Why? Weekends!

We had a wild time not just at the Zoo this weekend…here’s what we were up to:

Vintage Ohio

On Saturday, my friend Anne and I (and Jeffrey) headed to the Lake Metroparks Farm Park for Vintage Ohio Wine Festival.

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This year marked the 25th annual Vintage Ohio, which brings together the best of Ohio wines, along with crafts, food, music, and more.

Anne and I already knew we liked the wines from Gervasi Vineyard, but it never hurts to taste test to confirm!

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We also discovered a nice sparkling wine from Valley Vineyards.

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Buckeye Winery offered lots of interesting flavored wines. We both tried the jalapeño wine, which I can’t imagine drinking an entire glass of, but was quite nice when you added Bloody Mary mix.

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And we both took home a bottle of the Carménère from Urban Vintner (also, there’s a winery in my neighborhood that I didn’t know about…I’m failing).

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All of us rode the ferris wheel and got some lovely views of Lake County.

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It was a fun day of great weather, great wines, and great friends!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Ohio Wine Producers Association to help promote Vintage Ohio. In exchange, I received complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Beach Days

We also spent a lot of time on the Lake Erie shore this weekend. On Saturday, Matthew competed in the AIA Cleveland Beach Day sand castle competition at Edgewater Beach. Of course, Jeffrey and I had to stop up to cheer him on!

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The team from AECOM (where Matthew works) has won the competition for the last five years straight, so they have quite the dynasty. It’s always so cool to see what the different teams create! This year, his team built “Nautical Nonsense on the Cuyahoga,” with lots of SpongeBob characters.

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There were sand castle Rock Halls and Cuyahoga Rivers and even the Game of Thrones iron throne! You can see all the castles and participate in voting for your favorite sand castle on the AIA Cleveland Facebook page.

On Sunday, we found ourselves back on the shore, but further east at Headlands Beach State Park. Jeffrey enjoyed building sand castles and being silly with his cousins!

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We’re so lucky to have great beaches in the Cleveland area and to be able to enjoy lake breezes and seashore fun!

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So, that was our weekend! How was yours?

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Why? Twilight at the Zoo!

Friday night brought one of the wildest parties of the summer to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo: Twilight at the Zoo, a fundraiser for the Cleveland Zoological Society.

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We started out in the VIP area. Twilight at the Zoo is an event where the VIP upgrade is really worth it: you get reserved parking, more food options, and a full bar, as well as some additional bands to hear.

We noshed on nibbles from Bonefish Grill, Carabba’s Italian Grill, Cleveland Kraut, Graeter’s Ice Cream, and Aramark.

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And the Cleveland Whiskey bourbon lemonade was the perfect summer sipper.

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Then we headed to the main event to hear some of the best bands in Cleveland. We always love Billy Likes Soda

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…and Faction, both of whom keep the crowd singing and dancing all night.

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Plus, we got to check out the Asian Lantern Festival, which was all lit up for the party-goers.

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If you want to have a wild time at the Zoo yourself, you can grab tickets this morning for another great Cleveland Zoological Society fundraiser: Date Night at the ZOOvies. The event takes place on Friday, September 6 and includes complimentary beer, wine, and appetizers, along with a showing of “The Goonies” in the Zoo’s Savanna Theater (with movie snacks to enjoy during the film).

Tickets are $90 for a couple or $55 for an individual. This event always sells out quickly, so grab your tickets ASAP! They go on sale today (Monday, August 5) at 9am!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote Twilight at the Zoo and Date Night at the ZOOvies. In exchange, I received four complimentary VIP tickets to Twilight at the Zoo and two complimentary tickets to Date Night at the ZOOvies. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Recovery Resources Run for Recovery Giveaway!

You’ve got to love when the chance to do a fun activity in a great location for a good cause all come together. That’s a trifecta for me! That’s why I’m excited to again partner with Recovery Resources for the Run for Recovery.

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Held on Saturday, August 17 at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Run for Recovery offers a 5K race, 1 mile wellness walk, and kids’ fun run. There will also be family-friendly activities and free admission to the Zoo for the entire day following the Run.

