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Summer festivals begin in earnest this weekend around Northeast Ohio

After a year and a half of a COVID shutdown, people and businesses are ready to get back to 'normal.'

CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio — It's the calm before the storm in downtown Cuyahoga Falls.

There are signs of what's coming, along with flags marking the coming celebration. It's Irish Festival time!

"Finally, things have lifted, so we can get outside and have a lot of fun," Mayor Don Walters told 3News.

Walters is hoping to make a splash this festival season after last year left this venue mostly empty. The city is planning five festivals, down from its usual eight, but they're also bringing back weekly concerts.

"We have festivals all throughout the summer," the mayor said. "A lot of different things, all family friendly, so you can bring your kids down to any one of them."

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Meanwhile, in Rittman, the strawberries are in their prime at Bauman Orchards. June 12 and 19, they'll have their annual Strawberry Festival, celebrating the sweet red to kick off summer.

"We have a great patch this year," said Dianne Bauman, manager of their farm market.

Last year, COVID-19 kept people at home, but as mask mandates and restrictions have been lifted, festivals are starting once again.

"I love seeing families come out, you know?" Bauman remarked. "We're simple, we're not hi-tech, we're not fancy, but we just love to see the families come with their children or whoever."

Festivals -- large, medium, and small -- are back, and there is so much to celebrate.

Walters can't wait to see Cuyahoga Falls full of people.

"[The] weather's supposed to be pretty good, so we'd love to see you downtown."

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