Category Archives: Parades and Festivals

7th Annual Continental Cup Comes to Cleveland This Week

Although we have to wait a few more weeks for Olympics fever to hit its peak, Cleveland is hosting its own international sports competition this week.

The Continental Cup International Youth Sports Festival kicks off this Thursday, July 5th and continues through the weekend with a showcase of global athletic competition and cultural exchange.

Now in its 7th year, the Continental Cup is presented by the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and Cleveland Clinic Sports Health with a mission of creating a large, vibrant, annual civic event in Cleveland that celebrates internationalism, youth diversity and sportsmanship.

And they’ve done a great job so far towards achieving this goal — in 2010 and 2011, the National Association of Sports Commissions honored the Continental Cup as its Outstanding Locally Created Event. At this year’s event, the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission expects 3500 athletes from 13 different countries to participate in the games.

With the international teams growing by almost 20% this year, athletes from Aruba, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Curacao, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Sri Lanka, Australia, Philippines, Guam, Kenya, Rwanda and Nigeria are slated to attend, including some of the most elite teams in their sport like Colombia’s Club America de Cali soccer team.

The Continental Cup starts things off with its first day of competition and Opening Ceremonies on Thursday.  From 6:30-9pm at Cleveland Browns Stadium, players, their families and the Cleveland public are invited to a free party with a parade of nations, live entertainment, food, soccer freestylers, games and inflatables. And in case you don’t get your fill on the Fourth of July, the evening culminates with a fireworks show.

These Opening Ceremonies celebrate 4 days of competitions in soccer, baseball and basketball, as well as a variety of activities for athletes like college seminars at Baldwin Wallace University and outings to Friday’s Indians game.  The AC Milan, Cleveland Indians Charities and Cleveland Cavaliers Continental Cups will give athletes a unique chance to not only compete against some of the top teams from across the U.S. and world, but also experience other cultures and explore a bit of Cleveland.

To travel to London for the 2012 Olympics, you’d have to pay a King’s ransom. Fortunately this weekend you can enjoy a tournament that similarly celebrates cultural diversity – for free – by just hopping in your car.

A schedule and full details for all Continental Cup events can be found here.  And to stay up-to-date throughout the weekend, follow @ContinentalCup and the #ContinentalCup2012 hashtag on Twitter or the Continental Cup Facebook page.

Note: Photos of last year’s Continental Cup are courtesy of Greater Cleveland Sports Commission.

This Weekend – Cleveland Fests from East to West!

Another week is almost done – what are you doing this weekend?

If you don’t have plans, a slate of festivals have you covered from the east to westsides.  Get out this weekend (bring a water bottle – it’s going to be hot) and experience the unique art and entertainment our community has to offer:

23rd Annual Parade the Circle takes place this Saturday in University Circle

Parade the Circle and Party in the Square

Parade the Circle returns this Saturday, June 9th from 11am-4pm (the parade itself starts at noon).  For more than 20 years, the Cleveland Museum of Art has been bringing this free signature summer event to Greater Cleveland – it’s one of my favorite things about June in Cleveland.

At the start of each summer, University Circle fills with color, music, and art for all ages. International and national guest artists join Greater Cleveland artists, families, schools, and community groups in a spectacular display of bright costumes, giant puppets, stilt-dancers, handmade masks, and colorful floats.

The 2012 parade route – themed around Branches Become Roots – will begin and end at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, moving in a clockwise direction along Wade Oval Drive and East Blvd. The parade will end by turning onto Wade Oval.  In addition to the Parade, University Circle Inc. hosts Circle Village, filling Wade Oval with activities, entertainment, and food.

Download the Parade Program here.  A parking map is also available and free valet bicycle parking will be provided by the Ohio City Bicycle Co-op in front of the Cleveland Institute of Art from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Parade the Circle guests can take a free shuttle back and forth to Discover Gordon Square Arts District Day

For the third year, Parade the Circle guests can also hop over to the westside for Discover Gordon Square Arts District Day.  University Circle and Gordon Square Arts District will provide a FREE shuttle service to and from Parade the Circle and Gordon Square.