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Run for Recovery proceeds benefit Recovery Resources, which provides education and prevention, outpatient treatment, and supportive services to those dealing with mental illness and drug, alcohol, and other addictions in Northeast Ohio.

You can register for Run for Recovery as an individual or a fundraising team. Registration prices are as follows:

  • $30 for 5K Race
  • $15 for the 1-mile Wellness Walk
  • $15 for the Kids’ Fun Run (up to age 10)

You can also purchase additional Zoo passes at a discount for family and friends to join you after the Run for Recovery at $6 for those 12 and up and $4 for those ages 2 to 11.

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You can register for the Run for Recovery online. Or you can enter to win two registrations for the Run for Recovery event of your choice right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment here for each):

1. Leave a comment here telling me why you want to participate in the Run for Recovery.

2. Visit Recovery Resources and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Follow @recrescleveland and @whycle on Instagram and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

4. Follow @recrescleveland and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

5. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment here letting me know you tweeted:

I want to #RunforRecovery with @recrescleveland and @WhyCLE #giveaway https://whycle.com/2019/08/02/why-recovery-resources-run-for-recovery-giveaway 

You can tweet once per day for additional entries, just leave a separate comment here each time you tweet.

The giveaway will close on Tuesday, August 6 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Run for Recovery. In exchange, I will receive 2 complimentary race registrations to give away. I declined my complimentary race registrations due to scheduling conflicts. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Taste of the Browns!

Training camp has started and everyone is getting excited for the upcoming Cleveland Browns season. There’s another reason to celebrate the return of football to The Land: the annual Taste of the Browns to benefit the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, happening Monday, September 9 at FirstEnergy Stadium.

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This event combines Cleveland’s love for the Browns, the city’s celebrated culinary scene, and the chance to help those in need into one fabulous evening! Every dollar raised can provide four meals to those in need.

Your ticket includes wine and beer tastings, as well as delicious nibbles from some of Cleveland’s best restaurants, like Fahrenheit, Momocho, Pier W, Blue Point Grille, Zack Bruell Restaurants, B Spot Burgers, and more.

Plus, you’ll get to mingle with Cleveland Browns player and alumni, pose for photo opps, bid on amazing silent auction items, and enjoy the beautiful Club Lounge at FirstEnergy Stadium.

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This year’s honorary co-chairs for the event are Chef Rocco Whalen, Jarvis Landry, and Josh Cribbs.

 

Tickets for Taste of the Browns are currently on sale for $175 for general admission and $250 for VIP admission. Prices increase on Thursday, August 8 to $200 for general admission and $295 for VIP admission, so score your tickets today! You can purchase tickets online.

Hope to see you at this gastronomic gridiron!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to help promote Taste of the Browns. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary general admission tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Tours of Cleveland!

Even when you think you know a place, there are always stories you haven’t heard before. This week, I had a chance to hear some new Cleveland stories as I went on a walking tour with Tours of Cleveland.

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I took the Cleveland From the Inside Walking Tour, which takes you around to several Cleveland landmarks to explore the interiors of those buildings.

Scott, our tour guide, was both personable and knowledgeable, with a ton of great facts and anecdotes at his fingertips. As a former college tour guide, I was also impressed with his ability to walk backward while talking to the group without falling over!

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While I don’t want to give away what you’d see and hear on the tour, I will highlight the places we went…

We started at the Old Stone Church, which I had never been inside before.

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Next was the Society for Savings building, which has some fascinating murals with a message.

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Then we explored the impressive lobby of the Federal Reserve Bank. It was neat to hear stories of the security measures installed with the original building in 1923.

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Our next stop was the Cleveland Public Library, which is celebrating its 150th year.

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If you haven’t been up to the third floor of the library, there is an amazing collection of chess sets, miniature books, and more that is worth a look.

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Then we meandered through the Arcade, the country’s first indoor shopping mall.

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We stopped in the Cleveland Trust building, which now houses the downtown Heinen’s.

