Cleveland’s Burning River Festival – Because the Environment Does Matter

Today was one of those near perfect weather days that makes people move to places like San Diego, where they have them more frequently than we do here in Cleveland.

Mid 70′s, Sunny with clear skies and just a nice breeze to make you happy you have the skin to feel it.

Burning River FestivalI spent this fabulous day at the Burning River Festival down on Whiskey Island in Cleveland. I had a great time.

For those of you not from Cleveland, we have a rather sullied reputation here that I have referred to a few times in the past and that is we have accidentally caught our river on fire a few (nine) times in the past century or so. No one likes to admit such things, but after Time magazine has done a story about such things, it is a little hard to hide.

For over thirty years, Cleveland has struggled to clean up its act. While we have managed to avoid Cuyahoga River Flambe (again), we still have some work to do.

The Burning River Festival is part of an effort to help Cleveland change its dirty ways. It is a music and arts festival with an environmentally friendly focus.

Many of the vendors there were somehow related to environment related causes. Everything from organic lawn care to efforts to save Whiskey Island itself. I even bought some very cool, recycled bottle cutting boards at the From The Blue Bag booth. And if you have not felt how soft a bamboo shirt is, let me tell you, it rivals silk.


I particularly enjoyed the performance by the Trash Talkers drum corps. Lots of fun and those boys know how to beat a few trash cans. I shot a little video of their performance and you can view it at the left.

Bald EagleThe Cleveland Natural History Museum was also on hand to show off a few of their animal exhibits. The star of the show was most certainly the Bald Eagle. In this picture, she is eating a quick bite from her handler.

By the way, if you have not been to see the live native Ohio animals display at the Natural History Museum, you should. They don’t advertise it much (I myself only found it because the entrance is off the dinosaur exhibit and I have a few future potential paleontologist in the house) but the outdoor exhibit is great. No worries though, all animals in the display are rescued and are unfit for release due to their injuries. They get a safe home and you get to see them up close.

Cleveland Fire BoatAnother star of the Burning River Festival was a character from the the last time the river really burned. One of the fire boats that helped put out the 1969 river fire showed off its stuff for the crowd.

What I really liked about this was the festival practiced what it preached. The entire festival was powered by wind and biodiesel. Not bad when you consider they had a whole day full of musicians amping out music and restaurants cooking up food.

I had a great time, the music was great and I am glad to see someone in Cleveland making an effort to get people to clean up a little. Now, all I want to know is, how does one get a ride in the Fatty Wagon?

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