Round-trip shuttles will be available all day with the Eastside shuttle picking up at East Blvd. and Bellflower every hour between 10:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. and the Westside shuttle picking up at the corner of West 65th and Detroit every half-hour between 10:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

At Gordon Square Day, you can enjoy free classic cartoons at Capitol Theatre, live performances at CPT’s and Near West Theatre’s outdoor stages, art galleries, pop-up shops and food and drinks.  For more information, visit

WMC Fest runs all weekend long – starting Friday with an evening of bands

Weapons of Mass Creation Fest

If you can’t wait for Saturday, the Weapons of Mass Creation Fest starts tomorrow (Friday, June 8) and runs through Sunday.

The Weapons of Mass Creation Fest is heralded as the premier art, design, and music event in the Midwest. Now in its third year, 1,000+ attendees will descend on Cleveland to enjoy 20 inspiring speakers, 20 artists and designers, and almost 30 bands.

Part conference, part concert, part art show, and part festival, WMC Fest’s grassroots movement strives to educate, inspire, create and celebrate.

Get inspired by 20 speakers, 20 artists, almost 30 bands and the rest of the Weapons of Mass Creation community

Friday’s schedule revolves around a pre-fest mixer with music at Saigon Plaza.

Bands will continue to play there on Saturday and Sunday, while speakers take the stage noon to 7 both days at Reinberger Auditorium.

The speakers include a fantastic mix of Cleveland talent like Julia Kuo and CLE Clothing Co’s Mike Kubinski, as well as creative professionals and designers from across the country and our neighbor to the north.

WMC Fest’s Art & Design Show will take place at the iLTHY Workshop. Admission is free for the art show, while one-day tickets and weekend passes are available to purchase for the bands and presentations.

You can purchase single-day or weekend passes for the speakers and music. The art show at iLTHY Workshop is free.

So what are you waiting for? Cleveland is opening its doors this weekend to our neighborhoods, shops, and galleries and celebrating our thriving creative community. Whether it’s east, west, or both sides, hope to see you out and about!

Note: Graphics/photos of WMC Fest from; Discover GSAD Day image from Parade the Circle photos are mine from a couple of years ago.

Giveaway: Be a Fashion Week Cleveland VIP!

Want the VIP treatment at this year’s Fashion Week Cleveland? There are 5 easy ways to enter!

I just got back from our annual weekend of comic book epicness in Chicago, only to drive to Connecticut in 3 days for wedding #4 of the year (congratulations, Graham and Aubrey!).

However, there’s no rest for the weary (seriously! I’m writing this at 3am) because I have a really fun giveaway to share today:

Last week I hinted at it during my preview of the 9th annual Fashion Week Cleveland.

Running May 4 through May 12, this year’s showcase will feature runway shows, parties, and educational exhibits – and you have the chance to attend two of the week’s premier events for free!

The winner of the Clue Into Cleveland giveaway will not just get a pair of tickets to GlamJam: Fashion & Music in the Rock City on May 5, but also a pair of VIP tickets to Fashion Week Cleveland’s black-tie Runway Shows on May 12.

There are 5 Easy Ways to Enter the Giveaway!

**You must leave a separate comment on this post for each entry**

1) Leave a comment sharing why you want to attend Fashion Week Cleveland (need some ideas? learn more about the fashion festival here). You’ll earn one entry for doing this.

2) Like “Fashion Week Cleveland” and “Clue Into Cleveland” on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know you did both.

3) Follow @CLE_FashionWeek and @ADHicken on Twitter and leave me a comment letting me know you did both.

4) Twitter users can get an extra entry each day for tweeting: “I just entered @ADHicken’s giveaway for a chance to be a @CLE_FashionWeek VIP and you can too!  Enter here:”  (Each day you do this, you must leave a new comment.)

5) Want to share your fashion style? Get another entry each day for tweeting a picture of your most fashionable outfit accompanied with the following: “@CLE_FashionWeek and @ADHicken, I love this outfit because…”  (Each day you tweet a new outfit, you must leave a new comment below.)

You have until this Friday, April  20 at 11:59PM to enter.  On Saturday, April 21, I will select a winner using and will announce the winner’s name on my blog.  Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry – good luck!

