Planning a large-scale event in Cleveland, such as a giant New Year’s Eve celebration, requires two things -- a big idea and big motivation to make it happen. Luckily, Alonzo Mitchell III has both a beautiful mind and the drive to follow through.
Mitchell, 33, organizes events that bring thousands of people to the city and then uses the proceeds for public service projects such as repairing Cleveland schools. Now he's now working on The Village Project
-- designed to elevate Cleveland’s underdeveloped and disadvantaged neighborhoods over time, starting by fixing up a Glenville Street and moving young professionals in.
Alonzo Mitchell III (Photo courtesy of TEDxCLE)
Five years ago, Mitchell left a job in the corporate world in Washington, D.C to move back to his home city of Cleveland and found Ohio Homecoming,
a grassroots movement consisting of multi-day festivals including a televised New Year’s Eve celebration and community service events designed to bring cross-sections of the community together.
“I like living with purpose,” says Mitchell. “Even though I don’t have what I did before, my life means something now and I’m ecstatic.”
This marks the 5th
year of the festival and the 2nd
year of the NYE celebration. This year’s NYE celebration will take place downtown on Mall B at the Cleveland Convention Center with performances
by rapper Machine Gun Kelly, DJ E-V and local reggae legend Carlos Jones, and will be televised to a coverage area of three million people.
The festival’s first year culminated with a concert by Kid Cudi and the next year’s concert featured Drake. “The ironic thing is that I remember MGK and E-V performing five years ago as novices and they have blown up since then,” Mitchell says.
Prior to last year’s celebration hosted by Drew Carey with performance by Krewella, Cleveland went without a public NYE celebration for a decade and a half. Mitchell believes that in order to elevate the city to her rightful place, we must host large-scale public events.
“Cities like Cleveland want to grow and we need big celebrations like this one,” he says. “We want people to come out, bring family and start a new tradition.”
Here is an eclectic list of interesting New Years Eve events happening around town:
Cleveland Rocks NYE 2015
Downtown: Mall B, 602 St. Clair Ave.
Tickets are $10
Between the Cavs game and the NYE celebration, downtown will be livelier than ever this year. The inaugural event drew 12,000 at Public Square. This year, the event will take place on Mall B
and include a countdown to midnight, fireworks, food trucks, a beer garden and performances by Cleveland natives Machine Gun Kelly, DJ E-V and Carlos Jones. The 2015 bash will be a ticketed event. VIP tickets
at the new atrium of the Global Center are available for those who don’t want to bear the cold.
Wesley BriteA Soulful New Years Eve
with Wesley Brite & the Hi-Lites plus DJS Alr!GHT and Party Sweat
Beachland Ballroom & Tavern
Tickets are $15
Soul music is feel good music -- and perhaps that’s why that sweet ‘60s sound is so timeless. Wesley Brite & the Hi-Lites are sure to make you shake to the beat until the clock strikes midnight. But beware, the band’s classic Northern Soul sound might leave you wondering whether it’s 2014 or 1964. DJS Alr!GHT and Party Sweat of Secret Soul Club
will start the night by heating up the dance floor with some infectious soul records.
Twin Peaks Black Lodge Ball
Mahalls 20 Lanes
Tickets are $5
The time has come for you to seek the path. Mahall’s is will be transformed into a weird, wonderful NYE magic party mecca based on David Lynch and Mark Front’s Twin Peaks. The 90-year-old bowling alley is being given a special makeover for one night only. Expect to see a delectable special menu of cocktails and eats. Dance to DJ Himiko Gogo & DJ Road Chief. Arrive at 9 p.m. 13200 Madison Ave., Lakewood, 216-521-3280.
NYE with Mike Polk
Tickets are $25
Bring in the New Year laughing! Cleveland’s funny man Mike Polk Jr.
will be performing a special holiday standup set. Keep partying afterwards in Flats and the Warehouse District for a celebratory drink. Doors: 7:30 p.m., 10 p.m. (21+). 1148 Main Ave., 216-696-4677
Vintage Modern Gala
The Vault at The 9
Tickets are $110
If you’re feeling fancy, step through the 1906 bank vault door and into the Cleveland Trust rotunda. You can enjoy a cocktail in this magic historic vault that used to service Cleveland’s elite. It only seems fitting that The Vault is throwing it back to the Roaring ‘20s. An open bar is included in your ticket from 9 to 11 p.m., along with hors d'oeuvres. 900 Euclid. Ave.