VERMILION — This weekend the city by the lake is gearing up to celebrate the bounty of the sea with a festival celebrating fish — and, not to be forgotten, fathers.
It’s called the Festival of the Fish, and it is the must-do family event for residents. There will be parades, boat races, pageants, food, fun, lots of entertainment, and don’t forget the food.
“The festival is always a lot of hard work and a lot of fun,” organizer Sandy (Coe) Grisel said. “I just hope I can live up to my mother’s standards and make this festival the best.”
Grisel, who for years has stood on the sidelines offering her assistance when she can, is taking on the role of organizer for this year’s festival. The job normally held by her mother, Maureen “Moe” Coe, was bestowed upon Grisel after Coe, the former president of the Vermilion Chamber of Commerce, unexpectedly died more than three weeks ago.
“This and the Woollybear Festival — those were always my mom’s big things to do,” Grisel said. “She loved organizing, and I’m learning she was really good at it. This is a lot of work. I definitely feel like that little girl clumping around in her mother’s high heel shoes.”
Still, Grisel said sitting behind her mother’s desk and reading her notes concerning the festival is a lot easier than she thought.
“It makes me feel closer to her, if that makes any sense,” Grisel said. “She had her hand in everything that I feel like she’s here. Plus, I just want to keep her memory alive because this is what she worked hard doing. This year I would love to dedicate the festival to her.”
Everyone involved is set to make the 41st annual Festival of the Fish the best one yet.
“If we don’t, Maureen will come down here and bop us all on the head,” Pam Cooper, the acting Chamber president, joked. “It will be a success no matter what.”
When the expected 25,000 to 30,000 visitors cram into the city for the three-day event, they will be treated to a host of fun activities and events, Cooper added.
On Friday, more than
60 young girls will vie for the coveted title of princess or queen in one of the largest festival pageants in the county. Also that is the day dozens of pretty pooches will walk in the annual pet parade sponsored by Lorain National Bank and Fox TV-8.
On Saturday, the day kicks off with a 9 a.m. 5K run and 1-mile walk sponsored by Vermilion YMCA and ends with a lighted boat parade on the Vermilion River sponsored by Larry Rolince and German’s Villa.
Sandwiched between those two events will be a sand castle contest, crazy craft race and hours of music.
Sunday wraps up the festival with a Father’s Day parade and firefighter water fight.
“The slogan for the festival is the reunion of family and friends, and this year will be just that,” Cooper said. “Festivals are an excellent way to attract outside visitors. People don’t just come for the festival. They also come to see what our local businesses have to offer.”
Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, June 15
Noon – Midway opens
12:30 p.m. – Pet parade with Dick Goddard of Fox TV-8 (Sponsored by Lorain National Bank and Fox TV-8)
2:30 p.m. – Princess pageant (Sponsored by Vactionland Federal Credit Union, Pepsi-Cola, Giant Eagle, Erie Acres Miniature Horse Farm, Bonne Bell Cosmetics and Order of the Eastern Star)
6 p.m. – Opening ceremonies
6:15 p.m. – Ribbon cutting
6:30 p.m. – Queens contest (Sponsored by Bonne Bell Cosmetics and Kingston of Vermilion)
7 to 11 p.m. – John Burrow and the Magoo’s at beverage tent
8:30 to 11 p.m. – Mornin’ After Band (Sponsored by FirstMerit Bank)
Saturday, June 16
9 a.m. – 5K run and 1-mile walk (Sponsored by Vermilion YMCA)
9 to 11 a.m. – Sandcastle contest at Main Street Beach (Sponsored by Cassell Enterprises and Domino’s Pizza)
Noon – Midway open
Noon to 2 p.m. – Grace United Methodist Praise Band
1 p.m. – Crazy craft races (public boat docks) (Sponsored by Doug and Cindy Keith, Jr., Dry Dock Marine store, Lake Erie Towing, Larry Rolince, Bill Summers, Red Clay on the River, Vermilion Port Authority, Bill McCarthy, Lagoon Marine and Romp’s Waterport.)
1:30 to 3 p.m. – Kids games at gazebo in Victory Park (Sponsored by YMCA, Kingston of Vermilion, Alco, Putter Port and Romp’s Dairy Dock)
3 p.m. – Crazy craft awards
3:30 to 5:30 p.m. – The Roadhouse Band
6 to 8 p.m. – The Roadhouse Band
7 to 11 p.m. – Tim Blake at beverage tent
8:30 to 11 p.m. – Joe Bell and the Swing Lizards
At dusk – Lighted boat parade on Vermilion River (Sponsored by Larry Rolince and German’s Villa)
Sunday, June 17
10 a.m. – Queens’ breakfast at German’s Villa. Open to public. Call (440) 967-4477 to RSVP
Noon – Midway opens
12:30 p.m. – Father’s Day Parade (Sponsored by Lakeland Lodges)
Vermilion firefighters water fight immediately following parade in front of fire station #1 on Ohio Street
2 to 3 p.m. — Cool Water Quartet
2 to 6 p.m. – DJ Scottie at beverage tent
3:15 p.m. – Parade judging on the main stage
4 to 6 p.m. – Dennis Chandler Band, Rock ‘n roll music from the ‘50s and ‘60s