Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Laid-off Plain Dealer staffers, half volunteers, half not, drink at Irish wake

Last night, after word went out that The Plain Dealer’s newsroom layoffs would come today, Ellen Jan Kleinerman stayed late to finish her article, knowing it might be her last.

At 8 p.m., the medical reporter scheduled her story to post on It went online this morning at 6 a.m. Four hours later, she and about 44 other journalists were out of a job.

“I was in mourning for my career, for my colleagues, and for journalism in general,” Kleinerman said tonight on the patio of the Market Garden Brewery, where dozens of Plain Dealer reporters gathered for what was dubbed an Irish wake. “The way we cover news is changing. I’m all for change, but I’m not sure I’m embracing the type of change that’s going to come.”

The Plain Dealer slashed its unionized newsroom staff by 30 percent today, part of its switch to a digital-first news strategy and its cutback to a four-day home delivery schedule next week.

About half of the laid-off journalists volunteered to go. Harlan Spector, head of the Newspaper Guild local, and John Mangels, leader of the union’s Save The Plain Dealer campaign, asked to be put on the layoff list. So did columnists Regina Brett and Margaret Bernstein.

For those who chose to leave, the layoff amounts to a generous buyout – a union-guaranteed two weeks’ pay for every year worked. It’s also a chance to save someone else’s job while opting out of Advance Publications’ digital future.

“I’ve been doing this a long time,” said Spector, a 32-year journalist and 23-year PD veteran, after the Guild’s 6 pm rally outside the Plain Dealer offices. “I never thought I’d leave the business. But the way things are going here, I didn’t think I’d get to practice journalism the way I and many others have practiced it.”

The new way is speed and clicks, not ink. Managers are telling PD reporters to think of themselves as working for a website, not a newspaper, one staffer said. While they post news as it happens, a new team of curators will decide which stories make it to print.

The changes concern Kleinerman, who says editors seem focused on attracting hits, not a story’s value to the community. She fears the PD’s remaining journalists won’t have time to chase unsexy stories that drive change, like her 2009 series about the Cleveland water division’s plague of broken meters, outrageous over-billing and hour-long call times.

“I’ve been in journalism 30 years,” she said. “I love writing. I love the mission. It’s very fulfilling when you do a story and you know that you’ve informed readers and changed lives.”

For 110 journalists and a few dozen nonunion editors, that work goes on. Today -- as if to signal the new regime will support in-depth projects -- previewed a digital-first investigative series on DNA testing of old rape kits. It’s set to debut Monday, the first day with no home-delivered Plain Dealer. Rachel Dissell, a reporter on the project, says some elements will also run in the paper, but a few, such as an interactive digital timeline, won’t fit a print format.

Tomorrow, and The Plain Dealer will cover Ariel Castro’s sentencing, the finale to the city’s biggest story of the year. It could be a morale boost for the slimmed-down staff – or, at least, a way to work through survivor’s guilt.

Good Times Rolling

  I once heard a Cajun cook say that a proper roux requires stirring over heat for about as long as it takes to enjoy five beers. Johnny Schulze agrees that this cuisine is a challenge to get right because it's not about recipes and requires a special combination of patience and passion. The Louisiana-born-and-trained chef, who now calls Northeast Ohio home, is bringing that culinary ethos and his considerable skill to this neck of the woods, making authentic jambalaya, etouffe and gumbo that he serves from the window of  Zydeco Bistro, his bright orange food truck."I went to cooking school in New Orleans," he says, "But my real eduction came from watching people who really knew how to cook the old slow way. I make the food I love to eat."

   Schulz learned about managing a mobile kitchen while in the National Guard. After years of working anonymously in other peoples' restaurants, he decided to go out on his own with a food truck. He plates po'boys, hush puppies, barbecue shrimp and other Creole and Cajun dishes at farmers markets, Walnut Wednesdays in downtown Cleveland and other public events. There's a live calendar on his website that makes it easy to find out where his truck will be.

