The long hard winter is behind us and Put-In-Bay officially opens for the season this weekend! The Miller Ferry left the dock at 7am this morning with great fanfare, making it’s maiden 2017 journey for the new schedule which starts today. Islanders and visitors alike rejoiced. We are expecting another incredible summer at Put-In-Bay and welcome you to make your summer reservations now before everything books up! Visit our Lodging Page and check out what is available, or visit our online Calendar of Events to choose a theme weekend for you and your family or group.
Pretty soon, the trees will be filled with leaves, the pools will be filled with fresh water, and the island will be filled with the joyful sounds of children and adults alike. Come join us. Have a great day… and we’ll see YOU at the Bay!
Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial’s longstanding tradition of celebrating peace through music has evolved into hosting the first Put-in-Bay Music Festival on Saturday, June 10, beginning at 11:00 AM.
“Perry’s Victory is excited to be a part of the Put-in-Bay Music Festival,” said Park Superintendent Barbara Fearon. “Music brings us together, exposes our commonalities, and promotes an atmosphere of peaceful coexistence.” This event is made possible only through the help of several valued partners. The Miller Boat Line is the primary sponsor of the Put-in-Bay Music Festival, she said, adding the event also benefited from an Ohio Arts Council grant that matched the ferry service’s contribution. Heidelberg Distributing is sponsoring two cornhole tournaments and the National Park Service is making substantial in-kind contributions.
“Put-in-Bay offers a wonderful variety of live music at the many downtown venues,” Superintendent Fearon said. “A few of the groups perform on the island but most are not likely to be found here. The musical performances will be eclectic and range from zydeco, bluegrass, grassroots, jazz, to blues.” Eight groups are scheduled to perform, including Strung Like a Horse, Mo’Mojo, The Floorwalkers, Emily Keener, JP and the Chatfield Boys, The Flyin Jays, and the Oh Chays. Bob Gatewood, who penned the Put-in-Bay anthem “Friends of the Bay”, will MC and Bob will also perform.
Among the performers is Strung Like a Horse, a Chattanooga based high energy group of “hillbilly misfits” with its own gypsy grass sound, and Mo’Mojo, a hard driving zydeco “pardi gras” band that infuses its sound with Americana, Cajun, reggae, and rock ‘n roll. A 25-foot stage will be located near the memorial column, Superintendent Fearon said, and festival attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets. No additional seating will be provided.
Two American Cornhole Association sanctioned cornhole tournaments (one for singles, the other for two-player teams) will be held in conjunction with the music festival. Pre-registration is required and you must be at least 18 years old to enter.
Food, such as Italian Sausage sandwiches, fries, and kid friendly fare will be available on site for purchase as well as soft drinks, water, and beer. The Lake Erie Islands Historical Society Museum will operate the beverage center and will benefit from sales.
In addition to performing, Mo’Mojo and The Oh Chays will conduct music workshops for all ages during the day-long event. Park Rangers will provide information and programs, families can expect a living history display centered around the park’s carronade and longboat, and there will be field games for all ages.
The Put-in-Bay Music Festival, as all concerts held at the park, is free and open to the general public, Superintendent Fearon said. The music festival is the brainchild of Scott Market, co-owner with his sister and brother of Miller Boat Line, and a guitar player with the well-known island band Ben Dover and the Screamers. Planning for the event has been a collaborative effort between the National Park Service, the Put-in-Bay Chamber of Commerce, the Perry Group, and the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society-all non-profits-as well as Miller Boat Line, Heidelberg Distributing and PepsiCo.
This could be a banner year for walleye on Lake Erie. Walleye numbers are increasing, and that should improve fishing on what is already considered the greatest walleye fishery in the world.
“The 2016 estimate is around 33 million, nearly half of which were the large 2014 year class,” says Travis Hartman, Lake Erie Program Administrator at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Sandusky Fish Research Unit. “This year we will add the 2015 year class as 2-year olds that seems to be even larger than 2014. The combination of large fish remaining from 2003 and an influx of two large year classes of young fish will give us incredible fishing for the foreseeable future.”
