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. 


Friday, February 14, 2020

A Day for Presidents

James A. Garfield
Ryder Studio/Cleveland Memory Project
Ohio is known as the “Mother of Presidents.” The Buckeye State can claim the seven presidents who were born here, but it sometimes quarrels with Virginia over William Henry Harrison. Our ninth president was born in Virginia, but he was a congressman and senator from Ohio. It’s probably not worth arguing about. Harrison died of pneumonia after only 30 days in office.

Anyway, Monday is Presidents Day and some of you have the day off and might be looking for something to do. In Greater Cleveland, you can visit a presidential home. The James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor will be open for a fee-free day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The event will include tours, presidential trivia, activities for kids and visits from presidents Washington, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt and first ladies Edith Roosevelt and Lucretia Garfield. President Garfield apparently has other plans.

I visited this site about 20 years ago and really enjoyed it. I didn’t know much about Garfield other than that he was assassinated. Among the things I learned was that he died after just 6½ months in office. 

Normally tours of the home are $10 per person age 16 or older, so the free day is a good deal. (Anyone younger than 16 always gets in free.)

By the way, Garfield is buried in Cleveland. The James A. Garfield Memorial and Wade Chapel at Lakeview Cemetery closed in November and will reopen April 1.

Here’s a trivia question for you: Which seven presidents were born in Ohio? You should be able to name at least one. Hint: Grover Cleveland isn’t one of them.

The answer is below:

Ulysses S. Grant (18th president), Rutherford B. Hayes (19th), James A. Garfield (20th), Benjamin Harrison (23rd and William Henry Harrison’s grandson), William McKinley (25th) William H. Taft (27th) and Warren G. Harding (29th)


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Love and Art

I’ve been seeing a lot of online promos for Valentine’s Day events that aren’t just for couples. Galentine’s Day is one popular alternative. Other events offer something for everyone, whether unattached or coupled.

One place where you can find love on Friday is the Cleveland Museum of Art. With free admission, you can visit exhibits including PROOF: Photography in the Era of the Contact Sheet and Tiffany in Bloom: Stained Glass Lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany. You can also take a love-inspired guided tour. All of these activities can be enjoyed with a loved one — or not.

For a fee, you can see a screening of the classic comedy “Some Like it Hot” starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. Admission is $7 for members, $10 for others.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday.

There’s a related free event Friday on the West Side, in the Hingetown neighborhood. The Transformer Station is holding an opening reception from 7 to 9 p.m. for the exhibit “Signal Noise: Aaron Rothman,” featuring images of the American West. The event will include free refreshments and a chance to meet the artist. The exhibit opens Saturday.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Bargain Books

Years ago, the newspaper I worked for had an annual book sale for employees. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of books were sent with hopes they would be reviewed. There were way more books than the paper could have possibly accommodated, even with an actual book section on Sundays.

So each year at Christmastime, the books were set on tables in a room in our building and offered at deep discounts. It was chaotic and crowded and the only time I could go was during my 30-minute dinner break. The books were not organized by author or genre, as I recall, so we had to really hunt for the bargains and possibly elbow some co-workers in the process.

Still, the lure of the book sale was undeniable for a bunch of journalists. These were new books! And we could feel good about buying them because all the proceeds went to charity.

I was reminded of this yesterday when I went to a used-book sale at Westlake Porter Public Library. Here the books were organized by genre and arranged alphabetically by author! There also were DVDs and CDs for sale, but I limited my shopping to books. I paid a total of $6 for four books.

Library book sales occur pretty regularly in Greater Cleveland, but I hadn’t been to one in a long time. Yesterday I went to the library to pick up a book I’d put on hold and I couldn’t resist checking out the sale while I was there. FYI, it goes through Sunday.

Check your local library's website or follow the library on social media to find out when it’s having a used-book sale. This month alone, the Cuyahoga County Public Library is putting on sales at three of its branches. Many libraries offer used books and other materials for sale year round. It’s worth taking a peek when you’re there. You never know what you might find.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Do Feed the Birds

You have a few more weeks to hand feed a chickadee in the Cleveland Metroparks. The Brecksville Reservation is offering this free opportunity from 10 a.m. to noon every Saturday and Sunday through Feb. 29.

The Metroparks will provide instructions and the black oil sunflower seeds that will have the birds eating out of your hand. You can see chickadees throughout Northeast Ohio, but feeding them is a different experience. This video from RpetsAndUs was not made locally, but I imagine the scene depicted here is similar to chickadee feeding in the Metroparks. 

Chickadees’ diets include sunflower seeds, peanuts, suet, peanut butter and mealworms, which they feast on at feeders, according to The Holden Arboretum. They also eat insects, spiders and spider eggs. I’m glad seeds are the only thing on the menu for hand feeding the chickadees.