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Port Clinton's Walleye Festival is back for its 40th year

Posted at 1:13 PM, May 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-27 17:16:02-04

PORT CLINTON, Ohio — As more Ohioans get vaccinated— many people in Northeast Ohio are looking forward to events for Memorial Day weekend.

This weekend, the Walleye Festival returns to Port Clinton after the event was canceled in 2020, but organizers say they’re ready for the big comeback to celebrate the festival’s 40th year.

The Walleye Festival is the biggest celebration of the year in Port Clinton and residents are thrilled that the event is making its return.

It doesn't seem like work this year because we're just all so thrilled to be able to do it,” said President and CEO of the Port Clinton Chamber of Commerce Nicole Kochensparger.

The event at Waterworks Park is run by the nonprofit Main Street Port Clinton. The celebration is the city’s largest fundraiser, bringing in about $3.8 million annually and 75% of the operating budget for the chamber of commerce.

“We provide grants to downtown business owners. We plant flowers every year,” Kochensparger said. “We take care of all the downtown. It's how we add extra free events throughout the summer.”

In order for it to go swimmingly, organizers are ready to reel people in with more than 80 vendors, including food stands, carnival rides, live music and a grand parade on Saturday.

The children’s fishing derby will happen on Sunday.

To top it all off, the city will also have a Memorial Day parade at 10 a.m. Monday morning.

When it comes to COVID-19 safety, organizers say they’re following CDC guidelines. Masks will not be required to enter, but they’re asking those who aren’t vaccinated to wear masks and social distance.

There will also be extra cleaning crews and hand sanitizer stations.

The Walleye Festival kicks off at 5 p.m. Thursday evening and runs through Monday.

The carnival rides will shut down Tuesday and Wednesday but will reopen Thursday. The rides will continue to operate through Sunday, June 6.

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