Why? Weekends!

It was a low-key weekend, which after last weekend’s birthday busy-ness, was much-needed.

Sunrise Yoga

On Saturday morning, I headed down to the Cleveland American Heart Association Heart Walk for a sunrise yoga class with my girl Alicia.

GrooveRyde, where Alicia teaches on Monday nights (take her GrooveFlow class…your thighs will hate you, but thank you), was one of several local businesses supporting the Heart Walk with additional fitness offerings, fun booths, and more.

I forgot how different it is to practice on the grass, though. You’re using different muscles to stabilize and you’ll definitely feel the difference the next day!

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The view of the city at sunrise makes it worth it though!

Soccer

So, I’m officially a soccer mom!

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Jeffrey joined the school soccer team and had his first two games on Saturday morning. From learning which way to kick the ball (mostly because of kicking it the wrong way) to agreeing to play defense, then immediately asking “What’s defense?,” it was equal parts heartwarming and hilarious.

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But I’m so proud of Jeffrey for trying something new and for the coaches for doing a great job exposing the kids to soccer specifically and sportsmanship generally.

Birthday Dinner

I also snuck in one last birthday dinner at my parent’s house. We had delicious, huge crab legs from Lobster Brothers, tasty sangria, and a decadent ice cream cake from Mitchell’s.

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Despite the candles literally singeing my hair (the hazards of a bigger number birthday), it was a lovely celebration. My presents also added two new leopard-print items to my ever-growing collection!

How was your weekend?

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Why? Children’s Hunger Alliance Eat Like a Kid Again Giveaway!

Children’s Hunger Alliance wants you to experience the fun of being a kid again, all while helping hungry children in Ohio.

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Eat Like a Kid Again is taking place on Thursday, September 26 at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. You’ll enjoy grownup versions of your favorite childhood food and drinks, a silent auction, wine pull, and live animal encounter. The event includes private access to select exhibits in the museum and free parking.

At the event, 18 local chefs will be competing in the Best of Taste competition. Chefs and restaurants include Zack Bruell Events, Barrio Tacos, Elements Bistro, Annie’s Signature Sweets, and more.

Funds raised at the event go towards providing healthy meals to food-insecure children in Northeast Ohio.

Tickets are available online for $75 for an individual ticket or $140 for a couple’s ticket. Or you can enter to win two tickets 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):

1. Leave a comment here letting me know your favorite food from childhood.

2. Visit Children’s Hunger Alliance and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

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

4. Follow @CHAOhio 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 tickets to Eat Like a Kid Again with @CHAOhio thanks to @WhyCLE #giveaway https://whycle.com/2019/09/18/why-childrens-hunger-alliance-eat-like-a-kid-again-giveaway 

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

The giveaway will close on Sunday, September 22 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

I spent the weekend celebrating my impending birthday and it was nothing short of perfection…

Winery Hopping

On Saturday, I gathered some of my favorite ladies and went winery hopping in Geneva. We started at Laurentia Winery, which has fast become a favorite of mine thanks to their excellent wines (their Cabernet Sauvignon is incredible) and beautiful tasting room.

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We ordered tons of nibbles for the table, from cheese and charcuterie boards to a brie, fig, and pork belly flatbread (I didn’t share, but it’s my birthday party, dammit) to hummus and more.

Plus, a trio of decadent desserts made even more special with the sweet additions of Mariah’s candles and sparkly “Happy Birthday.”

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From there, we headed to M Cellars, where a bottle of their fantastic Brut Rosé enjoyed on the patio with live music convinced Elizabeth, Alicia, and I that summer is not quite done yet!

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Consider this my application to be an M Cellars model 😉

Our final stop was Harpersfield Vineyard for some Pinot Noir and veggie pizza.

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This cozy, dog-friendly winery has quickly become a must-stop because of the relaxed atmosphere and delicious food.

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It was a perfect afternoon exploring some of my personal highlights of Geneva wine country.

Indians Game

On Sunday, my friend Anne took me to the Indians game, because I love me some birthday week baseball as much as some birthday week wine.

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Not only did we bring home a win, but we enjoyed some patio time at Thirsty Parrot and a Ballpark Sundae from Sweet Moses, too.

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It was a lovely weekend taking in some of my favorite places in Northeast Ohio with some of my favorite people! How was your weekend?

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Why? Taste of the Browns!

Despite losing on the field in the home opener, the Cleveland Browns still scored a big win this week at FirstEnergy Stadium. The 21st annual Taste of the Browns fundraiser to benefit the Greater Cleveland Food Bank was hosted on Monday night and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to feed the hungry in our community.

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The event brought together Browns players and alumni, fantastic chefs and restaurants, and fans of the team and the city, all to help those in need. Fifty percent of the people served by the Greater Cleveland Food Bank are children or the elderly, so this event truly benefits those least able to help themselves.

