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Oct. 6, 2014

Ingenuity Fest celebrates 10 years

Thousands gather for annual festival at Port of Cleveland

By Nicole Drake and Kevin Alquist

Three cheers for 10 years, happy birthday Ingenuity! Welcome to the Warehouse party. Warehouse 32, in the port of Cleveland, to be exact.

A decade ago, the world of art, technology, passion, engagement, exploration and creativity came to fruition to birth the expansive, expressive and innovative atmosphere that is Ingenuity Fest.

Ingenuity Fest, Cleveland’s premier festival of art and technology, hosted a weekend-long birthday celebration Friday, Sept. 26 through Sunday, Sept. 28.
This included three days of music, dance, film, theatre, innovative artistry and high class performance arts that set the stage for the bash.

This year, attractions such as the Great Lakes Science Center and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were part of the festival.David Hellriegel
Annie Weiss, marketing coordinator for Ingenuity Fest, said she would like to see more collaborations with other attractions in the future.

In the 10 years of existence, Ingenuity Fest has grown and evolved. Unlike some well-known festivals, Ingenuity has expanded and transformed by traveling to new locations.

Weiss said part of the mission of Ingenuity Fest is that it moves around to different parts of the city to revitalize and reinterpret the city. Every few years, the coordinators try to move the festival to a different location

In past years, the festival took place on Euclid Avenue and East Fourth Street, Prospect Avenue, and the most popular location, the mile-long stretch of road below the Detroit-Superior Bridge.
“While there’s no denying that the bridge was an awesome location, there are logistical elements that make it an extremely hard and expensive venue for a festival,” Weiss said.

Burke Lakefront Airport is among contenders for the location of Ingenuity Fest in years to come.
Weiss said there were about 30 retail vendors with a variety of products that include everything from vintage (Bus Boutique), crafted trinkets (Sleepy Robot), prints (c.irene photography), t-shirts (So CLE Tees) and accessories.

“This number was slightly larger than what the event had in past years, up from 20 to 25 [vendors],” Weiss said.

Vendors include different forms of artists that come together to meet and create art in one place for festival goers. One of the groups that participated this year was The Honey Brown Bandits.

As second-year Ingenuity Fest veterans, The Honey Brown Bandits are a duet composed of Joe Wunderle on vocals, guitar, harmonica and banjo with Genevieve Gilbert on violin and backing vocals.

Joe Wunderle and Genevieve GilbertThe couple has been playing music and performing together since they met on a bus three years ago. Gilbert was playing her violin on the back of the bus when Wunderle got on board and approached her.
The duo played songs from their album “Back Home,” which was released Sunday, Sept. 27, as well as unreleased material that is slated to appear on their next album.

“We usually mix it up whenever we play,” Wunderle said. “We try to play one or two new songs every time we play. We played a few new songs that we haven’t really played out yet because it’s Ingenuity. You’ve got to do new stuff. That’s what it’s all about.”

In another tent, David Hellriegel and Benjamin Elissetche were demonstrating their ability to blow glass into pennants, tobacco pipes, ornaments and marbles to sell to festival goers.
Hellriegel said after four years of practice, he is confident in his ability to produce product for the open market under the name Davenci Glass.

“We’re artists so we like to do all sorts of things,” Hellriegel said. “We do work for a lot of Cleveland head shops and boutiques. There are only a couple of them that don’t support local artists and it takes a lot of time and jumping through hoops for them to see what’s going on.”
Throughout the years, not only have the vendors and artists remained steady but so have the number of participants.

It was estimated that 70,000 people attended the first four-day Ingenuity Fest in 2005 and attendance has remained steady at around 30-40,000 over three days each year since then.