The walleye fishery translates to jobs and money. Sport fishing on Lake Erie translates by some estimates to more than $100 million in economic impact. That’s a fact not lost on charter captains who guide fishing parties on Lake Erie.
“Those numbers are good news,” Captain Paul Holzheimer said. Holzheimer is the owner of Bad Habit Walleye and Perch Charters. “There should be another 10 to 12 years of good walleye fishing if those spawning classes hold up.”
The walleye fishing on Lake Erie is so good that many charter captains and sport anglers are even trolling the open waters of Lake Erie in the middle of winter.
“I think the fish were always there, but now people have figured that out and they’re catching them,” says Holzheimer.
As for the later months in the spring, summer and fall, Hartman says the numbers will definitely be good, especially for smaller, eater-sized fish, but he adds there will still be the chance to catch a trophy from the aging 2003 walleye class.
“Fishing for “eaters” will be great in the western basin, as long as you have some patience to throw back ‘short fish’ early in the season. If you are willing to follow the migration of the aging 2003 fish you will have trophy opportunities throughout the year.”
Holzheimer agrees with that assessment: “They may not be giants, but there will be fish to catch; 18 to 22 inch fish. Those are legal fish. Fishermen will be happy to catch good numbers.”
As a charter captain, Holzheimer says conservation is still key to the fishery.
“Sustainability; making sure the water is clean, not polluted; not overharvesting; making sure the forage base stays strong; those are all things we need to keep an eye on. We need that for the future of walleye in Lake Erie.”
(Read More at: http://www.13abc.com/content/news/The-best-walleye-fishing-ever-why-2017-could-be-the-year-on-Lake-Erie-413097883.html)
How far away is Put-in-Bay? Just far enough! Far enough to let you escape from boring strip malls. And fast food drive-thru meals. And those annoying 2pm budget meetings. And all the other hoopla, hype and “have-tos” of everyday mainland life. Here on Put-in-Bay, stress and schedules just sort of drift away as you look out on the sun-kissed waves of Lake Erie. And you can sit back, relax and re-charge in one of the most beautiful island settings on the planet, let alone the Midwest.
Party with us for Christmas in July. Try boating out around Gibraltar Island. Catch the Sonny-S ferry over to Middle Bass Island. Take a jetski tour of the historic downtown bay. Watch the annual Bartender Olympics. Hike out into the sunny parks. Play in our Soccer, Volleyball, Rugby and Corn Hole tournaments. Tour Heineman and Doller wineries to relax and unwind. Or just hunker down and enjoy the events and entertainment of our downtown bars and restaurants. In Put-in-Bay Ohio, you’ll discover a million things that you and your family will want to do. And not one that you have to do. Here are the TOP FIVE SUMMER EVENTS AT PUT IN BAY…
Putinbay.com’s 18th Annual Put-in-Bay Spring Fling Customer Appreciation Weekend!
May 05-06, 2017
Put-in-Bay likes to make sure that our guests know that we appreciate them staying with us on Put-in-Bay. There is no better way to show this than by throwing a huge party in their honor. We put together over 1600 people, 60 kegs of beer, bands, burgers, brats and more to kick off our season on PIB. This event is the brainchild of Paul Jeris, the proprietor of Island Club Rentals and the Put-in-Bay Condos. He wanted to show thanks for the guests that chose to stay with him. Initially, it was a handful of people standing around a keg and bonfire and has now morphed into the ultimate season-opener bash of the year. Friday features the musical stylings of Island entertainer JD Owen. The beer taps are open for your enjoyment as well as we hang out around campfires and enjoy the evening. On Saturday, we fire up the grills and cook up a blessed bounty of burgers, brats and hot dogs. JD Owen will rock down the house again, as will a premier feature band from Mr. Ed’s Bar and Grille (check their entertainment schedule for the weekend to see who is playing). Be sure to book this weekend in advance as we often sell out for this date. We thank you for being our guests and we look forward to seeing you welcome in this Put-in-Bay season! Book your house or condo now at Island Club Home Rentals or Put-in-Bay Waterfront Condos or call 216-898-9951 to speak with one of their friendly reservationists!
