Feast of the Assumption – Cleveland

44.) Feast of the Assumption – Cleveland – August 14, 2010

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AUTHOR’S NOTE: There is an updated 2015 Review here – Feast of the Assumption

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The hot, sunny weather of the Ohio Outdoor Quilt Festival changed rapidly before we headed out to the Feast of the Assumption in Little Italy. Clouds were filling the sky and the sun was becoming a memory.

At first, I figured this would be a good thing, since it would get rid of those crowds that the festival was known for. That would give us the opportunity needed to get through more food lines and have a truly carbolicious feast.

But the rain only got heavier as we headed into Lakewood. Pools started forming on I-90 and waves shot high in the air as cars zipped by. Being that the festival location was at the bottom of a hill, we took shelter at a nearby Cleveland location until the rains cleared.

Once the weather had calmed, we parked and walked down Little Italy’s Mayfield Road…

…beyond the mural…

…and the park…

…where the streets were already filling up again.

The Feast of the Assumption, a Catholic feast that celebrates Mary being taken up into Heaven, has been hosted for 112 years by Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Church

…a church that is definitely hard to miss.

Along with the various activities it had on the street…

…it had its own festival…

…with rides…

…kids’ games…

…adult games…

…and entertainment.

Back on Mayfield Road…

…Italian products were sold…

…with shirts, bracelets and…

…food! Lots of food!

Italian food booths lined the streets…

…and there was plenty to eat…

…whether cheesed…

…iced…

…or filled.

Other food vendors in Little Italy either…

…created Italian-esque dishes for the occasion…

…or catered to taste buds of another culture entirely.

This may have been a concern if I didn’t already question the authenticity of some Italian booths.

This banner, for example…

…misspells “autentico” (no ‘h’) and “torte” (no ‘s’). – (please see comment below)

And, although I’ve never heard of rice-based zeppole

…they stripped its connection to this dish…

…and still couldn’t get the spelling right.

For your peace of mind, I won’t even touch on the Cleveland cassata cake…

(spelled incorrectly on the right)

…which is unlike other Italian variations of cassata cakes (read “Variations”), but gives Cleveland’s Italian community its own uniqueness.

Apart from all these minor things, the festival did have one major problem, which is also one of its main assets…

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…its location.
.

The charm of the ethnic neighborhood and the old structures are what makes the Feast of the Assumption so nostalgic and authentic in that old Italian neighborhood sort of way. The setting and great food bring in waves of festival goers…

…that overcrowd an area not capable of sustaining them.

We were lucky to have arrived shortly after the torrential downpour. At least we were able to experience part of the festival before it began to get bad again. But, even within a half hour after our arrival, moving down the street meant brushing elbows in order to get through…

… as others did what they could to eat in the street.

Restaurants in Little Italy took advantage of this…

…creating private areas for patrons to either escape the main drag…

…or the festival entirely through a private alleyway.

But for those who remained on Mayfield Road, there were pleasures to be found that merited the crowd and its perils…

…even if it only came in the form of a chocolate, cheese and sugar-filled tube.

.

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