February 13, 2015

Cleveland Kurentovanje

Clevelanders aren't the only ones who despise the cold winter months. For the last 50 years, citizens of Slovenia have been celebrating Kurentovanje, a cultural festival designed to chase the winter away. This Saturday the third annual Cleveland Kurentovanje will be held in the St. Clair-Superior neighborhood.

The festival centers around the Kurent, a shaggy, horned creature who is believed to chase winter away and usher in spring. The Cleveland version is expected to draw thousands of people this year.

The festivities begin at 11 a.m. on St. Clair Avenue between East 62nd Street and Addison Road with food, krofe (Slovenian donuts), coffee and children's crafts. At noon a parade will stretch throughout the neighborhood from St. Vitus Church on Lausche Avenue to the Slovenian National Home on St. Clair. The parade will feature Kurents, polka music, marching bands, dance groups and organizations dressed in traditional Eastern European garb.

Following the parade, head over to the Slovenian National Home from 1 to 6 p.m. for food, wine, beer and live music. Local businesses will sell handmade goods and dance groups will perform throughout the afternoon.

The after party will take place at Sterle's Country House on East 55th Street where guests can enjoy traditional food, drinks and live polka music.

Help chase winter away and experience a little bit of Slovenia during Cleveland Kurentovanje!

Cleveland Kurentovanje hours:
Saturday, Feb. 14 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
*After party lasts from 6 p.m.-midnight

For more information or directions, visit Cleveland Kurentovanje

January 27, 2015

Orchid Mania

Looking for a way to beat the winter blues? Head over to the Cleveland Botanical Garden Jan. 31 through March to view the exquisite annual Orchid Mania exhibit.

Thousands of exotic orchids will fill the Botanical Garden and glasshouse. This year's theme is Mardi Gras so expect to see orchids in vibrant colors and exciting arrangements. Experts will be on hand Saturday afternoons to answer questions about the flowers and offer advice on how to care for orchids at home.

Tickets are $11 for adults, $6 for children and free for members. The exhibit runs through March 8.

Orchid Mania hours:
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Sundays from noon-5 p.m.
*Closed Mondays

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit Cleveland Botanical Garden.

November 25, 2014

Winterfest 2014

Winterfest, hosted by the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, has become the premier holiday celebration in downtown Cleveland. This year's event is packed with festivities and, for the first time, the city's Christmas tree will be lit in U.S. Bank Plaza, across from the sparkling lights of the chandelier in PlayhouseSquare.

Winterfest activities start at 1 p.m. on Saturday with a holiday pop-up shop at PlayhouseSquare, family-friendly entertainment, food trucks and free horse-drawn carriage rides outside the Cleveland Public Library. At 4:45 p.m. the Old Stone Church choir will take to the main stage to perform Christmas songs and choral music. The main event kicks off at 5 p.m. with a concert, lighting ceremony and grand fireworks display at PlayhouseSquare.

Other downtown establishments are getting in to the holiday spirit as well. The Festival of Trees returns to the Allen Theatre and will open at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Tower City will feature a holiday express train ride, Kringle's Inventionasium and Bruce the Talking Spruce starting at 10 a.m., followed by Toy Soldier and Fairy Godmother Holiday Shows at 1, 3 and 7 p.m.

The Hard Rock Cafe will offer pictures with Santa Claus from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the 5th Street Arcades will host the Cleveland Bazaar, Northeast Ohio's longest-running independent craft show, from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. The Ritz-Carlton will feature its annual gingerbread house display in the lobby and the Horseshoe Casino will once again take guests back in time with its Holidays at the Higbee display.

Celebrate the start of the holiday season in Cleveland by spending the day downtown at Winterfest!

Winterfest 2014 hours:
Saturday, Nov. 29 from 1-7 p.m.

For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit Winterfest.

November 20, 2014

The Cleveland Flea Holiday Market

Suzuran Photography / The Cleveland Flea
The holidays are right around the corner, which means many people have already started their Christmas shopping. If you're looking for unique gifts this year, or want to support local artists this holiday season, stop by The Cleveland Flea's Holiday Market this weekend.