URGENT UPDATE, 1/27/17: ALL HOUSES AT THE ISLAND CLUB ARE NOW BOOKED. THERE ARE A FEW PUT-IN-BAY CONDOS STILL AVAILABLE, BUT THEY ARE BOOKING QUICKLY
9th Annual Pyrate Fest Weekend at the Bay
June 22-25, 2017
Ahoy mates! This event has quickly became one of the most sought after weekends of the Put-in-Bay season. Be sure to deck yourself out in pirate gear, as many come to the island in full regalia with hopes to win one of the costume contests going on. The biggest contest is sponsored by Cayman Island Airways, the Cobalt Blue Resort, DiveTech and the Cayman Islands Convention and Visitors Bureau. The grand prize winner receives an all expense paid trip to beautiful Cayman. There are also a great number of family friendly activities throughout the weekend. The Pyrate Village sets up in DeRiviera Park boasting a variety of attractions and vendors. Guests can expect over 50 re-enactors discussing old cooking methods, tactics and all things pirate. Be sure to set sail for Put-in-Bay during the Pyrate Fest Weekend. Batten down the hatches for a Lake Erie adventure.
Fourth of July Fireworks
July 04, 2017
Put-in-Bay is an outstanding location to celebrate the independence of our great nation. With a plethora of Victorian charm, rich history and welcoming atmosphere, Putinbay is as American as apple pie. Lake Erie provides a beautiful backdrop the the annual Fourth of July Fireworks. This show is sponsored in part by many businesses across Put-in-Bay, including the operator of this website. Grab a seat on the break wall or on the lawn of Perry’s Monument, and be prepared for a fireworks display you won’t soon forget. Show your American pride by bringing flags and dressing in red, white and blue. Be sure to plan ahead as this is a highly sought after event. The Fourth of July Weekend is one of the best of the entire Put-in-Bay season. Let freedom ring at Put-in-Bay this year!
Christmas in July
July 21-23, 2017
Christmas in July at Put-in-Bay is a one of a kind experience. Out of all the great weekends of each Summer season, none have a bigger draw nor have the notoriety of this awesome weekend. Bars, boats and businesses are decked out with lights and displays of Christmas cheer. You are likely to come across Santa Clause himself on vacation from the North Pole wandering around Put-in-Bay. Be sure to grab some of the Christmas themed drinks and dining specials found at many of the local establishments. There is a parade that comes through the downtown Put-in-Bay strip complete with Christmas themed floats. Due to the overwhelming popularity of this weekend it is highly recommended that travel and lodging arrangements are made in advance. Come to Christmas in July at Put-in-Bay, you’ll be glad you did! For rental home or waterfront condo rentals, please call 216-898-9951.
9th Annual Put-in-Bay Road Race Reunion
August 27-30, 2017
The Put-in-Bay Road Race Reunion pays homage to the races that were held on the island from 1952-1959 and again in 1963. These races, sponsored by the Cleveland Sports Car Club, were held on the roads of Put-in-Bay and consisted of over 100 small bore race cars. The drivers were all amateurs, giving those who wished to try out racing an opportunity to do so. Incredibly, there are no accounts of drivers or spectators being injured during the duration of the races. Now, to bring some of the original adrenaline back into the equation, racers compete on the grounds of the Put-in-Bay Airport. Spectators line the fence surrounding the strip and watch the cars whiz by. The roar of the engines can be heard reverberating across Put-in-Bay. This event is a must attend for the season. The number of cars has grown immensely over the course of the years of the reunion. The checkered flag will be waiving at the 8th Annual Put-in-Bay Road Race Reunion, join in on the fun.
Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial National Monument
A 352 foot monument – the world’s most massive Doric column – was constructed in Put-in-Bay, Ohio by a multi-state commission from 1912 to 1915 “to inculcate the lessons of international peace by arbitration and disarmament.” Beneath the stone floor of the monument lie the remains of three American officers and three British officers. It is among the tallest monuments in the United States (the Gateway Arch, San Jacinto Monument, and the Washington Monument are taller). Although substantially completed in 1915, funding problems prevented the proper completion of a fully realized memorial complex. In 1919 the federal government assumed control of the monument and provided additional funding. The official dedication was celebrated on July 31, 1931. In 2002, 2.4 million dollars was spent on a new visitor center. The memorial is visited by 200,000 people each year.
