Wylie Walleye Jr. has proven a fish can fly, and do it in style. This year’s New Year’s celebration on Tuesday in downtown Port Clinton will set the swimming standard for a bus with the new “Bar Swim.”
The slick, comfortable Baron Bus fleet will allow revelers to “Ride Like Royalty” for a safe and wonderful way to enjoy the surrounding venues. The busses are heated, have bathrooms, wi-fi and electric power.
It will be one big party.
With crowds expected, a Cleveland-based Barons Bus will begin their routes at Catawba Brewing Company, The Bait House Bar on the River and Jamestown Tavern. The busses will visit parties at Beer Thirty’s Eatery & Tavern, Catawba Island Brewing Company, The Bait House River Bar, 1812 Food and Spirits, Jamestown Tavern and the Erie Social Shuffleboard Club and Bar.
Jefferson Street will be designated as a downtown drop-off and turnaround area for busses, group transportation and taxies.
Each Barons Bus will make round trips every 30 minutes. The last run will culminate at 11:30 p.m. in time for the 21st annual festive Walleye Drop, which has grown into an internationally famous event.
Sponsored by The Beacon, Lake Erie Shores & Islands and a variety of radio and TV stations, the bus rides are free and the focus of the Walleye Drop’s new Don’t Drink and Drive Campaign.
The object of everyone’s affection is Wylie Walleye Jr., a new version created a year ago by Ross Kette of Rain Drop Products in Ashland. The LED lights can beam all of the colors of the rainbow, and can be controlled from far below the flying fish, which will land at the stage on the corner of Madison and Perry streets.
While plenty of the annual entertainment will return, some of the new festivities include:
- Flippin’ Around the Peninsula: Remove a special entry page from this week’s Beacon and stop at the 15 businesses on it their listing stamped. Bring the completed entry slips to the Knights of Columbus, 109 E. Perry St., Port Clinton for a chance to win prizes. If you did not make it to all the stops, you can still participate in the Dice Game.
- GIANT Dice Game: Each stamped entry on the Flippin’ Around the Peninsula page will earn a ticket to roll the giant dice.
Many of the Port Clinton food and merchandise vendors will be open all afternoon, with the Port Clinton Fishery staying until after the crowds go home. Many will offer New Year’s Eve specials, including Walleye Drop souvenirs and specialty popcorn at the Great Lakes Popcorn Company adjacent to the Walleye Drop site.
The Knights of Columbus Hall near the Walleye Drop stage will be filled with special kids activities from 4-6 p.m., including a special Minnow Drop for the youngsters, games, snacks, balloon animals and Silly Tilly.
For a complete listing of other downtown Walleye Drop events, check the official listing from the Wylie Walleye Foundation. Here is a short list:
5 p.m. – Midnight Live DJ on Stage: Music on the street and commentating provided by professional DJ Scott Schultz
6-7 p.m. – Touch A Truck on Madison Street. Step outside for the famous Touch-A-Truck! Let your kids crawl around, honk the horn and see how those big trucks work.
6:30-7 p.m. – Hula Hoop Contest on the Stage.
7:30-11 p.m. – The Junk on Stage: Put on your dancing shoes and enjoy all your favorite hits performed live by Port Clinton’s favorite home town party band.
7:30p– 10:30p – “WALL-EYES” Giant Dice Game: Every 30 minutes we will be drawing for a winner.
8:30-10 p.m. – Rock-Paper-Scissors Contest. Final round being held on the main stage.11:15 p.m. – Midnight- Grand Prize winners announced for 50/50 raffle, souvenirs thrown from boats.
11:30 p.m. – Speech by Port Clinton Mayor Hugh Wheeler Jr.
MIDNIGHT: WALLEYE DROP and FIREWORKS!
A very glitzy Wyle Walleye Jr., radiant with flashing LED lights, a smooth, green skin and pointed teeth, will be back on its balance beam on New Year’s Eve. The spectacular fish will be lowered at midnight on Tuesday in downtown Port Clinton to mark the arrival of the new year. (Photo by D’Arcy Egan)