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West Side Market birthday will have Ohio City buzzing with fun

Plans for the West Side Market’s centennial festivities on Oct. 7 have been finalized. It looks like it is going to be a great day of family fun.

The neighborhood will be buzzing with costumes and color, food, and festivities and merrymaking as the market welcomes tens of thousands of visitors for its 100th birthday celebration.

The event will begin with a West Side Market-themed parade that features more than 400 participants, including current and past vendors, as well as members of  neighborhood block clubs and community groups who have created original costumes.

Marilou Suszko, co-author of the book “Cleveland’s West Side Market: 100 Years and Still Cooking,” also a member of the market’s Centennial Celebration Committee, is organizing a “shopper’s brigade.” A drill team of babushka’d ladies pulling shopping carts and men trailing behind them carrying bags of groceries will march behind the vendors in the parade. The group has dubbed itself “Be a Baba: Shop the West Side Market.” If you can walk or wheelchair the two-block parade route, you can join in the fun. Participants will gather at 10 a.m. at the St. Ignatius High School track. Remember to bring a colorful babushka.

“You can’t be a baba without a ‘bushka,’” Suszko said. Contact mlsuszko@gmail.com for details.

Following the parade, attendees are invited to shop inside the market, where many of the vendors will be selling prepared sample-sized food items. In addition, more than 30 Ohio City restaurants and retail establishments will be set up along West 25th Street with specialty food items and merchandise. Paradegoers can share a toast at Great Lakes Brewing Co. or at the Market Garden Brewery and Distillery.

Two outdoor stages will host live entertainment all day long, including performances by Chris Allen and The Guilty Hearts and Carlos Jones and the PLUS Band, as well as several ethnic music and dance groups.

Just a few steps from the market, the Ohio City Farm is having its Harvest Festival, with pumpkin painting, a build-a-scarecrow area and acoustic music performances. Everyone is invited to enter the Ohio City Harvest Pie Baking Contest. Entry forms can be picked up at the Ohio City farm stand and must be returned by Oct. 3 to be eligible.

“This really is going to be a celebration like no other we have had in Ohio City,” Eric Wobser, executive director of Ohio City Inc., said. “The West Side Market is the anchor of the Ohio City neighborhood, so on Oct. 7, we’re going to surround this magnificent landmark with an amazing lineup of food, entertainment and activities for the entire family. This celebration will allow everyone to experience the pride and spirit of this vital piece of our history and identity.”

Portions of Lorain Avenue and West 25th and West 24th streets will be closed. Festivalgoers are encouraged to take advantage of public transportation. Parking is free at Rapid stations, and the Ohio City Rapid station is less than a block from the West Side Market. Multiple locations in Ohio City will offer bicycle parking. The best place to watch the parade, which begins at noon, is on Lorain Avenue between West 26th and West 24th streets. Festivities continue until 8 p.m. Visit www.westsidemarket.org or www.ohiocity.org for details.

 

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