Cleveland readies for return of ‘Light Up the Lake’ festivities following last year’s cancelation


CLEVELAND (WJW) — Cleveland is bursting with excitement for this year’s “Light up the Lake” fireworks show hosted by the Downtown Cleveland Alliance. 

“You feel that energy in the air and the summer and it’s beautiful out,” said Clevelander Ed McNeeley.

Last year’s show was canceled due to concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It was kind of sad because I’m used to being down at the park together with everybody,” said Clevelander Edwina Polk.

Starting at dusk over Lake Erie, the DCA recommends getting a good view from North Coast Harbor or the West and East Banks of the Flats. And businesses in those areas like Alley Cat in the East Flats are excited about the crowds. 

“Especially down here in the Flats, it’s such a big part of the summer downtown it really, the vibe down here with all the boats is something that just sells Cleveland,” said Casey O’Rourke, General Manager at Alley Cat Oyster Bar.

Boats were already filling the Cuyahoga River Saturday in front of Shooters on the Water on the West Bank of the Flats.

WJW photo

“This year, we’re very excited to have a full entire restaurant back and a full crowd and for everyone to see the fireworks and enjoy the Fourth of July like how it’s supposed to be,” said manager Steelley Doubler.

Nuevo Modern Mexican and Tequila Bar down near Voinovich Park will actually be closed to the public for a private party. 

“They actually took the entire restaurant to be able to see the fireworks,” said owner Lisa Marie Hirt. But she says the activity this whole weekend has been great for business: “I expect a huge rush, like I said even yesterday was really busy, busier than normal.”

The draw of the holiday weekend also has the city encouraging people to travel earlier in the day and or use public transport.

As far are keeping yourself and others safe, the city says leave the fireworks to the professionals. Discharging igniting or exploding any fireworks except for novelty and trick fireworks are illegal in the City of Cleveland as is celebratory gunfire. Officials warn of the resulting injuries both can cause as well as property damage.

Luckily, this year Cleveland’s firework show is back for everyone to enjoy. 

“People have been closed in, locked in, COVID. So people are just enjoying and getting ready to spread their wings for the Fourth of July,” said Clevelander Anthony Holman.

Restaurants say it will be a big help recovering from COVID. 

“This is what puts us on our feet. If we didn’t have this weekend it would definitely be a struggle to get back this season,” said Doubler.

And it’s an opportunity to bring everybody closer. “Everyone stops just to watch. The staff, the guests, everybody,” said O’Rourke.

There is currently a staffing shortage in the restaurant industry and all of the restaurants are still looking to hire but they say it will be all hands on deck tomorrow.

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