A hungry girl's adventures in Cleveland and beyond.

Winterfest 2012 Weekend

There are those events that always sound like a lot of fun but you just never seem to go. Heading downtown for the tree lighting ceremony was one of those things for me until this year. I have to admit, the Winter Wine & Ale Fest is what finally sealed the deal. It was so much fun, it's a new holiday tradition!

We decided to combine these events with celebrating our 5 year anniversary and make a whole weekend out of it. Thanks to winning the Intercontinental's Memorial Day contest, I had a gift certificate for a free night's stay - perfect!

It was a blustery cold day so we gladly took advantage of the perfectly located free parking that came with our Wine & Ale Fest tickets. We started out at the CLE+ Visitor's Center then hit one of my favorite stores, CLE Clothing Co. It's a perfect spot for Xmas shopping in case you haven't been there yet.
CLE Clothing
We headed to Public Square and this is what we found:
Rudolph and other sites at Winterfest 2012
Loved that they were showing the OSU v Michigan game on huge screens! Food trucks filled the Square and I even met Rudolph and his not so scary friend.

We couldn't stay outside for too long because of the cold so we headed inside Tower City to check out the decorations.
Bruce the Talking Spruce at Tower City in Cleveland Ohio
Bruce the Talking Spruce is my favorite - so cute! And the Holiday Express train was a big hit with the kiddos. Both are available until 12/23.
Christmas at Tower City
We went next door to the casino to see the Higbee's decorations...
Higbee's Christmas Decorations
...and finally ate at Rosie & Roccos
Rosie and Rocco's Pizza
After the highly anticipated tree lighting ceremony, there was a HUGE fireworks display. It was gorgeous mixed with the newly lit decorations. We then headed to the very conveniently located Wine & Ale fest. 
Cleveland's Christmas Tree Public Square
200 Public Square was decked out for the event with a gorgeous tree. For $50 you got 20 drink tickets and appetizers and the proceeds benefited the Downtown Homeless Fund. Wine and beer vendors were scattered throughout the space which really helped with the crowds. We decided to stick with the beers because the selections were better and we didn't want to keep mixing (hangover prevention tip!) Our favorite new beers from the night were Kitka Coconut Chocolate Milk Stout from The Brew Kettle and Peanut Butter Cup Coffee Porter from Willoughby Brewing Co. - both were just begging for a brownie. We also were happy to find Rehive Ale - it's a new honey infused ale that is not to sweet and oh so good. A 6-pack would make a perfect gift for the beer lover on your list or a great hostess gift too.
Chef Kimberly McCune Gibson and Eat Drink Cleveland
Kimberly McCune Gibson from Hungry Bee/ ReHive Ale
The food was pretty scarce so we were glad we had the pizza earlier. My absolute favorite was the Yuengling & Smoked Gouda Soup from StrEATMobile Bistro - wow! Noodlecat's  delicious steam buns, Zack Bruell's beet salad and Sweet! Mobile Cupcakery's fabulous assortment of cupcakes were also favorites. For more details about the beer, click here to read American Craft Beer's post.

I also have to give a shout out to my new favorite music radio station 87.7 Cleveland's Sound - they were handing out retro sunglasses at the event and were really excited about the new station. I am too! Take a listen for a good alt/rock mix. Everything from the Black Keys to Johnny Cash. They are local and I love them.

We thought the Wine & Ale Fest was the perfect way to top off a fun day of loving our city. We especially loved the sweet touch of receiving a bag of cookies to take home with you. They were perfect to nibble with our coffee the next morning.

The Intercontinental was a lovely place to stay downtown on a weekend because most of their business is through the week. The rates are affordable and you can escape all the hustle and bustle for a nice relaxing stay. With the new Healthline and renovated Euclid Avenue Corridor, it's an easy and fun way to explore downtown.

All the decorations are still up downtown so there's lots of time to enjoy before the holidays are over. Be sure to go before it's too late!