Category Archives: Summer

It's a Date! Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's ZOOvies Giveaway

Win 2 tickets to the Cleveland Zoo’s newest event Date Night at the ZOOvies!

Last Friday night, Cleveland descended on the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for Twilight at the Zoo. The sold-out crowd enjoyed drinks, food from restaurants like AMP150, hanging out with the Zoo’s animals and rocking out to 18 bands.

Best of all, the event – which was presented by Cleveland SCENE magazine and hosted by the Cleveland Zoological Society – raised $560,000 for one of Cleveland’s most-popular attractions!

If you missed Twilight at the Zoo or didn’t get your fill of the Zoo that evening, the Cleveland Zoological Society is giving us a second chance to party at the Zoo this August.

On Friday, August 24, the Cleveland Zoological Society is hosting its first-ever Date Night at the ZOOvies.

The Zoo’s newest event starts at 7pm and will feature an evening of animal encounters, networking, drinks, and a classic movie under the stars.

At the ZOOvies and other Zoo events, you can get up close and personal with some of the animals like this owl.

From 7-8:30 p.m., guests will be able to stroll through the Australian Adventure and African Savanna exhibits while enjoying Great Lakes beer, wine and light appetizers. Plus, many of the Zoo’s animals will be out and about to meet.

When the sun goes down at 8:30 p.m., guests are invited to bring a blanket or grab a seat in the Zoo’s outdoor ampitheater to enjoy a classic film.

For their first Date Night at the ZOOvies, the Cleveland Zoo Society took to their Facebook page and polled fans on which movie they wanted to see. The winner, as chosen by Facebook fan votes, was John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club.

Tickets are $30 for one person and $50 for 2 (which includes entry to the Zoo, plus drinks and the film).  Buy your Date Night at the ZOOvies tickets here.

And as promised a couple weeks ago, I’m also giving away a pair of tickets!

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s Australian Adventure – one of my favorite exhibits – will be open to guests during Date Night at the ZOOvies

There are 5 Easy Ways to Enter the Giveaway

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

1) What’s your favorite movie from the 80s? I love everything John Hughes; however, my personal favorite 80s classic has to be Back to the Future. Leave a comment below with your pick for your favorite 80s film.

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

3) Follow @CleveZooSociety 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: “Clue into @CleveZooSociety’s new Date Night at the ZOOvies! Win 2 tickets by entering @ADHicken’s giveaway: http://wp.me/pPIgG-1py”  (Each day you do this, you must leave a new comment.)

5) Subscribe to receive Clue Into Cleveland blog posts in your inbox or Google/blog reader and leave a comment letting me know you did. This can also include signing up to receive email notifications in the top-right “You’ve Got Mail” section of this page.

You have until Wednesday, Aug. 15 at 11:59PM to enter. On Thursday, Aug. 16, I will select a winner using Random.org 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 by the Cleveland Zoo Society to give away to a reader.  I was also invited to attend Date Night at the ZOOvies; however, I’ll be out of town and unable to attend.  As always, the opinions I share are 100% my own. ZOOvies logo courtesy of the Cleveland Zoological Society.***

A Look Behind the Curtain at Progressive Arts Alliance's Corporate Dance Crew Competition

B-boy Tony Fresh demonstrates a few moves at a Corporate Dance Crew rehearsal

Blogkeeping note: Only a few more days to enter the Clue Into Cleveland giveaway for 4 tickets to the Cleveland Aquarium. This Saturday and Sunday, stop by the Aquarium and help them celebrate their 1st annual Shark Weekend!

***

I recently declared over drinks that my dancing in public is limited to 2 places: when I’m in the car and at weddings. I’m ridiculously good at being ridiculously bad at dancing so while I may play it up in a reception hall, I tend to cower at the thought of exposing a larger audience to my “skills.”

That’s why I have very deep respect for the teams who will be popping, locking and showing off their other moves at the Corporate Cleveland Dance Crew Competition on August 11.

