Sunglasses are in order for this Saturday’s free Brite Winter Festival on Ohio City’s Bridge Avenue.
This year, the third annual arts and music celebration will embrace its name with a theme of light and ice. General Electric is donating enough lights to decorate a whole town of Christmas trees.
The fest will remain aglow from start to finish thanks to a wall made of 15,000 shades of LED-light-injected ice bricks, lit custom ice sculptures, open-sided box trucks with lights pulsing to music and lit balloons hovering at the doors of all seven walking-distance indoor music venues.
“We’re hoping that it gets overfilled throughout the evening,” festival co-chair Thomas Fox says.
Forty bands, most of them local, will play between 5 p.m. and 2 a.m., including Lighthouse and the Whaler, Black Taxi, and Modern Electric. Guests can fight the frost at the outdoor stage or huddle in heat in the seven indoor locations on West 25th Street and Lorain Avenue, from Touch Supper Club to Joy Machine Bike Shop. The event is designed so visitors can’t see every performance and will feel overwhelmed by all the options.
“It’s amazing to feel that way,” Fox says. If you’re not happy with one band, he adds, just move to the next one.
Along with the 15 art displays and eight music venues, a 24-foot game of Skee-ball will challenge even the most seasoned Skee-baller. A grown-up version of grade-school “Telephone” will let grown-ups listen to a whisper in the “Whisper-ma-phone” and then try to repeat what they heard.
The Brite Winter Festival has grown since its inception in 2010 when two Case Western Reserve University graduates decided Clevelanders needed something to look forward to during the slush and mush of winter months. They threw the party with financial help from Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative and Case student organizations.
Now, the festival has 15 sponsors and has moved from Hart Crane Park in the Flats to Ohio City. Organizers expect to more than double the turnout from last year.