Sun 8/2 @ 11am – 9pm
UPDATE: Stop on down to the Cleveland World Festival at the Cleveland Cultural Gardens TODAY, and say hi to the CoolCleveland crew at the CoolCleveland Stage, otherwise known as the Italian Cultural Gardens, and we’ll show you how to enter to WIN $100 today. Hint: it’s very, very simple!
VIEW our VIDEO interview with director James Levin here.
Every culture with a large population in Cleveland seemingly has its own festival. There are Latino fests, Irish fests, Polish fests and Italian fests… but there’s only one fest that brings all the city’s cultural influences together — the Cleveland World Festival.
Taking place in the sprawling Cleveland Cultural Gardens, the city’s often overlooked gem, the Cleveland World Fest offers a day of music, games, food, customs and costumes for all ages. We spoke to festival executive director James Levin about the festival and what goers can expect in its third year.
CoolCleveland: How has the Cleveland One World Fest grown since previous years? What is new and different this year?
James Levin: Our kids programming and sports programming has grown immensely. We have a whole ‘village’ with tons of activity for kids — involving Cleveland Music Settlement, Botanical Gardens, Universal Health Care and many more bringing ‘games and sports of the world.’ Plus the sports (Cavs are bringing in hoops, former soccer player, a couple of soccer courts right on MLK) component has grown.
Plus we are featuring much new work this year that involves a fusion of various cultures: ‘Passing Storm’ — a vocal work of 50 diverse voices by Sheela Das, ‘Change the World’ based on the Gandhi quote ‘Be the Change you want to see in the world’ by David Rosen, and a fabulous piece ‘Same Boat’ by musical and puppet artist Dan McNamara.
This year’s lineup include many interesting sounding performances. How were performances and performers selected?
Artists are selected by a rigorous process involving a programming committee. We look and review material year round and determine who best fits our very eclectic event.
What do you hope attendees leave with?
A sense of pride of Cleveland. We are a great city with many many flavors and threads. An amazing complex quilt. There are far more ingredients than one knows about — in our day to day lives. Attendees should leave with a sense of pride in the city and an appreciation of the diversity of the cultures that make up our town. Attendees should listen to a kind of music they have never heard, see some dance they have not seen before and taste a food that is different than what they normally consume.
Any tips for enjoying the fest?
Park for free at the VA Garage at East 105 and Magnolia and then take the free shuttle to the festival. Or better yet, ride a bike (although bike rentals will be available via Ohio City Bike Co-op during the festival. We have many more shuttles than a year ago. Or you can park at the VA garage and simply walk down East Blvd to the festival. On a beautiful day it’s an easy walk.
Anything else you’d like to add?
If you have them, bring kids. If not, come on down and spend some time. We present a remarkable array of music visual art spoken word, theatre and foods (and beer and wine). It’s one of the truly eclectic integrated events of the city. ‘Makes you feel good about being from Cleveland’ is something I hear frequently.
What does this festival offer that other festivals don’t? What void does it fill in the local festival lineup?
What makes us unique? As said, it is truly an integrated event. people from different races, cultures, ethnic groups, nationalities, ages, zip codes all coming and appreciating the city and the various flavors of cultures that make us what we are.
One can consume great music and food and beers on any of our 4 different stages, see performance art and spoken word, hear opera, r&b, blues, folk music of various countries. Or if you are more active, rent a bike, play basketball, chess, soccer or badminton, go on a scavenger hunt — all in Rockefeller Park among the unique cultural gardens (a unique park in the US) and all for FREE!
Cool Cleveland correspondent Sarah Valek studied art and writing at Ithaca College. After graduation, she came back to Cle and served two years as an AmeriCorps*VISTA with the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless. She can be found on all sides of the city in pursuit of homeschooling activities for her son and the perfect soy latte. Contact her at CoolEditor@CoolCleveland.com or via Twitter.