From Chomps…

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to stadium views…

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…to foodie friends…

…to the delicious dishes, this event was a taste touchdown!

Some of my favorite dishes included the braised lamb with corn masa from Momocho

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…the tuna tartare tacos from Fahrenheit

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…the sliders with OBJ sauce (spicy!) and my favorite pork cracklins from B Spot Burgers

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…the wild boar bolognese from Johnny’s Downtown

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…and the scallop ceviche from Barrio Tacos, which I gobbled without getting a picture!

I’ve always been impressed with the Browns organization’s commitment to the community and the star power that helped make last night a success is no exception.

Cheers to a successful fundraiser for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and a successful season for the Cleveland Browns!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Taste of the Browns. In exchange, I received two complimentary VIP tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

Beyond Chefs Unbridled, there was lots of other fun to be had this weekend…here’s what we were up to:

Date Night at the ZOOvies

On Friday night, Matthew and I attended one of our favorite Zoo events: Cleveland Zoological Society‘s Date Night at the ZOOvies.

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This evening is always such a fun, chill way to experience the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo after hours. The Australian Adventure and African Savanna areas were open for exploration.

There were tasty small bites from Driftwood Catering, including grilled chicken and veggie sliders, flatbreads, and chips and salsa.

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Graeter’s had mini scoops of their delicious ice cream.

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Sponsor Vitamix provided a handy picnic blanket giveaway, as well as some incredibly tasty punch and Cajun popcorn.

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There was also beer, wine, and movie theater snacks to enjoy!

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Then we headed to the Savanna Theater to enjoy “The Goonies,” complete with a Goonie costume contest and Truffle Shuffle demonstration before the film started.

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It’s always fun to be at the Zoo after-hours, but I particularly love ZOOvies because I get to be there and have fun, all while just relaxing and taking in a great throwback movie.

The Cleveland Zoological Society’s next upcoming after-hours event is Brew at the Zoo, happening Thursday, October 10. There will be craft beer, live music, animal encounters, and lots of seasonal fun. Costumes are encouraged. Tickets are $50 for general admission and $80 for VIP admission through September 30. For more information and tickets, click here.

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Date Night at the ZOOvies. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Things Remembered Personalization Bar

On Saturday, I stopped by the new Personalization Bar at Things Remembered at Legacy Village.

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You may have shopped at Things Remembered awhile ago and it may still be on your radar for keepsake gifts, but if you haven’t been in recently, you must go back. The Personalization Bar makes selecting and personalizing your keepsake items easy, interactive, and seamless.

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I was generously gifted lots of items to personalize from Things Remembered, some of which I’m definitely keeping for me and some of which will make fantastic gifts. For each item, I got to see it on the screen; play with the spacing, fonts, and design; and make sure that my customized pieces were exactly what I wanted.

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From jewelry to wine glasses to butcher block cutting boards, there’s an item that’s right for each important person or event in your life. And being able to see exactly how the item will look once it is completed ensures your complete satisfaction with these special gifts.

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Stop in to see the modern side of Things Remembered. And you can save 10% off your purchase with code BA2R!

***Disclosure: I was invited by Things Remembered to visit the new Personalization Bar and received complimentary items. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

So that was our weekend. How was yours?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Chefs Unbridled!

One of my favorite foodie events of the year is Chefs Unbridled, to benefit Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center. Not only is the food always outstanding, but the setting is picturesque too.

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The weather was just perfect on Saturday night for this year’s event. Outside the tent, we enjoyed samples from Tom’s Foolery Distillery

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…and Crooked Pecker Brewing Company. The Driftwood Group food truck was also on hand with delicious offerings like hangar steak, halibut, and their famous tater tots with yum-yum sauce.

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Inside the tent, there were tasty morsels from some outstanding Cleveland chefs, along with live music, a spirited live auction, a wine pull, and a special appearance from Willie, one of Fieldstone Farm’s therapy horses.

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The dishes I most enjoyed from the evening were the flavorful duck breast with fried farro from Flour Restaurant

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…the truffled bologna sandwich from The Black Pig (bonus points for serving it on an English muffin…I love those!)…

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…the Tinman burger from Tinman, which is one of the tastiest burgers I’ve had in ages…

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…the lobster mac ‘n cheese with a delicate sauce that didn’t detract from the lobster from The Driftwood Group

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…the apple tart, which was fall dessert at it’s best, also from The Driftwood Group…

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…and the simple, delicious cacio e pepe agnolotti from The Union Club.

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All of this food, wine, and fun raised money for Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center, which serves over 1,000 children and adults with special needs by connecting them with horses and teaching them independence, social skills, and more.

It was another year of perfection (and accidental outfit twinning with Jen) at Chefs Unbridled!