***Disclosure: I was provided 2 tickets to give away to a reader. As always, my thoughts and the choice of events I share are 100% my own. Images courtesy of Fashion Week Cleveland.***

Embracing Winter: Brite Winter Fest and Cleveland's First Urban Iditarod

Looking to get outside and enjoy this Cleveland winter? The Brite Winter Festival returns this Saturday 2/18. (photo from

After the last week of snow, I think we are able to say that winter is finally here.  And just in time for two events that aim to celebrate Cleveland’s snowy season:

This Saturday from 5-10pm, Brite Winter Festival returns for its third year.  The event originally started as the creators’ proactive, grassroots approach to stave off the brain drain they were seeing in Cleveland among their fellow college graduates.

With Brite Winter, they wanted to give Clevelanders a chance to get outside and discover that our winters don’t just need to be tolerated – they can actually be a lot of fun.

For their third annual fest, they’re changing locations and bringing Brite Winter to Bridge Ave. and W.26th in Ohio City.

My favorite game from last year's Brite Winter Festival: Giant Skeeball!

The festival will feature art and games — and sometimes a combination of the two.

Artists from the Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art’s Community Arts Department, IngenuityFest and local companies like cyancdesign will take over the main festival grounds as well as some of Ohio City businesses to present their art installations.

One of my favorite games from last year – giant skee-ball – is back, along with other games like a Climbing Race Game, Light Fight and a Catapult Smashdown.

This year's Brite Winter moves to Ohio City. Pictured is last year's festival lighting up The Flats. (photo from

And for festival-goers’ listening pleasure, Brite Winter has eight venues and over 35 bands performing when I last counted.

Something that’s different this year: the festival will feature one outdoor stage and seven indoor venues like Bon Bon Cafe, Great Lakes Brewery and Joy Machines Bike Shop. So if you do need to take a break and warm up from the cold, you’ll have a lot of options for music.

The festival and all music performances are free and open to the public, though donations are always welcome. You can read my recap of last year’s Brite Winter here.

The Cleveland Urban Iditarod descends on Ohio City in March - part relay race/part street theatre to raise money for Harvest for Hunger.

In March, Ohio City will play host to another unique event when Cleveland’s Yo-Yo Syndicate demonstrates that being out in the cold can be enjoyable and help raise money for a local cause.

The Yo-Yo Syndicate, creators of IngenuityFest’s Doodle Bar as well as Cleveland’s branch of Dr. Sketchy, are helming the first-ever Cleveland Urban Iditarod on March 4th.

What is an urban iditarod?

While the real Iditarod is the famous long-distance race where a team of dogs tow a sled across Alaska’s frozen tundra, the Cleveland Urban Iditarod is almost the same thing. Except that instead of dogs, it’s people; instead of sleds, it’s shopping carts; and instead of Alaska, it’s Cleveland.

Have fun with your Urban Iditarod team -- dress yourselves and your cart up like this team from the Chicago Iditarod did. (photo from

Teams of 5 (4 to pull the cart, 1 “musher” who’s behind steering) must fill their cart with 40 pounds of canned food and race it through the course. The carts can be decorated (it’s even encouraged as long as the decorations don’t violate the guidelines) and racers can wear the craziest costumes they can pull together. All of this will help raise food and money for the Cleveland Foodbank’s Harvest for Hunger.

Urban Iditarods have been held in places such as Portland, Boston, Cincinnati and Chicago (where over $18,000 was raised for their local food bank), but this is the first time Cleveland will be hosting one.   With themed teams and contests at each stop, the Iditarod is part relay race/part street theater and will bring Cleveland’s creative community to the Ohio City neighborhood.

The race starts at 11:30 a.m. and the entire route is about 5.5 miles with 20 minute stops at each local west side location. The Market Garden Brewery, who’s also planning the first Ohio City Ice Carving contest that day, will be hosting the Urban Iditarod after party.

If you register online by Feb. 24th, the team fee is only $45 (it goes up to $65 through March 2nd; $100 the day of). The cart deposit is $35, which each team will get back once they demonstrate the cart has been taken home with them after the race.