Originally established as Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial National Monument by Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 2, 1936 (Proclamation No. 2182), it was redesignated a National Memorial and renamed on October 26, 1972. As with all historic areas administered by the National Park Service, the memorial was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. It is the only peace memorial within the National Park Service.
2013 US Quarter
Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial were selected to represent Ohio in the multi-year “America the Beautiful” Quarters series, honoring a national site from every US state, district, or territory. Its design shows Oliver Hazard Perry on the coin’s reverse, depicting the site’s statue of Perry with the International Peace Memorial in the distance. The design was selected from eleven proposals.
The Memorial had been closed for most of the summer of 2006 after a 500 pound piece of granite broke off the southeast face of the observation deck, falling 315 feet and leaving a crater in the plaza in June. No one was injured. Following a structural assessment that deemed it safe for visitors, the memorial reopened on August 26, 2006, with a fence surrounding it.
The monument closed again on September 30, 2009 for repairs, and reopened on July 3, 2012. The repairs to the observation deck are estimated to have cost about $7,000,000.
Stone Laboratory at Put-in-Bay is the oldest freshwater biological field station in the United States (1929).
Stone Labs is both a campus for Ohio State University and site for Ohio Sea Grant studies. It has been central to much Great Lakes research. Stone Lab is scenic with a natural arch, “Eye of the Needle,” and Perry’s Lookout from the Battle of Lake Erie. That research assumed more than regular importance when Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) rocketed into international news recently. HAB toxins were shutting off drinking water to 400,000 residents in the Toledo area back in 2014.
Questions have been raised on what impact HAB might have on sportfishing. Lake Erie’s western basin is a top destination for Midwestern fishermen for walleye and yellow perch. Some coming from as far away as North Dakota. The good news is that fish contamination from HAB is not even close to the warning stage. Studies focused on sportfishing impact are in early stages, so more information will come as the studies build.
Stone Labs is a popular spot to visit for aspiring high school and college students with interests in marine or aquatic studies. The lab’s space covers 6 1/2 acres of Gibraltar Island; and includes Jay Cooke’s Castle which some say is haunted.
Though Lake Erie only has two percent of the water in the Great Lakes, it has 50 percent of the sportfishing. Unfortunately, the fertileness that leads to the good fishing is also connected to HAB. Dredging the bottom of Lake Erie brings up some interesting biological remnants. Among the things brought up were Mayfly larvae. Their presence indicates that Lake Erie has healthy water and good oxygen.
There’s lots to see and do if you are a hands on student. One fun tour is of the lab on shore, where water samples are checked with high tech machinery (FlowCAM and Nutrient Autoanalyzer). Another is to stop by and say hi to Kristin “Snake Lady” Stanford, featured on Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs,” who does her work there with restoring the Lake Erie watersnake, a subspecies of the northern watersnake.
The watersnake was recently removed from the endangered species list which sounds odd because they are everywhere on Put-in-Bay and you can’t find a meter of shoreline without them. But it is good that they are present. About 98 percent of their diet is the invasive round gobies and they do a great job of eating them.
The Put-in-Bay Brewery & Distillery, located on South Bass Island in Lake Erie, underwent a massive remodeling over last winter. The changes were so dramatic that many returning guests admitted that they were confused.
Co-owner and brewer Carl Krueger shared that the brewpub, which opened in 1996 and is in a former firehouse, was in line for a much-needed update, especially to keep up with other bars on the island that have done significant face-lifts over the last several years.
The 8.5-barrel Price-Schonstrom brewing system was moved upstairs and out of sight, while the bar was extended, new booths and furniture were added, a tin ceiling was installed. Stones now form an attractive wall behind the bar. Krueger estimated that they invested anywhere from $400,000 to $500,000 in the remodeling.
The improvements were made during the offseason. Given the fact that fewer than 500 people live on the island year-round and business dries up – or more accurately freezes – during the winter, there’s no reason to stay open all year. The brewpub season runs from May into October, depending on the weather. The seasonal nature of the business is one of the significant challenges facing an island brewery.