Corporate Cleveland’s Best Dance Crew will be named at Progressive Arts Alliance’s 10th anniversary celebration on August 11

The Dance Crew Competition will take place at House of Blues Cleveland during “Ten Years of Rhapsody,” the anniversary celebration featuring Grandmaster Flash for Cleveland nonprofit Progressive Arts Alliance.

Organizations from around the city, including the Cleveland Public Library and Bonbon Pastry & Cafe, will train and then perform a dance routine at the August event.

These Dance Crew Sponsorships, as well as proceeds from the Ten Years of Rhapsody tickets, all go to support the mission of the Progressive Arts Alliance.  Since 2002, the PAA has served 20,000+ students in schools, community centers, libraries, and other community spaces by utilizing contemporary arts – such as mural-making and hip-hop – to stimulate critical thinking and promote progressive thought.

Tony Fresh darts around the Cleveland Public Library’s dance crew rehearsal as he pieces their routine together

Last weekend, I was invited downtown to watch as a few employees from the Cleveland Public Library practiced their routine.

Each team is being taught how to dance by professional dancer Tony Fresh.  Tony himself was first inspired to break dance when he was in high school at Lincoln West and saw David Ramos aka “B-boy B-rock” perform.

After being taught a few basics, he continued to learn on his own until he won a break dance battle that the PAA organized.

Since then, Tony Fresh has worked with the PAA by conducting Hip-Hop assemblies at Cleveland public schools, teaching children and teens the four elements of Hip Hop.

Just like he was inspired as a teenager, Tony is empowering his students to gain self-esteem, embrace a healthy lifestyle and understand why breakdancing was created in the first place — to influence “peace-unity-and having fun.”

Tony Fresh lightheartedly described this move and it’s accompanying chest pop as chopping some chickens

He’s bringing these lessons to the teams who are up to the Corporate Dance Crew challenge.

Tony is working closely with each team to design a routine for them — selecting songs and dance styles based on each group’s energy and abilities.

For instance, with the Cleveland Public Library, he’s using old-school house party dancing to inform their routine – having each team member perform moves that speak to their physical strengths.

When I watched last weekend’s practice, I was amazed by how organic the process was. Instead of coming in with a set routine and making the team members adjust to it, Tony came in with a song and built the routine with the team as the hour rolled by.

He tweaked and adjusted the routine as he observed what worked and didn’t. He was respectful not just of what the team could do, but also what they wanted to do — inviting them to offer their own ideas saying “it’s your routine – I’m just here to coordinate.”

From children to adults of all ages, Tony Fresh’s only requirement is that you are willing to learn and have fun

When I spoke with Tony after watching the practice, I was curious about the differences between teaching children and teenagers versus adults.

He said that while children and some teenagers are in it just to have fun, there’s sometimes the challenge in teaching adults because a lot of people can’t get over being self-conscious about possibly looking silly (see the first paragraph of this post).  From what I observed during practice, though, Tony is very good at putting his students at ease – I was even considering dancing at one point.

He shared that designing the routines for the Corporate Dance Crews was easier than he thought it would be because the performers passed the hardest part of all by just having the courage to sign up, come to practice ready to learn something new and work as a team. This sense of unity and team work was reflected in the Cleveland Public Library’s routine — because team members hailed from multiple Library branches and programs, this was the first time many of them were meeting and working together.

It’s still possible to sign your office up for the Corporate Dance Crew competition. You’ll not just be participating in a meaningful team-building and wellness activity, but each crew will also get a group of VIP and backstage tickets and recognition at the event. If you’re interested, contact Santina Protopapa at 216.772.4PAA or santina@paalive.org.

For those who’d rather join me in watching the Dance Crew battle, tickets for the Progressive Arts Alliance’s August 11th fundraiser are available at www.houseofblues.com/tickets/eventdetail.php?eventid=75362.

