland’s waterways on standard narrated tour at noon and 3pm, as well as narrated lunch cruises and Sunday brunch offerings. Additionally, they offer “Rush Hour” Happy Hour cruises on Fridays and special events for occasions such as Father’s Day and the Fourth of July.
Located on the Cuyahoga River in the Flats District, the Nautica Queen features a variety of theme cruises and special events – all of which feature buffet lunch or dinner dining options as guests glide along the lake and soak in the spectacular skyline views. Monday through Saturday the vessel offers both lunch and sunset cruises, and Sunday offers mid-afternoon brunch.
Visitors especially love their themed events such as Wednesdays “Tropical night,” bringing the tastes and sounds of far-off seas and emerald islands to this corner of the Great Lakes, while Friday nights are set aside for dinner and tastings as a part of the weekly “Wine on the Water” event. For visitors interested in Lake Erie lore, the Nautica Queen’s Friday “Legends of Lake Erie” lunch cruises held from June through October, treat guests to tales of sunken treasure, ghost stories and shipwrecks galore.
So, no matter the time of day or the vessel, sometimes the best table in the city is one that’s rocking on the waves of Lake Erie.
– April Ingle
Located on Cleveland’s near-west side in the Tremont neighborhood, “A Christmas Story” House has been completely restored to its movie splendor and is open year-round for public tours. The house is both a tribute to and replica of the Parker family’s home in fictional Hohman, Indiana, based on writer and narrator Jean Shepherd’s actual childhood home in Hammond, Indiana.
Visit A Christmas Story House and Museum this November for a 30th anniversary celebration and the return of the A Christmas Story House Convention. Groups can tour the house and take turns hiding under the kitchen sink like a fearful Randy or hover around the radio waiting to hear Little Orphan Annie’s top-secret message. While you’re there, stop by the newly renovated gift shop that has quadrupled in size and pick up a holiday keep-sake capturing your favorite scenes from A Christmas Story including a full-size leg lamp.
Dates have not yet been released for the November celebration. For updates and additional information visit www.achristmasstoryhouse.com.
Pick a weekend in Cleveland, and visitors can find a chance to boogie with bagpipers, drift downriver on dragonboats, “mangia” manicotti and more. With such an appreciation and celebration of the 117 different ethnicities that make up our region, it’s not just Cleveland, Ohio… it’s more like Cleveland, World.
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 11: The Kamm’s Corners neighborhood recently introduced a new type of ethnic celebration to Cleveland. The Hooley (an Irish slang term for “party”) brings together the community for day of music, pipes and drummers, Irish dancers and food vendors galore. The inaugural year brought out more the 15,000 attendees for a block party like none other.
May 25 – 28: Each year on Memorial Day weekend, families head to the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in the Tremont Neighborhood for delicious traditional dishes such as moussaka and hours of Greek music and dancing at the Tremont Greek Festival.
May18 – 19: In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month the region’s Asian community hosts the annual Cleveland Asian Festival, a weekend of fun for the entire family. With cultural performances, martial arts demonstrations, children’s activities, authentic Asian cuisine, trolley tours and fun competitions, this festival is quickly becoming a “not-to-be-missed” summer activity.
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 Festivalat Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica.
June 8: A free community arts celebration, Parade the Circle incorporates the drama and artistry of handmade colorful floats (no motorized vehicles, though), giant puppets, bright costumes, handmade masks, stilt-walkers, dancers and musicians. Held in University Circle, the nation’s most concentrated square mile of arts and cultural institutions, the event draws more than 60,000 people every year.
June 14 – 16: 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.
June 20 – 22: At the 35th Annual Ohio Scottish Games on the Lorain County Fairgrounds, traditional musicians compete head to head in solo piping and drumming, pipe bans, harping fiddling and highland dancing. As a one-day escape to the highlands, visitors are immersed in traditional Scottish culture with massed bagpipe bands, along with art displays and traditional food. The weekend also features Clan Village where heritage clans and societies gather to assist the general public with family, genealogy and membership questions pertaining to their clan/society.