And the tour ended at Playhouse Square, with stops in the Ohio Theatre and Connor Palace Theatre lobbies, as well as the house of the KeyBank State Theatre.

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It was fun to step inside buildings that sometimes I just walk past and also to hear more of the history of the art and architecture of the buildings. Cleveland has a rich and storied past and Scott did a wonderful job bringing that to life.

Tours of Cleveland offers two different public walking tours: Downtown Highlights and Cleveland From the Inside. Both tours are approximately two hours long and cost $22 per person. You can also book Tours of Cleveland for corporate or private groups. Click here to book a public or private tour and learn more about our amazing city!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Tours of Cleveland to help promote their walking tours. In exchange, I received a complimentary tour admission. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

Other than stuffing ourselves at B Spot Burgers, there was more fun to be had this weekend. Here’s what we were up to…

Cleveland Public Library Street Fair

On Friday, Jeffrey and I attended a Media Preview for the Cleveland Public Library‘s Street Fair, celebrating the library’s 150th anniversary.

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The Reading Garden was filled with artwork, puppeteers, and Glen Infante creating a mural.

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We also got to meet Eric Litwin, author of “Pete the Cat.” Jeffrey loves that book, so it was fun for him to get to chat with the author!

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The Cleveland Public Library’s Street Fair really brought the community together to celebrate such a vital part of our history and culture. Here’s to another 150 years!

Date Night

On Saturday night, Matthew and I had a date night. We started with dinner at Burntwood Tavern. I enjoyed the lobster ravioli and Matthew had the mahi mahi special.

Both were delicious!

Then we were off to see “Come From Away” at Playhouse Square. The last show of this season’s KeyBank Broadway Series was funny, heartwarming, sad, and thought-provoking.

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It not only took the audience back to their own memories of September 11 and the days following, but also made us examine how we welcome each other as members of the human family.

When we arrived at the theater for the show, the man ahead of us in the Will Call line had two extra floor seats that he generously gave us. It was so unexpected and the perfect way to start a show about the kindness of strangers!

***Disclosure: I have a partnership with Burntwood Tavern and received a Burntwood Tavern gift card. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Cedar Point Shores

On Sunday, we went to Cedar Point Shores for a day of splashing and swimming.

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It was the perfect summer day to be at a water park!

On the way home, we stopped at Krieg’s Farm Market and Custard for some frozen custard.

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Krieg’s offers weekly seasonal frozen custard specials. I had the red raspberry and chocolate swirl and it was delicious! It’s a bit off the beaten path, but worth a visit!

So, that was our weekend? How was yours?

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Why? B Spot Burgers!

You know what’s a Holy Grail for a mom? A place to eat where everyone can find something to eat that they love. It seems almost inevitable that the places that Jeffrey loves we’re just OK with and the places we love, it’s a struggle to find something he’ll enjoy.

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Enter B Spot Burgers. On our recent family dinner, we discovered there are things for all of us to truly enjoy eating there.

Jeffrey started with a classic chocolate milkshake.

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The B Spot shakes are thick and delicious. Matthew and I sampled the seasonal strawberry shake and it is summer perfection (pro tip: you can make your milkshakes grown up with the addition of alcohol).

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Matthew and I also tried some of the B Spot cocktails. My favorite was the Michael’s Mule and Matthew loved the Five O’Clock Somewhere.

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B Spot has an inventive cocktail menu, along with a huge craft beer selection.

Then we dug in to a huge array of goodies from the menu. The Atomic Burger has ghost chili, pickled jalapeños, red onion, pepper jack cheese, and habenero sauce. Spicy!

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The Yo! Burger, which was voted the Best Burger in America at the SOBE Beach Bash, has fried salami, capicola, hot peppers, shasha sauce, and provolone cheese. It’s easy to see why this meaty, flavorful burger was a winner!

We also compared side-by-side the beef burgers with the Impossible Burger, a plant-based burger. The texture and consistency is remarkably similar to a beef patty! At B Spot, the Impossible Burger is the Thin Lizzy, with griddled onions, mayo, cheddar cheese, and dill pickles.