  I was one of many in his line at the Tremont Farmers' Market recently.  Made a meal out of an outstanding  blue crab salad. Field greens and crab meat, plus a few small legs suitable for  sucking, were tossed with pickled vegetables  celery, cauliflower, carrots, and onions — purple cabbage, cherry tomatoes and a tasty dressing. Schulz is using as much local produce as he can and bringing in specialized ingredients from back home that he needs. The seafood is as fresh as you can get.

  Between dishing it out three to five days a week, prepping, catering and teaching cooking classes Schulze is pretty much on the job every day. He's also in the process of doing the build-out for a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Tremont. If all goes well,  Bourbon Street Barrel Room will open in early 2014. "I'm working harder than I ever have in my whole life," Schulz told me, "But I've never been happier."

  For food as good as Johnny Schulze's, I don't mind eating out of a paper container standing on the sidewalk or sitting in a park. But I'll be even happier when he has a permanent home and that restaurant of his is open and serving.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

New Restaurant is Rough Around the Edges

  There's only one chance to make a first impression. And my initial encounter with Table 9 was not a  positive experience.

   I had a business lunch scheduled for last week and decided to multitask by using the occasion to check out this new restaurant in the Ohio Savings Building. It's been open about a month, a reboot for the space once occupied by One Walnut.

  Since my companion and I wanted to meet at 2 p.m., I called to be sure the kitchen would still be serving. The answer was yes and the person on the other end of the line urged me to make a reservation so they'd know we were coming, and that's what I did.

  I showed up on time. The bar, where I entered, was totally empty and no one was in sight. I went further into the space and saw that the dining room was completely empty when we were seated.

  Although we didn't ask, our waiter instantly launched into a long monologue about how all the tables been filled until a few minutes ago and how difficult lunch service had been because they were shorthanded. I was doubtful as every single table was clear, clean, set and ready for customers.

 We waited rather a long time for our orders, considering that the kitchen was clearly not backed up. My companion rated her crab cakes merely OK. My lamb burger was the kind of presentation that totally annoys me because, though attractive, there's no obvious or easy way to actually eat it. The flatbread wasn't large enough to wrap around the hunk of ground meat so I couldn't pick it up like a proper sandwich. When I tried to lift it the tomato slices, feta crumbles, and arugula leaves all fell out. To make me even more unhappy, I'd requested it medium to rare. It was presented closer to overcooked. The sound of pots crashing and stuff falling punctuated our meal.  

   Right now, they are only serving breakfasts and lunches. Dinners are supposed to start next month. I know I should give this spot another chance but frankly, I'm not eager to return. That's the thing about first impressions: the tone's been set and opinions formed. It would take a lot to change my mind. Chef Dimitri Ragousis, most recently of Battery Park Wine Bar, and his team would have to go above and beyond to dispel my negative attitude.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Down on the Farm for an Upscale Dinner

    I've been going out to Squire Valleevue Farm since 1971. Of course, back then, we never called it by that name. To us, it was The Pink Pig, a piece of country property owned by Case Western Reserve University out in Hunting Valley. The moniker came courtesy of a building that had a hog-themed decor honoring its past incarnation as a sty. We used it as our personal playground and private estate. Students, faculty and alumni have access to the 389 acres of forests, meadows, fields and ravines. Since my husband Barney is a CWRU grad, over the years we've  gone there for nature walks, picnics, birthdays and gatherings with family and friends. I even spoke at a local food symposium held inside the former sheep barn in 2002 with Chef Parker Bosley and Darwin Kelsey of the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy. 

  For one night, August 24, anyone can enjoy this beautiful place if they purchase a ticket to Back to Our Roots, a farm-to-table dinner hosted by Cleveland Independents.  The event is a celebration of the talent and entrepreneurial spirit that defines participants of this 90-member restaurant organization, and a way to give back to the community that supports them.The location is sure to be special, but the lineup of participating chefs is its own kind of draw: Andrew Dombrowski of Zach Bruell Restaurants, John Kolar of Thyme2, Matthew Anderson of Umami Asian Kitchen, Karen Small of Flying Fig and Jonathan Bennett of Red Restaurant Group.