June 28 – 30: The community of Lorain located west of Cleveland, hosts a week-long annual International Festival and Bazaar to celebrate various nationalities and cultures. Along with authentic music, live performances and costumes, a three-day bazaar features more than 40 food vendors and craft booths with products from native lands.
July 11: A not-to-be-missed summer event great for the whole family is the Taste of Tremont. For the past ten years, this art and culinary-centric neighborhood throws a massive street fair to showcase all the best that Tremont has to taste.
July19 – 21: The Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival seeks to preserve, memorialize and document Irish history and traditions. The festival includes more than 20 performers on nine stages, a multitude of exhibits and Irish vendors. From traditional Celtic dancers, pipe bands and harpists to massive rock bands, the festival truly exemplifies the spirit of the Irish community.
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.
August 2- 3: 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 15 – 18: Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood is famous for its annual four-day festival, Feast of the Assumption. The throughout the weekend, affectionately called “The Feast,” the streets are shut down and all the family-owned Italian eateries bring their menu to the streets where more than 100,000 people visit just to get a taste.
August 17 – 18: During The National Hamburger Festival, at Lock 3 Park in downtown Akron, burger fans in goggles bob for foam hamburger patties in a kiddie pool full of ketchup. This delicious weekend celebration features many fan favorites, such as burger cook-off events, Hamburger Eating competition, the Miss Hamburger Pageant and more.
August 30 – Sept. 2: The Cleveland Labor Day Oktoberfest honors German culture with a beer-stein holding contest, a nationally-recognized marionette company, wiener dog races and more. The scale of Europeans foods, microbrews, exhibits and vendors participating in the festival is of Germanic proportions. The festival takes place at the Cuyahoga County fairgrounds all weekend long.
August: The City of Cleveland has hosted the Puerto Rican Parade and Latino festival for more than 40 years. The activities highlight the Latino community’s rich music, foods, folklore and splendor. Stunning floats and costumes line the city streets for a spectacular conclusion to the weekend-long festival.
Sept. 7 – 8: 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.
October: 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.
Nov. 8- 10: 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.
December 31: For more than 15 years thousands have gathered in Port Clinton for the “Madness at Midnight” Walleye Drop. Located approximately an hour and a half outside of Cleveland, the town of Port Clinton is home to a hearty population of walleye capital in the Lake Erie waters nearby. To celebrate such a distinction the town uses a massive crane to lower a fiberglass walleye replica, approximately 30 times larger than the average walleye, at the stroke of midnight.
Indoor Adventures Aimed at Spicing Up Your Fall and Winter Itinerary
If skiing, tobogganing and skating in the snow is not your speed, Northeast Ohio has plenty of entertaining indoor activities that can satisfy fun-seekers during the chilly season. Take Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park (www.raysmtb.com) on Cleveland’s near west side—a warehouse perfect for wheeled entertainment during the fall and winter. Both beginner and expert bike buffs can conquer ramps, rails, logs, rocks, stumps and teeter-totters in gnarly-named indoor arenas like the Skate Park and Grind Room.
Go even further west and Kalahari Resort (www.kalahariresorts.com) offers swim lovers a 173,000-square-foot African-themed water park that can brighten any winter disposition, full of wave pools, water slides, arcades, animal parks, lazy rivers and lots more.
“We are here 365 days a year,” says Brian Shanle, Kalahari Resorts general manager. “This is America’s largest indoor water park with world-class dining and updated spa services. We’re the ultimate winter getaway—all under one roof.”
Take your cup of cocoa with a shot of thrill-seeking adrenaline? The I-X Indoor Amusement Park (ixamusementpark.com) opens for a few weeks each winter (March 22 to April 14 in 2013), offering more than 20 acres of roller coasters, thrill rides and live entertainment that can heat things up no matter the temperature outside. “My favorite ride is Pharaoh’s Fury—the boat ride,” says Amy Girton, marketing director for the I-X Center. “It swings you back and forth and gives you that funny kid feeling of being back on the big swing at the park.”