Tickets for Ten Years of Rhapsody start at only $25

In addition to the Corporate Dance Crews, Ten Years of Rhapsody will feature:

  • a dance party with turntable pioneer Grandmaster Flash;
  • performances by the PAA All Stars, PAA’s most exceptional students;
  • a hands-on record scratching station for guests of all ages;
  • and a special tribute to and performance by Cleveland’s breakdancing legends Project Five featuring Councilman Matt Zone.

General admission costs $25 which includes access to the party starting at 7:30pm. VIP Balcony tickets get you additional access to an upstairs lounge, two beer or wine tickets and exclusive VIP opportunities for $50.  All-Access passes are also available which include a “Behind the Scenes” dinner with PAA artists at 5:30pm.

Disclosure: I was invited to observe a Dance Crew practice and share my experience. In exchange, I’ve received a general admission ticket to Ten Years of Rhapsody on August 11. As always, though, my opinions and the choice of events I share here are 100% my own.

Exploring Cedar Point's New Attractions, While Saying Goodbye to an Old Favorite

Scott gets into horse racing at the Cedar Downs Derby

When Scott and I first moved to Cleveland, one of the first things these roller coaster fanatics did was get a season pass to Cedar Point. For 3 years we had a Platinum Pass.

As long as you buy early enough (right after the previous season ends), you can usually get a season pass that will pay for itself in a few visits.  Last summer, however, we decided to not get a pass. We didn’t think we’d go that often and that it’d be worth it.

A costly mistake.

Ready for another trip to Cedar Point! (photo from WhyCLE)

Between Halloweekends (a mainstay of our Halloween season) and visits from friends and family who wanted to visit Cedar Point, we ended up going enough to warrant a season pass. I also found myself scrounging coupons off the back of Pepsi cans and special online sales at CedarPoint.com to save on tickets.

You know one thing that takes the fun out of planning trips to Cedar Point? Finding ways to justify why you didn’t buy a season pass in the first place.

After that lesson, Scott and I immediately went online at the end of last season and purchased a Platinum pass for this season.

With access to all Cedar Fair parks (including Soak City, Wildwater Kingdom and King’s Island in Ohio), free parking (regularly $12), brand-new bring-a-friend discounts and other food, entertainment and hotel discounts, it’s more than worth it.

Based on what we paid last Fall, the pass will pay for itself through park admission and parking alone after 3 visits.  The introduction of payment plans this season sealed the deal.

My favorite place for lunch at Cedar Point: a parking lot picnic!

Scott and I met up with Alicia, Jen, Kimberly and their husbands this past weekend for our second trip of the season. We lucked out on Saturday with perfect weather: clear skies and hot, but not nearly as oppressive as it has been.

The only downside? Everyone else also had the same idea that Saturday would be the perfect day for a visit.

Although the lines were longer than usual, we ran straight to Maverick to ride it as soon as the park opened and bided our time throughout the day for some of the more popular coasters like Raptor. 10 hours and 2 incredibly sore feet later, we’d enjoyed an asphalt picnic, dinner at Famous Dave’s, 9 rides and some arcade time.

While it was a long day, it was a great time exploring old favorites like the Cedar Point Railroad and Cedar Downs Derby, as well as what’s new for 2012 at the Park.

So what is new?

Logo from CedarPoint.com

Dinosaurs Alive and Luminosity offer guests 2 new attractions for the season. With the removal of Wildcat and the addition of a wine and beer bar and massive stage, the Midway has been transformed for Cedar Point’s new night-time show Luminosity. Lasers, lights, pyrotechnics and pulsing beats create a dance party for guests who want to rock on “the Roller Coast.”

Adventure Island – the former home of the Paddleboats and Halloweekend’s haunted pirate island – has now been taken over by prehistoric creatures in Dinosaurs Alive. For $5, Cedar Point guests can escape the park and visit with 50 life-size animatronic dinosaurs in scenes that replicate how scientists believe dinosaurs lived and interacted with one another.

It’s a great attraction for families because every day, kids can participate in an interactive dino dig site and have a chance to win a “K’NEXosaurus Rex” by uncovering the hidden K’NEX piece at the dig site.