The menu looks phenomenal and features some mouthwatering ingredients: corn crepes with truffled ricotta, beef and compressed melon tartar, Mackenzie Farm chevre with sauteed peppers and pancetta, grilled trout with edamame hummus and tamari pickled onions, prosciutto-wrapped black figs, grilled Ohio sirloin and ember-roasted potatoes, and to finish a milk chocolate cremeux, a sort of pudding with raspberries and a salted pretzel crisp. Libations start with sparkling Cava, cycle through two whites, a red and end with Moscato.

    The $199 per person price might seem steep at first glance. But consider what those dollars buy   an absolutely unique, never-to-be-repeated meal, with five courses prepared by five different chefs, using as much local produce   some of it grown on-site, and other products from area food artisans. You also get entertainment from Ensemble Concertante, a chamber music trio, a splendid outdoor setting (with dinner served under a tent), and tours of the gardens, apiary and mushroom/root cellar. But that's not all. A portion of the proceeds will go to the University Farm School Visitation Program. The funds make it possible for schools to bring elementary-age students out to explore this working farm, learn about healthy eating and have lunch.

  The food and service will be upscale. But leave the heels at home and dress casually and comfortably for an evening on the grass and under the stars. Advance reservations required. Seating is limited so don't wait. The fun begins at 6:30 p.m., sunset to follow.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Gavin DeGraw Makes a Move

Much like his live shows, Gavin DeGraw’s upcoming album is brimming with energy. 

“It’s really a ride,” DeGraw says of the fifth album, tentatively titled Make a Move. “You hear a lot of different influences and approaches. Some of it’s sexy. Some of it’s cool. Some of it’s ‘I can’t believe you just said that.’”

Although Make a Move doesn’t hit stores until October, fans attending Wednesday’s concert at Blossom Music Center, where DeGraw is joined by Train and the Script, will get a sneak peak.

Concertgoers can expect to hear DeGraw’s single “Best I Ever Had,” along with the soulful songs that made DeGraw famous including “I Don’t Want to Be” and “Chariot.”

“It’s delicate rant, but it’s fun,” DeGraw says of the new tune. The upbeat single covers a lot of ground lyrically hopping from drones to smoking to love. DeGraw says the impulsivity of the song is meant to mimic his thoughts.

“It’s stream of consciousness,” DeGraw says. “It’s a real key moment into what’s going on in my head.” 

That spontaneity echoes the tone of Train’s newer songs (a cue DeGraw may have picked up when touring with the group in 2011) and DeGraw’s last album, Sweeter, which marked a departure from his signature style of piano-heavy songs with soulful vocals. 

Similar to Sweeter, DeGraw is experimenting with new sounds and collaborating with a diverse group of writers and producers for the upcoming album. DeGraw is reprising a collaboration with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, who co-wrote and produced DeGraw’s single “Not Over You,” which sat in the top 50 of the Billboard’s Hot 100. DeGraw is even hopping across the pond to work with a few international writers and producers to get different takes and flavors on Make a Move. Although his new material is more upbeat than before, DeGraw says his soulful roots remain.

“My goal as an artist is to write something that reflects myself. I’m evolving as a singer and interpreter,” DeGraw says. “I’m continuing to get out there and make music that I’m passionate about and that people can identify with.”

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

World Tour

Aziz Sahmaoui, photo by Manuel Lagos
If you missed out on this summer's sold-out Solstice, Cleveland Museum of Art's premier celebration of global music, you're in luck. Every Wednesday night in July you can soak up world beats with the new CMA concert and film series, Ohio City Stages. And there's no need to worry about tickets here, the event is free.

"It's an upscale, museum-style block party celebrating summer and the city," says Tom Welsh, director of Ohio City Stages.