The "Epic Epicness" of an urban iditarod! The Chicago Iditarod (pictured here) helped raise over $18,000 for their local food bank. (photo from

Although there’s officially only a month left of winter, with Brite Winter and the Urban Iditarod there are a lot of opportunities left to get out and enjoy it.

What do you have planned for your end-of-winter festivities?


All I Want for Cleve-Mas, Part 4: Fighting Cabin Fever

Have you entered the Clue Into Cleveland giveaway for a Dolce Gusto Piccolo coffee machine? Only a few days left to enter here!

From ice skating in University Circle, to the Zoo, Metroparks and Progressive Field, there are plenty of ways to get outside and fight cabin fever this holiday season.

Cleveland winters get a bum rap. Although I know I’ll complain about it when we’re in the throws of February dealing with endless snow, during this time of year I’m not quite ready to hunker down indoors.

In fact, with my holiday shopping and errands nearly done, it’s time to enjoy the season, throw on my coat and head outside in the brisk December winds for some of these festivities:

The Frozen Diamond FaceOff is just one of the new features at this year's Indians Snow Days.

Cleveland Indians Snow Days

Cleveland Indians Snow Days was one of my favorite parts about last year’s winter (here’s last year’s recap). So as soon as tickets went on sale for this year’s return of Snow Days to Progressive Field, I bought mine.

I think it’s a perfect example of Cleveland’s ingenuity — transforming Progressive Field, which would sit mostly empty during the off-season, into a unique and fun wonderland.

Back again this year are The Batterhorn Snow Tubing hill (loved launching down the slick hills last year!) and the Frozen Mile ice skating track (the first non-symmetrical ice skating path in the U.S.).

The Cleveland Indians also added The Frozen Diamond, a regulation-sized ice skating rink covering home plate and stretching down the first base line. On January 15, The Frozen Diamond will host Ohio’s first-ever outdoor college hockey match when Ohio State and the University of Michigan play each other in The Frozen Diamond FaceOff.

I grew up watching the Philadelphia Flyers and hearing stories of the legendary Broad Street Bullies, so hockey’s been in my blood since I was a kid. I’ve never been to an outdoor game, so I bought the Snow Days Bundle Package, which gets you tickets to the January 15 game and a good-any-day combo pass for snow tubing and ice skating fun between now and the end of Snow Days on Jan. 16.

Thrillseekers can shoot down the Cleveland Metroparks' Tobogganing Chutes throughout the winter.

Take a Hike in the Cleveland Metroparks

Cleveland’s “Emerald Necklace” glimmers even more brightly this time of year with plenty of winter recreation opportunities.

Top of my list to try this season is tobogganing at the Chalet in Strongsville’s Mill Stream Run Reservation. If I thought snow tubing down the Indians’ Batterhorn was fast, I don’t know what to expect from the Chalet’s 1,000-foot ice chutes. And when the thrills get too much, I can head indoors and enjoy the warmth of their fireplaces.

For those who like to get some exercise while enjoying the great outdoors, the Cleveland Metroparks are also hosting a series of Holiday Hikes. The next two will explore CanalWay Center on Dec. 22 and Bacci Park on Dec. 29, both in the Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation starting at 1pm.

Other upcoming hikes include this Saturday’s Candlelit Hike and Caroling through South Chagrin’s Look About Lodge, as well as this Sunday’s Winter Blues Hike with Naturalist Kelly McGinnis along Deer Lick Cave Trail.

The Cleveland Metroparks Calendar of Events lists the dates and locations for all of their programs.  And before you take a hike, check out these two Metroparks articles to learn a bit about winter birdwatching and the animals living under winter’s blanket.

During December Days, the Cleveland Zoo is offering discounted admission and plenty of holiday activities.

Cleveland Zoo December Days

I love visting the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, and after October I love it even more because I can save $3 when I want to visit my favorite exhibit: the tigers, bears and wolves in the Northern Trek.

Starting this coming Monday, Dec. 19 and running until Dec. 30, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is hosting December Days at the Zoo. Admission is discounted even further to $7 for adults, $4 for children 2-11.

