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Winter Festivals in Northeast Ohio


The weather may be blustery, but that doesn't mean that there's nothing to do in and around Cleveland during January, February, and March. There are big events, such as Mardi Gras and St. Patrick's Day, as well as smaller celebrations, such as the Medina Ice Festival or Hinckley's Buzzard Sunday...and many more.

Medina Ice Festival

Medina Ice Festival
(© Abhijit Kulkarni/used with permission)
This free festival is held in the middle of February each year in and around Medina's picturesque public square. The main event is the ice-carving contest, which draws competitors from all over the country. There's also live music and hearty food and drink specials offered at the many eateries surrounding the square.

Mansfield Winter Festival of Art

This free event at the Art Cellar Gallery in Mansfield features an array of regional artists and art. The Winter Festival of Art, founded in 2003, offers artwork done in a wide variety of subject matter including portraiture, landscapes, still life and wildlife. Media includes digital art, oils, watercolor, acrylic, pen & ink, pastel, jewelry and photography in styles ranging from realistic to abstract. All artwork on display is for sale.

Loudonville Winter Fest

Mohican State Park in Winter
(courtesy of the Ohio Dept of Travel and Tourism)
Held in downtown Loudonville, near Mohican State Park, this free festival is held in mid-January each year. Festivities include speed carving, ice carving demos, and ice sculptures.

Sandusky's Arctic Ice Festival

This family festival is held the second weekend in February along the Sandusky waterfront, at the Maritime Museum and the Sandusky Sailing Club. Festivities include ice boat races, a speaker on "The History of Ice Boats," sledding and cross country skiing at nearby Mills Creek Golf Course, ice skating, and a soup cook-off will be downtown. The Underground Railroad Trolley Tour will offer rides from the Maritime Museum. Some of the activities carry a small fee.

Punderson State Park's Great Dog Sled Race

Dogsledding at Punderson State Park - Newbury Ohio
(courtesy of the Ohio Dept of Travel and Tourism)
Held each January, this dog-sled race matches teams through challenging racecourses around Punderson State Park. Pre-registration and a fee are required for racers; Spectators are admitted free.

Mardi Gras in Cleveland

© Abode Printshop
The Tuesday before Lent, Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras, is a traditional day of celebration and festivities before the contemplation and abstinence of the Lenten season.

Cleveland may be a thousand miles from New Orleans and several thousand from Rio, but the city still knows how to throw a Mardi Gras party.

St. Patrick's Day in Cleveland

(© Craig Hatfield/cc license)
In Cleveland, everyone is Irish -- at least for St Patrick's Day. The Cleveland St Patrick's Day parade, begun in 1867, is the oldest in the state and one of the oldest in the country. What's more, there's plenty of green beer, corned beef, shamrocks, and fun to last from dawn to well past dusk.

Geauga County Maple Fest

(courtesy of the Ohio Dept. of Travel and Tourism)

Held for four days in late March each year, the Geauga County Maple Fest is a celebration of the maple syrup season. Festivities include a parade, carnival rides, concessions, pancake breakfasts, live entertainment, a one and five-mile run, and a maple auction. Most of the events take place on and around Chardon's main square.

Buzzard Sunday in Hinckley

(© V Ivanov/istockphoto)
The buzzards are due to return back to Buzzard Roost in the Hinckley Reservation at the Cleveland Metroparks on March 15, just as they have every year since 1957. The sighting begins at dawn, around 630am, when hearty souls with their binoculars comb the sky for the sleek, black birds.

Less hearty buzzard enthusiasts can help celebrate the return of the buzzards at Buzzard Sunday , the Sunday after the 15th, between 9am and 230pm at Buzzard Roost in the Hinckley Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks. The festivities include wildlife demonstrations, arts and crafts, a pancake breakfast, live music, and kid's activities. It's fun and it's free.

Maple Fest at Malabar Farms

Malabar Farm in Winter
(courtesy of the ONDR)
Held at Malabar Farms, located just outside of Mansfield, this free Maple Festival features horse-drawn carriage rides, maple syrup demonstrations, and plenty of maple syrup products for sale. The event is held in early March each year.

Lunar New Year

Cleveland's Chinese community celebrates the new year February 9 and 10 this year (2014.) Nowhere is more festive than the city's Asiatown neighborhood, where the traditional lion dance snakes through the streets, restaurants offer special dishes and fireworks cap off the Saturday evening celebration.


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