The series introduces people to global musicians they wouldn't normally have access to, such as Aziz Sahmaoui & University of Gnawa from Morocco. On July 24, the band will share their interpretation of Gnawa trance music, a fusion of Arabic north and sub-Saharan south sounds, with attendees. Sahmaoui, who has only performed once before in the United States, is looking forward to playing for Clevelanders.

"We love cultural diversity," Sahmaoui says through a translator. "When people identify themselves to that powerful energy, then we all become one."

Tonight, Fanfare Ciocarlia, a Balkan brass band that plays gypsy music, will play a set at 7:30 p.m. on a stage set up on the block surrounding Transformer Station on West 29th Street. Don't worry about the gloomy weather canceling the concert — the show goes on rain or shine.

Fanfare Ciocarlia, photo by Arne Reinhardt
After the concert, continue your night of cultural enrichment with a film screening by Bellwether, a project of the museum's Contemporary Arts Society, on the lawn of the Transformer Station.

Up tonight is artist Kevin Beasley, who will show a selection of his favorite films that range form old Hollywood to foreign movies, artist films and movie trailers.

"It's films that I think are really great," he says. "I thought this was a good opportunity to show films people don’t really know about. They are kind of obscure, but they are things I like to think about."

Cream of the Crop

July is National Ice Cream Month, so this seems like an auspicious moment to post my rave about  Mason's Creamery and the two utterly likable people behind it. Jesse Mason and Helen Qin just started showing up at farmers markets and other local public gatherings to sell scoops of their small batch ice creams in May. I had my first taste last month. I tried Vietnamese Coffee, which they cleverly serve with a drizzle of condensed milk, and knew that I'd come upon something special.

  The young couple relocated here from Los Angeles, and the move was a homecoming for Jesse. The timing was auspicious. The Cleveland Culinary Launch & Kitchen which I wrote about in May, had recently opened, providing a licensed space where Jesse, who's skill set also includes graphic design and animation, could make their ice creams, using organic milk and cream, and local ingredients like eggs and seasonal fruits. He's in charge of production and Helen is the official taster, as well as social media manager and encourager-in-chief.

Deciding what kind of ice cream they want to offer is a joint project. And they're definitely on the cutting edge and coloring outside the lines when it comes to flavors, their latest include Nutella, tangerine and mimosa. I was wowed by Raspberry Lambic, one of the regular vegan versions. "Life is too short to stop at vanilla and chocolate," says Helen.

"We have those, but we want people to live a little, experiment too," Jesse adds. According to my food world news feeds what they're doing reflects a trend sweeping the country for getting all funky and fearless with ice cream. Andrew Knowlton of Bon Appetit has observed that people are putting in whatever they can think of, no matter how crazy or oddball it sounds, from avocado to foie gras.

  Ideas come from many sources:  Helen's Chinese heritage, their years in LA's vibrant international culinary scene, travels in Columbia and Italy, plus stuff they eat, like and read, and suggestions from customers and  Facebook fans.  A recent tweet of mine commenting on how messy it was to peel fresh mangoes prompted the creation of mango lime chili. It was a knockout combination. The tastes really pop, thanks to the spice   almost undetectable except for a kind of extra brightness  and because they use less fat, 9 to 10 percent compared to the typical 14 percent (yet, you still get a rich creamy consistency).

This week  Mason's is debuting a really off-the-wall  flavor: chicken and waffles. It starts with bits of crispy fried bird folded into batter. Jesse, who told me he tries to maintain strict control over how much of his own product he consumes, confessed that he couldn't help himself and overindulged in a great big bowl of it. I can't wait to give it a try. Find it today at Walnut Wednesday food truck Chow Down and Saturday during the Cleveland Flea, this Saturday, July 13, at Sterle's. 

