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    Walleye Festival to kick off Thursday

    By Jessica Denton,


    PORT CLINTON - More than 20,000 people per day will fill Waterworks Park for the 43rd Annual Port Clinton Walleye Festival this weekend.

    This year there's a mix of old and new events to entertain the crowds, which swells to about 20,000 to 24,000 people each day.

    Food like bourbon chicken, fresh Lake Erie walleye and perch, plenty of drink options, amusement rides, free entertainment, shopping vendors, and a parade will fill the park and streets for the five-day festival.

    The annual event presented by Main Street Port Clinton draws more than 20,000 people per day, Main Street President Nicole Kochensparger said. The festival serves as their biggest fundraiser for the non-profit organization.Events kick off at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 23 with an opening ceremony. Rides, food and merchandise will open at 5 p.m. and will stay open until 11 p.m. both Thursday and Friday.

    'Cool Zoo' joins festival lineup

    New this year is Orlando-based "Cool Zoo," which will bring a sloth, an alligator, kangaroo, hermit crabs, monkeys, and more with them.

    Nationally recognized for their conservation efforts, Cool Zoo reached out to Main Street offering to bring wildlife and a petting zoo to the festival for the first time.

    For a donation, festival-goers can get up close and personal with exotic animals.

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    "We are always looking for new and exciting things to add," Kochensparger said. "It's going to be a great weekend full of entertainment."

    World-famous Fleetwood Mac cover band, Rumours, will play at 7 p.m. Thursday in the free entertainment tent.Friday, May 24 will feature the rides, food and merchandise starting at 5 p.m., and The Eric Sowers Band will play at 7 p.m.

    Grande Parade kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday

    Saturday, May 25, will kick off bright and early with the David W. Leonard No. 2295 Fraternal Order of Eagles Grande Parade, stepping off at 10 a.m. This year's Grand Marshall is Roseann Hickman, former Port Clinton Councilperson, business owner, local realtor and advocate for ALS awareness.

    "Roseann gave her all to Main Street for over 10 years; as a board member, as the chair of our Promotions Committee, as a volunteer, by bringing new events to our downtown, and by helping with the Walleye Festival," Main Street noted in a release.

    Food, rides and the Huntington National Bank Vendor Mall at Waterworks Park will be open from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m.

    Chase Eagleson will take the stage from noon until 2:30 p.m., and Skittle Bots will play starting at 7 p.m. in the free entertainment tent.

    Runners can get their 5K season started at the Linda J. Hartlaub Memorial 5K race on Sunday, May 26 starting at 9 a.m. at Jefferson Pier.

    Registration for the Skipper Bud's Fishing Derby at Derby Pond will open at 11:30 a.m., with the derby starting at 12:30 p.m.

    Food, rides and the Huntington National Bank Vendor Mall will be open from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m.

    Lance Howredel will play the entertainment tent from noon until 2:30 p.m., followed by Soul Pilot from 3 to 6 p.m. Port Clinton's former Harvest Festival entertainment favorites, The Earthquakers, will headline the free entertainment stage on Sunday night.

    Memorial Day ceremony slated for Monday

    The Earthquakers hail from Meadville/Erie, Pennsylvania, and will take the stage at 7 p.m.

    "We are excited to have them back," Kochensparger said of the rock band. Monday, May 27, will begin with the Memorial Day ceremony at Veterans Park on Second Street at 10 a.m.

    Food, rides and the Huntington National Bank Vendor Mall will be open from 11a a.m. until 5 p.m.

    The festival's final entertainment act will be Meager Kings, who will play from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.

    The festival will officially close Monday at 5 p.m.

    This year's sponsors include LogistiQ, Baumann Auto Center, Crown Battery, Frederick Agency and Auto Owners Insurance, Shores and Islands Ohio, Fraternal Order of Eagles 2295, Jolly Roger's, OurGuest Inn and Suites, Lake Disposal Services, Skipper Bud's, and Huntington National Bank.

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