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Kick off the holiday season at downtown Winterfest

Kick off the Christmas season by attending Winterfest, an all-day, family fun event at Playhouse Square on Nov. 29.
Festivities begin at 1 p.m. and include horse and carriage rides, the first-ever tree lighting ceremony at Playhouse Square, music and fireworks. Gourmet food trucks will be parked at E. 12th St. and Huron from 1 to 6:30 p.m. View the beautiful Festival of Trees display in the Allen Theatre lobby. The Old Stone Church choir will be featured in a Christmas choral music concert at 4:45 p.m. Free horse-drawn carriage rides start at Cleveland Public Library. The library is having a free holiday concert at 2 p.m., and giving away cookies and hot cocoa.
Visit the Hard Rock Café at 11 a.m. for “Chilling with Kringle” and for the Guitar Hero Challenge from 1 to 5 p.m. There will be free punk rock hairstyling and temporary tattoos. Following the fireworks, there is a free public after party at the Tri-C Hospitality Management Center on Public Square, with cookies, hot cocoa and photos with Santa Claus. The Toy Soldier and Fairy Godmother Holiday Show takes place near the Grand Staircase at Tower City Center at 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Stop by E. 4th Street to enjoy ice sculpting, live music, holiday bowling, warm drinks and delicious food. Erie Island Coffee is celebrating a Charlie Brown Christmas. Wear something Charlie Brown and get 10 percent off the cost of a beverage. Wonder Bar is teaming up with Cleveland Whiskey to craft the Christmas in Cleveland Winterfest cocktail. Rock out to special holiday music performances at Crossroads at the House of Blues. Get a jump start on holiday shopping at the Cleveland Bazaar in the 5th Street Arcade from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Horseshoe Casino brings the grandeur of Cleveland’s Higbee’s department store back with its “Holidays at the Higbee” display. World-renowned designer Lou Nasti is recreating scenes from the Nutcracker ballet in the windows of the historic building along Public Square and Ontario Street. Visit the Ritz-Carlton Cleveland during Winterfest to see the hotel’s annual gingerbread house display. Downtown tours on Lolly the Trolley begin Saturday and continue every Saturday through December. Board the trolley at Horseshoe Casino. Tours are 30 minutes long and run from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The Winter Wine and Ale Fest is at 200 Public Square after the fireworks, from 7 to 10 p.m. More than 20 spirits, wines and beer will be featured in the grand tasting room, along with food from popular downtown eateries and music by New Moon Rising. Tickets are $65 a person. Food tastings will be offered by: Taza Lebanese Grill, Pura Vida, Harry Buffalo, strEat Mobile Bistro, Ken Stewart’s, Willeyville, Lago East Bank, McCarthy’s, Brickstone Tavern, Cupcakes by Holly and Brewnuts. Visit for ticket information. Proceeds from the Winter Wine and Ale Fest benefit Downtown Cleveland Alliance’s Generosity Cleveland Initiative, which funds programs and services for the homeless of downtown.



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