 Mason's Creamery has no permanent storefront home ... yet. But the pair are looking at different neighborhoods and properties. Meanwhile, they're living the carny life, moving from place to place every day, toting around the freezer, setting up their tent and table, and making people happy wherever they go.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Market Garden Brewery raises the bar on lit readings

The wall-to-wall crowd at the one-year anniversary celebration of Market Garden Brewery’s monthly Brews + Prose reading series got a special treat last night: a reading from Pulitzer-Prize winning author and journalist Connie Schultz’s forthcoming novel (scheduled to be released fall 2014).

Schultz read a chapter focusing on a teenage girl growing up in a working class family during the late '60s in a fictional Ohio town while perched at a podium in front of an exposed brick fireplace in the basement of the Ohio City brewery.

One nugget that elicited a collective sigh from the crowd: “Allie looked at her daughter and saw God’s second thoughts.”

The reading was cut short when Schultz realized she lost the second-to-last page. But fellow writer and presenter Michael Ruhlman, along with a cheering audience and Schultz's husband U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, encouraged her to keep going. Schultz pressed on.The crowd of writers, beer drinkers and fans of spoken word received her reading with warm applause.

The free series brings writers out of the bookstore or library and into the brewery for lit readings that feel more relaxed, more genuine. Plus, organizers argue literature is better enjoyed while throwing back a few drinks.

“They’re here because they love the city, they’re here because they love literature and maybe because they love alcohol,” event co-founder Dave Lucas quipped about the crowd.

Jokes aside, the series has become a respected outlet for writers to connect with an audience that may not have come across their work in this way before. Two writers, essayists, journalists, playwrights, novelists or poets read every month. Past speakers include George Bilgere, Michael Heaton and Paula McLain.

“We believe Cleveland is a great place that deserves great literature and deserves a great venue for it,” Lucas said. He added that the series helps show the literary community that Cleveland supports them and can be as great a place for writing as big cities such as New York or Chicago.

Ruhlman agreed the series is an excellent way for the public to have access to prose.

“What a great venue ... the fireplace, the beer, the energy in the room ... it's just fabulous,” Ruhlman said. “We become so isolated by our lives behind our computers that community events like this really, really mean a lot."

Ruhlman read from both his digital works such as posts from his food blog, and one of his many traditional print books, Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America.

A snippet from one blog post, titled "The Fallacy of 'Follow Your Passion'" proved that Ruhlman, although known as a food writer, can write about more.

“Everyone has the capacity for passion built into them," he read. "It’s part of being human. You need to set yourself up to receive inspiration. Be ready to let inspiration flood into you.”

The series will continue next month on Aug. 6 with Akron author and journalist, David Giffels and author Alissa Nutting, whose steamy novel Tampa was just released Tuesday. Cleveland Magazine contributing writer Laura Taxel, will speak in October.

Schultz is a frequent contributor to Cleveland Magazine. Most recently, she's written essays on changes to GED testing, threats to Ohio's unions and revising our city's story.

Lago Launches

   Lago, Fabio Salerno's Tremont restaurant that closed a year ago, is back as of Monday, reopening in a brand new location with a snazzy look, fresh ideas (as well some menu favorites from the old place) and the talented Lanny Chin as Executive Chef. This is wonderful in so many different ways.
Fabio and Nicole Salerno
  Fabio and his wife Nicole hosted friends and family last week and the husband and I were among the invited guests. It was a chance for the kitchen and wait staff to practice. If there were any problems we weren't aware of them and my impression was that they are ready for the real thing. Kicked off the evening with a nice cocktail- the Mirtillio: OYO Honey Vanilla vodka, muddled blueberries, just enough simple syrup, and lots of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Sat at the bar to take in the scene. It's a handsome open space with a look that shows a designer's hand. I love the color palette- terra cotta, cream, and sage. Lots of different seating options including some booths, and  a high counter with stools in the lounge area. We sat with two friends at a  table tucked in a corner.
   The menu is Italian, a mix of traditional and innovative. The antipasto selection is formidable: five types of olives; five cheeses; a variety of cured meats; marinated vegetables; white anchovies; and a tapenade. Left to myself I'd have made a meal of all this.  I like the line-up of small plates which include a bean puree, burrata,  the intriguing white balsamic and rosemary chips, and scallops with crispy kale, manchego polenta and pistachio pesto.They do pizzas and panini's, a variety of pastas, a vegetarian risotto of the day, and some seriously large portions of meat.

