Wylie the Walleye “Drops” in for Another Year of Fun
December 19, 2018
The New Year’s Eve Walleye Drop is better than ever for 2019! This Lake Erie Shores & Islands area tradition is in its 22nd year. Join thousands of festival-goers for a fun time ringing in the new year at the Walleye Capital of the World. This year the festival is introducing some great new activities, while continuing the customs visitors and locals know and love.
What hasn’t changed
The event is still super family-friendly. With a 4 pm kick-off, the kids party known as the “Minnow Drop,” is held indoors with entertainment provided by the Watering Hole Safari. The kids’ party also includes fun games, food, and crafts. After the minnow drops at 6 pm, visit the touch-a-truck event set up outside to usher in the outdoor events.
Live music and DJ entertainment will take the main outdoor stage from 7 pm – Midnight, featuring popular local music group THe jUNK. Self-described as the ultimate party band, The jUNK offers covers of rock and pop favorites with high enthusiasm and crowd involvement whenever possible.
And, of course, the stroke of Midnight will bring the dropping of the 20-ft, 600-lb, fiberglass Wylie Walleye, Jr. – a new-and-improved version of the proverbial walleye which debuted in 2018. Wylie’s rockin’ decent will be followed by an amazing firework show over the Portage River.
Here’s what’s new this year
Flippin’ Around the Peninsula – This fun new “explore and win” opportunity gives participants the chance to win one of three grand prizes, just for visiting area business between December 27 and 31. Contestants will take a map of participating locations and get a stamp at each place they visit. Maps will be available in The Beacon newspaper beginning on December 27 and can be picked up at The Beacon’s offices, 205 SE Catawba Rd., Port Clinton, or at participating locations. Those locations will be restaurants, bars, and shops in and around the Marblehead and Catawba Island peninsulas and Port Clinton. Only 500 entries will be taken and fully-stamped maps must be dropped off at the Knights of Columbus by 10:00 pm on the 31st to be eligible for prizes. The Grand Prize drawings will take place on the main stage between 11:00 – 11:45 pm. You do not need to be present at the Walleye Drop to win, but contestants must be 21 or older to participate. Grand prizes range from a ticket and merchandise package with Toledo Walleye hockey to a six-person fishing charter and wine dinner.
“Wall-eyes” Giant Dice Game – If participants aren’t able to visit all the businesses on the Flippin’ Around the Peninsula map, they still have a chance to win great prizes. For every stamp received (from businesses visited between December 27-31) participants will also receive a ticket to potentially take part in the “Walleyes” dice game. Chances in the dice game can also be purchased at the Knights of Columbus hall during the Walleye Drop event, where a ticket will be drawn every 30 minutes between 7:00 – 10:00 pm. The ticket drawn must be present to play. Every roll is a winner, but if the contestant rolls “Wall-eyes” (the Walleye Drop equivalent of snake eyes, or double ones) they get a better prize. Prizes will be gift baskets or certificates from participating merchants. For the Walleyes Dice Game any age can play.
Bar Swim – Instead of a traditional bar “crawl,” this year there is an official “swim” with several locations participating. FREE bus transportation will be provided between venues and to downtown Port Clinton. Charter busses, provided by Barons Bus, will loop Catawba, Marblehead, and Port Clinton participating businesses between 7:00 and 11:30 pm. Busses will offer heat, bathrooms, Wi-Fi, and power outlets, along with convenient, safe transportation. The busses will end their run at 11:30 pm downtown, so festival-goers will have to plan accordingly to get home or back to their cars – several taxi services will be on-hand in “Taxi Alley” on Jefferson St.
Promotional sponsors for this year’s Walleye Drop celebration include Lake Erie Shores & Islands, Fox 36, Walmart, BAS Broadcasting, Barons Bus, and The Beacon. For more information on participating merchants for Flippin’ Around the Peninsula and the free Bar Swim, or for a complete schedule of events, be sure to follow Wylie Walleye Foundation on Facebook. Information on overnight accommodations and other area activities and events is available at SHORESandISLANDS.com.
Ohio's Lake Erie Shores & Islands
One of the Midwest’s hottest vacation spots, the region between Toledo and Cleveland provides an eclectic mix of historically significant sites, family-fun amusements, gorgeous scenery, and outdoor recreation.