Winterfest, Cleveland’s Annual Holiday Festival & Tree Lighting ceremony, did not disappoint the jubilant crowd that filled Public Square on Saturday, November 26. Downtown Cleveland Alliance Ambassadors were prolific and served as the official voices of the event, answering hundreds of questions and passing out event information packets to festival attendees. Huntington Bank was the official sponsor of Winterfest 2011.
Radio Disney took the stage mid-afternoon to rock the crowd and entertain the children. Festival goers were treated to free horse-drawn carriage rides that circled the square. Following the rides, one could enjoy a jazzy Christmas concert (watch “Silent Night”), a hot chocolate and cookie reception, and the post fireworks- Christmas Chorale Concert.
Many vendors were on hand with custom Christmas merchandise to help kick-0ff the holiday shopping season. Shoppers bustled through Tower City and shops along Euclid Avenue. Even parking was on special for the event. Those parking at Tower City received 5 hours of free parking in exchange for a making a $15 purchase. (As an added bonus, the pay booth at the parking lot is dispensing new $1 coins throughout the holidays, a popular Christmas gift for grandchildren and friends.)
As the sun set behind Terminal Tower, anticipation grew as time approached to light the City’s 45-foot Spruce Christmas tree, donated from a home in Garfield Heights. The spectacular tree is back dropped either by Old Stone Church or Terminal Tower, depending on from which direction the tree is viewed. Mayor Frank Jackson and other city officials were introduced and thanked everyone for celebrating Winter Fest. Following the introductions, a powerful fireworks display dazzled a highly enthusiastic crowd, officially ushering in the Holiday Season.