Mission, Vision and History

Mission

To embrace the Cleveland winter by celebrating with light, fire, art, music, games, and snow.

Vision

Our vision is to contribute to the Cleveland cultural landscape with a free/low cost, and accessible event in the winter time; an event where anyone can experience winter through traditional and innovative activities. Brite Winter marries fire, participatory art, food, music, and games to build community while helping us embrace the cold winter months.

Fitting into the rest of the Cleveland calendar, we see Brite Winter as the premier Cleveland event between New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day and a showcase for Northeastern Ohio’s artists, musicians, and creative culture.

History

Once upon a time, a couple of friends were sharing a pitcher on a patio outside at the end of the summer. Conversation turned to two things: what can younger people do to get more involved in the community; and what are things you’ve always wanted to do. We decided that Cleveland really needed to embrace winter and have fun with it. We couldn’t come up with a better idea than to have a winter festival. We would have been content to have a keg of Christmas Ale in someone’s backyard in a snowstorm. Instead, we ended up finding an enormous amount of support in the community and way too many things to show off in this town. We ended up with 800 people listening to music, building snow forts, and sliding around on ski-bikes in an urban park. Year 2 lead to even more partnerships and fun. Year’s 3+4 led to a change of venue in Ohio City and a huge expansion of festival attendance.

We had 20,000 people around Ohio City for hours on end, crowding vacant lots and overflowing bars and restaurants (see the Plain Dealer’s Writeup: “I can’t wait until next year.”). Year 5 found us working with more businesses and more partners in Ohio City and around the rest of Cleveland, creating a festival village that completed the experience in the Market District of Ohio City.

Brite Winter keeps growing and changing, but some things always remain the same. We are about winter. Not avoiding it or running from it, but running to it, bundled arms open wide. We are about having fun in the middle of a season that is generally avoided. We are about celebrating the fantastic art, music, and general awesomeness of our city.  We work hard to do all of this on a budget, so we can keep it free for all of you. As we grow and develop, these parts of our history won’t change.