Keep Your July Green!

The middle of July begins that sluggish bit of summer before kids and parents both start thinking about school starting again in August. Many of us have already had a summer vacation and it may seem as if there is nothing left to look forward to for quite some time.

Thankfully, Ohio is a state filled with hidden treasures available all year round. From July 18th to July 20th your family can enjoy the Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival at the Berea Fairgrounds. The festival includes a variety of Irish cultural performances and exhibitions including Irish dance, pipe bands, and theater.

The Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival is the brain child of John O’Brien who wanted to preserve Irish culture and share it with the community. Along with a steadfast group of volunteers John and his helpers were able to put on the first of many festivals in 1982. During the two days of the festival, the first event drew more than 3,000 visitors. Not too shabby for a first effort!

After the dust settled (literally!) the festival committee met to discuss further development of the event for the following summer. The festival committee’s continued dedication has led to the ongoing creation of one of the premier Irish festivals in the entire United States. The incredible expansion of the festival, which took on a whole extra day in 1985, stands as a monument to the dedication of the festival committee members over the years and especially to John O’Brien’s vision. Just short of a decade after it’s inception, the festival outgrew it’s original venue and moved to the Berea fairgrounds where the it now draws over 30,000 visitors each year.

All the information you need to attend can be found here:

Jody Victor

Cleveland, Ohio St. Patrick’s Day Parade

If you didn’t know, Cleveland, Ohio is home to one of the best St. Patrick’s Day parades in the United States. In 2012, it is estimated that 500,000 spectators were in attendance to watch a parade celebrating Irish heritage that included some 15,000 participants. Imagine that ocean of people all wearing green!

The tradition of Cleveland’s St. Patrick’s Day parade probably goes back to 1867 according to Wikipedia, the festivities likely organized by the Ancient Order of Hibernians and included singing, dancing as participants marched church to church on Cleveland’s Westside.

The parade has changed and grown a lot over the years. Notably, two honorary positions were added. First, in 1935, the tradition of naming a Grand Marshall to preside over the parade was instituted. Typically the honor is given to an older man “who has contributed significantly to the advancement of Irish Activities in Cleveland.” Since 1963 the position of Mother of the Year has been awarded to “a woman whose life has reflected credit on the Irish Nationality and who’s example has been a source of inspiration to the community.”

Many more interesting historical facts about the parade can be found in 2001 Grand Marshall Lonnie McCauley’s “Parade History” essay

If you want to get out and see the parade this year it will be held on March 17th, of course, and begins at 1:04pm in the afternoon. The route begins at the corner of Superior Ave and East 18th and will travel Southwest on Superior toward East Roadway and ending approximately at Public Scare. The parade, as per its fame, includes an impressive lineup participants.

A parade route map and full list of participants can be found here.

All the information you need is located at, including information about this year’s honorees; Grand Marshall Andrew Dever and Irish Mother of the Year Birdie Joyce.

Though it’s sure to be crowded, viewing the parade makes for a great family outing!

~ Jody Victor