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Summerfest, an LGBT+ outdoor “carnival-type celebration”, was held annually between 1980-1983. Summerfest events were held in the enclosed parking lot next to Exedra, 1762 East 18th Street. Summerfest was co-sponsored by Action Magazine (a local LGBT+ bar rag), and the Stallions (a men’s leather club). Annual Summerfest celebrations were held over labor day weekend and included concessions, food, “carnival-type” games, activities, competitions, contests, and live entertainment. Local and national entertainers performed on the event’s stage, while activities like “dancing, roller skating, tricycle races, and various contests,” including a “mud wrestling” and a “water balloon toss,” were held throughout Saturday and Sunday. Divine, star of the cult classic Pink Flamingos, was highlighted as a guest entertainer at Summerfest 1982 and 1983. After Exedra closed in 1983, no additional Summerfest events were held. (A separate unaffiliated event of the same name, Summerfest, later launched in 1985 before morphing into Dancin’ in the Streets.)

Additional information coming soon.


  • Chesnick, Ray (Jr.). “Exedra’s Summerfest.” High Gear. October 1981. Page 22.
  • “Summerfest ‘81.” Action Magazine. August 1981. Page 18.
  • “Summerfest ‘82.” Action Magazine. July 1982. Page 8.
  • “Summerfest 82.” Action Magazine. September 1982. Page 4.
1762 E. 18th St., Cleveland, OH 44114 (Exedra).

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Many of the locations documented on Queer Cleveland are not well-documented in the historical record. If you have additional information about Summerfest, please let us know by sharing a memory, correction, or suggestion using the comment form below.

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