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Join the Candy Cane Cruise on East 185th Street tonight at 5 p.m.Published: Friday, December 02, 2011, 5:00 AM
By Terry Troy The Plain Dealer
Are you looking for something fun to do this evening with the entire family?
Northeast Ohio’s annual holiday cruising celebration returns to East 185th Street tonight at 5 p.m. Convertibles and Jeeps will lower their roofs and enjoy a fabulous wintertime ride down East 185th Street from Lakeshore Boulevard to Interstate 90 at the 2011 Candy Cane Cruise.
The Candy Cane Cruise was created as a unique way to celebrate the holiday season along the main streets and local business districts of the near east side. It injects the hustle, bustle and festivities of a “modern sleigh ride” to eateries, retailers and shops throughout this classic neighborhood.
“We had a quiet inaugural cruise last year on East 185th Street,” said Denise Lorek, community organizer for the Northeast Shores Development Corporation, which sponsors the event. “We’re looking forward to being Cleveland’s premier Candy Cane Cruise event this year.”
The Candy Cane Cruise on East 185 is longer this year and includes more merchants than previous cruises held on Clifton Boulevard on Cleveland’s West Side. In addition, tonight’s cruise is being held a little earlier than last year, said Lorek.
“That’s because we wanted to kick off the holiday season,” she said. “We want people to buy local. We want people to know that we have local restaurants, merchants and stores that offer great items for gift-giving, as well as gift certificates for the holiday season.”
According to Lorek, a number of merchants will offer either special entertainment or treats to both spectators and cruisers.“We have teamed up with the Salvation Army this year,” said Lorek. “It’s bringing the Salvation Army Bell Ringing Band, which will perform songs on bells. That will be right by our newest coffee shop Kool Beanz. Bells and Christmas just seem to go together.”
In addition, the Salvation Army Brass Band will play at the corner of East 185th and Kildeer right near the old LaSalle Theater. There will also be children carolers performing. “It’s a great way to kick off the holiday shopping season, while supporting local merchants,” said Lorek.
Cruisers are encouraged to decorate their vehicles for the holidays and to dress up in holiday attire. The event is free for spectators. The history Cleveland’s Candy Cane Cruise tradition began in 2008 with the Candy Cane Cruise on Clifton Boulevard.
“Cruising during the winter holidays gives the drivers and passengers a chance to celebrate the holiday season in a unique way,” said Dominic Bonacci, Candy Cane Cruise founder.
“East 185th Street is definitely a fantastic cruise route. It’s a classic main street with a long stretch of businesses that are filled with some great architecture and eateries that range from local establishments to fine dining. A variety of retailers will be open to shoppers who enjoy exploring.
“A Candy Cane Cruise is an invitation to anyone to roll down the windows, bundle up the kids and be immersed in the holiday atmosphere,” Bonacci added.