The Cudell and Edgewater neighborhoods—rich in both working-class, industrial history to the south and waterfront estates of the wealthy to the north—are coming together to celebrate all the modern-day area has to offer with Cudell Improvement, Inc.’s first Edgewater Street Fest on Sunday, June 30.
The Edgewater Street Fest replaces the Clifton Arts Festival, which had a 30-year run but had become outdated, according to Jessica Trivisonno, economic development and marketing director for Cudell Improvement. The new incarnation will focus on local artists, entertainers, and the residents themselves.
“When I came on board in September, we began evaluating the Clifton Arts Festival, and what we heard was that it was the same vendors, the same music with no stage, and the same food,” says Trivisonno. “[People] went to the festival, did a lap, and went home. We wanted something where [people] would stay all day, get to know the neighborhood, and get to know their neighbors.”
Cudell Improvement put together a resident advisory committee to “steer the ship” and held brainstorming sessions to come up with a festival that celebrated the neighborhood and the recent economic development investments in the area that began in 2014.
Along with an inviting arts and entertainment lineup, the resulting Edgewater Street Fest will highlight Clifton Boulevard streetscape improvements, the Cleveland State RTA transit line, and Lucky’s Market, which opened a year ago and Trivisonno says has become an incredible anchor and a generous corporate partner. The event will also spotlight Brickhaus Partners’ residential townhomes developments such as 95 Lake and One Seventeen.
Another example of economic development Trivisonno points out is the building at 11629 Clifton—owned by the Katsaros family for more than 40 years—which houses Starbucks, Eddy’s Barbershop, Green Opal (a new sustainable salon from the owners of Eddy’s), and Landmark (a smokehouse restaurant by current building owner Constantine Katsaros).
Meanwhile, Pro Nails Spa on Clifton is going to be opening a second location on W. 117th St. and Papa Nick’s Pizza on Clifton and W. 116th just finished a major remodel, while the former In the 216 space will be occupied by two small business (yet to be announced) that are new to the area, Trivisonno says.
Trivisonno says one of the reasons the group decided to change the name to Edgewater Street Fest was to make it more inclusive. “We’re changing the name to make sure the festival represents the whole community, not just Clifton Boulevard,” she says. “We heard in the past, ‘This isn’t an event for me, I don’t have a business on Clifton.'”
For those coming for entertainment, there will be offerings for all tastes and ages.
A large stage will host four local bands—The Benjaminz, Lounge Kitty, Daddy Longleg’s Hometown Revival (regulars at nearby The Brothers Lounge), and Leaf Borbie and the Family Tree. Neighborhood resident and Cleveland’s tallest drag entertainer Veranda L’Ni will emcee the stage in the evening.
A drum circle, which normally gathers on Sundays at Edgewater Beach, will give a two-hour performance at the Street Fest, while a portion of Clifton Boulevard will open for roller skating with the Rolling Buckeyes.
Additionally, while the Clifton Arts Festival was a juried show with artists from around the country (participating artists had dwindled from 150 in its heyday to fewer than 40 last year), all artist vendors at the Edgewater Street Fest will have a connection to the neighborhood.
For instance, artist Joey Catanzarite (who also works at Twist Social Club) will be selling his work, while Cudell resident Tasha Pennington will teach a workshop on hand-lettering on chalkboards. Artist Mata Zeigler, who hosts “Sip and Paint” events at The Sweet Spot in Lakewood, will demonstrate how to paint the Cleveland skyline, and the W. 104th Street Painters will also give live painting demos and lessons.
A children's tent will be open from 12 to 4 p.m. with free face-painting, balloon animals, crafts by Cudell Fine Arts, and hourly puppet shows. The Cleveland Orchestra will host a musical instrument exploration, and there will be jumprope demonstrations and chalk art activities.
“This is hyper-local, and it really showcases what a creative community this is, and all the great people who live here,” Trivisonno says.
Edgewater Street Fest will be held on Clifton Blvd. between W. 115th St. and W. 117th St. and runs from noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday, June 30. Admission is free.