CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -For 30 years, families have headed to Tower City in downtown Cleveland to watch the Toy Soldier perform an iconic holiday show.
This year the number of chances you have to catch the show have been greatly reduced.
In past years, there were two shows on Saturdays and Sundays every week, beginning after Thanksgiving leading up to Christmas.
Depending on where Thanksgiving fell on the calendar, there could be anywhere from 15-18 shows.
While the amount of actual shopping has declined severely at Tower City in the past 30 years, the number of performances by the Toy Solider and other holiday characters had not.
This year, according to Tower City’s website for “Kringle’s Inventionasium” there will be just three holiday shows featuring the Toy Soldier:
- Nov. 30, 2 p.m.– 3 p.m. (show), 3 p.m.– 4 p.m. (meet and greet)
- Dec. 7, 2 p.m.–3 p.m. (show), 3 p.m.– 4 p.m. (meet and greet)
- Dec. 15, 2 p.m.–3 p.m. (show), 3 p.m.– 4 p.m. (meet and greet)
According to Bedrock Detroit, which owns The Avenue Shops at Tower City, the reason for the reduction is because of an investment in the show.
“In celebration of the Tower City Holiday Show’s 30th anniversary, Bedrock is increasing the production value of this tradition to make it more memorable than ever for the Cleveland community," according to a spokesperson for Bedrock. “Guests can expect added audio visual elements, free professional souvenir photography, and even more musical numbers. Based on our years of experience with the Holiday Show, we strategically selected the weekends we know to be the most popular in order to serve as many families as possible.”
The Toy Soldier himself is worried with an 80% reduction in the amount of shows, families may miss what has become a holiday tradition, especially those who travel from outside of Cleveland.
“After 30 years the show is an icon of Cleveland tradition and I so enjoying bringing it to those that attend,” said Rob Hruby who has been the one, and only the Toy Soldier through the years. “There is a possibility that there will be disappointed Northeast Ohio people who are not able to make one of the shows this year with the large reduction of performances that Bedrock Detroit has deemed necessary.”