The 39th annual Main Street Port Clinton Walleye Festival will kick off the festive Memorial Day weekend a little early when it takes over picturesque Waterworks Park next Thursday, May 23. The full schedule will keep everyone hopping until the holiday on Monday, May 27.
The Walleye Festival will also launch the summer season along the shoreline of beautiful Lake Erie in Port Clinton with an array of free live concerts, Kids Fishing Derby, Grand Parade, educational programs and activities, carnival rides, and more than 110 vendors from around the nation.
This event has been acclaimed as the biggest fishing-themed festival in the nation by a national magazine last year, and one of Ohio’s premier outdoor weekend celebrations. A wide selection of delicious food and cold beverages are a highlight for the visitors and local folks.
The Walleye Festival will cater to the kids on Thursday evening, with the opening of the Walleye Festival Carnival at 5 p.m. Durant Amusements will again offer carnival rides, games and a small selection of food vendors. Advance Ride Tickets are currently on sale, and for $40 a kid can ride for the entire weekend.
Two of the Advanced Ride Tickets could win a gift card for a boy or girl. Advanced Ride Tickets are available until 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 23, at Great Lakes Popcorn Company, 60 N. Madison St., or the Chamber / Main Street office at 110 Madison St.
Main Street Port Clinton has raised the bar with this year’s entertainment schedule, signing some of the most popular bands in the region. The bands include Rumours on Friday evening; Shooter McGavin and the Gold Jackets followed by The Eric Sowers Band on Saturday evening; Side Hustle String Band followed by the Junk on Sunday night; and Chris Salyer on Monday. This year’s Entertainment Tent sponsors are Baumann Auto Center on Friday; Crown Battery on Saturday; Frederick Agency / Auto Owners Insurance on Sunday; and the Civilian Marksmanship Program on Monday.
The huge number of exhibits arriving from around the country for the Walleye Festival include food, merchandise, arts, home improvements and non-profit organizations. Featured this year is the widely-popular Petting Zoo from the Watering Hole at Monsoon Lagoon and a Butterfly House.
In an effort to give back to the community, local non-profit organizations were asked to volunteer as bartenders at the Walleye Festival. In exchange for their help, the volunteers receive all tips made during their shift and the chance to sell raffle 50/50 tickets or to hold other raffles to benefit their group.
The bands on stage will be announcing the non-profit groups and encouraging everyone to donate to their favorite organization. Main Street Port Clinton is excited to give back to and promote the community. A few shifts are still available. Call their office at 419-734-5503 for details.
The David W. Leonard Fraternal Order of Eagles Grande Parade is Saturday, May 25 at 1 p.m., rain or shine. Eagles Grande Parade registration/check-in will take place at the main entrance of Port Clinton High School. Lineup will begin at the corner of Fourth and Madison streets. The parade will head North on Madison to Second, turn West on Second to Monroe, South on Monroe to Sixth, East on Sixth to Jefferson, then South on Jefferson to the finish line at Port Clinton High School.
There is still time to register for the Eagles Grande Parade. Call the chamber office at 419-734-5503 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a registration form.
The Skipper Bud’s Kids Fishing Derby is Sunday, May 26 at 12:30 p.m. at Waterworks Park’s recently renovated Derby Pond, which will be stocked with lively catfish, bluegill and sunfish. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. for the family event open to kids 12, and under. Trophies are awarded in each age category for the longest fish, most caught, shortest, and most unique.
The Kids Fishing Derby is a springboard to introduce area youngsters to fishing and the great outdoors. Live bait is provided, and a limited number of loaner fishing rods are rigged and ready to go. Children are encouraged to bring their lucky fishing rods. Each child will receive a goody bag with treats and coupons to area businesses.