In addition to all of the exhibits, the Zoo is hosting a number of festive activities during December Days. From cookie decorating and holiday crafts in the Welcome Plaza’s Exhibit Hall to live music and visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus, it’s another low-cost way to spend the holidays with your family, especially if you have children.

Wade Oval lights up with lanterns from the Cleveland Museum of Art and festive trees and gingerbread houses at the Cleveland Botanical Garden.

Find Yourself (and the Holidays) in University Circle

My final favorite winter spot is the eastside’s University Circle. From more ice skating to winter lights and holiday treats, there are plenty of things to enjoy in the museum neighborhood.

The Cleveland Botanical Garden WinterShow boasts gingerbread houses made by professionals, amateurs and local families. Other festival highlights include the beautiful WinterShow Tree, holiday plants, trees decorated in the themes of children’s tales and fables, and Christmas cacti. It runs through Dec. 31st.

After the Botanical Garden, head over to the Cleveland Museum of Art for their Winter Lights Lantern Displays. Even though I missed the Procession of Lights during Holiday CircleFest, the Environment of Lights installation in Wade Oval is on view through this Sunday, Dec. 18.  The 5 indoor lantern displays will continue inside of the Museum of Art until January 16.

And for those who haven’t gotten their fill of ice skating at Progressive Field or in the Metroparks, there’s always the Rink at Wade Oval Circle. It’s free if you bring your own skates, $3 for skate rentals.


As the season wraps up, I have to remind myself to relax and go out and enjoy these seasonal festivities. I hope you also find some free time this holiday – whether it’s enjoying the outdoors at one of these events or inside with a warming hot chocolate or glass of wine.

Check out Parts 1-3 of All I Want for Cleve-Mas 2011:

Pictures from,,, and

LEGO KidsFest Giveaway Winner

It’s time to announce the winner of the LEGO KidsFest giveaway!

I love LEGOs and I’m glad to see how many of you do too! My favorite part about this giveaway was reading how these small blocks pieced together really fantastic memories for everyone who entered.

After placing all of the entries into an Excel document…

…and then using to pick our winner:

I am happy to announce that entry 35– Sarah H has won two tickets to the  3pm-7:30pm session on Sunday, Nov. 6th! Please email me by Oct. 29 at clueintocleveland (at) gmail (dot) com to redeem your prize.

If you didn’t win, you can still purchase tickets to the weekend-long LEGO KidsFest that will be stopping at the I-X Center Nov. 4-6. Check out this blog post for all the reasons to attend the LEGO extravaganza and then buy tickets here. Children 2 and under are free; children 3-17 and seniors 65+ are $18; and adults are $20.

LEGO KidsFest 411:

Photo from

Enter to Win Tickets to Cleveland's LEGO KidsFest

Enter to win 2 tickets to LEGO KidsFest where you can enjoy giant LEGO models like this

UPDATE: Congratulations to Sarah H. for being selected by as the winner of two ticets.


Update: Even if you are unable to attend LEGO KidsFest, enter the giveaway anyway. If you win, your tickets will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House.


First things first: A huge happy birthday to the most patient, kindest person I know — my husband Scott. He deserves a lot of thanks for putting up with me and my shenanigans.

In honor of Scott’s birthday, I’m giving away two tickets to an event I know that he is really excited about: Cleveland’s LEGO KidsFest!

The LEGO KidsFest brings together all of the creative hands-on enjoyment of LEGO building in one family-friendly weekend. On November 4, 5 and 6, the I-X Center will host a slew of activities for people of all ages.

And, I have 2 tickets to give away for the 3pm-7:30pm session on Sunday, Nov. 6th!



There are 6 Easy Ways to Enter The Giveaway
**You must leave a separate comment on this post for each entry**

1) Leave a comment telling me what activity you are most looking forward to at LEGO KidsFest (a list can be found in this blog post).

2) Leave a comment sharing a favorite LEGO memory (your or your child’s).

3)  Twitter users can get an extra entry each day for tweeting: “Want to attend #CLE #LEGOKidsFest? Check out @ADHicken’s giveaway to win 2 tickets:”.  Each day you do this, you must leave a new comment.

4) Like “LEGO KidsFest” on Facebook.

5) Like “Clue Into Cleveland” on Facebook.

