Winter is not typically a time we Clevelanders look forward to. Between the cold, the snow, and the lack of sunshine, the winter months usually mean hibernating and counting down the days until summer. But where’s the fun in that? Enter the Brite Winter Festival. The premise? Who cares if it’s 19 degrees and a blizzard, we’re in Cleveland and we’re going to have fun outside anyway.
The Brite Winter Festival started out as a project thought up by a couple of friends, hoping to both give back to the community and to embrace the cold winter months in Cleveland. They decided that there was no better way to accomplish this than through a winter festival: a combination of art, music, friends, and beer.
While the first Brite Winter Festival had an impressive 800 people in attendance, the excitement for this annual occasion has only continued to grow. This year there was an estimated 20,000 people, bundled up in preparation for the 20 degree temperature, enjoying the free winter entertainment spread throughout Ohio City.
This year’s fourth annual Brite Winter Festival included six stages, 15 art installations, and a total of 48 bands playing both indoors and outside. There were also bonfires, food trucks lining the surrounding streets, and plenty of good craft beer to be consumed. Nearly every bar and restaurant down West 25th was open for business, so it was easy to escape the cold and warm up with a quick drink.
Must-see bands from Brite Winter 2013 included Thaddeus A. Greene, The Floorwalkers, and Lost Jon & The Ghosts, all rocking out on the BRITE Stage, an outdoor venue occupying a lot at West 26th and Bridge.
Also sprinkled throughout the festival were a number of art exhibits and games, including the main stage decor by father-daughter duo Amber and Jim Kempthorn, Brite Winter Skeeball, Angry Birds Cornhole via RGI, and make-and-take lights courtesy of the Ingenuity Festival.
The Brite Winter Festival is more than just a day to beat the winter doldrums. It’s an impressive display of community, the talent of our Cleveland-area artists and musicians, and it’s an accessible, innovative way to bring Clevelanders together.