Others include hiring staff, water quality, making sure you make enough beer but not so much that it has to be dumped at the end of the season, and getting brewing ingredients. Just like customers, all the ingredients must come by boat or plane.
Unlike other commercial breweries, Put-in-Bay uses malt extract to produce its beers such as the Watermelon Wheat, Pass Out Bourbon Stout and West Shore IPA. The Brewery uses as much grain as they can, but said it’s just not feasible to do all-grain brewing on the island, especially when it comes to disposing of the waste.
The brewpub – which has a food menu that ranges from burgers to pizzas to fish – regularly offers four to seven of its own beers on draft, along with others from well-known breweries such as Great Lakes and New Belgium. The Summer Brew, a wheat ale, is the best-seller, with the Watermelon Wheat a close second.
Put-in-Bay has benefited from beer tourism, as craft beer fans seek out the brewpub now, as opposed to when it first opened and customers wanted only big national brands.
Getting to the island is half the fun of visiting the brewery. Most people arrive via the Miller Ferries, a vehicle and passenger ferry, or the Jet Express, a high-speed passenger-only ferry that docks right in the middle of downtown. Once on the island, many people rent golf carts to get around. The roads are abuzz with carts on weekends.
Put-in-Bay, which shares the name of the village on the island, is one of three small breweries on the Lake Erie Islands. The Kelleys Island Brewery is on Kelleys Island, while the Lake Erie Island Microbrewery is on Middle Bass Island. St Hazards Microbrewery on Middle Bass is temporarily closed.
Put-in-Bay has a well-earned reputation for being a party island. There are a slew of bars downtown, and the village regularly attracts partygoers on the weekends. Outside of Saturday, the island is a great place for families because of activities such as swimming and sailing. The island also is home to caves, wineries and the 352-foot Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial, which honors those who fought in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.
Event: Put in Bay Boss’ Slow-Pitch Open
Type: Co-Ed & Men’s Softball Tournament
Dates: Saturday, October 15, 2016
Location: Put-in-Bay Softball Field
Hotel Rooms: http://www.putinbayresort.com
Rental Homes: https://www.islandclub.com
Waterfront Condos: https://www.putinbaycondos.com
Join All Sport FUNdamentals on Put-in-Bay (South Bass Island) for a Co-Ed and Men’s Softball Tournament on Saturday, October 15, 2016 where we will be giving away bottles!! The weekend will be filled with activities, live music, great food and cold drinks. There are a limited number of teams that can participate in the tournament so do not delay in getting your team signed up!
What You Get For Registering:
– Winning teams will receive their choice of a BOTTLE of tequila, vodka or whiskey!
– A weekend away from it all!
– Team can be any size you would like (minimum 10 players)
– Umpires for every game
– Food and drinks available close to the field
– Live music all weekend at local bars within 1/4 mile of the field
1- Team registration is $200 regardless of many people are on a team.
2- If you would like t-shirts the total is $275 for 10 t-shirts and team registration ($10 for each additional t-shirt). Sizes 2XL and 3XL are $15.
3- T-SHIRTS MUST BE PRE-ORDERED. We will not have any extra at the tournament. We will need shirt sizes by October 5.
4- You can register for the tournament online at https://allsportsraces.redpodium.com/put-in-bay-softball-tournament. There are processing fees for online registration which we can’t control. If you are sending a check please make it out to All Sport FUNdamentals and send to:
All Sport FUNdamentals
PO Box 361
Westerville, OH 43086
PLEASE EMAIL THE ROSTER BY OCTOBER 13 (roster can change on tournament day if someone cannot attend).CLICK HERE FOR THE ROSTER FORM.
The 23rd Annual Oktoberfest hosted by the Put-in-Bay Chamber of Commerce will be held October 8th-9th.
The event will be held 11am to 7pm on Saturday and from 12pm to 5pm on Sunday, and will take place under a tent in DeRivera Park, downtown Put-In-Bay.
The German-style festival features a wide array of German food from island restaurants, hot spiced wine and cold beer, German Music from The Maxx Band, German dancers and more.
