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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Family Trees

What do you do when your blog is about free and low-cost ways to have fun in Northeast Ohio and the whole state shuts down because of a global pandemic?

It’s a challenge. Last week I didn’t post anything as I tried to figure out how to adapt CLE on the Cheap to fit these unprecedented circumstances. I’ve come up with some ideas that I hope will carry us through until social distancing is a thing of the past.

With St. Patrick’s Day and the 2020 U.S. Census on my mind, I came across something interesting on the Cuyahoga County Public Library’s website. The library system is offering the library edition of for at-home use. All you need is your library card number and a PIN. If you don’t have a Cuyahoga County Public Library card, you can get one online.

I found the site to be really user-friendly. There are census results and birth, marriage and death records for starters. My great-grandparents died long before I was born, but I found my mother’s grandparents’ marriage license from 1884. You can see it here. I was thrilled to find a record of two people I never knew but am connected to nonetheless.

The 1900 Census shows information about my great-grandparents Michael and Julia Joyce and eight children, some of whom I never met or barely remember. My mom’s uncle Ray, a relative I knew and liked, was 4 months old when the census was taken. The 1910 Census shows Michael, Julia and 12 children, ranging in age from 5½ to 25, living in Youngstown, Ohio. I at least know of most of them, but there are a couple of names I don’t recognize. 

Both Michael and Julia emigrated from Ireland before they were married, although Michael was born in England. Michael’s parents, whose names I don’t know, were born in Ireland, according to the records. I’m going to do more digging to see if I can find out something about them.

Since we’re spending more time at home now, this would be a good time to research your own family tree. If relatives from older generations in your family are still living, ask them about their families and other ancestors. This is also a good time to fill out the 2020 Census.     


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Schedule Change

I had two posts ready to go, one for Friday about Cleveland's St. Patrick's Day parade and the other for next Tuesday about voting on Election Day.

Now that the parade has been canceled because of COVID-19, I'm consolidating those posts into this brief message: If you live in Ohio, please consider voting by mail in the March 17 primary election. Applications for mail-in ballots must be postmarked by noon Saturday, March 14, so there's still time to send yours in.

You can print an application from your county Board of Elections website or pick up a paper application at a local library. The only cost is for postage.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Racial Equity on Film

The Racial Equity and Inclusion Series starts tomorrow night at the Capitol Theatre in Cleveland’s Gordon Square neighborhood. The free film series begins at 6:30 p.m. with “Queen and Slim.” In this drama, a black man and woman on their first date somewhere in Ohio become fugitives after the man kills a police officer in self-defense.

Although admission is free, a $5 donation is suggested. A post-film discussion will take place down the street at XYZ the Tavern with free food and a cash bar. 

The other films in the series are “Always in Season,” which will be shown on April 14, and “Just Mercy” on May 13. 

“Always in Season” looks at the history of lynching through the true story of Lennon Lacy, a black teenager found hanging from a swingset in North Carolina in 2014. “Just Mercy” is based on a true story and stars Michael B. Jordan as a defense attorney fighting for his client’s life while battling racism.

Both of those films will also be screened at 6:30 p.m. followed by a discussion at XYZ the Tavern. Advance tickets for the series are available at the Capitol’s box office or online.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

All Things Irish

We gained a day last month and we’re losing an hour Sunday morning. Still, it’s important to make time for fun.

The All Irish Boutique is returning to Rocky River this weekend. Admission is free for this event, which will include a variety of vendors. You’ll find items to show your Irish and/or Cleveland pride, including mugs, glasses and handmade signs.

You’ll also find vendors selling baked goods, tea, shirts, art, accessories and home decor. One vendor is selling sauces and condiments that are sugar free and gluten free. Another is selling dog biscuits.

The event is taking place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Rocky River Memorial Hall, 21012 Hilliard Blvd. Remember that 11 a.m. will arrive an hour earlier on Sunday than it will on Saturday because we’re “springing ahead” at 2 a.m. 

Entertainment on Saturday will feature performances by dance troupes beginning at 11 a.m. You’ll be sure to see some Irish dancing.

