Hingetown Hygge is a Hit

Hingetown hygge celebrates community with a big hug to old man winter
Lynn Ischay, The Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Oh--Hingetown merchants and residents introduced the city to the Danish concept of hygge (pronounced HUY-gah) on Sunday, reminding everyone that comfort, community, friendship and warmth can be had anytime, even outside in the dead of winter.

Families, art-lovers and friends gathered in the parking lot of the Transformer Station for the first of three hygges, one every Sunday in February.

Graham Veysey, one of the organizers of the celebration, grabbed the microphone. "Introduce yourself to someone you don't know," he said. "There is plenty of beer, and we've got smores galore, so enjoy."

Veysey walked back over to a roaring bonfire, built right in the middle of the parking lot. "Part of this celebration is just to have an excuse to come out in winter, building community and neighborhood when people are generally hibernating," he said.

He said it was interesting to watch the night progress. "From about 5 until 6:30 it was all families," he said. "Lots of kids and their parents, building snowmen everywhere, roasting marshmallows. The family crowd dwindled, then the millennials showed up. Now, it's really all ages. The first hygge has been great."

Part of the draw was a great new show at Transformer Station. Some came for storytelling around the bonfire, music or extended hours for local businesses. The rest were just people carving out some happy time, meeting new friends and breaking out of the midwinter funk.

The next hygge is Sunday, February 15, 5-8pm