LakewoodAlive is excited to welcome MaryBeth Griffith to our team to serve as Staff Program Assistant. In this role MaryBeth works with staff members to support orchestrating each of LakewoodAlive’s programs, while also serving as the first point of contact for greeting visitors to our office and answering phone calls.
MaryBeth comes to LakewoodAlive from Franklin University in Columbus, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications. She previously honed her outstanding customer service skills while employed in the fast-paced restaurant industry.
A native of Columbus, MaryBeth was drawn to Greater Cleveland – and Lakewood in particular – by the unique collection of vibrant, inner-ring neighborhoods and the strong sense of community existing within them. She started at LakewoodAlive on November 20 and assisted with the successful execution of Light Up Lakewood, our signature community event drawing 20,000 attendees to Downtown Lakewood, on just her ninth day of employment.
“We’re thrilled to have MaryBeth join our team,” said Ian Andrews, Executive Director for LakewoodAlive. “MaryBeth’s blend of enthusiasm and skill sets position her exceptionally well to contribute to our ongoing mission to foster and sustain vibrant neighborhoods in Lakewood.”
MaryBeth currently lives with her dog Harvey, a Jack Russell Terrier-Beagle mix who enjoys swimming at Edgewater Park. In her spare time, she enjoys drawing, cross-stitching and watching sports, especially involving her favorite teams – the Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Browns.
Twinkling lights illuminated Detroit Avenue, fireworks popped in the early December sky under a full moon and an aura of merriment filled the city’s downtown district. The holiday season is now officially underway in Lakewood.
Children enjoy an ice sculpture carving demonstration.
People from across the region descended upon Downtown Lakewood in droves on Saturday, December 2, to partake in the holiday tradition that is Light Up Lakewood. A festive crowd estimated at 20,000 attendees enjoyed LakewoodAlive’s 11th annual holiday community event celebrating the spirit of the season and the richness of the city’s vibrancy.
Sponsored by First Federal Lakewood, Light Up Lakewood 2017 kicked off with Lunch with Santa at Dewey’s Pizza followed by joyous musical performances at Lakewood Baptist Church. The festivities then shifted to Plantation Home, where Lakewood High School juniors Erin Black and Greg Medley were honored as Queen and King of Light Up Lakewood. Erin and Greg were both awarded $500 scholarships from owner David Stein in recognition of their outstanding service to the community.
Thankfully, The Grinch is not a mean one at Light Up Lakewood.
The doors to Vendor Village at the historic Lakewood Masonic Temple opened at 4 p.m. and the Holiday Parade stepped off west-bound along Detroit Avenue one hour later. First Federal Lakewood President & CEO Tom Fraser and Board Chair W. Charles (Chas) Geiger III served as Grand Marshals of the parade.
Crowd-pleasers Buddy The Elf and The Grinch highlighted the popular Holiday Parade, which included participants ranging from student organizations to huskies to, of course, Santa. Festival-goers lined both sides of Detroit Avenue taking in the sights and sounds of the parade, which featured 30 participating groups.
The Lighting Ceremony commenced at Lakewood City Center Park with remarks from Mayor Michael Summers and with Poet Laureate Bill Knittel reciting his latest Light Up Lakewood poem entitled “All Along.” After a crowning ceremony for Erin and Greg, Kirsten Loyd – a fourth grader who won the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce’s “Why I Love Lakewood” essay contest – read her piece, and the Peddlers of Mirth performed holiday carols for the delighted crowd.
King Greg Medley and Queen Erin Black were all smiles during the Holiday Parade. (Photo by Jacob Chabowski/ The Lakewood Observer)
Buddy, Santa and his elf joined Kirsten to flip the big red switch and illuminate City Center Park before fireworks sparkled over the rooftops of Downtown Lakewood to culminate the festive celebration.
The free, family-friendly community event also included musical performances at Lakewood Public Library, live music courtesy of The Sellouts, outdoor carolers and musicians, DJs, ice carvings, free hot chocolate, food trucks and children’s games.
