Revel in the spirit of the season with great music and food, family activities, plentiful shopping and neighborly bonhomie at the annual Holiday CircleFest on Sunday, Dec. 8 at the Wade Oval. For two decades, the University Circle neighborhood has welcomed all to its lively celebration, making it one of the area’s most anticipated and enjoyed events of the winter.
Throughout the afternoon, visitors stroll among the area’s museums, community buildings, gardens and churches for spectacular entertainment, arts and crafts activities, friendly competitions, live animals, holiday shopping and complimentary admission to the exhibits.
In the Oval and Around University Circle
Spirited carriage rides, music, ice carving demonstrations and ice-skating offer free, exciting entertainment on Wade Oval, while countless activities are spread throughout the circle. With such festive spirit on hand, even Santa and his reindeer take time to visit the event and mingle with families.
Decorate puzzle-piece ornaments, enjoy holiday cookie sales and wander the gift shop at The Children’s Museum, or visit therapy dogs and make recycled aluminum tab ornaments at Ronald McDonald House.
Visitors to MOCA weave paper, create crafts, make maps or take in a CMSD Performing Arts show. Over at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, ice-carving demonstrations, crafts, holiday photo booths, live animal shows, Cleveland School of the Arts choir and orchestra performances and sled dog demonstrations fill the afternoon with fun.
Not to be outdone, Cleveland Museum of Art offers family day activities, art stories, dance performances, steel pan and world instrument musical entertainment and lantern-making workshops.
Travel through Christmases past and relish the historic model trains, fashions and automobiles at the Western Reserve Historical Society.
Music Fills the Air
The holidays aren’t complete without The Nutcracker Suite and caroling, and CircleFest visitors can enjoy all of those and a host of other performances at Cleveland Institute of Music.
The Music Settlement delights with cello ensembles, dance theaters, choirs, music therapy and puppet shows. Hawken School students sing musical selections, and Cleveland Orchestra Youth Ensemble performs at University Circle United Methodist Church.
Sing Christmas carols with the Case Western Reserve University Symphony Orchestra, browse the Covenant Cache Resale Shop, tour the Carillon Tower and nibble on Christmas cookies at Church of the Covenant. Donate winter clothing to foster children, decorate holiday cookies and shop Treasures in the Attic at the Junior League of Cleveland, or meander through the annual craft fair at Mt. Zion Congregational Church.
Tour the magnificently illuminated gardens and take train rides at Cleveland Botanical Gardens, enjoy holiday crafts and musical performances at Judson Manor, relish dance and musical performances and balloon art at the Cleveland Public Library and enjoy storytelling, caroling and complimentary refreshments at Cleveland Sight Center.
Free parking is available at a variety of locations, including Cleveland Sight Center, Ronald McDonald House, Cleveland Public Library, Judson Manor, Cleveland Institute of Art, Mt. Zion Congregational Church, The Junior League of Cleveland, Cleveland Institute of Music and Church of the Covenant.
The fun-filled day winds to a close at dusk, when Wade Oval is illuminated with lanterns, and a processional of dancers, giant lighted puppets and lantern artists weave through the oval. After the lantern procession, be sure to head back to Cleveland Museum of Art for cookies and cocoa.