6) Follow @ADHicken on Twitter.

You have until Monday, October 24 at 11:59PM to enter.  On October 25, I will select a winner using and will announce the winner’s name on my blog.  Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry – Good Luck   Congratulations to Sarah H!

Disclosure: I was provided 2 tickets to LEGO KidsFest. As always, though, my thoughts and the choice of events I share are 100% my own. Photos from and 

Cleveland's LEGO KidsFest – Nov. 4-6

Nov. 4 through 6, the LEGO KidsFest comes to Cleveland to fill the I-X Center with demos and hands-on fun for all ages.

When it comes to checking out different places and events in Cleveland, there have been a few times where I dragged Scott along to something that wasn’t his ideal choice of spending a day. To his credit, he always goes along with me and makes the most of it.

For all the times he has put up with hitting the town when he’d rather stay home, there’s one event coming up in November he’s clamoring to attend: LEGO KidsFest.

During LEGO KidsFest, children of all ages can exercise their creativity in the different build zones.

Besides being an amazing, supportive husband, one of Scott’s most endearing qualities is that he’s a creative kid at heart. Part of that is his love of LEGOs.  He may not purchase huge LEGO sets anymore, but when we’re in Target we’ll usually make a stop by the toy aisle to check out the new LEGO products and games.

The LEGO KidsFest brings together all of the creative hands-on enjoyment of LEGO building in one family-friendly weekend. On November 4, 5 and 6, the I-X Center will host a slew of activities for children of all ages (even Scott) and builders of all skills and interests:

  • LEGO Model Museum of miniature and life-size models built entirely of LEGO bricks
  • LEGO Master Builder Academy for children to learn the fundamentals of design, engineering and art through LEGO bricks
  • LEGO Activity Area featuring audience-participation events like Master Builders appearances, games, trivia, videos and contests
  • Creation Nation where participants can build their own LEGO creation to add to a huge map of the United States
  • Big Brick Pile, DUPLO Build Area and LEGO Construction Zone for children to build whatever their imagination can create
  • Monochromatic Group Builds for anyone who wants to construct or add to a creation that organically evolves as everyone adds bricks of the same color
  • Race Ramps for building, rebuilding and racing LEGO cars
  • Mystery Mural Build where LEGO KidsFest attendees can help assemble a giant piece of LEGO artwork to be revealed throughout the weekend
  • LEGO Brickscapes — giant dioramas featuring mash-ups of dozens of LEGO and DUPLO sets
  • LEGO Games featuring LEGO’s newest innovation –  a collection of games that players can build, play and change

Master Builders will be on hand throughout the weekend to show what they create in the LEGO Workshop and help children learn about art and engineering.

LEGO KidsFest also includes a Marketplace where you can pick up exclusive items to add to (or start) a LEGO collection. It’s a great opportunity for some early holiday shopping.

The weekend kicks off on Friday, November 4 from 4 pm – 8:30 pm. There are two sessions on Saturday, November 5 and Sunday, November 6. On both days Session I runs 9 am – 1:30 pm and Session II runs 3 pm – 7:30 pm.

Tickets for LEGO KidsFest can be purchased here. And if you’d like to keep up-to-date with announcements about the Cleveland LEGO KidsFest or any of the tour’s other stops, a newsletter sign-up is also available.

LEGO KidsFest 411:

Photos from

Guest Post: iNeedaPlaydate Clues Into the Cleveland Ingenuity Fest

Happy Thursday! While I show my sister around Cleveland for the first time in 2 and a half years, Mary from iNeed a Playdate (and my partner in the Flippin’ Good Deeds Challenge) is guest blogging today about her family’s favorite moments at last weekend’s IngenuityFest.

Enjoy! And remember if you like cars, planes and motorcycles, today’s the last day to enter the Piston Power Show Giveaway.

Ingenuity Fest. When I first heard the name it wasn’t immediately the kind of name that invokes the hip, fun, interactive art and technology show that it is or has become in the last six years.  

I remember when the Husband came home one fall day a couple years ago and said, “Hey let’s go look at art under the bridge…” Okay, maybe he did  not say that exactly but he might as well have because that is exactly what it is – art under the Detroit Superior Bridge.

