February 27, 2014

2nd annual Cleveland Kurentovanje

Photo courtesy Cleveland Kurentovanje
The St. Clair-Superior neighborhood was once a thriving hub of Slovenian life, filled with Slovenian businesses, churches and restaurants. Recently there has been a movement to restore some of the culture to that neighborhood. Last year a group of community members organized the first ever Cleveland Kurentovanje and the festival returns this Saturday.

Kurentovanje is the most popular carnival event in Slovenia and has been celebrated for more than 50 years. More than 100,000 people typically attend the two-day celebration. The main figure of the carnival, the large and fuzzy Kurent, is believed to chase away winter and usher in spring.

Ten Kurents will be featured in this year's parade, which kicks off at noon at St. Vitus Church on Lausche Avenue and ends at the Slovenian National Home on St. Clair Ave. The parade will include polka music, marching bands, dance groups and people dressed in traditional clothing from Eastern Europe (visitors also are encouraged to dress in costume!) Prior to the start of the parade, stop by Collective Upcycle Boutique, 6202 St. Clair Ave., to enjoy some krofi, or Slovenian donuts, and coffee.

The party moves to the Slovenian National Home after the parade where guests can enjoy ethnic food, wine, beer and live music. The Slovenian Museum and Archives, along with local businesses, will be open all afternoon.

The after party takes place at Sterle's Country House on East 55th Street starting at 6 p.m. The Joey Tomsick Orchestra will perform live polka music until 10 p.m. and the bier garden will be open throughout the day. Come out and enjoy some schnitzel, a shot of Slivovitz and polka the night away!

Cleveland Kurentovanje hours:
Saturday, March 1 from 11 a.m. to midnight

For more information, visit Cleveland Kurentovanje.

February 13, 2014

Brite Winter

Cleveland has experienced a brutal winter this year. With below freezing temperatures and snow storms, most people would rather stay inside than venture out into the cold.

But there's another group of people living in Cleveland who want us to embrace the cold. And their idea has caught on, as thousands of people are expected to spend Saturday afternoon and evening outdoors for the Brite Winter festival.

Now in its fifth year, Brite Winter was created by a group of friends who realized there wasn't much to do in Cleveland during the wintertime and wanted to make a change. The festival celebrates music and art and helps to build a sense of community.

More than 70 local bands will perform on 10 stages throughout Ohio City. A variety of food trucks will be on site serving up warm food and drinks to fight the chill, and all local businesses will be open during the festivities. Local artists and galleries, as well as the Cleveland Institute of Art, will have creative and interactive artwork on display. There will also be a number of games on hand for guests of all ages, including skeeball, plinko and foosball.

A staple of Brite Winter each year is the Great Wall of Light. The wall, which stretches throughout Ohio City, is a collection of lamps, neon lights and lanterns that glows after the sun sets. Guests are encouraged to bring their own lights to add to the wall. At the close of each festival the lights are saved and stored to be used again the following year.

If that's still not enough to convince you to spend the day outside during Cleveland winter, the entire event is free!

Brite Winter hours:
Saturday, Feb. 15 from 4-11 p.m.

For more information or maps of the festivities, visit Brite Winter.