A Little Key West In Lakewood
Lakewood’s own Solstice Steps Sunset Celebration is rivaled only by the world-famous Mallory Square nightly ritual. Sword Swallowers, Fire Jugglers, Rings, Hoops and various other acrobatics highlight the Key West celebrations. The Cleveland Flow Collective is a growing group of entertainers who have descended upon Lakewood Park, every Monday night, for a few years. Each week the timid organization inches closer and closer to the Solstice Steps.
Most people who know me, know that I have been a huge advocate of the Solstice Steps from the beginning. I met Jeff Kerr, the Landscape Architect of the steps, about six months before the steps officially opened to the public. As a Lakewood native, I am well aware of the sordid history of Lakewood Park. I spent endless afternoons chasing rats along the shoreline of Lakewood's garbage dump, sneaking swims in the filthy lake, dodging dead fish (in the 60s). Jeff's vision of the project- "I feel that I--we all--need to do a better job at slowing down, disconnecting, reflecting, and just enjoying a moment, a day, a season, and our lives. The Solstice Steps can help provide this moment."
Matt Koballa, the leader of Cleveland Flow, likes managing the group because he wants to have a central place for all entertainers, like these, to be able to get together and share ideas, tools, tricks and coming events. The Facebook Group Page (Cleveland Flow Collective) has over seventeen hundred members. Anyone interested is encouraged to join in, anytime! All ages welcome and there are no skill levels required. Everything is free.
The group gathers at many locations, year round, indoors and out, East side and West. Matt likes Lakewood, "Lakewood is the place to be, and being on the lake is a big turn-on for us. Lakewood residents have been very welcoming of diversity." A large variety of Jugglers, Hoopers, Acrobats and Performance Artists hone their skills with Hula Hoops, Rings, Levitation Wands, Batons, Dragon Staffs, Rope Darts, Silk Flags and Fans. Many in the group participate in area festivals like Ingenuity and local raves as roving entertainers.
Some regulars bring food, potluck style. Others bring a music player, because "music is huge" according to Matt. Next time you are at Lakewood Park, on a Monday night, feel free to stop and stare, they are entertainers, and they like drawing attention!
Photography by Jacob Chabowski
Dan Morgan is a Photography and Marketing Specialist as well as a lifelong Lakewood resident and advocate.
Dan Morgan / Straight Shooter - www.StraightShooter.com
Photography and Marketing Specialist as well as Life Long Lakewood Resident and Advocate!