Create your own Midsummer Nights’ Dream w/ this week’s festival picks

Create your own Midsummer Nights’ Dream

It’s not summer solstice time… but it is about midsummer and all sorts of randomness seems to be happening — from people bathing in fountains and going barefoot on downtown sidewalks to sunbathing at Voinovich Park sans blouse. Create your own Midsummer Nights’ Dream this weekend in Northeast Ohio.

The Burning River Festival — an Eco-Fest at Whiskey Island just west of the Cuyahoga River — features environmental educational exhibits, live music and eco-exhibitors displaying organic products, plants to green your space, compost containers, and lots of other green items. The Festival seeks to raise consciousness about the damage human beings can wreak and what the Earth needs to rejuvenate. Eat natural local food, drink Lake Erie-made Great Lakes beer, and groove to local band music. The event takes place at the historic Coast Guard Station west of downtown Cleveland and east of Edgewater Park on Sat 7/23 and Sun 7/24.

The Irish American Cultural Festival is so big it needs to be held at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds. Irish music, dancing, art and food will make everyone Irish from Fri 7/22Sun 7/24, just like on St. Patrick’s Day. Clevelanders have always embraced Irish-hood, which makes this event one of the area’s most popular family events. Enjoy eating boxty with bangers while wandering around tents rocked by Irish folk singers. The girls with ringleted hair and flapping skirts take their dancing seriously, and they are impressive.

Brookstock at Brookside Reservation is a family-oriented Woodstock in the Metroparks that takes place from 2 – 8:30PM on Sat 7/23. It’s a celebration of music and nature in the Cuyahoga Valley. Five local bands — Workman’s Circle Klezmer Orchestra, JiMiller Band, Abbey Road, DC-3, and Blue Lunch — will play music on two stages while vendors, arts and crafts, kite flying, games, hikes, and live animals keep everyone busy. Big Show will be selling sandwiches, macaroni & cheese, chips, desserts, and soda.

The All American Soap Box Derby has been an Akron tradition since 1934. The cars will race down Derby Downs Drive in Akron on Sat 7/23. Get your viewing station early because more than 15,000 spectators are expected. 550 qualifying boys and girls, aged 8-20, from 40 states and 5 countries compete in these “gravity” races for scholarships and prizes. Activities include a rally, parade, and celebrity appearances. For more information call 330-733-8723.

While in the Akron area, check out Festa Italiana in the Fals River Square District on the west bank of the Cuyahoga River in Cuyahoga Falls from Fri 7/22 through Sun 7/24. There’s a full musical lineup; it looks more like a music festival with bands playing all weekend long, including Retro, Hard Days’ Night, Mike Tricaso, Tuscan Trio, and Texas Hold’em Live.

We’re soaking up summer with mojitos and margaritas served with fresh tomato salsa and grilled corn, and our faces are now tanned like Californians. Summer heats up the North Coast and its environs, and this week’s festivals get us out and about to soak up the fun.


Claudia Taller’s book Ohio’s Lake Erie Wineries was just released by Arcadia Publishing. Find out more about the book by going to and order it through Claudia by sending an e-mail to

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