After years of missing out due to scheduling conflicts and ticket sell outs, I was finally able to attend Cleveland’s Donut Fest! What is Donut Fest you ask? Well, Donut Fest is the original and longest-running celebration of donuts! The bad news is that it may not be coming to a city near you anytime soon. Currently, Donut Fest only happens in Detroit, Chicago, and Cleveland.
Donut Fest 2020 has already come to Chicago and Cleveland and is returning to Detroit in March, so there is still time to experience the celebration of these delicious pastries if you’re near or willing to travel to the D.
Location, Location, Location
The event was held at Red Space, which is a premier event space where I have attended several previous Cleveland Scene events like Vodka Vodka and the Mac ‘n Cheese Throwdown. Parking is a big deal for me when I attend events. I need to get in and out with as much ease as possible, and I need parking to be readily available. I prefer free parking, but I don’t mind paying for parking, as long as I can use my card because who carries cash anymore?
Donut Fest already gets high marks for parking because parking is usually not an issue at Red Space. There is a dedicated parking lot across from the building. If the lot is full, there is plenty of street parking available in the vicinity. Since entry to Donut Fest was staggered, and we were in the last group, I was able to find a parking spot with ease, which put me in the right mindset to enjoy some delicious fried pastries. Now, let’s talk about what I loved and didn’t love about Donut Fest 2020 once we got in the building.
The check-in process was one of the easiest and fastest I’ve encounted when compared to past events. We were mostly likely in line for less than 10 minutes. They scanned our tickets, gave us our swag, handed us our tray for the day, and we were on our way!
One of the best aspects of the Donut Fest was the topical decor. Along the wall, there were profiles on several famous rappers like Drake, Kanye, Jay-Z, J-Cole, and Lil Wayne that look like part of the everyday scene at Red Space. Sprinkled throughout those profiles were paintings of famous people with donuts! Biggie had a donut. Tupac was enjoying a donut. Bruce Lee was seconds from devouring his sprinkle-filled donut. Even The Purple One was partaking!
I absolutely loved the donut art gallery that paved the way to the event, and it gassed me up for some delicious fried dough!!! Another great aspect of Donut Fest was getting to take a commemorative photo. I was kind of side eyeing the price we paid to attend, but being able to take a picture for no additional cost made us feel better. Above all else, the donuts were amazeballs!!! My favorite was the donut sandwich from Urban Farmer that expertly blended sweet and savory to perfection.
The main negative for me was the logistics inside the venue. As soon as we walked into the event, we were hit with two of the most epic lines!! At most of these food fests, I’m used to walking up to any table without a line (or waiting in a relatively short line) and getting the goods. At Donut Fest, there was one continuous long line for multiple tables, so most of our time was spent waiting in these long lines to get donuts. By the time we were able to actually taste one of the donuts, the time for fans to vote was already closed, and all the iced coffee was gone!! As someone who only drinks iced coffee, that one really hurt.
As a whole, I would say Donut Fest was an amazing experience! I so glad that I was finally able to experience it. I got to taste some delicious donuts, and I have a couple of local places to try when Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme are not enough. Although there were a few logistic issues, I would recommend any donut lover or pastry enthusiast attend Donut Fest at least once.
If you missed out this year and are interested in going to the Donut Fest in 2021, I suggest joining the email list to be notified when tickets go on sale and don’t hesitate! The tickets always sell out, and they sell out quickly!