I went to this event last year and bought a few gifts and some delicious scones and jam. I was surprised by the number of vendors and the wide variety of goods for sale. The event was well attended but not overly crowded, at least when my friend Tonya and I were there. 

Parking might be a challenge. Memorial Hall shares a parking area with a few other buildings, including the rec center, the police station and the senior center. Be patient as you look for a spot. People will be coming and going all day. 

Follow the Facebook page to learn about the vendors who will be at this year’s event.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Celebrating Women

February is almost over, although we do have an extra day of it this year. But March begins Sunday, and whether it comes in like a lion or a lamb, it’s Women’s History Month.

As you might know, this year marks the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote. You probably learned about suffragist Susan B. Anthony in school. Those of us of a certain age even remember the Susan B. Anthony dollar, first issued in 1979. I worked at a drug store then and the coin was a nuisance for customers who mistook it for a quarter at the cash register. Nobody wanted to get one of those dollars back in change. Production of the coin was suspended in 1981, but it was brought back in 1999, only to be retired again the next year.
Suffragists, from left, Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
Susan B. Anthony and Lucretia Mott

Ah, but Anthony represents so much more than her ill-fated dollar. And Women’s History Month gives us an opportunity to learn more about her, others in the suffrage movement and women who have accomplished all kinds of things without many of us knowing their names.

The William McKinley Presidential Library & Museum in Canton is presenting a four-week lecture series this month in honor of women’s history. Beginning Monday, March 2, and continuing for the next three Mondays from 2 to 4 p.m., the series will highlight women’s suffrage; significant women in Canton’s history; fashion; and women in science.

Those days and times might not fit into a lot of people’s schedules, but the lecture series could be worthwhile if you’re free on Monday afternoons. The cost for each lecture is $10 per person. However, if you sign up for all four, the cost is $30, so you get one lecture for free.

The museum is at 800 McKinley Monument Drive NW, just a couple of miles from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Fight the Frost

I’m not sure you can really fight the frost in Northeast Ohio. The best you can do is avoid it by staying inside until spring (or whenever it gets warm again).

Still, the Fight the Frost Festival is coming to the Cleveland Metroparks CanalWay Center on Saturday afternoon. From the description, this free event could rightly be called the Embrace the Frost Festival. But that non-alliterative name isn’t very catchy.

Between noon and 4 p.m. Saturday, visitors are invited to enjoy cookies and cocoa, make crafts, take 30-minute winter walks and learn about the power of water in the winter. Snowshoeing will be part of the fun, weather permitting.

The 1-mile walks will include information about birds and other wildlife that stay active throughout the winter. And indoors there will be carpet skating. In case you don’t know what that is, it’s demonstrated in the video below.

The festival should appeal to fans and foes of winter and those interested in nature. Honestly, they had me at cookies and cocoa.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Brite Winter

Music, art, food and drinks. They’re all part of Brite Winter 2020, a free outdoor (that’s right) festival happening Saturday. This year’s festival begins at 3 p.m. at 1231 Main Ave., on the West Bank of the Flats, and goes until 1 a.m. Sunday.

The location has varied for the annual event that began in 2010, when it drew about 800 people. The crowds have grown over the years, with 2019 attendance estimated at 20,000. Cleveland experienced unseasonably warm weather the day of last year’s festival, which may or may not have been a factor. This show goes on no matter the temperature.

Multiple musical acts on multiple stages are a big part of Brite Winter. With more than 40 bands and musical acts scheduled, you might want to check the lineup and plan which ones you want to see. Art plays a starring role too. This year’s theme is coping with the winter blues, and the festival offers more than a dozen immersive art experiences to help you do that. 

The video from Brite Winter 2018 will give you an idea of what to expect. It appears to be a family-friendly event.

Organizers recommend getting tickets in advance. Don’t be alarmed when you click on the ticket link and see a $250 VIP ticket as the first option. There are two VIP ticket levels and a $25 general admission level, which includes a Brite Winter hat, but those aren’t your only options. A $10 donation will get you a ticket plus a Brite Winter koozie and pin. The free tickets get you into the festival, but they don’t include any gifts.

You can expect to be outside for hours, mostly after the sun goes down. Be sure to check the weather forecast and dress accordingly.