Logo from CedarPoint.com

Cedar Point introduced Fast Lane passes this year for those guests who’d rather get their excitement from a roller coaster marathon and don’t have time to wait in hour-long lines. For $65, the pass grants access to short lines (even walk-on access in some cases) for 10 rides throughout Cedar Point.

Admittedly, I was at first skeptical of the Fast Lane pass – mostly because I don’t see the value in an additional $65 to wait in a shorter line. However, after seeing the lines on Saturday, I’d say if you want to hit the extremely popular rides on a weekend and visit Cedar Point infrequently, it may be worth it for you.

Passes are limited, though, so either purchase it online ahead of time or as soon as you get to the park.

Cedar Point app screenshot from Google Play

The final addition to Cedar Point this season is their new mobile app. Downloadable on both iPhones and Androids, the free Cedar Point app puts information about show times, height requirements and ride locations right at your finger tips while at the park.

The app also has a car and friend locator. Although we didn’t have a need to try the car marker, we played around with the friend locator a bit. Unfortunately, some force closing issues cancelled out the locator on multiple occasions.

In looking at the app reviews, this sluggishness is disappointingly par for the course. On the upside, having the park map and ride information in the app is helpful for new guests so you don’t have to carry the paper map around with you.

This T-Rex welcomes guests into the park and gives a nice perch on a hot day for the gulls

Although Cedar Point fans have gained a number of new things this season, we’ve also had to say farewell to a few.

In addition to Wildcat, which was removed prior to the season, another longtime coaster is hosting its last riders this weekend.

As was leaked earlier this summer, Cedar Point may be planning a new coaster for next year. To make room for whatever attraction is going there, the indoor bobsled coaster Disaster Transport is being taken down along with the Space Spiral observation tower.

Scott standing in line for our last ride on Disaster Transport

When we were at the park on Saturday, I was going to skip Disaster Transport until I saw the sign about the ride’s “Final Dispatch.”  To celebrate the ride’s legacy and raise money for Give Kids the World, Cedar Point is giving guests the chance to ride Disaster Transport one last time and possibly even take it on its final lap through the building with the lights on.

$4,288 has been raised so far.  If you’re interested in raising money for Give Kids the World and going on Disaster Transport’s Final Dispatch visit www.firstgiving.com/gktw/finaldispatch.

And because I won’t be there Sunday, I’m happy to say I was able to squeeze in one more ride-through.

The lights come on at Cedar Point at the end of our day

On Monday, Choice Hotels announced the top theme parks for summer travel. And at the top of that list above Disney and Six Flags? Cedar Point.  However, I didn’t need that press release to tell me.  After learning my lesson last year, I’ll be a life-long Cedar Point passholder.

Cleveland Aquarium's Shark Weekend + a Giveaway!

The Cleveland Aquarium’s underwater tunnel allows guests to get up-close to all angles of the Aquarium’s sharks and other sea creatures

One of the highlights of Scott’s and my first visit to the Cleveland Aquarium was the underwater shark tunnel.

Designed by Marinescape, the Seatube is a a clear, 145’ walk-through tunnel that allows guests to get up-close to all angles of the Aquarium’s sharks and other sea creatures (as well as a few scuba divers!).

In this and other tanks throughout the renovated Power House, the Greater Cleveland Aquarium houses over 18 sharks, including nurse sharks, sand tiger sharks, sand bar sharks and black nose sharks.

To celebrate sharks worldwide, the Aquarium is hosting its first Shark Weekend this coming Saturday and Sunday (July 28 and 29).

Sand shark at the Cleveland Aquarium

Because of activities like shark finning (which is responsibile for killing up to 2,500 sharks every 30 minutes), shark populations are in a global decline with their numbers falling by more than 80% in many cases.

To help build awareness of the problem – as well as how everyone can help sharks through their personal actions and buying choices, the Aquarium’s Shark Weekend will feature the free event SHARKS: Draw the Line.

SHARKS: Draw the Line is a community art project that will take place in the parking lot adjacent to the Aquarium on July 28 and 29.