The Cleveland Flea, which began in early 2013, is a monthly pop-up event. The flea has grown to include more than 150 local vendors and artists. At the holiday flea expect to find a huge assortment of items and gifts, from jewelry to clothing to home decor to vintage items.

Expect there to be plenty of food and drinks at the holiday market as well, including holiday cocktails, mulled wine, hot cider and craft beers. Spice Kitchen + Bar will set up a pop-up cafe during the event on Saturday, and Jack Flaps and Luxe Kitchen and Lounge will offer brunch to shoppers on Sunday.

The market, held indoors at 6555 Carnegie Ave. in downtown Cleveland, is free both Saturday and Sunday. Those who want first dibs on items can purchase $25 tickets to a sneak peak party on Friday.

Shop local this holiday season at The Cleveland Flea.

The Cleveland Flea Holiday Market hours:
Friday, Nov. 21 from 5-9 p.m. (tickets required for the sneak-peak party)
Saturday, Nov. 22 from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 23 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

For more information, visit The Cleveland Flea.

Crocker Park's Annual Holiday Tree Lighting

The holiday season officially kicks off at Crocker Park this Saturday as the outdoor shopping center hosts its annual holiday tree lighting celebration.

Starting at 3 p.m., a handful of local food trucks will line up on the property to dish out tasty food and desserts. Community group performances will take to the stage beginning at 5 p.m.

Dove Cameron and Ryan McCartan, from Disney's original series "Liv and Maddie" will perform live at 7 p.m. The main event of the evening, an appearance by Santa Claus and the lighting of Crocker Park's 50-foot Christmas tree, will take place at 7:30 p.m.

Following the tree lighting, a spectacular fireworks show will light up the night sky. Crocker Park's stores and restaurants will remain open throughout the event.

Get into the holiday spirit this weekend at Crocker Park!

Crocker Park's annual holiday tree lighting hours:
Saturday, Nov. 22 from 5-8 p.m.

For more information, visit Crocker Park.

October 30, 2014

Haunted House Highlights: 7 Floors of Hell

7 Floors of Hell is a must-visit for Halloween fans. The haunt, located in Middleburg Heights, has been featured on the Travel Channel, won a handful of awards and been dubbed one of the scariest attractions in the country.

This year 7 Floors of Hell upped the ante by offering 10 (that's right, 10!) brand new attractions for its "World of Nightmares" theme. Every monster imaginable comes to life to terrorize guests in the various houses.

This year's haunted attractions include the Mental Ward, Hillbilly Horror, Zombie Apocalypse, Clowns Domain, Shadows, Killer Theater, BioX, Journey into the Belly of the Beast, Body Snatchers and House of Nightmares.

The thrills aren't limited to the houses. Creatures roam the waiting lines and the Monster Midway, making people scream and run before they even enter the first attraction.

Tickets to this giant-sized haunt are $25 for general admission and $33 for speedpass admission. 7 Floors of Hell is open Thursdays and weekends through Nov. 2.

Prepared to be scared this Halloween weekend by visiting this monstrous World of Nightmares!

7 Floors of Hell hours:
Thursdays and Sundays from 7-10 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays from 7 p.m.-midnight
*Nov. 2 hours are 7-9 p.m.

7 Floors of Hell is located at 19191 Bagley Road in Middleburg Heights. 

For more information, visit World of Nightmares.

October 29, 2014

Pumpkin carving contest at Bier Markt

Halloween is just two days away, which means it's time to get your jack-o'-lanterns ready! Bier Markt in Ohio City will host its annual pumpkin carving contest tonight.

Any guest who purchases one of the bar's pumpkin beers will receive a free pumpkin to carve at his or her table. The finished pumpkins will be displayed at the bar throughout the weekend so diners can vote on their favorite jack-o'-lantern. The winner will receive dinner for two at Bar Cento.

Grab you friends and show off your pumpkin carving skills tonight in Ohio City!

Pumpkin carving contest hours:
Wednesday, Oct. 29 starting at 5 p.m.

For more information, visit Bier Markt.