An evening at Blossom with the Orchestra

100_0733Probably the thing I was most looking forward to when I moved back to Cleveland after living in Germany for six years was spending the evening at Blossom Music Center listening to the world famous Cleveland Orchestra or the Blossom Festival Orchestra.

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Appetizers - crab dip, whole grain crackers and soppressata

There is simply nothing like listening to the world-renowned orchestra while listening to birds chirp under a blue – and later starry – sky. Unlike other concerts at Blossom, chairs, umbrellas, blankets and alcohol are allowed.

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Lobster roll, cole slaw and sea salt potato chips

I grew up enjoying the Cleveland Orchestra with my parents, and they taught me how to do it right. Mom would make some elaborate picnic dinner involving some kind of shellfish or other picnic-friendly meal. We would lay out a blanket, grab a glass of wine, and enjoy an orchestra that is consistently ranked one of the top ten in the world. Now I have a wheeled cooler packed and ready to go with plates, silverware, cloth napkins, plastic wine glasses, wine stakes, binoculars, a cutting board and knife, Off, and a citronella candle and lighter.

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KFC 2 piece grilled chicken dinner with mashed potatoes and green beans

Everything goes on the lawn. You can high-brow it or low-brow it. You see folks with tables, candles, and elaborate spreads to buckets of KFC and family servings of mashed potatoes, cole slaw and green beans. No one will judge you, but if you have something especially yummy you may see folks coveting your food.

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Wine stakes in action - both the bottle and the glass stakes

We usually have a three course meal – with appetizers and the main meal before the performance and then dessert at intermission. The photos here are our meals last weekend. My mother and father had the lobster rolls, chips and cole slaw served on paper plates, while I purchased KFC on the way to Blossom and ate off my melamine plate.

One must-have are wine stakes. Since the lawn is sloped wine stakes allow you to keep your wine glass and wine bottle upright while sitting next to you. Most people use blankets or lawn chairs (people with tall lawn chairs have to sit closer to the back). The most popular chairs are beach chairs or sand chairs. They allow you to sit close to the ground and yet not impair the view of those on blankets behind you.

Lawn tickets will only set you back $19-21 depending on the show. Individual pavilion tickets range from $19 to $42 a piece. You can also buy a book of tickets for the season. However, if there isn’t a chance of rain I suggest you try sitting on the lawn for a little ambiance. If you choose to sit in the pavilion you will have to leave your picnic dinner and wine at the entrance to the pavilion for the concert. Contact the ticket office at 216.231.1111 or just visit http://www.clevelandorchestra.com.

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The Cleveland Orchestra viewed from the lawn

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4 Responses to An evening at Blossom with the Orchestra

  1. Michael says:

    Great article! There’s absolutely nothing like The Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom on a beautiful summer night with a bottle of wine and a picnic basket filled with whatever pleases your palate!

    I’ve been attending concerts since ’82 — this year was my first after a couple of years away — and it was the first time I really saw the wine stakes being used.

    Great idea — I clicked the Google link about them. Do you know of anyone in NE Ohio who carries them so I can be sure to get some before the 8/9 Schumann/Brahms concert I’m planning to see?

    • jillsommer says:

      I hear Bed Bath and Beyond carries wine stakes. One of my friends bought some during his post-wedding registry shopping spree.

      • Michael says:

        Thanks! I stopped by BB&B today after work – sadly the local store was out right now. Evidently lots of Blossom-goers in the area 🙂

        At least I know where to get them now, and I’ll just have to resort to holding the glass carefully until they’re back in stock again.

        No spills in 27 years, hopefully I can manage one or two more tidy concerts before summer’s done.

  2. Great post, I’m a big fan of this blog, keep on writing these great posts, and I will be a regular for a long time.

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