Sharks: Draw the Line takes place July 28 and 29

From 10am-4pm on July 28, volunteers will use plywood templates to draw 2,500 silhouettes of various shark species, ranging from about 3 feet to 6 feet in length.

The collection of shark silhouettes on pavement will make clear the epic ecological loss that shark finning causes as each hour passes.

Then on July 29 from 10am-4pm, visitors may pick up colored chalk and fill in the line-drawn sharks, creating a bright mosaic to help turn the tide in public awareness.

In addition to the art project which was created by Northeast Ohio sculptor and graphic designer Jim Gundlach, the Aquarium will host other outdoor activities and entertainment. And a local and international petition will be available for attendees to sign that will be sent out in hopes of providing better protection for all sharks and their ocean ecosystem.

This weekend, help the Cleveland Aquarium raise awareness of sharks’ plight and save 20% on admission after the event

As a thank you, the Aquarium is offering 20% off same-day admission to any person who participates in SHARKS: Draw the Line that would like to visit after the event. GCA Passholders can also bring 1 free guest on Shark Weekend.

And to celebrate Shark Weekend, I’m also giving away a 4-pack of tickets for the Greater Cleveland Aquarium!

With this 4-pack, you can treat your family or gather a group of friends anytime of the year for a trip to the Aquarium. You can even use the Aquarium tickets for a fun double-date to beat the summer heat!

Fun at the Aquarium with SMITTEN…in Cleveland and Blog-The New Black

There are 5 Easy Ways to Enter the Giveaway

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

1) The Aquarium is home to an assortment of sharks and other marine life. What’s your favorite lake or sea creature?

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

3) Follow @CLEAquarium 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: “Celebrate Cleveland’s 1st annual Shark Weekend and enter @ADHicken’s giveaway for a 4-pack of @CLEAquarium tickets: http://wp.me/pPIgG-1n3”  (Each day you do this, you must leave a new comment.)

5) Subscribe to receive Clue Into Cleveland blog posts in your inbox or Google/blog reader and leave a comment letting me know you did. This can also include signing up to receive email notifications in the top-right “You’ve Got Mail” section of this page.

You have until Monday, July 30 at 11:59PM to enter. On Tuesday, July 31, I will select a winner using Random.org 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 4 tickets to give away to a reader. As always, the opinions I share are 100% my own. All images except the last one are courtesy of the Greater Cleveland Aquarium.***

2 Ways to Party at the Cleveland Zoo this August

When Scott and I attended the Cleveland Zoological Society’s ZippityZooDoo last month, we had so much fun we didn’t want to leave at the end of the evening. We even tried to hide among the meerkats:

For obvious reasons (Scott’s too tall), our disguise didn’t work and we had to say our farewells to the elephants and flamingos and head home.

Fortunately, after the success of their summer kickoff, the Cleveland Zoological Society is bringing not one – but two – late-night parties to the Zoo this August.

On August 3rd, one of the city’s biggest summer events rocks the Zoo: Twilight at the Zoo.

From 7 til midnight, 18 Cleveland bands will perform throughout the Zoo.  Presented by Cleveland Scene magazine, some of the bands handpicked for the evening include Almost Famous, Disco Inferno, Otis & the Shoreway Saints, as well as the Journey and Bon Jovi tribute bands Arrival and Wanted, respectively.

While enjoying the music, guests will be able to explore the Zoo’s exhibits after dark and enjoy complimentary beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres.

General admission passes are still available – however, if you plan on attending, get them soon because VIP tickets are already sold out. Tickets cost $75 (a block of 10 is available for $650) which includes entry at 7pm, drinks til 11 and music til midnight.

Tickets for Twilight at the Zoo are available here.

If you’re looking for something more intimate, the Zoo is holding its very first Date Night at the Zoovies on August 24th.

From 7-8:30pm, the Zoo will host an open-bar happy hour with light appetizers throughout the Australian Adventure and Africa sections of the Zoo.

