What if people decided to embrace Cleveland winters, rather than running and hibernating? Wouldn’t that make our winters a little easier to handle? Maybe even give us something to look forward to? Well that is exactly what the Brite Winter Festival aims to do. I’ll be the first to admit, I didn’t even know this event existed until recently. Now that I know what it is all about, I can’t wait to get my party on at this FREE event from 4pm-11pm this Saturday, February 15th.
So what is the Brite Winter Festival you may ask. Four years ago, a group of Case Western Reserve graduate students decided that it was time to start celebrating our winters by having an outdoor festival. They took the idea from areas of the country where winter is embraced, most likely just to stay sane during the many months of extreme cold. These graduate students decided to focus on music and art, as Cleveland is a hopping scene for both. In their first year they attracted about one thousand attendees, and by last year, they were up to 20,000. This year they are growing the event even further, with an increase of bands from 48 to 70, all performing on one of four outdoor and six indoor stages throughout Ohio City.
Not only will there be an overwhelming selection of music, but you can expect art installations throughout the area, bonfires, food trucks, outdoor beer gardens and gallons of hot chocolate. The centerpiece exhibit is the Great Wall of Light, where attendees can bring lamps from home to plug into their 50 foot light wall. Festival goers are also encouraged to make their own lamps, and can either leave the lamps for the following year or bring them home. As the festival progresses, the wall of light becomes larger and brighter as people contribute, acting as a visual representation of our feelings about winter.
Given our current luck this winter, it will probably be a blizzard this weekend, but as Clevelanders we are tough and quite honestly, bad ass. Dressing like an Eskimo might be a good bet, as you don’t want to end up a human icicle. You’ll find me dressed in my extremely warm and waterproof Sorel boots and winter coat that so stylishly resembles a giant marshmallow. I may look like I am ready to go glacier hiking in Alaska at any moment, but I guarantee you that everyone else will likely be dressed the same. So get your tush bundled up and spend your Saturday supporting the community and keeping sane throughout this incredibly long and cold winter!