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Return of Walnut Wednesdays marks the start of several festivals to come this summer

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Posted at 6:26 PM, Jun 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-02 18:34:13-04

CLEVELAND  — The temperatures are rising, restrictions loosening, and the festivals are back like Walnut Wednesdays in Downtown Cleveland.

A litany of food trucks wrapped around East 12th Street and Walnut Avenue.

“It’s good for Cleveland, it’s good for the area. I’m excited,” said Cleveland resident James Smart.

The return of festivals is most of all good for businesses, many businesses missed out on the thousands of dollars and customers that Cleveland’s festivals bring.

“Back in March when the pandemic hit, we had about 100 events booked and every single one of them was canceled,” said Ron Matthews, owner of Kona Ice. “At that point, it was other things we had to do to make money for that season."

Matthews said sales for his Kona Ice Truck decreased by 70% in 2020. Luckily, food truck owners say their sales are recovering.

“We’re kind’ve back to normal now, it’s good to see,” said Matthews. “Our bookings are coming in normal, they’re coming in like they normally did two years ago.”

The Downtown Cleveland Alliance puts together a lot of the festivals in Cleveland.

“Downtowns thrive on people and energy,” said DCA Interim CEO Michael Deemer. “So we did the best we can over the course of the last year with virtual events and trying to keep people energized and engaged with downtown, but there’s nothing like bringing people back together in Downtown Cleveland.”

Simply put, for a lot of people, it feels good to be back outside yet again.

“I think this is the kickoff to what’s going to be a very fun and exciting summer in Downtown Cleveland. Walnut Wednesday coming back, Juneteenth, Light Up the Lake fireworks on the Fourth of July and I think we’re going to see more and more events planned over the course of the summer.”

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