Then at 8:30, The Breakfast Club will play in the Amphitheater (I don’t care what anyone says – Emilio Estevez is still my favorite Sheen). Seats in the Amphitheater are first come, first served so guests are encouraged to bring a blanket.

Tickets are $30 for one person. If you’re planning on making it a Date Night, they’re offering 2 tickets for only $50.  I’ll also be giving away a pair of Zoovies tickets in the next few weeks – so check back for that giveaway!

Tickets for Date Night at the Zoovies are available here.

If these events are as fun as ZippityZooDoo, I’m thinking that next time around Scott and I will need to try hiding out with the giraffes.

Note: All photos (with the exception of the meerkats) are courtesy of the Cleveland Zoological Society. Images from last year’s Twilight at the Zoo are credited to Dale McDonald. Also, I don’t really condone hiding out in the Zoo  — the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo actually hosts an assortment of Overnight Programs for anyone who wants a sleepover in the wild.

Team PR Newswire Takes on the Cleveland Corporate Challenge

Dom and Ali pose with their competition

This past Tuesday, four valiant putt-putters from PR Newswire and their fearless coach (this guy!) took a drive to Mulligan’s Family Fun Center in North Ridgeville to battle it out with other Cleveland companies in the Cleveland Corporate Challenge.

We went with a neon-colored dream….to not place last in the Division II Britton Gallagher Mini-Golf tournament.

Laurel and Scott wait to play through a hole

Hosted by HermesCleveland, Cleveland Corporate Challenge is Northeast Ohio’s premier corporate program. Companies of every size compete in 14 different sporting events with the goal of being crowned Corporate Cup Champion.

The goal of the Challenge is not just to promote company camaraderie, employee wellness and networking, but also help local charities like this year’s official charity the Jennifer Ferchill Foundation.

Long shot

In the past I’ve really enjoyed Hermes Cleveland’s Road Race series (I even barely finished their Run for the Pierogies last Saturday despite the heat and humidity). And when I learned about their Corporate Challenge series, I knew that was something my office would really get into to.

Thanks to @mryjhnsn‘s incredible organizing skills and our director Glenn’s support, we joined the ranks of the 100+ companies participating in this year’s games.

Scott shows off his hole-in-one score

Since the tournament kickoff on June 24 we’ve been facing off against other Division II companies like CBIZ, KPMG and Henkel Adhesives in sports ranging from Skeeball to Sand Volleyball, Cornhole and Touch Football.

After reviewing the list of sports, I figured the only one I had any hope of doing ok in would be Mini-Golf (pin-ball and videogames are more my speed), so when they needed captain volunteers I signed up right away.

Team PRN: Dom, Ali, Laurel and Scott

I was one very fortunate captain because I had the talented team of Ali Candelaria, Laurel Pilch, Dom “2-putt” Buccilli and Scott to lead into the battle.

However, not wanting to underestimate the other teams’ golfing prowess, I gave my least-inspiring pep talk ever and told them “I don’t care even if you come in last place.” ”Even if you come in last, you’re still winners in my book.”

Scott deals with some of the course’s rough terrain

And how did we do?  As Ali put it: “The competition was fierce, the sand traps were sneaky and the roughs were…. well… rough.”  But the team persevered.

After the match, Team PRN sat there growing hungrier by the minute for our score – and dinner – as each stroke was counted and a few tie-breaker holes played.  Then they announced the rankings.   In third place, Electronic Merchant Systems. In second, The Blind Pig.

And in first …. PR Newswire!

WHAAATTT?!?

After Ali high-kicked her excitement, a moment of doubt set in and we thought that maybe they should recheck their math.  The officials did, only to confirm our victory with a final total of 185.

This Putt-Putt Captain couldn’t have been any happier, as demonstrated by this photo:

A nice souvenir from the evening

Our first place win in Mini-Golf puts us at #4 in our division. However, the Cleveland Corporate Challenge has just gotten started with plenty more sports left to play throughout the rest of July. The field for the overall tournament champion is still wide open.