Bone In Fillet, Taxel Image Group
But instead of ordering, we asked Chefs Fabio and Lanny to do it  for the four of us and shared everything. The array of food was impressive.For starters there was a plate of the Salerno Family meatballs in tomato sauce and another of tuna tartar with parsley chips- both excellent and quickly demolished, and a jar of sour crunchy pickled vegetables. Then they sent out a beet salad and another featuring endive that really got my attention: the leaves were stuffed with goat cheese, topped with crumbles of cashew brittle and sloshed with a pomegranate-balsamic glaze.  We devoured a really nice spaghetti all carbonara with fat chunks of pancetta and gorgeous tuna steak served with kalamata olives tomato confit and plump salty caper berries; made serious inroads on an incredibly tender 14 oz. bone-in fillet flavored with a truffled demiglaze and sided with these fantastic rounds of mashed potatoes wrapped in prosciutto; and almost finished the 11 oz portion of veal saltimboca. 
  Had a very nice server recommended bottle of Nebbiolo. I like the way the mostly Italian wine list is organized, with categories for light, medium and full bodied reds and whites, and everything except the high end bottles available by the glass and half carafe too.
    I've been a fan of Fabio's and his family ever since I ate at Gusto, the spot they've operated in Little Italy since 2004, and I wrote a rave review of the original Lago for this magazine in 2007. Lanny and I met in 2010 when he was doing some push the envelope pop-up dinners with Matt Mytro. He's got a unique and inventive take on cooking and presentation and has just been waiting for the right situation to show it off. There's seems to be good chemistry between him and Fabio and I think this young up and comer will bring a lot of fine things to the table here, literally and figuratively.
artist's rendering
   Lago is part of the Flats East Bank redevelopment project, in the building at the end of West 10th  that also houses the Aloft Hotel. Two other new  restaurants, Ken Stewart's and the (oddly named) Willeyville are neighbors.  This long neglected area was ripe for revitalization, and I am so excited about what's happening here and the destination neighborhood it's likely to become.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Boom Town

Nothing sets in the feel of summer like gazing up at the sky and being awestruck by a glimmering series of pyrotechnics. Shake up your Fourth of July plans with one of these patriotic displays that go beyond just a burst and boom. From concerts to festivals to cruises, we have you covered, so you can grab a hot dog (and maybe a brew or two), sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

Photo by Roger Mastroianni


Star-Spangled Spectacular
Start the festivities off early and head downtown tonight for this annual free concert by the Cleveland Orchestra. William Eddins will be conducting the orchestra as it celebrates Superman's 50th anniversary and plays music from Toy Story to honor Randy Newman's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The night will conclude with fireworks set to Tchaikovsky's "1812" Overture. July 1, 9 p.m. Public Square, Cleveland,

City of Cleveland Fireworks
Engage in a citywide tradition by taking in this brilliant fireworks display shot off from the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. Get the best view from Jacobs Pavilion, Shooters, Settlers Landing, Whiskey Island, Edgewater Park or Kirtland Park. Come at 7 p.m. for the Family Funfest at Settlers Landing featuring items from the former Euclid Beach amusement park, a Sousa band and refreshments for sale. July 4, 10 p.m. Cleveland,

Cruise and Fireworks 
Enjoy the show from the best spot in the city: the water. Board the Goodtime III at 6:30 p.m. for a cruise and gourmet buffet dinner for $60-$80. If you'd rather skip an upscale dinner July Fourth, you can still grab a seat on the cruise at 9 p.m. for $20-$50 and watch the fireworks from the lake. July 4, 6:30 p.m. Prices vary. North Coast Harbor, 825 E. 9th St. Pier, Cleveland, 216-861-5110,