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***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Chefs Unbridled. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Burntwood Tavern!

Burntwood Tavern is one of my favorite spots for happy hour, brunch, or dinner, with consistently delicious cocktails and food. This week, I got a sneak peek at their new fall menu items, which will be available at all locations starting on Monday, September 9.

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There are three new fall cocktails: an apple spice mojito, a cinnamon mule, and the Razzberry Sherbet, all of which are well-balanced and delicious.

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My favorite of the bunch was the apple spice mojito, which is perfect for that in-between summer and fall season when you don’t know what to wear or what to drink!

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New on the menu for fall are also some tasty food items that are warm, filling, and perfect for the season.

The beef brisket tacos have house-smoked brisket, texas bbq, red cabbage, and feta. These are great to share as an appetizer or keep for yourself for a tasty Taco Tuesday!

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The shrimp cobb salad has colby jack, avocado salsa, tomato, onion, applewood smoked bacon, egg, and house dressing. Light, bright, and delicious!

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The panko-crusted grouper sandwich comes with lemon aioli, arugula, tomato, and pickles. I love the crunch of the panko breading on the mild grouper.

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The hot Italian sandwich is one of my favorites of the new items, with pepperoni, salami, cherry peppers, tomato, red onion, and lettuce. The crispy bread, the salty meats…it’s not to be missed!

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My other favorite of the new menu items is the beef stroganoff, with house-smoked pot roast and mushrooms over fettuccine. This is warm, satisfying comfort food done right!

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The last new menu item we sampled was the hunter’s chicken, with mushrooms, tomato, and fettuccine alfredo. Again, this is a perfect comfort dish for cool nights!

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While we were at Burntwood Tavern, we also got to make some of our own infused vodka, a Burntwood Tavern specialty. Many of Burntwood Tavern’s cocktails incorporate house-made infusions for a truly special drink.

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Their happy hour runs from 3pm-6pm every day of the week, with half-price starters and flatbreads, $3 bottle beers, $4 draughts, $5 house wines, and $6 signature cocktails.

Burnwood Tavern also offers live music on Fridays, kids eat free on Mondays, and a great brunch and Bloody Mary bar from 10am-3pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

From the new menu items to the staples like the Tavern tater tots and tasty flatbreads, you can’t miss at Burntwood Tavern.

***Disclosure: I was invited to a complimentary tasting event at Burntwood Tavern. I received a gift card for myself and a gift card to give away (stay tuned on Instagram next week). As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Watching the Browns at Legacy Village!

The countdown to the Browns home opener on Sunday, September 8 is almost at zero! You might be wondering where you should go to catch all the gridiron action this coming (or any given) Sunday.

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I had the chance to head to Bar Louie and Granite City Brewery, both at Legacy Village, to check out their sports bar chops.

Bar Louie has lots of televisions around the bar area, with ample bar seating, as well as booths that face the bar and TVs.

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They have a wide variety of local craft beers, such as Sibling Revelry and Great Lakes Brewing.

I tried a couple of their “Flavorful Bar Bites,” which would be great for sharing with your friends while watching the game. The Bavarian Pretzel Twists come with warm salted queso and jalapeno honey mustard for dipping.

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The Chicken Nachos have black beans, queso, jalapenos, pico de gallo, radish, scallions, avocado cream, and cilantro. They’re a taste touchdown!

As part of Bar Louie’s NFL Game Time specials, the nachos are only $9! Other specials include $3.50 select short domestic drafts, $15 pitchers of sangria, and $4.50 glasses of wine. The NFL Game Time specials are available at Bar Louie on Mondays and Thursdays from 4pm-9pm and on Sundays from opening to 9pm.

Granite City Brewery also has lots of TVs tuned to NFL action, with plenty of seating in the bar area where you can watch the game while you eat and enjoy one of Granite City’s own craft beers.

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For research purposes, I kept the menu the same at Granite City as at Bar Louie (nachos and pretzels). The BBQ Pork Nachos have The Duke Pale Ale-braised BBQ pork, sriracha queso, tortilla chips, cheddar-jack cheese, corn and black bean salsa, guacamole, Santa Fe cream, and fresh cilantro.

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Tasty and perfect for sharing, although I’m giving the nacho win to Bar Louie.

I also tried Granite City’s Big Bavarian Pretzel, with sriracha queso sauce. I’m giving the win to Granite City’s pretzel over Bar Louie’s, but it was a nail biter!

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Both Bar Louie and Granite City offer lots of televisions, great beer selection, Sunday brunch menus, and game-watching bites that are filling, tasty, and perfect for your whole team. Cheer on the Browns at either spot at Legacy Village for a true Sunday Funday!