Regardless of the season, Cleveland sports are always an excellent alternative for action and entertainment. During the fall and winter, the Cleveland Cavaliers (www.nba.com/cavaliers) and the Lake Erie Monsters (lakeeriemonsters.com) will dominate courts and rinks at Quicken Loans Arena (theqarena.com). Looking to compete yourself? Try the Corner Alley on Euclid Avenue (www.thecorneralley.com), offering the best in bowling, billiards and martinis downtown. And these are only a few of the many venues offering great escapes and warm memories this fall and winter.
By Keith Gribbins
Cleveland is in high spirits this weekend. Whether you are spending time at the Cleveland Wine Festival, the Scene Ale Fest or a concert, raise a toast to great summer fun in Cleveland.
Cleveland Wine Festival, Voinovich Bicentennial Park – July 27 – 28
There’s nothing quite like a refreshing glass of wine in the summertime. And, there’s no better place to enjoy great wine, beer, food, and entertainment this weekend than at the Cleveland Wine Festival. The festival will take place in the scenic Voinovich Bicentennial Park (behind the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum) in downtown Cleveland.
Whether you like Red, White or Blush wine, the festival has a vast selection that will please all guests. This year more than 270 wines from around the world and Ohio will be served at the event. Visitors can take some time to speak with a wine expert and learn about new and exciting varieties.
In addition to the great wines, the festival will also have the “Best of Belgium Café” featuring Belgian beers such as Stella Artois, Hoegaarden and Leffe Blonde and Leffe Brune. Special guest and Master Beer Sommelier Marc Stroobandt, a Belgian Beer Ambassador with The F&B Partnership in the United Kingdom, returns to highlight the natural affinity between Belgian beer and fine food as well as educate festival guests on proper beer pouring techniques, the importance of using the right glassware and food pairing ideas for the featured Belgian beers.
Cooking demonstrations as well as wine and food seminars will take place throughout the two day event. Pairing great with the wine are signature dishes from Morton’s The Steakhouse, Angelo’s Pizza, Das Schnitzel Haus and Scott’s Fire & Ice Catering. While there, get your groove on Friday and Saturday night to the Lloyd Dobler Effect Band and The Michael Heaton Band.
Tickets for the festival can be bought in advance for $28 or $35 at the gate. This ticket includes a souvenir wine glass, ten tastings, Festival Program, Food & Wine seminars, cooking demonstrations, musical entertainment and the opportunity to purchase wine at a discount. Also, for $10 a designated driver ticket is available. This ticket includes the above and two non-alcoholic drinks instead of tasting tickets. Guests under 21 are admitted when they are accompanied by a paid adult.
Friday, July 27: 4pm-10pm
Saturday, July 28: 3pm-9pm
Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival - Now – August 6
Taste of Akron, Hardesty Park – July 26
Akron Arts Expo, Hardesty Park – July 26–29
Our Lady Peace, House of Blues – July 27
Akron Aeros v. Bowie, Canal Park – July 27–29
Christmas in July, Put-In-Bay – July 27-29
4th Annual Scene Ale Fest, Lincoln Park –July 28
Van Halen 2012 North American Tour, Quicken Loans Arena – July 28
Joshua Radin w/Tristan Prettyman, Cain Park – July 28
Pitbull: Planet Pit World Tour, Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica – July 28
Lake Erie Crushers v. Washington Wild Things, All Pro Freight Stadium – July 28–29
– MaryKate McHugh
Marine Week lands in the nation’s Rock and Roll capital, June 11-17, 2012. A celebration of community, country and Corps, Marine Week showcases the unique characteristics of America’s Corps through more than two dozen events.
