Ingenuity, Cleveland’s Festival of Art and Technology
What do aerospace engineers at NASA have in common with a Cleveland psychobilly band like the Whiskey Daredevils? Well, you can find both at Ingenuity, Cleveland’s Festival of Art and Technology–a weekend-long celebration of art, music and technology, designed for audiences of any age, staged in the center of downtown Cleveland. More than 70 organizations and about 1,000 arts and technology groups (from UrbanArtz to the CSU Chemistry Department to Three Olives Vodka) come together for the unique festival that is celebrated throughout Cleveland’s streets, alleys, and performance venues. It has piano competitions, virtual entertainment, poetry readings, technology lectures, design contests, film presentations, tons of great bands, and a crazy amount of bizarre acts and exhibits. High technology firms and major colleges and universities are presented alongside acclaimed artists to create a dazzling display of exciting new work you won’t find anywhere in the country. Cost: Single day is $10, weekend $15, children 12 and under are free.
Italian-American Council Festival
Akron, Lock 3
The tastes and smells of Italy mix with the culture and atmosphere of Akron and its downtown Lock 3 Park at the Council of Italian-American Societies’ 62nd annual Italian-American Festival. Dabble in wine tastings, Italian cooking classes, bocce tournaments, car shows and plenty of people watching, scored to a background of bands like Hotel California (an Eagles tribute outfit) and the Sands Trio (a homage to the Rat Pack). The Budweiser Clydesdales even parade down Main Street on Saturday (3-5pm) and Sunday (12:30pm). For the bold, we suggest the pizza eating contents on Sunday (1:30-2:30pm), where pie and man fight for supremacy. A Catholic Mass is held on Sunday at 11am (where all gluttony is forgiven) followed by a spaghetti dinner (where all gluttony begins anew). Cost: Free
Wellington Cheese Festival
Slicing and dicing oodles of dairy delights, the City of Wellington cuts more cheese than any healthy Ohio town probably should. Luckily, it’s all in honor of the annual Cheese Festival–a celebration of crafts, rides, live entertainment and most of all Wellington’s cheesy history (throughout the 19th Century Wellington was known as the country’s Cheese Capital with 40 factories). Enjoy the grub–cheese on a stick, cheese hotdogs, cheese popcorn, cheese pizza and a variety of unique dairy blends–while participating in a bevy of activities (which in the past included) the Cheese Olympics (including a cheese shot put), Kids Cheesefest (mold chunks of Velveeta into . . . anything), and the Cheese Festival Parade (full of floats, marching bands and your favorite farm animals). Cheesecake bake-offs, kid rides, a petting zoo and a slew of food and beverage booths round out this tasty event.
27th Annual Cleveland’s Irish Cultural Festival
Over a quarter of a century of great and green Cleveland-Irish heritage are honored this July in Berea. The Annual Irish Cultural Festival celebrates Northern Ohio’s lively and historic Irish traditions with more than 20 bands on nine stages, dancing schools, live theatre, a children’s area and tons more. Irish and American specialties like bangers, bridies, boxty, Irish stew and corned beef are available in the food court. Then relax to the high-spirited magic of musicians from Ireland and America like the Hedge Band, the Irish Descendants, Cherish the Ladies and the Screaming Orphans. Outdoor Mass on Sunday is always a festival highlight, with renowned Celtic harpist Dennis Doyle. Cost: General admission is $10 and parking is free; kids under 10 are free too.
Balloon Classic Invitational/Jackson-Belden Food Fest & Fireworks
July 31-August 2
Kent State Stark Campus
More than 75 excitingly slow and lumbering hot air balloons compete for big money ($19,000 and other prizes) at the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival Balloon Classic Invitational in Canton. And while these inflatable aircraft compete for your love and cash, the Jackson-Belden Food Fest will win over your stomach next door. Around 25 vendors (both from in and out of state) cook up first-rate foods for balloon gawkers–sausage and pulled pork sandwiches, homemade ice cream, ribs, apple and cherry cobblers, wine and beer, and yes, even corn dogs. Some 100,000+ people will come to enjoy the exquisite fair food while watching balloons like “Piggles,” the floating piggy bank, “Touchdown,” an enormous flying football, and “Off the Wall,” a Humpty Dumpty balloon. Plus the festival will have its share of fiery explosions — at the Saturday night fireworks display for sure, but also at the Friday Night Glow, when the balloons tether to the ground and fill their envelopes with propane. Cost: Admission is free; $5 for parking after 3pm.