“It truly takes a village to orchestrate a volunteer-driven event the magnitude of Light Up Lakewood,” said Ian Andrews, Executive Director for LakewoodAlive. “We’re extremely grateful to the City of Lakewood, First Federal Lakewood, our Light Up Lakewood Committee, our partner organizations and businesses, our sponsors and the 60 volunteers who made this incredible community celebration possible.”
An estimated crowd of 20,000 took in Light Up Lakewood 2017. (Photo by Alex Belisle/Faces of Lakewood)
Lakewood High School Juniors Erin Black and Greg Medley to be Honored Dec. 2
It’s good to be queen and king of Lakewood’s signature holiday community event. LakewoodAlive announces that Lakewood High School juniors Erin Black and Greg Medley have been named Queen and King for Light Up Lakewood 2017 sponsored by First Federal Lakewood.
Students chosen for this honor have demonstrated their love for Lakewood through providing outstanding service to the community. In addition to reigning over the Light Up Lakewood Holiday Parade on Saturday, December 2, Erin and Greg will both be awarded $500 scholarships courtesy of Plantation Home in Downtown Lakewood. Both winners have agreed to provide at least 24 hours of service to the community during the coming year.
Congratulations to Greg Medley and Erin Black on being named Light Up Lakewood 2017 King and Queen!
This is the sixth year that David Stein, owner of Plantation Home and Cotton, and President of the Downtown Lakewood Business Alliance, has sponsored the scholarship. Stein states, “It’s an honor for us to encourage the youth of our community, and to thank them for their commitment to volunteerism.”
Erin and Greg will receive their checks and sashes at Plantation Home at 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 2, and will be crowned by the 2016 Queen and King, Sarah Bene and Abe Dalisky, at 6:30 p.m. during the Lighting Ceremony taking place at the Main Stage at City Center Park as part of Light Up Lakewood 2017.
A Message from Queen Erin Black “I have been so positively blessed with the experience of growing up in Lakewood – such a friendly, vibrant community. In my personal struggle against Charcot Marie Tooth Disease, a neurological nerve disease affecting the mobility of my legs and wrists, the outpouring of support has left me appreciating the true closeness of our community. Everyone has gone above and beyond to help me cope with my disability, and fundraise money toward the Charcot Marie Tooth Association (an amazing international organization providing hope and research for a cure to this genetic disease). When I am not raising awareness about my personal struggle, I love volunteering through H2O (Help To Others) and other local organizations such as Youth Challenge. The music program, such as choir and band, at Lakewood High has provided me with incredible people and experiences that have also helped shape who I am. I am so thankful to have grown up in this extraordinary community!”
A Message from King Greg Medley “It’s been a goal and aspiration to put as much time as possible into giving back to the community – which has always been so loving and welcoming. I’ve volunteered with H2O through preparing meals at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, cooking dinner for residents at the Ronald McDonald House, set up for Pumpkin Palooza, delivering groceries to senior citizens at the Westerly Apartments and delivering Thanksgiving meals to less fortunate Lakewood residents. I‘ve remained dedicated to H2O and have since become a member of the H2O Committee and a peer mentor for the Middle School Leadership Program. My main focus has been on hunger relief and providing a positive atmosphere where I’m able to influence peers at the middle schools to continue their involvement in the community. I’ve also been involved with Club Identity, which provides a safe space for LGBT members and allies, and focuses on preventative actions to end bullying along with analyzing ways schools can be more LGBT inclusive. My involvement with H2O and Club Identity has opened my heart and shaped me into a better person – for that, I am truly grateful.”
The Lakewood Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that Kirsten Loyd, a 4th grade student at Emerson Elementary School, is the 2017 “Why I Love Lakewood” Essay Contest winner.
Essay contest winner Kirsten Loyd poses with Patty Ryan of the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce.
Over 200 essays were submitted by 4th graders from Lakewood City Schools, Lakewood Catholic Academy, and children who are home-schooled in the community. A panel of six judges used a rubric to assess the originality, organization, descriptive language, and grammar (including punctuation and spelling) of the essays, and the judges selected Kirsten’s as best overall. Kirsten loves Lakewood because of the amazing places to visit, the traditions, the parks and the people.
Kirsten will be awarded a cash prize of $100 and will ride in the Light Up Lakewood parade before she takes the stage with Lakewood Mayor Mike Summers and Santa Claus to “flip the switch” on December 2nd to turn on the lights in Downtown Lakewood during the Light Up Lakewood festivities.