Admission to Oktoberfest is $4 each day or a two-day pass can be purchased from $6. Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Additional information on the event and lodging can be found at www.putinbay.com
If you start your Lake Erie vacation in Sandusky, you will be very close to some excellent dining, gardens, and lakefront scenery. Fine dining (not really child appropriate) includes J Bistro, Crush Winebar, and Zinc Brasserie. Small City Taphouse (Asian fusion and craft beers), Water Street Bar & Grill (good pub food, fine for families before 8pm), and Dockside Café (outside dining only, simple foods from a service window) are all family appropriate. Also great in downtown Sandusky is the New Sandusky Fish Co, which is right next to Shoreline Park (east of where you’re staying). Also carryout/outside dining only, but the best Lake Erie fish you will ever taste. Port Sandusky family restaurant is new-ish, and I’ve not yet tried it but have heard good things. The Lunch Box is a well established place for breakfast and lunch. Mr. Smith’s Coffee is a good downtown place for breakfast and coffee in the AM. I’ve also never been to Hot Dog Tony’s because I don’t like hot dogs, but is very convenient to where you’ll be staying.
Outside of downtown, local family favorites are Cameo Pizza, Chet & Matt’s pizza, Berardi’s (especially for breakfast), Sortino’s Little Italy, and Toft’s Dairy (best ice cream ever). Demma’s Family Italian is a carryout place that has some of the best authentic (we’re talking 4 generations using the same recipes) Italian ever.
The Merry-Go-Round museum in downtown Sandusky is also cute and fun. The toddlers will love riding the inside antique carousel! And the downtown parks are beautiful to stroll around in. African Safari Wildlife park is fun for the kids. Bring a bag of extra carrots! As is the Deer Park.
Another place that enjoys visitors that not many people know about is Back to the Wild. It is a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation center operated by the Rutger family and their volunteers/employees. You can call ahead of time to ask when a good time to visit is in order to avoid any large group tours that may be going on. There is no charge, but they suggest a $20-$30 donation. You will see permanent residents that include owls, eagles, hawks, turtles, bobcat, fox, snakes, etc. You can also see some of the animals that are temporary residents that are being rehabbed and will be re-released. It is an amazing place. If you google search, you’ll see it’s often featured in local news stories. Mona Rutger was a finalist for CNN’s Person of the Year a few years ago (though she didn’t win), and was awarded Animal Planet’s Hero of the Year a few years before that. They struggle to stay afloat financially, but northern Ohio’s wildlife would be lost without them.
Speaking of… Sheldon’s Marsh nature preserve is a great place to visit with the stroller for a nice evening walk in the woods. Also not to be missed in the area (mainland) is the Marblehead Lighthouse. Very picturesque, and you can (carefully) wade on the rocks there!
As you make your way to the islands…
A friend of ours just spent 4 days and 3 nights on Kelley’s and had a great time with their kids (9, 7, 3). I really recommend visiting KI as well as PIB. There are two “island hopping” options out of Sandusky. One is the Goodtime I cruise boat. You spend a lot of time on the water with this one. But it includes stops on both islands. I personally don’t think the time on KI is long enough, but it’s enough to rent a golf cart and cruise around for a bit.
The other island hopping option from Sandusky is the Jet Express, which is much faster and has a more generous schedule. Be sure to look at the Sandusky –> KI schedule, the KI–>PiB schedule, and the PiB –> Sandusky schedule to plan your day. It is also going to be more expensive. For example, you could take the 9am boat to KI, arrive at 9:25, depart KI for PiB at 11:40, or 1:40, then take the 4:30 or 6:45 boat from PiB back to Sandusky (with a brief stop at Kelley’s, you don’t have to disembark).
Take a stroller or carrier for the little one. Even if you end up renting a four person golf cart and holding him/her, you’ll want the stroller option in case he/she needs a nap and can sleep in it. Take a bike lock and lock the stroller to a fence near one of the golf cart rental places if needed.
Personally, I love PIB during the daytime. We’ve never had an issue with taking our kids there during the day. There is SO much to see and do, and you can bypass the downtown bars completely if you want to. KI is also very nice though. Quiet, laid back, and has a very nice beach at the state park for your little one to cool off and enjoy putting their toes in the sand.
I think you all will enjoy yourself regardless.