Best of Cleveland Returns to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Cleveland Magazine, a publication under Great Lakes Publishing Company, was founded in 1972 and is the largest monthly magazine focused on Northeastern Ohio. The magazine features articles on dining, travel, leisure, arts and entertainment. Annually, the magazine recognizes Cleveland businesses across various industries that are making notable impacts in the community, economy and business sectors of Cleveland in its Best of Cleveland (BOC) October issue. The Best of Cleveland Party, in its 16th year, returned to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inviting BOC winners, embracing and celebrating their contributions.
“The BOC winners are chosen two ways,” said Abby Burton, Cleveland Magazine editorial assistant. “There are editor’s picks and reader’s picks chosen from diverse groups of the East and West sides of Cleveland,” she adds. “Editors have pitch meetings where they brainstorm businesses, readers take surveys from Cleveland Magazine’s websites to choose who they deem the best of Cleveland.” Categories include Best Wings, Best Music, Best Smoothies, Best Brewery, Best Ice Cream, Best Hot Spots, Best Comedian, Best News Anchor—over 60 other categories! It takes quite a while to plan and coordinate such a massive and influential event. Every department of Cleveland Magazine, from sales to production, chips in to make the event a success. “It’s not all just editorial,” said Burton. A Cleveland State University alumna, former editor at The Cauldron, and former Cleveland Magazine intern, Burton has been with the company for two years and enjoys her work as a part of the editorial staff.
As a current intern for Cleveland Magazine, I attended the event and was in complete awe at the celebratory efforts of the magazine. After having my car valeted by an inviting and trustworthy staff, my brother, Jason Blade, and I approached the beautifully landscaped courtyard of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, eagerly walking up to the glass tent anchored by a 162-foot tower designed by I. M. Pei. Upon entering the venue, we were completely consumed by breathtaking presentations of BOC winners on every level of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I resembled a kid in a candy store; I had no clue which exhibit I wanted to view first!
We surveyed the first level of displays. It was absolutely amazing, taking in every square inch of excitement. My glance was interjected by my loving observation of a few staff members from Cleveland Magazine. We walked over and were warmly welcomed by Editor-in-Chief, Steve Gleydura; Managing Editor, Kim Schneider; Freelance Writer, Arbela Capas; and Intern, Chau Tang. I sincerely enjoyed seeing them. Tang, a Cleveland State senior, whose attendance at the BOC event marks her first time ever going to a party, came with her parents and enjoyed the music and samples. “I loved that the band played cover songs, my favorite was ‘Body Like a Back Road’ by Sam Hunt,” said Tang. “I would go to the party again, perhaps next year!” Capas, former editor-in-chief for Vindicator, also previously interned for Cleveland Magazine. I see her often in the office assisting the editorial team. As I continue on my journey as a journalist, I must thank her. My first editor-in-chief, she coached and encouraged me. It is always heartening to watch her flourish as we see each other time and again. “I had a really nice time at the Cleveland Magazine party--it was crazy to see so many people in the Rock Hall all at once!” said Capas. “I didn't get a chance to go as an intern a couple years back. I was happy to get an invite this year and experience it.” Capas came alone and met up with KC Longely, a journalism student at Cleveland State who also interned at Cleveland Magazine last semester. “It was just a really great night for all Clevelanders in this industry and I hope to see more of this energy continue after the event,” added Capas.
After a brief, yet jovial conversation we parted, each of us headed out to enjoy the festivities. With music from DJ E-V, Marina Strah, and Billy Likes Soda in rotation, we ventured.
Initially, I wanted to find businesses that I interviewed for the event, but found myself looking around at other exhibits from both the BOC Party and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Wine Frappes from Nectar of the Vine immediately caught my attention. I tried a sample of the Natural Cranberry Acai Wine Slushy. Amazing! It was just the right mixture of all-natural cranberry flavor, dry white wine and slushy mix. I will definitely be ordering from them soon. My brother just had to have samples of Angelo’s Pizza. So, he did, a few times! We enjoyed more sampling and conversation with other winners; then, we traveled to the escalators for more levels of fun. We wandered around looking at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees. I was nearly brought to tears when I saw the display of the first woman inducted to the Hall of Fame (1987), also known as “The Queen of Soul.” Looking at Aretha Franklin’s display, I felt a chill. Then, a warm subtle feeling of excitement came over me as I stood next to an extension of The Queen.
We glanced at a few more exhibits, then returned to the party. Shortly after, I saw Dianne Soucie, owner of Yard Party Custom Lawn Greetings. Prior to the event, I interviewed her. She is such a sensational woman. Her business creates personalized lawn greetings and messages for residents, schools and businesses. With everything custom and handmade, Soucie creates lawn decorations for any occasion including birthdays, graduations, travel and more. We greeted each other with hugs of appreciation, and I marveled at her display. “The party was such a blast!” exclaimed Soucie. “I had no idea that Cleveland Magazine knew what my company was. It was like a big surprise party for me.” With the help of her sales manager, Chris Bilardo, Soucie’s BOC display was incredible. Carefully arranged custom cookie cutouts, a raffle and a golden ticket prize added a very personal touch to her presentation. “[Cleveland Magazine] found me out of nowhere, I felt like rock and roll Cinderella,” said Soucie. “I had no intention on turning back into a pumpkin! When it was time to pack up, I honestly wanted to stay all night. It’s been such a great experience through the entire process. It will stay with me forever.”
For Doug Turrington, Cleveland State student and Cleveland Magazine intern, it was great introducing his girlfriend, Sarah, to BOC winners that he spoke to during interviews and fact-checking. “People were getting a chance to try so many good things and learn the backstories behind them, too,” said Turrington. “I don't think I met one person, guest or business owner, that wasn't having a great time.”
Attendees took home a wonderfully wrapped souvenir box filled with BOC keepsakes. I will definitely attend next year. Thanks, Cleveland Magazine!