Walleye Festival returns with rides, food and fun

May 14, 2024 | Entertainment | 0 comments


Two girls glide down the giant slide at last year’s Walleye Festival. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)


The 43rd Annual Walleye Festival will return to Waterworks Park on May 23-27, bringing the same familiar entertainment that made it the fourth largest festival in Ohio. Little has changed in recent years because, in the past four decades, its host, Main Street Port Clinton, has perfected lake fun.

“It’s a well-oiled machine,” said Main Street Port Clinton Programs Manager, Nicole Kochensparger.

As always, the festival will feature carnival rides, games and vendors. Rides are presented by Durant Amusements.

“They usually bring 20 to 25 rides,” Kochensparger said. “We’ll have over 100 food and merchandise vendors, plus the carnival vendors.”

Advance Ride Tickets for the 2024 Main Street Port Clinton Walleye Festival are available through Thursday, May 23, at 4 p.m. The tickets cost $50 and are good for the entire Walleye Festival weekend. Tickets can be purchased with cash, check or credit card at the Port Clinton Chamber located at 110 Madison St.

This young girl had her face painted and won a goldfish at the 2023 Walleye Festival. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

The Walleye Festival will kick off with an opening ceremony on Thursday, May 23, at 5 p.m., and rides and vendors will be open until 11 p.m.

“We’ll have entertainment every night, which will begin with Rumours on Thursday,” Kochensparger said.

The David W. Leonard #2295 Fraternal Order of Eagles Grande Parade will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 25, and the Linda J. Hartlaub Memorial 5K will begin at 9 a.m. on Sunday, May 26.

The popular Skipper Bud’s Fishing Derby will be held at Derby Pond in front of the Port Clinton Lighthouse on Sunday, May 26. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. and the derby begins at 12:30 p.m.

This year’s Walleye Festival promises to bring the same fun and attractions that made it the fourth largest festival in the state. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

“About 200 kids usually attend the fishing derby,” Kochensparger said. “There will be trophies, and the first 100 kids get fishing poles.”

A Memorial Day ceremony will take place at Veterans Park on Monday, May 27, at 10 a.m.

The Walleye Festival draws thousands of people to Port Clinton, whose collective presence boosts local businesses. Ohio Bike Week runs concurrently in Sandusky, which draws even more people to the Walleye Festival.

“Bowling Green State University’s marketing and tourism department did a study and determined that the economic impact of the festival is about $3.8 million in five days,” Kochensparger said.

Local businesses have had a welcome jumpstart to the summer season this spring.

“It initially started with the eclipse, and then we had the walleye tournament and the Walleye Festival,” Kochensparger said. “Everyone said the season ramped up early, and it has impacted local businesses.”

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May 2024

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