Anyone who’s ever been to a festival knows that no matter what the festival is, the food available can make or break it. Great food elevates even the most modest festivals to new heights, but Cleveland has no shortage of amazing festivals with amazing food (and amazing food festivals). From cultural events to celebrations of specific products, here are the 15 festivals in Cleveland that foodies absolutely must attend!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Taste of Tremont
Visit beautiful and trendy Tremont, and sample offerings from local restaurants. Vendors must have some affiliation to Tremont. There are almost 70 vendors serving up delicious treats for the whole family. This is probably the most diverse of Cleveland's food festivals. Held along Professor Avenue in Tremont, Sunday July 16, 2017, from noon to 8pm.
2. Cleveland Pizza Festival
Honestly, I don't really know what else to say about this, because it's a
Pizza Festival, and if that isn't enough to entice anyone, then I don't know what is. Come to taste Cleveland's pizzas - try something new, or find your absolute favorite. Go American or go Neapolitan, go tomato based or white, go classic or gourmet. Go hard or go home, basically. Visit the Cuyahoga County Fair Grounds in Berea, June 23-25, 2017.
3. Cleveland Asian Festival
This festival showcases the diversity and beauty of Cleveland's Asian communities. The aim is to strengthen the identity and acknowledgement of Asia Town in Cleveland, and to educate Clevelanders on Asian cultures, traditions, and cuisines. There's dancing, parades, art and fun. Oh, and there's also
amazing food. Tour a whole continent of flavors in just a few hours. Held on Payne Avenue, Downtown, 2017 dates TBA.
4. Berea's National Rib Cook-Off
Sample (or shovel) the best ribs from all over the country. There's live music featuring everything from hard rock to bluegrass to polka. There's prizes for best ribs, best sauce, and people's choice, so make sure you eat enough that you get a say! Held at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds on Memorial Day Weekend.
5. Latino Arts & Culture Celebration and Puerto Rican Parade
This festival is one of the biggest events of the summer in Cleveland. It's exactly what it says on the package, with a parade, festivities, music, dance and food all weekend. Get your fill of favorites and taste cuisines you've never tried while soaking in the vibrant atmosphere. Held in August, date and location for 2017 TBA.
6. National Hamburger Festival
There's a legend that two brothers from Akron created the hamburger out of necessity in 1885, after running out of pork at their sandwich booth at the NY State Fair. True or not, Akron now hosts the National Hamburger Festival, home to over 20 vendors selling over 50 variations of hamburgers. There's also several different eating contests to watch (or participate in). Held in Lock 3 Park, Downtown Akron in August, exact 2017 dates TBA.
7. Great Lakes Medieval Faire
For something totally fun and totally different, check out the Great Lakes Medieval Faire. There will be games, dancing, music, more games, events, activities, and food. Lots of food. Lots of big food. Like this comically large turkey leg that is just begging to be dripping down the front of your period costume shirt. It will be held Saturdays and Sundays, July 8 to August 13, 2017, in Rock Creek OH, about 7 miles south of Cleveland.
8. St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church Egyptian Festival
Learn all about the Coptic church and culture at the Egyptian Festival. Jewelry, music, dance, rides, and tours of the church and accompanying museum are brought together by the tastes and smells of delicious Egyptian cuisine. Held at St Mark Coptic Orthodox Church in Seven Hills in August. Exact dates for 2017 TBA.
9. Kirtland Strawberry Festival
Sponsored by the local Kiwanis Club, this festival has rides, live entertainment, and a flea market. Best of all, though, it has amazing strawberries! Strawberry sundaes, strawberry jam, strawberry shortcake, and just plain old delicious, juicy, fresh strawberries. For the steel-stomached, there's also a strawberry shortcake eating contest! Held at Kirtland High School, 2017 dates TBA.
10. Cleveland Garlic Festival
To be hosted at Shaker Square, Buckeye-Shaker, on the 26th and 27th of August in 2017, this festival celebrates all things garlic. Try some garlic ice cream, or buy varieties you didn't even know existed to impress at your next dinner party. The focus is on locally-grown produce and creative cooking.
11. Tater Tots and Beer Festival
This festival is
exactly what it sounds like. It's tater tots, and it's beer. It's not cider and fries, not chips and wine. Just a whole lot of tots, and a whole lot of beer. Because really, is there a more beautiful, pure combination? This fest travels around the country, and will be in Cleveland on the 24th of June, 2017, location TBA.
12. The Geauga County Maple Festival
It's been going strong for 87 years, now, and this festival is so much more than maple syrup. It's a huge community event, with food stalls, a ferris wheel, the crowning of the Maple Festival Court, and more events than you could poke a maple tap at. However, it is also a way to sample some of the best maple in the country. It's in syrups, cookies, and candy all weekend long. To be held in Chardon Square, Chardon OH, on the 27-30 April, 2017.
13. Tremont Greek Fest
If you don't love Greek food, you've probably never had Greek food. Bread, cheese, coffee, wine... Dolmadakia, spanakopita, gemista, gyros, baklava, ouzo... Tastes, ingredients, and even cooking methods vary by region, but one thing remains the same: they're all delicious. Held Memorial Day weekend, 2187 West 14th, Cleveland 44113.
14. Cleveland Russian Festival
Get your fill of impressive dancing, choral singing, folk music, arts and crafts, baked specialties, and of course, beer and vodka! This festival has only been around since 2011, but boy has it started out strong! Held at the St. Sergius Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Parma, July, exact 2017 dates TBA.
15. Cleveland Armenian Food Festival and Bazaar
Unless you're Armenian, or you've been to Armenia, it's very possible you've never had Armenian food. And in all fairness, it's not the easiest cuisine to find. Unless you're at the Cleveland Armenian Food Festival, that is! Along with amazing food, drinks, and pastries comes amazing dancing, music, and crafts. The bazaar has beautiful good, both locally made and imported from Armenia. Held annually at the St Gregory or Narek Armenian Church in Richmond Heights at the end of September. Exact 2017 dates TBA.
We know that most of these are in the summer, but with so many food festivals over such a short period of time, it’s never too early to start planning to make sure you get to all of them! Which ones have made your Summer calendar for 2017?