***Disclosure: I have an ongoing relationship with Legacy Village for which I receive compensation in the form of Legacy Village gift cards. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

 

Why? The Burnham!

On Friday night, Matthew and I kicked off the long weekend with a delicious dinner at The Burnham, the restaurant at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown.

We of course started with cocktails: we both chose the Smoking Gun Old Fashioned, with Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon, Ohio maple syrup, Angostura bitters and smoked with applewood chips.

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The presentation, smell, and taste of this drink are all phenomenal.

Then we got an expansive taste of the Burnham’s delectable menu. We started with a nibble of the Chorizo Flatbread, with garlic puree, feta and parmesan cheese, roasted red pepper, arugula, and cider vinegar reduction.

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The flatbread was mildly spicy and totally delicious. I loved the fluffy, house-made dough for the crust!

Next was the Summer Chowder, with matchstick potatoes, roasted corn, bacon, and scallion.

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This soup is perfect for summer: creamy, without being too heavy. The matchstick potatoes, corn, and raw scallions add a nice texture.

We also sampled the Greek salad, which is a blend of old and new world styles. It has romaine, dill, scallion, heirloom tomato, cucumber, red onion, Greek olives, grilled Halloumi cheese, herbed vinaigrette, and sunflower seeds.

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Greek salads aren’t generally my thing, but the dressing was lovely and light and I could eat that grilled Halloumi cheese all day. Matthew does like Greek salads and loved this one!

Next up was the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, with curry aioli, cucumber coulis, and micro mirepoix greens.

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I loved the change in flavor profile from a traditional crab cake, with the curry and tarragon.

We sampled four of The Burnham’s delicious entrees. The Pacifico Striped Sea Bass, with prosciutto and sweet pea risotto, vermouth morel mushrooms, orange fennel slaw, and tobiko, was not only beautiful, but also delicious.

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I loved the crispy skin on the fish (one of the only truly striped bass still around) and the pairing of the delicate flavors in both the fish and the risotto allowed both to shine.

Next was the Fried Summer Squash & Eggplant Lasagna. This meatless (and noodle-less) dish is a stunner. It not only looks inviting and hearty, but it tastes amazing. The squash and eggplant are sliced thin and take the place of the noodles.

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The lasagna also has herbed ricotta, mozzarella, San Marzano tomato sauce, and sauteed spinach.

We hung on to the season with the Honey BBQ Chicken, with grilled airline chicken breast, rainbow chard, corn on the cobb, and dijon aioli.

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This was summertime on a plate!

And the Ohio Certified Angus Beef Filet, with sunchoke puree, mortadella potato macaire, bearnaise aioli, bordelaise, and pickled petit carrot, was rich and flavorful and perfectly prepared.

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We ended our decadent dinner on a light note with the Passionfruit Preserve Tart, with strawberry foam, white chocolate shards, pistachio streusel, and lime coulis.

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The light fruit flavors and delicate pasty crust were a perfect end to our late summer meal.

The Burnham’s dishes are inventive, while still feeling comfortable. Familiarity with a twist, if you will. We loved every bite and will certainly be back to see what else Chef de Cuisine Thomas Parker is cooking up!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary dinner at The Burnham. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Playhouse Square Partners!

Last night, Playhouse Square Partners kicked off our programming for 2019-2020 with an Oktoberfest-themed membership open house at Hofbrauhaus Cleveland.

From cheap liters of beer to yummy pretzels to the chance to get to be among the first to know the theme for the upcoming Jump Back Ball, there was a lot of fun to be had!

Speaking of Jump Back Ball, this year’s theme is From Jukebox to Boombox. The party of the year takes place on Saturday, February 29 and tickets go on sale on October 29. You won’t want to miss it!

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But Partners is so much more than just Jump Back Ball. We plan monthly events that range from networking to socializing to volunteering and fundraising. Our fundraising efforts support Playhouse Square’s Community Engagement and Education initiatives, such as Disney Musicals in Schools and the Dazzle Awards.

I’ve been involved with Partners for eight years now and am completing my sixth and final year on the Board. I’ve seen firsthand how much fun we have, how much good we do, and how amazing it is to be connected to Playhouse Square, which is truly an icon in the Cleveland community.

If you’re interested in joining Partners, you can learn more about our membership levels and benefits here. You can also join me at one of our upcoming events:

  • September Monthly Members Meeting on Monday, September 16. Join us for a Happy Half Hour, followed by committee break-out sessions where you can learn more about the various Partners committees and help us plan upcoming events.
  • Partners Dine Around on Monday, September 23. Choose one of four restaurants in the Playhouse Square District and dine with Partners members. Afterward, all the groups will meet up for a nightcap at Parnell’s Pub.

I hope to see you at one of these events and that you’ll save the date for Jump Back Ball!

***Disclosure: I am the communications co-chair for Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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