9 Lake Erie festivals you won’t want to miss in summer 2018

Getting set for summer?

Think warm thoughts, and check out the most unique and fun festivals on Ohio’s Lake Erie shores, from June through August 2018.

You can talk like a pirate — and dress like one too. You can run along the Cuyahoga River, compete in a stand-up paddleboard race, sip wine while eating walleye or board a tall ship. You can even watch the biggest World War II reenactment, of D-Day, in the United States. 

Mark your calendars. We’ll see you there!

For an entire list of events on Lake Erie, check out our events section.

1. Pyrate Fest X, June 21-24

Put-in-Bay

Take part in costume contests, kids programs, a pirate skirmish, cannon demonstrations and cardboard boat races. The brig Niagara, a tall ship, will even be in port.

2. Share the River Ramble, June 22

Flats, Cleveland

Hosted by Share the River on the anniversary of the 1969 Cuyahoga River fire, the second annual Share the River Ramble is a free, 4.2 mile “participatory connect-the-dots, run/walk of the Cuyahoga River riverfront.” The route includes areas that have recently been converted to a park or public path or are being considered.  Says Share the River: “We want to physically connect people to the evolving transformation of Cleveland’s riverfront that in some ways is unrecognizable from that June 22 day in 1969.”

3. Sandusky Festival of Sail, July 12-15

Downtown Sandusky

Tour or sail on replica brigs and schooners, gathered in Sandusky Bay, for this four-day celebration of Sandusky’s Bicentennial.

 

The world’s largest rubber duck will also be part of the festivities, along with vendors, food and live music.

4. Huron River Fest, July 13-15

Downtown Huron

Watch the fireworks, take in the road show, enter the boat decorating contest or run in a 5K in one of the most popular festivals of the Erie Shores and Islands summer.

5. Mentor Off-Shore Boat Grand Prix, July 20-22

Headlands Beach State Park, Mentor

Super Boat Racing returns to Mentor Headlands Beach for the third annual Mentor Super Boat Grand Prix July 20-22.

The event is like car racing, but with boats, on the water. It draws some of the top race teams in the world, including Cleveland Construction.

6. Whiskey Island Stand-up Paddle Fest, July 21

Whiskey Island

Grab your stand-up paddleboard and register for the 6 mile elite race (3 laps), 2 mile challenge (1 lap), or a short kid’s dynamic course. Beginners and advanced paddlers are welcome. A limited number of stand up paddleboards (includes paddle, lifejacket, and leash) can be reserved. There’s also a kayak race. A festival follows with demos, fun races, music, food, door prizes and more.

7. Wine and Walleye Festival, July 28-29

Historic Ashtabula Harbor, Bridge Street, Ashtabula

Hosted by the city and the nonprofit Lift Bridge Community Association, the 9th annual all-day Wine and Walleye Festival features a fireworks celebration and lighted boat parade Saturday night. Also on tap: live music and entertainment, wine and craft beer tasting, gourmet food stations including fresh walleye and perch, boutique shopping, and a wine garden.

8. Burning River Fest, Aug. 17-18

Old Coast Guard Station, Cleveland

Celebrate the comeback of the Cuyahoga River at the annual Burning River Fest at Cleveland’s Old Coast Guard Station, on Whiskey Island.

The evening festival features two stages of music, along with Great Lakes Brewery beers and food trucks. All ticket and beer sales from will be donated to clean water efforts in Northeast Ohio.

9. D-Day Reenactment, Aug. 18

Conneaut Harbor

One of the most realistic and educational annual reenactments of D-Day – June 6th, 1944 — in the world, and the largest World War II reenactment in the United States. Thousands of people travel to watch the re-creation of the amphibious Allied landings upon the beaches of Normandy, France, as re-enactors from across the United States and Canada assemble on the beach.

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