Independence Fall Fest & Clambake | Elmwood Park | Independence, OH
From 1997 – 2017, my wife Tiffany lived in Boston, New York and Los Angeles. (She’s clearly a small-town girl 😂.) Upon moving back to Northeast Ohio, she commented how she’d never seen so many festivals in her life; multiple suburbs seemed to have events every week, be it carnivals, food tastings, home days, church gatherings and so on. Upon further analysis, I believe her remarks to be accurate. In fact, if such a statistic existed, I’d bet that Greater Cleveland leads the nation in rib fests per capita. That said, since we’re on the topic of local festivals, I might as well blog about one, right?
On Sunday, the city of Independence held their annual Fall Fest & Clambake at Elmwood Park. I’ve been attending the event for years, but never really appreciated it until now. When looking at all factors—value, location, family friendliness, activities and quality of food—I don’t know that Fall Fest can be topped.
Admission to the festival cost just $1 or one canned food item (for donation to an area food bank). Clams were $6 per dozen while a full clambake—one dozen clams, ¼ chicken, clam chowder, sweet potatoes, corn coleslaw and a roll and butter—was only $20. The clambake itself was excellent. The clams were large, the chicken was tender and the side dishes were flavorful. There were plenty of other food options, too. Multiple vendors—mostly local and nonprofit—were present, selling items like pierogis, cabbage and noodles, gyros, lemonade, pop, fresh popcorn and pies. I thoroughly enjoyed my pumpkin pie. Side note: What says fall better than pumpkin pie with whipped cream?
There was lots to do at the festival besides just eat. The Independence High School Marching Band, Music Connection DJ Entertainment Service, Wayne Tomsic Band and RW Magic Show provided entertainment throughout the afternoon. Events and activities included dancing, balloon twisting, caricatures, coloring, corn hole, face painting, scavenger hunts, candy counting contests, hayrides, putt putt, inflatables, a car cruise-in, a farmer’s market, a fire house rescue, a themed trike trail, a hay bale maze, a fun house and a petting farm. Best of all—and unlike other festivals I’ve attended—everything was included with the price of admission.
Kudos to the city of Independence for putting on a tremendous event. Think about this—an afternoon of family fun could be had for the price of a can of corn. Mark your calendars for the last weekend of September 2020. I’ll see you at next year’s Fall Fest & Clambake. Cheers!