CLEVELAND — Editor's note: Video in the player above is from an unrelated story on this year's top swimsuit trends.
The sun is rising on summer, and it promises to be a fun and festive one in Northeast Ohio. After a year of COVID-19 restrictions, live music, festivals and fairs are back on the horizon. Read on for a guide to a dozen highlights, and check WKYC.com for updates because this season should be one to remember!
Tremont Greek Festival Drive-Through: COVID may have changed the annual Tremont Greek Festival, but it hasn’t stopped it. Always a Memorial Day weekend favorite, this year’s fest will take place drive-through style, at 2187 West 14th Street. Tents will be set up in the parking lot where online pre-orders, or in-person orders, can be picked up from your car. Quantities limited, pre-ordering at www.tremontgreekfest.com is encouraged. The menu includes lamb shank and baked chicken dinners, gyros, souvlaki, sandwiches, spanakopita, vegetarian grape leaves, assorted pastries, baklava, and, new this year, bougatsa, a custard-filled phyllo pastry. 4 - 8 p.m. Friday, May 28; noon - 8 p.m. Saturday, May 29 and Sunday, May 30.
Parade the City: The Cleveland Museum of Art has reimagined Parade the Circle 2021. Parade the City will keep the spirit of Parade alive by pairing local artists with community groups to create celebratory art installations throughout the city. Eight installations will be created by artists with the help of eight community groups including Cleveland School of the Arts, Julia De Burgos Cultural Arts Center, Esperanza, Karamu House, Extended Family, LGBT Community Center, Cleveland Public Library’s South Branch and PIVOT Center for Arts, Dance and Expression. A guide to display locations will be available at the museum’s new Community Arts Center, opening June 12 in the Clark-Fulton Area, or online at cma.org.
Mount Granita: One of the bright spots of last summer was the opening of this charming Italian ice stand in Little Italy, at 2021 Murray Hill Road. Flavors include lemon, mojito, watermelon, coconut, berry, grapefruit and the new 2021 season flavor, Orange Creamsicle. Opening Day special: $1 scoops May 20, 21 and 22. Also now available at Heinen’s.
First Annual Freedom Fest: Celebrate Juneteenth at Cleveland’s first annual Freedom Fest, presented by Karamu House, Downtown Cleveland Alliance and Ingenuity Cleveland. The free fest will take place Saturday, June 19 at venues to be announced downtown, and will feature music, dance, theater and a pop-up village to spotlight Black businesses and entrepreneurs. More info soon at juneteenthcle.com.
YAY Saturdays: Make art, action and adventure part of your Saturday afternoons at this new weekly University Circle event. YAY is a new children’s activity series that will run on six consecutive Saturdays, June 12-July 17 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Activities are free, geared toward K-8 students and their families, and will take place on Wade Oval in University Circle.
Classical Music Under the Stars: Blossom is back! After a year-long hiatus, the Cleveland Orchestra has announced a 10-week season at Blossom Music Center, July 3 to Sept. 5. Seating will be limited to 3,500 people on the lawn and 1,500 in the pavilion. The season will begin with “An American Celebration” and includes Gershwin, Mozart and other summer favorites, plus a “Tribute to the Beatles.” Season subscriptions, $80-$426, and individual tickets, $25-$121, available at www.clevelandorchestra.com.
Be Wonderstruck: Yes, concerts are back — including outdoor festivals. And there are few more highly anticipated than the two-day Wonderstruck, which returns July 24 to 25 at Lakeland Community College. Headliners include Walk the Moon, Portugal the Man and Third Eye Blind. More info and tickets: https://www.wonderstruckfest.com/.
Hit the beach: Who says there’s no surf in Cleveland. There’s surf and sun and sand -- and there are more than a few beaches to enjoy it. Head to Edgewater for its urban vibe; Mentor Headlands for its sprawling New England-y beach, lighthouse views and more; or Huntington for its bucolic park and stunning city views. The Noshery at Huntington re-opens May 28, just in time for Memorial Day weekend.
Hit the trails: The new Metroparks Find Your Path app provides maps and plans to explore more than 24,000 acres in the park system. App users will have access to new maps of all 18 park reservations to find trails, attractions and hidden gems, as well as upcoming programming and events across all Metroparks reservations, golf courses, restaurants, retail locations and the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Users can also register for Metroparks events through the app.
Kayak or SUP at Hinckley Lake: Spend an afternoon on the water on one of Northeast Ohio’s loveliest lakes. The Hinckley Boat House rents kayaks, stand-up-paddleboards and even canoes. Rentals $20/hour and must be done online in advance.
Dine al fresco: Northeast Ohio offers hundreds of patios to enjoy a summer evening, or lunch: romantic, edgy, rustic, elegant and party patios. But there’s no lovelier patio in town that Guarino’s, 12309 Mayfield Road, a spacious garden patio with trees, fountains, climbing vines and one of the best classic Italian menus in town. Raise a Negroni to summer, now!
Cuyahoga County Fair: One of the biggest and best summer events, the Cuyahoga County Fair will return to Berea for its 124th edition from Tuesday, Aug. 10 through Sunday, Aug. 15. Details to come.