 The Detroit Superior Bridge connects Detroit Avenue from the west to Downtown’s Superior Avenue going east over the Cuyahoga River.  On Veterans Day, November 11, 1989, the Detroit Superior was officially renamed the Veterans Memorial Bridge but I guarantee that if you said that to most Clevelanders they would ask where it was and respond, “Oh, you mean the Detroit Superior!”  When the construction was completed in 1918, it was the largest steel and concrete reinforced bridge in the world. 

In addition to the bridge being a major vein connecting the west side of Cleveland to Downtown, beneath the bridge is a huge space with the most unique view of the Cleveland skyline. On either end of the bridge include what’s left of the former streetcar line along with reminders of a different time — a subway station, dark tunnels and pieces of old tracks.  This is where Ingenuity Fest is held.

The first time I attended Ingenuity Fest, I was mostly fascinated by the unique opportunity to explore what used to be. However, the more I took in all that was there now — the amazing exhibits and the music, I was in awe and hooked!

Although there was also a lot to see this year, with a toddler and four school-aged children, we spent the majority of our time beneath the bridge.  Between the magician, Ray Raymond, who sliced a lime to reveal a $20, and the Art is Therapy exhibit, where they made a wind sock out of recycled water bottles, the children were very much happy and occupied. 

They also happily banged on the drums of the Community Light Beacons demonstration by The Kinetic Light Drum project, described as “a visual, social and scientific exploration of alternative power generation and personal expression.”  The drums convert sound vibrations to light using sensitive speakers and ultra bright LEDs. Or in the words of a third grader, “This is so cool!  I bang; it lights!”

My personal favorite exhibits were I <3 and Currents.  Currents, inspired by the theme of this year’s Ingenuity Fest, amplified the 3 layers of currents that give the Detroit Superior Bridge its life during the festival: the bridge, the people and the river.  You could not only hear the sounds of the bridge through bone conduction headsets, but also see through a real time projection on the ceiling of the bridge. 

The I <3 interactive installation was five hearts, symbolically representing the “life” hearts in video games (such as Zelda), “powered” by the twitter hashtag #ingenuityfest and the life on the bridge.  All five hearts glowed red once 2000 tweets with that hastag were sent via twitter.  I love twitter so you better believe that I was tweeting while I was there and even when I got home.  By the time we left on Saturday night, 3 1/2 of the hearts were glowing and by the end of the festival all five of the hearts were illuminated. 

If you missed out and are feeling a little jealous – you should (kidding!). But never fear, it will back next year and probably bigger and better. 

About the Guest Author: Mary Johnson

Mary Johnson is the wife & mom behind where she blogs between working full time and attempting (albeit half heartedly) to do the laundry.  Her topics range from random thoughts, stories from her life and the world around her, and the occasional product review thrown in for good measure. Follow her on Twitter @mryjhnsn.

Tune in Sunday: Clue Into CLE on Emerging Chefs Radio

My Labor Day weekend plans: Jak of All Trades Fest and Emerging Chefs Radio

Exhausted is all I can say about my first week back from vacation. It’s sped by a little too quickly for my taste. There’s been so much to catch up on that I’m happy for the extra time this weekend to work on stuff – including my blog!

It’s not going to be all toiling in front of the laptop, though.

First, there’s the Jak of All Trades Fest tomorrow. There are a lot of fantastic events going on Labor Day weekend — from the Air Show to Oktoberfest. But this year I’m trying something new with JakPrints’ free community festival. Since the first time I posted about it, they’ve added more details about the music, food, art and activities that will be there. I just read the Cleveland branch of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School will be making an appearance, which is one of my favorite mainstays at IngenuityFest events. I’m really looking forward to kicking off my Labor Day weekend with this first-time event.

And then on Sunday, I’ll be stopping by WHK 1420 AM for Emerging Chefs’ radio. Each Sunday, you can tune in on the radio (1420 AM) or online from 3-4pm to chat about culinary events and trends in Cleveland, as well as listen to interviews with local chefs. I’ll be on this Sunday’s show during their weekly Cleveland blogger segment so listen and call in.

What are your plans for Labor Day weekend?