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We also noshed on the Clevelander, a beer brat with coleslaw, hot sauce, and fries.

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And the Chick Magnet, with crispy chicken, avocado, arugula, tomato, and mayo on sourdough bread. If you’re not in a burger mood, this would definitely be my choice!

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To keep us healthy, we had the Zorba salad, with romaine, radicchio, feta cheese, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, roasted red peppers, red onion, and red wine vinaigrette. There’s something for everyone, from salads to burgers at B Spot!

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Oh, and don’t skip the sides: Lola fries, onion rings, and pork cracklings! Dip them all in the Sriracha mayo!

Jeffrey devoured his meal of chicken fingers and apple slices and was rewarded with a perfectly-sized mini cupcake at the end.

We all loved the food, the atmosphere, the drinks, the whole she-bang at B Spot Burgers!

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For your next family meal that feels comfortable enough for the kids and gourmet enough for you, head to B Spot!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary meal at B Spot Burgers. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Think Pink at Opal on Pearl!

Old Brooklyn has become a hot spot in the last couple of years, with lots of new businesses generating lots of buzz. Last night, two of those businesses combined forces for a delicious evening.

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Think Pink brought together Opal on Pearl and Lilly Chocolates and Confections for a rosé and chocolate pairing. There were six stations to stroll around and enjoy at your own pace, each with a perfectly paired wine and nibble.

The first table paired Mia Cantina Sparkling Rosé with a nine-grain crostini topped with ginger peach jam, drunken goat cheese, and grilled peaches.

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It doesn’t get more summery than rosé and peaches!

The next table paired 2018 Maison Nicholas Rosé with a milk chocolate tart cherry cocoa nib mendiant.

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If you know Lilly Chocolates, you know their creations often combine a lot of interesting flavors and textures. Think Pink’s treats were no exception. The sweet chocolate and tart cherry also definitely enhance the cherry notes in the wine.

Our third stop paired a 2018 Maison Saleya Rosé with a Morello cherry paté de fruits with fresh orange zest and candied ginger.

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This non-chocolate based confection was delightful and again really enhanced some of the more tart flavors in the wine.

Next up, we enjoyed a 2017 Acrobat Rosé with two truffles: orange zest and brandy in dark chocolate and key lime and honey in strawberry chocolate.

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I have to confess to not loving this wine at first sip. But when paired with the truffles, it was a perfect match!

Our penultimate stop paired 2018 Terra d’Oro Rosé with white chocolate grapefruit mousse topped with tropical citrus salsa and candied violets.

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I’m not usually a big fan of white chocolate, but the grapefruit and citrus salsa balanced the sweetness quite nicely.

Finally, we enjoyed a 2018 Carpineto Dogojolo Rosé Toscana paired with white chocolate pistachio paté with fresh cherries tossed with mint and orange.

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Every bite and sip was perfectly matched! Tony from Opal on Pearl and Amanda from Lilly Chocolates obviously pair together as well as all their stations did.

I love seeing local businesses come together to share their talents and bring even more people into their growing neighborhood. What a delicious evening!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Opal on Pearl to help promote Think Pink! In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Ohio State Fair Giveaway!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Ohio State Fair. In exchange, I received complimentary tickets, a parking pass, food vouchers, and compensation. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Hello from Columbus! We spent the night in the 614 after a fun-filled day yesterday at the Ohio State Fair. The Fair opened yesterday and continues through August 4. And while there are tons of fairs and festivals in the summer, there are lots of things that make the Ohio State Fair unique and worth the drive!

The Butter Sculptures

OK, seriously, these are some crazy works of art, all made out of butter. Also, if you’re a West Wing fan, you can do the entire “butter cow” bit.

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This year’s theme celebrates the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, with butter astronauts and more.

In the same building, you can also snag some of the special Moon Landing Ice Cream: orange ice cream with a marshmallow swirl and brownie chunks.

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Which leads me to…

The Food

Sure, there are all your standard fair food options: deep-fried this and that, corn on a stick, etc.

