By Kevin Kelley
City leaders hope a new Fairview Park tradition begins Friday when the first Winterfest takes place from 6 to 9 p.m.
The community Christmas tree lighting celebration, which had been held at City Hall and the Gemini Center in recent years, will launch the event, which will take place at West 214th Street and Lorain Road.
The section of West 214th Street between Lorain Road and where it branches into West 213th Street will be closed off during the festivities. Parking will be available at the nearby Fairview High School.
Winterfest takes its name from Summerfest, the community’s summer festival, which takes place at Bohlken Park. Past holiday celebrations had become a bit stale, said Bridget Hinkel, Mayor Eileen Patton’s administrative assistant and chairwoman of the committee that’s organizing Winterfest.
An entertainment stage will feature the Scarlet Singers, Fairview High School’s performance choirs, as well as choral groups from Gilles-Sweet Elementary School and Lewis F. Mayer Middle School. The Fairview Park Community Band’s Christmas Brass will play holiday tunes, and the Fairview Park Fine Arts and Theatre Association will put on a play telling the story of Frosty, the Snowman.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there, too, greeting children in Santa’s mobile home. Word is, he will even bring two of his reindeer.
An ice carver from Elegant Ice Creations will be giving demonstrations, Hinkel said. In a promotion sponsored by First Federal of Lakewood, an ice carving will contain an unknown number of coins, she added. The individual who can guess the dollar amount will win the money.
Just as at Summerfest, civic organizations have been invited to set up tables to sell items and raise funds. Food trucks will have offerings for those seeking dinner.
Hinkel and Matthew Hrubey, the city’s development administrator, said they believe Winterfest will provide a good opportunity to take advantage of Fairview Park’s small-town community atmosphere. Hrubey hopes the event will draw all age groups, particularly young adults, and grow in size and popularity in future years.
Recreation Director Kenn Kaminsky came up with the idea to have the event outdoors, Hinkel said. If there’s heavy rain Friday evening, events will be moved indoors to the nearby Gemini Center.
“We’re hoping for crisp weather, with a few flakes falling down,” Hinkel said.