The Cleveland Corporate Challenge culminates on August 4 with the Final Event Day featuring a 10K Relay, Tug of War, 1 Mile Fun Walk, and Vitamix Obstacle Course.

Moment of celebration right after being told we won

Registration is still open for independent teams who would like to play Sand Volleyball, Bowling, the 10K Relay and Obstacle Course (as an independent team you only have to compete in select events, not the overall tournament). However, those deadlines are approaching fast, so sign up now!

Has your company played in the Cleveland Corporate Challenge? If so, share your experience in the comments.

(And if you’re interested in playing, you can register here.)

Dom “2-putt” Buccilli

4 Reasons You Should Buy Tickets for Luau on the Lake – Plus a Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everyone who followed, liked and tweeted their entries in the Luau on the Lake giveaway.  Without further ado, let’s get on to announcing the winner!

After entering everything into random.org…

…the winning entry is Lucky Number 13 – @BrianMusick!  Brian, please email me at clueintocleveland (at) gmail (dot) com to get your tickets.

If you didn’t win, I still have good news for you.  Shoes and Clothes for Kids is raffling off a special prize basket for any blog readers who attend Luau on the Lake. All you need to do is enter “Clue Into Cleveland blog” in the Special Notes section when purchasing your tickets and you’ll be entered in the raffle.

Why should you buy tickets for Luau on the Lake? Here are 4 ways that the local Shoes and Clothes for Kids makes a difference in the lives of Greater Cleveland’s children:

  • For every $1 spent, SC4K is able to purchase between $20 and $25 worth of brand new clothing
  • SC4K also purchases and distributes discounted Payless Shoe gift cards instead of shoes, allowing families to purchase new shoes or boots of their own choosing that are stylish and fit properly
  • SC4K distributes its items through a network of 35 distribution partners located throughout Greater Cleveland — by providing new shoes and clothes through these partner agencies, SC4K connects families to other important programs and services that improve and enrich their lives
  • SC4K charges no fees to their recipients or distribution partners — relying heavily on the support of donors and 900 group and individual volunteers to pack clothing in the warehouse, work at the office and help at special events

Last year, 2000 backpacks with school supplies were given away as part of SC4K and Charter One’s Gear for Grades Campaign

This year marks SC4K’s forty-third year of service to families in the Greater Cleveland community — and throughout the year they will distribute new clothing and Payless Shoe gift cards with a retail value of $2,300,000.

So support this great organization – go get your tickets for Luau on the Lake! And do it fast, because after this Wednesday, July 11 the price on General Admission tickets will go up from $40 to $50.  Additionally, VIP tickets – which offer the best value ($50 for early entry, special island cocktails and souvenir lei and tote) – are available only through tomorrow.

Disclosure: As was mentioned in my giveaway post, I was invited to attend Luau on the Lake in exchange for posting about the event and hosting a giveaway. However, as with any event I post about, I am sharing this event because I think it is something that would also interest other Clevelanders.

Photos courtesy of Shoes and Clothes for Kids.

Giveaway Day! Be a Big Kahuna at Luau on the Lake

Enter to win a pair of VIP tickets to Luau on the Lake, a fundraiser for Shoes and Clothes for Kids

With all of the fireworks and Fourth of July parties this week, I thought the fun would start slowing down. After glancing at next weekend’s calendar, I realized how wrong I was – the month of July is just starting to heat up (and I’m not even talking about the temps)!

Next weekend kicks off early with Grapes and Ales on Friday the 13th (check out last week’s post for more on Our Lady of the Wayside’s fundraiser).

But the party doesn’t stop there — continuing on Saturday, July 14 when the 7th annual Luau on the Lake  takes over Whiskey Island’s Wendy Park.

From 4-9 pm on July 14, the Hawaiian-themed event will feature food and drinks, as well as sand volleyball, giveaways, music and beautiful views of the lake fit for a tiki god.

A catered menu, including Caribbean Jerk-Spiced Roast Potatoes, Citrus Glazed Chicken, Sweet & Sour Brined and Slow Roasted Pork Loin and Island-inspired Sorbet, will be served until 7:30, with snacks available throughout the rest of the evening.

