2/9-10 - Lunar New Year Celebration
Nothing quite like an AsiaTown Festival, am I right? This daytime outdoor fest will ring in the lunar new year with Asian food, a talent show and and a classic Asian lion dance. There are even fireworks scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m. After you enjoy the festivities, amble over to the Asia Food Co. -- one of the state's largest Asian food grocers -- to stock your pantry with all the goodies you enjoyed on the street.
2/2 - For the Love of Chocolate Festival (Medina)
The 16th Annual iteration of this Chocolate tasting festival might be just the thing you need to mobilize from your winter fireside stagnation. At Medina High School, for only $12, you'll get to sample 10 varieties of delicious chocolates, all in support of the American Red Cross. A $7 ticket gets you five samples. Cravings will be satisfied and corners of mouths wil be smeared. Kick off your February with some sweets -- and feel good about it.
2/15 - Brite Winter Festival
Pegged as Cleveland's flagship outdoor arts and music festival, the fifth annual Brite Winter Fest promises to be as fun and carefree as in years past. "Playing outside" is the raison d'etre here -- rain, snow or shine -- and with an impressive lineup of musicians and outdoor activities, all in the heart of Ohio City, there will be fun to be had for all. Fires and ice sculpting and arts and crafts and all that good winter stuff. And of course, barrels and barrels of Christmas Ale. This one's free and open to the public.
3/1 - Cleveland Kurentovanje Winter Festival:
Kurentovanje (koo-rahn-toh-VAHN-yay) is evidently the most popular carnival event in Slovenia. (There's a robust Sloveneian population on Cleveland's east side). The central figure of the carnival, the Kurent, is believed to chase away winter and usher in spring with its supernatural powers. The Kurent, by the way, is like something freakish and mammalian out of Parade the Circle. It's a massive sheepskin creature with bells and beads and all sorts of birdlike pagan-inspired ornamentation. The Slovenian National Home, St Clair Superior Development Corp and Sterle's Country House have partnered with local businesses and institutions to bring a piece of this cultural event to St. Clair Avenue on Saturday March 1st, 2014 for the second year in a row. Should be a killer parade, if nothing else.
Ohio City Holiday Festival
This one's primarily a shopping excursion, with goods and products from locally made vendors at the Cleveland Bazaar and Made in the 216. But you'll also have the opportunity to take a carriage ride, take pictures with Santa, and even buy your Christmas tree if you haven't already, all on Market Square Park. The event is presented by Great Lakes Brewing Company, so count on plenty of brews to warm you up in the cold.
Holiday Circle Fest
All afternoon long, the treasured museums of University Circle -- Cleveland's cultural Mecca! -- will be free and open to the public. What a way to kick off the holidays and introduce visiting friends or family to all that Cleveland has to offer. And don't stop there! Wade Oval will become a winter wonderland, with live music, ice sculpting and some of Cleveland's favorite food trucks. After we peruse the museums and grab a hot chocolate, we're looking forward to the 2:00 p.m. sled dog demo by the Siberian Husky Club of Greater Cleveland at the Museum of Natural History.
Chardon is in the heart of the snow belt, and they know winter activities almost as well as Minnesotans. All day long, you'll get to enjoy dog sled demonstrations, ice sculpting, carriage rides and an epic snow maze that that the kiddies will be sure to love. There's even a snowman building contest in the park, sponsored by local businesses and decorated by area high school students. If you plan to come out for the day, start your morning off right with a Chardon Pancake breakfast for $9 ($5 for the little tykes) which includes coffee and legit maple syrup.