Rock and Boom
Explore the William G. Mather steamship and watch fireworks from the dock beside it. Food and drinks are available on board for an extra charge, or you can buy a family four-pack of food vouchers for $75. July 4, 7 p.m. $15 or $12 for members. Great Lakes Science Center, 601 Erieside Ave., Cleveland, 216-694-2000,

Red, White and Brew
Hit the boardwalk and let the views of the city and the Cuyahoga River enhance your fireworks experience. Greater Cleveland Aquarium will be open until 8 p.m., with food and drink vendors and entertainment outside until the show's over. Another reason to attend: adults get a free drink ticket. July 4, 6-9 p.m. $25 for adults, $10 for kids. Greater Cleveland Aquarium, 2000 Sycamore St., Cleveland, 216-862-8803,

Red, White and Zoo
Join red pandas, white storks and blue poison dart frogs to celebrate Independence Day. Bring the whole family and enjoy a day at the zoo with animal activities scattered throughout the exhibits. July 4. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Regular admission fee applies. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland, 216-661-6500,


Get away for July Fourth this year. Take in Geneva's grand display can watch from the golf course or from the strip. Yankies Bar & Grill and other spots will have deals and festivities throughout the night. July 4 10 p.m. Geneva-on-the-Lake Municipal Golf Course, 4902 Al Mraz Drive, Geneva-on-the-Lake,

Headlands July Fourth Parade and Fireworks
Join in the 61st annual parade, beginning at Forest and Garden roads and ending at the Lake Overlook Drive. Get your sugary fix at the bake sale and then come back that night to enjoy fireworks at the Civic Center. July 4 noon and 9:50 p.m. Corduroy Road and Civic Center Park, Mentor,

Chagrin Falls Fireworks
Grab the kids, decorate their bikes and head over to the bike parade. Hang around for a celebration of our veterans and a car show, then come back on Friday for a festival and fireworks.  July 4, 8:30 p.m. Triangle Park, Chagrin Falls; July 5, 6 p.m. Free. River Road Park, Bainbridge,,


Bay Days
Work off all the barbecue fare you'll be eating with this 5-mile race and 1-mile fun run at 8:15 a.m. at the Bay Village High School. A parade will take place at the gazebo at 11:30 a.m., followed by a read of the Declaration of Independence. Afterwards, take in a festival full of games and live music until fireworks at dusk. July 4, 8:15 a.m.-10:30 p.m. 5-mile race registration fee $25, members $20. Bay Village,

Westlake Parade and Festival
Gearheads will enjoy a classic car show. There's also a parade that begins at Lee Burneson Middle School and travels to the park, where games, food and entertainment will be going on until dusk, concluding with fireworks. July 4, 10 a.m. Clague Park, Westlake, 

Lake Erie Crushers
It doesn't get more American than baseball on the Fourth of July. Watch the Lake Erie Crushers play the Windy City Thunderbolts in special red, white and blue jerseys, then enjoy a fireworks display after the game. July 4, 7:05 p.m. All Pro Freight Stadium, 2009 Baseball Blvd. Avon,


Brunswick Summer Celebration
Stuff your faces in pie and watermelon contests during this festival also filled with live entertainment and rides. A talent search and costume parade will round out the night. July 4, 1-11 p.m. Brunswick High School, 3553 Center Road, Brunswick,

Grindstone Festival
Celebrate America with live music and fireworks at 10 p.m. July Fourth. Then, if you're still feeling the holiday spirit come back Friday and Saturday for an animal show, parade, movie showing and campout. July 4-6, 2 to 11 p.m. Coe Lake, Berea,

Fireworks in Hudson
If you're thirsting for more reasons to ooh and aah after the Fourth, come out for the 40th annual fireworks display that never disappoints. July 5, dusk. Barlow Farm Park, Hudson,