Tuesday, June 28, 2011

CLEkends ~ Celebrating the Solstice in Style

This weekend, as many weekends in Cleveland's summer tend to be, was replete with festivals and community events. One such intriguing event was Larchmere's Porchfest. Larchmere is the area just north of Shaker Square, and it is a neighborhood in Cleveland with a great balance of historical locales and a quickly burgeoning retail industry. Porchfest 2011, the third incarnation of the event, consisted of 30 bands playing on the porches of 30 different homes across the neighborhood. This is a revolutionary idea for Cleveland; many of the city's neighborhood festivals highlight the main drags or squares of the communities, but few branch out to the actual residential sections. Porchfest was a way for Larchmere to show off the unique and beautiful homes throughout the neighborhood. (FREE!)

The weather on Saturday held up for the festival, but the music wasn't anything to write home about. The porches were certainly a great venue to hear bands, and one of the acts (Shivering Timbers) definitely stood out among the rest of the mediocre musical groups. Truly, the highlights of the day for Young In CLE were stepping into Loganberry Books and paging through an old printing of John Keats and then crossing the street to a previously unseen coffee shop, Flying Crane Café. This shop was more than just a caffeine dealer; they serve incredible food with the added bonus of a beautiful garden in the rear where customers can partake of their delicious goods. YIC was a little bummed that they didn't serve beer, because that garden would be perfect for a summer patio and a microbrew!

This weekend, the Cleveland Museum of Art truly took on the mantle of community gathering site. Saturday was the second annual Solstice event, celebrating the longest day of the year with food, drinks, international and eclectic music acts, and the finest collection of art in the region. And at $17 for tickets, it was definitely worth the admission price considering the food, music, and the scene as a whole.

Solstice lived up to every one of its numerous praises. When we drove past the museum at 9:50 p.m., we could already see the crowd straining to burst out of the temporary boundaries erected around the south entrance. ($17 for ticket) The excitement in the air was palpable; people were dressed up and looked as though they were all ready to enjoy a fabulous evening! There were bottles of Great Lakes beer going for $4, which is pretty comparable to bar prices and surprisingly affordable for a festival of this size. ($8 for 2 beers)

The museum created several scavenger hunts for the guests to take part in, which were mostly an excuse to walk through the galleries and see the sights. Half the fun was in the people watching, and we ran into several people we knew over the course of the evening. By midnight, we were out on the back lawn dancing along to the sounds of Sofrito Soundsystem and taking photos in the photo booths that CMA had booked. The evening was an awesome exercise in planning and execution, and YIC is really looking forward to going to this event next year! On the whole, an eventful and affordable CLEkend! (Weekend total - $25)


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