Directly connecting the American public with hundreds of Marines, visitors have the opportunity to climb aboard state-of-the-art aircraft, including the MV-22 Osprey and the CH-53 Super Stallion, and ground equipment, including the M777 Howitzer or HMMWV. Plus, you can check out the latest military technology and combat weaponry, witness hand-to-hand martial arts and military working dog team demonstrations, all while taking in the sights and sounds of the Silent Drill Platoon and Marine Corps Band. Throughout the week, Marines will be lending a hand to local communities through dozens of community service projects, including park and recreation center restorations.
The week culminates with a simulated full-scale combat demonstration, as the Marines highlight their unique capabilities to fight our country’s battles in the air, on land and at sea.
All events are free and open to the public. For the full Marine Week schedule, including dates and event locations visit www.marines.mil/marineweek. Follow Marine Week on Twitter @USMC (#MarineWeek) and become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Marines.
Since its completion in 1912, the West Side Market has become a landmark of Cleveland, offering the finest meats, fish, baked goods and produce in the area. In 2010, the Market was named the “Best Food Lovers’ Market” in the country by the Food Network. So it stands to reason that its 100th Birthday is a big deal. Year-long celebration activities will take place, beginning in June, to commemorate the Market’s storied history. From firework displays to multicultural parades, there is something for the foodie of all ages.
Learn more about the market and the events surrounding the centennial:
– Nate Klein
Downtown is changing. From the new Cleveland Medical Mart and Convention Center to the renovated theater district of PlayhouseSquare, Cleveland is reinventing its urban city center. The perfect example is the venerated old Higbee Building — once a legendary department store famous for its appearance in A Christmas Story. Today, it’s being re-imagined as the first casino in Ohio, creating another dot that connects entertainment with downtown’s increasingly vibrant core.
“Horseshoe Casino Cleveland is one of only a few truly urban casinos in the country and it’s located in the heart of downtown intentionally,” explains Jennifer Kulczycki, communications director at Rock Gaming LLC (the Midwest-based gaming partnership behind the project). “We are creating an environment that will encourage connectivity with area restaurants, clubs, cultural attractions, and sporting events.”
From a design perspective, Horseshoe Casino Cleveland (www.HorseshoeOhio.com) could very well become the epicenter of Cleveland’s entertainment resources (situated strategically to the Cleveland Indians’ Progressive Field and bar and restaurant hubs like The Flats and East 4th Street). The $350 million casino is expected to attract 5 million visitors a year, exploring a 96,000-square foot gaming floor, VIP lounge, classy bar, buffet restaurant, and a food court. Gold sheers will hang in the windows allowing daylight to filter into the casino, providing passersby with a shadow of the excitement inside: 2,100 slot machines, 63 table games, a World Series of Poker room and excellent odds for fun.
The Horseshoe brand prides itself on a 60-year history of being home to the best odds, highest limits and biggest jackpots. “It is all about great service and great food in a comfortable and polished setting,” she explains. “Horseshoe is honored and proud to bring this experience to Ohio.”
– Keith Gribbins
Today, many images portray women as sweet, innocent and totally harmless. The Burning River Roller Girls (BRRG) beg to differ. Members of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) and Cleveland’s first all-female, flat-track roller derby team, the Burning River Roller Girls are tough.
For those whose roller derby knowledge may be lacking, here is what you need to know: Roller derby is a contact sport played by two five-member teams on roller skates. There is one “jammer” on each team and four “blockers.” Points are scored when the jammer breaks through the other team’s blockers. However, to make it interesting, both jammers skate simultaneously, so the blockers have to help their jammer get through while stopping the other team’s jammer.
Roller derby has increased in popularity in the last decade due to a large grassroots and amateur movement, and there are currently 124 teams in the WFTDA. The Burning River Roller Girls are comprised of seven teams, including the Burning River All Stars and The Pyromaniacs.
Headed into their sixth season, the BRRG compete in bouts at the Wolstein Center through June 9. The cost of tickets is $4-$13 and they may be purchased at www.burningriverrollergirls.com.
- Nate Klein