This weekend in Cleveland: World Festival, Inkubator and more

It’s a huge weekend for summer festivals! Celebrate the cultures that make up Northeast Ohio at World Festival, experience a fusion of Asian food and culture at Night Market, get sultry at Ohio Burlesque Festival, embrace the power of writing at Cleveland INKubator, enjoy Puerto Rican culture at La Placita and spend Sunday downtown at the Warehouse District Festival. 

Cleveland World Festival
Sunday, August 2nd. 11 am - 9 pm
Cleveland Cultural Gardens

The cultural gardens are one of Cleveland’s most beautiful treasures. The public gardens scattered throughout Rockefeller Park celebrate Northeast Ohio’s diverse cultural history. Cleveland World Festival is a celebration of the hundreds of unique cultures that make up Northeast Ohio in one park on one day.

The third-annual World Festival, formerly known as Cleveland One World Festival, was created by James Levin, founder of Cleveland Public Theatre and co-founder of Ingenuity Festival. There will be between 70 and 80 separate performances taking place throughout the day and hundreds of artists, musicians and members of the sports community attending.

“When I left Ingenuity in 2009, I was more aware of the cultural diversity of neighborhood. I realized that there wasn’t a festival that celebrated many cultures under one umbrella,” Levin says. “The culture gardens are a unique area that need to be activated.”

There is quite a bit that’s new and different this year, including commissioned works by local artists and involvement with the bike community in Bike Cleveland Cultural Quest. The scavenger hunt is a way to get people to explore the gardens and win big prizes. Attendees can also rent bikes from Ohio City Bike Co-op.

The sports component of the festival has also expanded and includes everything from chess to basketball sponsored by the CAVS. The festival will also include arts and crafts sponsored by many local non profits, a giant drum circle and a bunch of belly dancers.

“Passing Storm” is a piece commissioned for the festival that takes the audience on a journey where they experience the calm, the rise, the intensity and finally the passing and solitude of a storm.

“We commissioned a piece by Sheela Das connected with Roots of American Music — we asked her to create a new work just using a variety of human voices to create a human storm. The piece combines 50 different voices that together create a soundtrack, an audio performance of a storm. It’s a beautiful and compelling 10 minute work,” says Levin.

“Same Boat” is a commissioned musical by Daniel McNamara that follows the idea of embracing culture for it’s differences as well as its similarities. Musicians will be playing folk music of Slovakian, Italian, Greek, Ukrainian, Lithuanian and Croatian folk traditions; a boat will pick them up from each garden and deposit them together where they will play together.

The festival will also feature a piece by local composer David Rosen titled “Change Your World” based on Ghandi’s quote “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” He will have many many people on stage with a live band and singers of all ages and experience levels singing couplets in 15 different languages.

Levin hopes that in the future, the festival grows to have an economic impact on the neighborhood and might help to inspire the establishment of a bicycle rental service. “It’s always thrilling to see such a great variety of artists and media merging together in one place and helping to activate a neighborhood that needs the attention,” says Levin. “Overall, I’m feeling very proud and pleased that I’m engaging so many different people. I spend a lot of time in Glenville and I am thrilled that the festival includes many individuals directly from the neighborhood."

Night Market JULY
Friday, July 31st. 5 - 11 pm
Cleveland's Asiatown Rockwell & East 21st St.

From Taiwan to Hong Kong and Chinatowns worldwide, brightly-lit open-air Night Markets create a unique and lively environment to experience nightlife. Night Market Cleveland features a diverse array of ethnic food, entertainment and vendors on the last Friday of every month through September.

Eat, drink and explore the Asiatown community this Friday under the stars at the intersection of Rockwell and East 21st Street. The event includes live performances by DJ Alarcon, Cold Heat Family Band, Lowly, the Tree Ghost and Johnny La Rock & Furface.

Ohio Burlesque Festival
Thursday through Saturday, July 30th - August 1st
Beachland Ballroom 15711 Waterloo Rd.
$50 weekend pass $25 tickets

Bump and grind, all weekend long. Admire the art of the tease with three nights showcasing over 70 burlesque, vaudeville, sideshow, variety and an occasional sprinkle of comedy. This weekend celebrates the 5th annual international Ohio Burlesque Festival. This year’s motto is “Harmony through Diversity” to represent a community that is unique, innovative and multifaceted. Tickets & pricing.

Cleveland INKubator
Saturday, August 1st.
Cleveland Public Library

Words are powerful. Sharpen your own literary skills this weekend at the first-ever Cleveland INKubator, a free literary UNconference hosted at Cleveland Public Library.

What exactly is an UNconference? It’s an informal and open to the public exchange of information and ideas that hopes to inspire creativity. Not a writer? The event is open to all experience levels and welcomes individuals with a diverse mix of interests including journalism, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, blogging, podcasting, self publishing and zine making.

The event was created by Lee Chilcote, a multifaceted writer and managing editor of Fresh Water Cleveland. It will kickoff at noon with a talk by Margaret Bernstein, an award-winning journalist who currently serves as Director of Advocacy and Community Initiatives for WKYC. There will be workshops, craft talks, a youth performance in Eastman Reading Garden, open mic and food trucks throughout the day. View the schedule and register here.

La Placita
Saturday, August 1st. 11 am - 4 pm
2511 Clark Ave.

Celebrate Cleveland’s hispanic culture with a pop-up market that celebrates live music, dance, traditional food and artisan vendors. La Placita aims to capture the entrepreneurial spirit in the Hispanic community clustered in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood.The outdoor market located at West 25th and Clark is a way to promote entrepreneurship by serving as an incubator to grow permanent businesses.

A large portion of Cleveland’s hispanic community is Puerto Rican and this month’s market will focus on Puerto Rico.  La Placita is a family-friendly event with free admission, live entertainment, vendors and traditional foods. If you’re interested in becoming a vendor contact the Hispanic Business Center at (216 281-4422 or

11th Annual Warehouse District Festival
Sunday, August 2nd. Noon - 8 pm
Cleveland's Warehouse District W6th St & St. Claire Ave.

This Sunday is the perfect opportunity to checkout all that’s new in the Warehouse District. The festival features live music, food from neighborhood restaurants and bars, residential open houses, children's activities, and a variety of opportunities to shop local including small box Cleveland. Arrive at noon to view amazing young aerialist-acrobat dancers. From 4 until 5 pm dogs and their owners will walk down a red carpet for Cleveland’s Cutest Dog Contest & Fashion Show. View the full schedule here.

Jacqueline Bon
Jacqueline Bon

About the Author: Jacqueline Bon

Jacqueline Bon is a freelance writer that has been contributing to Fresh Water Cleveland since 2014. As a journalist by trade and self-taught photographer, she has a lot of curiosity in people and their stories. She is a graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University and has pursued film and digital photography for a decade. She is likely to be the first person on the dance floor, especially if you put on Prince.