Nobody Does July Fourth Like Cleveland

I’ve taken some heat lately for suggesting that some of the criticisms of Cleveland are true. But there is one thing Cleveland truly excels at, one aspect of this city that’s completely world class, it’s the Fourth of July.

On the west side of Cleveland, the fireworks season begins right around June 1st. From that moment till roughly August, explosions at all times of the day and night are a matter of course. A charming white noise that is a welcome sign of summer, if you will.

Say what you will about the city of Cleveland, I dare someone to dispute this fact: nobody beats Cleveland and Fourth of July or Fireworks.

Cleveland photographer extraordinaire Frank Lanza shot these photos at the unofficial Fourth of July celebration on 67th Street in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood on the city’s west side.

This has got to be the biggest, craziest Fourth of July party in the Midwest, or even the country.

It is totally informal, run by two competing streets in an old Italian neighborhood: 67th and 69th. Each street is shut down for a block party.

The fireworks display in this neighborhood started a good 25 minutes before the official display from the city of Cleveland, and it lasted a good 20 minutes longer. (Seeing it from Edgewater Park, I mistook it for the city of Lakewood’s display for a good half hour.)

Like one of my favorites aspects of the west side of Cleveland in general, this fireworks display is totally inclusive. Kids mix with teenagers and the elderly, people of all races and incomes, for a beer and some porch sitting. Good clean, American fun.

The grand finale is at midnight, someone told me last night, but I didn’t make it that long.

After the party, I was just happy to make it home alive.

Say what you will about Cleveland, this is a city that knows how to have a good time.

I originally started the blog to help promote cities like this. Now I’m not sure I want other people coming aboard and messing up the whole awesome vibe. I was completely sure last night that nobody was having a better time in New York, or Miami or Chicago.

By the way, isn’t Frank Lanza a genius?

-A.S.

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Filed under Featured, The Big Urban Photography Project

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