VIP tickets include all General Admission benefits plus early entry at 3:30pm, 3 Specialty Island Cocktail tickets, a Hawaiian lei and tote.

Luau on the Lake is one of the largest fundraisers for the local non-profit Shoes and Clothes for Kids. Proceeds from tickets and the event’s giveaways and raffle will benefit their mission of distributing new shoes, clothing, and items to income-eligible families throughout Greater Cleveland.

Tickets cost only $40 if you buy before July 11th ($50 after and at the door) and include food, beer, wine, music, sand volleyball and a souvenir cup.

For only $10 more, you can purchase a Big Kahuna VIP ticket which gets you the ultimate Luau experience at the best value. VIP tickets include all General Admission benefits plus early entry at 3:30pm, 3 Specialty Island Cocktail tickets, a Hawaiian lei and tote. VIP tickets are only on sale until July 11, so get those tickets now.

But wait, there’s more: You and a guest can be Big Kahunas by entering the Clue Into Cleveland giveaway for a pair of VIP Luau tickets!

There are 3 Easy Ways to Enter the Giveaway

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

1) Follow @SC4K and @ADHicken on Twitter and leave me a comment on this blog post letting me know you did both.

2) Tweet the following (must include event hashtag and SC4K twitter handle): “I want to win VIP tickets to #SC4KLuau12 and you can too! Enter Clue Into CLE’s @SC4K giveaway: http://ow.ly/c1T25”  (Additional entries are available each day you do this – you must leave a new comment on this blog post for every time you tweet)

3) Bonus Facebook entry! Like “Shoes and Clothes for Kids” and “Clue Into Cleveland” on Facebook and leave a comment on this blog post letting me know you did both.

You have until Monday, July 9 at 11:59PM to enter. On Tuesday, July 10, I will select a winner using Random.org and will announce the winner’s name on my blog. Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry – good luck!

Disclosure: Photos courtesy of Shoes and Clothes for Kids. In exchange for posting about the event and hosting a giveaway, I was invited to attend Luau on the Lake with a guest. However, as with any event I post about, I am sharing this event because I think it is something that would also interest other Clevelanders.

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.

Back to Philly for a Liquid Nails Wedding

Ali gets married!

In 2000, three La Salle University students formed a bond that would hold up across miles and years. Being the theatre tech nerds that they were, they nicknamed themselves Liquid Nails one night during senior year. Inspired by the very strong construction adhesive and fueled by a few drinks of equal strength, two of them came up with the name to help calm down the third (this blogger) who was crying about how she wasn’t yet ready to face the real world.

“Liquid Nails: Holding the Universe Together Since 2000.”

The ladies of Liquid Nails – Amy, Angie, Ali, Jess and me

After graduation, the circle extended a little when they added 2 more to “Liquid Nails” to bring the number to 5.

I’ve now known Ali, Angie, Amy and Jess for over 10 years, a fact that still boggles my mind.

And although the friendship’s been tested by moves to Colorado, Chicago and – yes – Cleveland, it has triumphed and stayed strong. In part thanks to weekends playing Smash Brothers in the Poconos and email chains with pun-filled subject lines.

The question probably on your mind then is why am I sharing this decidedly non-Cleveland-focused blog post?

The happy newlyweds hitch a ride after getting hitched

On Saturday, one of Liquid Nails got married (coincidentally to another Liquid Nail’s brother!).

So Scott and I are on the road today heading back to Cleveland after a 4-day weekend of rehearsals, bbqs, plenty of partying, a beautiful wedding and a post-wedding brunch. (Gary and Ali are the only couple I know who would invite their wedding guests to their house the morning after their wedding!)

Because of this, I’ll be back on Wednesday with an actual Cleveland-inspired blog post. In the meantime, though, enjoy a few more moments from this weekend’s wedding and join me in congratulating the new Mr. and Mrs. Nickerson!

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Many thanks and credit go out to Jess for sharing the majority of these photos!