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But there’s also the Taste of Ohio Cafe, with Ohio chicken, pork, and beef farmers serving up delicious eats.

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The pork tenderloin sandwich is my absolute favorite. It’s tender, juicy, and doesn’t need any sauces or extra seasonings to make it mouth-watering.

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In the Taste of Ohio Cafe, you can also find Ohio wines and craft beers.

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Just outside the Taste of Ohio Cafe, grab a buckeye funnel cake from KG Concessions.

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This Ohio-shaped fried marvel is topped with powdered sugar, peanut butter, and chocolate.

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So decadent!

The Rides

The sheer volume and variety of rides at the Ohio State Fair is enough to keep everyone happy, from the smallest to the most adventurous.

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The all-day ride wristband is a great deal and will let you explore all the rides as much as you want.

The Entertainment

From acrobatics and stage entertainers

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…to a daily parade…

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…to a slew of big-name concerts and smaller musical acts, there’s always something to see and hear at the Ohio State Fair!

The Animals

Cows! Sheep! Horses! Pigs! Row after row of critters, winning prizes, being shown, and just hanging out in their farm-animal cuteness.

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One of the big reasons we love the Ohio State Fair is that it brings together city and country so well. You can see the pride that generations take in their livestock and honestly learn more about farming, raising animals, alternative fuels, and sustainability.

So, have I convinced you yet to hop in the car and cruise down 71 South to visit the Ohio State Fair? (Hey, you can always stop at Grandpa’s Cheesebarn on the way!)

The Ohio State Fair is open daily through Sunday, August 4. Tickets are $10 for adults ages 13-59, $8 for seniors 60+, $8 for children ages 6-12, and free for children 5 and under.

You can enter to win a four-pack of tickets to the Ohio State Fair right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment for each entry):

1. Leave a comment here telling me which part of the Ohio State Fair you’re most excited to experience.

2. Visit Ohio State Fair and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Follow @ohiostatefair and @whycle on Instagram and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

4. Follow @OhioStateFair and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

5. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment here letting me know you tweeted:

I want to win @OhioStateFair tickets from @WhyCLE #giveaway https://whycle.com/2019/07/25/why-ohio-state-fair-giveaway-2/

You can tweet once per day for additional entries, just leave a separate comment here each time you tweet.

The giveaway will close on Sunday, July 28 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

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Why? Cocky’s Bagels!

At Cocky’s Bagels, bagels are BAE!

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The popular food truck and pop-up recently opened a store front in North Olmsted. And before we even get to the food, let’s talk about how cute the store is.

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With fun murals, cozy sitting areas, and bright details, the atmosphere is as fun and fresh as the food.

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Cocky’s Bagels offers both breakfast and lunch/dinner options. We tried the Over Easy, with fried eggs, garlic herb cream cheese, smoked cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion, and Cocky’s sauce.

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We also tried the hearty Steak and Egg, with egg, steak, cheddar, and garlic herb cream cheese.

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My favorite of the breakfast offerings featured bacon, a hash brown patty, cheddar, egg, garlic herb cream cheese, and sausage.

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You can also get your avocado toast on at Cocky’s, with egg, tomato, and Cocky’s sauce!

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We also sampled some of the lunch and dinner options, like the Cocky’s burger…

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…the Grilled Cheesus (I didn’t think you could make an everything bagel better, but stuffing it with cheese did the trick)…

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…the pizza bagel (so much better than any microwave version you’ve ever had and pictured above) and my favorite: the Uncle Tito’s, with roast beef, cheddar, barbecue sauce, and egg. So flavorful and delicious! Try the fries too!

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And you can’t miss the Buffalo Chicken dip, with everything bagel “fries” that are nothing short of addictive.

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To end your meal on a sweet note, try the Nutella and banana bagel, a Fat T’s cookie, or one of Noo Noo’s coconut balls, made by the owners’ mother.

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Cocky’s Bagels starts with delicious bagels and then makes them even better by stuffing them with hearty, delicious, inventive fillings that make for a great meal. Check them out today!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary tasting at Cocky’s Bagels. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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