I LOVE LAKEWOOD
BY: KIRSTEN LOYD
Do you have a favorite city? I do! I love Lakewood because of the amazing places, traditions, parks and people.
Lakewood has so many fun places to visit. I enjoy going to the library and getting a good book. I also love going to the pool on a hot day. The restaurants in Lakewood are outstanding! You can always find something delicious to eat.
I also love the traditions in Lakewood. There is always something to look forward to. Some of my favorites are the Spooky Pooch Parade, Light Up Lakewood, the Art Festival, Fourth of July Parade and the fireworks.
Another reason I love Lakewood is all the parks. I enjoy going to Lakewood Park and playing on the new jungle gym, watching the sunset on the Solstice Steps, and even running in the fields. If you can’t go to Lakewood Park there is always a park near you.
My final reason is all the wonderful people who live here. Lakewood is small, but it has a big heart. Everywhere you go there are people you know and it is easy to make friends and have fun.
I hope you see why I love Lakewood and I hope you love it too.
About the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce Serving the greater Lakewood community for over 100 years, the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce is the leading membership organization for the advocacy and advancement of business interests. Comprised of more than 350 member businesses and individuals, the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce has a long history of advocating on behalf of businesses owners by providing group purchasing programs for products and services, advocating for changes in legislation or regulation, offering affordable marketing & promotional opportunities, and providing educational seminars, networking events, and monthly meetings for small businesses to connect with and learn from each other. (www.lakewoodchamber.org)
Lakewood Native, Community Leader to be Honored December 2
As President & CEO of First Federal Lakewood, Thomas J. Fraser has made a career out of serving as a leader within our community. Now he’s poised to lead the parade at the center of Lakewood’s longtime holiday tradition.
LakewoodAlive announces that Fraser has been selected to serve as Grand Marshal for the holiday parade taking place during Light Up Lakewood 2017 on Saturday, December 2, in Downtown Lakewood. Fraser will be accompanied during the parade by W. Charles (Chas) Geiger III, board chair of First Federal Lakewood.
Presented by LakewoodAlive, Light Up Lakewood represents one of Northeast Ohio’s largest holiday celebrations, drawing 20,000 attendees each December. First Federal Lakewood serves as Title Sponsor and also sponsors both the fireworks show and pedicab availability for this festive community event.
Fraser assumed the lead role at First Federal Lakewood in 2013 and has nearly 25 years of banking experience. A native of Lakewood, he has been active in the community throughout his career, currently serving on the board of directors for several local organizations, including LakewoodAlive and Youth Challenge, as well as a number of state and national mutual and community bank advisory councils. Previously Fraser served on the board for the Barton Senior Center, North Coast Health and the Beck Center for the Arts.
Under Fraser’s guidance, First Federal Lakewood – the largest independent mutual bank headquartered in Ohio – has continued its long-held tradition of charitable giving and community involvement. Last year First Federal Lakewood committed up to $842,000 to help pay for new recreational facilities for the Lakewood school district and community. First Federal Lakewood also generously supports LakewoodAlive’s Housing Outreach Program and more than 150 other community-based organizations and events.
“We’re honored to have such a tremendous community leader like Tom serve as Grand Marshal for Light Up Lakewood’s holiday parade,” said Ian Andrews, Executive Director of LakewoodAlive. “It’s a privilege to have First Federal Lakewood serve as title sponsor for Light Up Lakewood 2017, and we really appreciate the many impactful contributions that Tom and his team have made to our city. First Federal Lakewood has been an invaluable partner, not only to LakewoodAlive, but to the entire Lakewood community.”
The Holiday Parade steps off at 5 p.m. during Light Up Lakewood on December 2.
The 2017 holiday parade will step off from Manor Park Avenue at 5 p.m. on December 2 and proceed west on Detroit Avenue, ending in front of the Lakewood Public Library. Now entering its 11th consecutive year within the city’s downtown district, Light Up Lakewood represents a free, family-friend event that also features a lighting ceremony, winter fireworks, live music, ice carvings, hot chocolate, food trucks, children’s games and much more.