Winterfest braves the elements in Fairview Park

December 12, 2013 by  

Winter in Ohio can be cold and snowy, but Winterfest organizers this year decided to move the annual holiday celebration outdoors.

Held on November 29, the festival moved from the Gemini Recreation Center to Fairview Parkway, marking the first time it has been held outside. The weather cooperated: the evening was clear and crisp, and large crowds turned out for the fun.

Fairview Park Mayor Eileen Patton led a countdown to the tree lighting, Santa Claus listened as children told him their Christmas wishes, and there were various types of live entertainment, including an ice carver who made a huge Christmas tree, and live reindeer (presumably Santa did not need them to pull the sleigh that particular evening). Slider, the mascot of the Cleveland Indians, was on hand to pass out hugs and pose for pictures for all who wanted them. Luminaries added a soft glow to the proceedings.

Mayor Patton and her staff were unsure if the change in location would cause people to stay home, but the turnout was encouraging. Patton thanked her executive assistant, Bridget Hinkel, and the Director of Parks and Recreation, Kenn Kaminski, for their help, saying the event would have been impossible without their help.

The success of the first outdoor Winterfest means the event is likely to continue. City officials could consider working with a flyer printing services to create a hand-out for distribution next year, reminding residents of the 2013 success and inviting them to come to the next festival.