Where can I Ring in the New Year at Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands?

Ring in the New Year with one of these celebrations at Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands and make the last day of the year memorable!

Walleye Madness at Midnight. Photo credit: Bill Gordon Photomaker Studios

Walleye Madness at Midnight. Photo credit: Bill Gordon Photomaker Studios

Walleye Madness at Midnight
Downtown, N. Madison St., Port Clinton
3 pm-12 am
Free
Where else can you see a 20-foot, 600-pound walleye drop from the sky at Midnight? This annual event will provide fun and excitement for the whole family! Stay up-to-date with events, vendors, and new entertainment on the Facebook page “Walleye Madness at Midnight.”

A New Year’s Eve Celebration
Chez Francois/Touche’ Wine Bar, 555 Main St., Vermilion
440.967.0630
There will be three sittings: 4:30-6:30 pm, 7-9 pm, and 9:45 pm. Each seating will feature a multi-course dinner. The last seating will feature Mr. Mike Moore with an atmosphere for dancing. Note that availability of the last seating is extremely limited. Reservations are required.

Las Vegas Style Charity Casino
Sawmill Creek Resort, 400 Sawmill Creek Dr. (off US 6), Huron
800.729.6455
8:30 pm-1 am
Featuring Vegas-style gambling, dancing, cash bar, and a chance to win prizes with gaming tickets. Overnight packages are available at Sawmill Creek Resort.

New Year’s Eve at Quarry Hill
Quarry Hill Winery, 8403 Mason Rd., Berlin Heights
419.588.3179
8 pm-12 am
Enjoy musical entertainment by Jay Guerrero.

New Year’s Eve at Zinc & Hearth Tavern
Zinc Brasserie, 142 Columbus Ave., Sandusky
419.503.0864
4 pm-1 am
Live acoustic music by the Serfs. Dinner reservations available at 6 & 9 pm for a multi-course dinner with wine. Reservations are required. Please call for details.

New Year’s Eve Celebration with Derrick & Derrick
Rosie’s Bar & Grill, 102 Madison St., Port Clinton
419.960.7310
9 pm-1 am

New Year’s Eve Party
Port Clinton VFW, 214 Madison St., Port Clinton
419.734.9981
6 pm
Free
Watch Trooper the Trout drop with good friends, great food, and lots of fun.

Toast to the Town New Year’s Eve Gala
Merry-Go-Round Museum, 301 Jackson St. (at US 6), Sandusky
419.626.6111
6-8 pm
$15/person
Begin the evening at this gala featuring carousel rides, music, food, and beverages.

New Year’s Eve Party
Ghostly Manor Thrill Center, 3319 Milan Rd. (US 250), Sandusky
419.626.4467
8 pm
Families, kids, teens…everyone is welcome to celebrate on the skating rink! Choose from two party packages: $10 includes skate admission, skate rental, NYE party favors, one slice of pizza & a small pop or $20 VIP includes skate admission, choice rental of skates, scooter or rollerblades, NYE party favors, 12 game tokens, two slices of pizza & a large pop, and choice of one admission to Mini Golf, 4D Theater, or Ghostly Manor Haunted House.

New Year’s Eve Cabaret
Bellevue Society for the Arts, 205 Maple St., Bellevue
419.484.2787
7 pm
This New Year’s Eve event will feature Broadway standards and novelty songs performed by familiar BSA faces. The menu includes pork and sauerkraut, tossed salad, applesauce, and dessert, as well as a cash bar featuring a selection of beer and wine. Must be 21 or older with valid ID to purchase alcoholic beverages. Reservations are required.

Eight Thanksgiving Day Feasts in Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to get together and give thanks over delicious food. Although many people enjoy home cooked meals and large family gatherings, others want to get away and let someone else handle the cooking. Avoid the hassle this holiday season and indulge at one of these eight Lake Erie Shores & Islands Thanksgiving Day feasts! Thanksgiving Feast

Huron

Sawmill Creek Resort – Thanksgiving Day Brunch (10:30 am-3 pm)
This Thanksgiving Day brunch features seven stations: breakfast, salad, carving, pasta, entrée, dessert, and chocolate fondue. $24.95/adult; $10.95/child (4-11); children 8 and under are free. Reservations are required. Menu

Port Clinton

Mon Ami Winery & Restaurant – Thanksgiving Day Brunch (10:30 am-3 pm)
This historic winery and restaurant is a great place to gather and enjoy a meal. Come for the traditional oven roasted turkey, prime rib, sweet potato casserole, bread pudding, fresh salmon display, a variety of breakfast items, and more! $28.95/person. Menu

Rosie’s Bar and Grill – Thanksgiving Buffet (11:30 am-4:30 pm)
Give the family a break and indulge this year! $25.95/adult, $12.95/child (10 and under). Reservations are required. Menu.

Sandusky

Great Wolf Lodge – Thanksgiving Dinner (1:30-6:45 pm)
This is a Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings! $19.99/person. Open to hotel guests first; reservations are strongly encouraged.

Kalahari Resort – Thanksgiving Buffet (11 am-6 pm)
Experience the holiday season at Kalahari Resort; indulge in a traditional Thanksgiving Day buffet, create new family traditions, participate in fun family activities, and enjoy wild waterpark thrills. $25.99/adult (13 and up), $10.99/child (4-12), children 3 and under are free. Reservations are strongly encouraged. Menu.

Ryan’s Steakhouse – Thanksgiving Buffet (11 am-7 pm)
All dinners: $12.99/person, beverages: $1.99. No reservations required; first come, first served.

Vermilion

Martino’s International Cafe – Thanksgiving Day Buffet (11 am-6 pm)
Enjoy a home cooked meal at Martino’s International Cafe featuring all your holiday favorites: turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, sweet potatoes, full salad bar and, apple and pumpkin pie! $14.99/person

Quaker Steak & Lube – Thanksgiving Buffet (11:30 am-5 pm)
Featuring chef carved oven roasted turkey, honey glazed pineapple ham, green bean casserole, homemade stuffing, a variety of wings, and more! $19.99/adult, $15.99/senior (65 and up), $12.99/tweener (9-12), $6.99/child (8 and under). Reservations are strongly encouraged. Menu.

Lake Erie Shores & Islands would like to wish everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving! If you are aware of other locations that are open on Thanksgiving Day, please feel free to add them by commenting on the post below.

8 Ways to Welcome 2014 in Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands

Looking for a fun way to ring in the New Year? Spend New Year’s Eve in the Shores & Islands. Here is a list of the area’s top celebrations:

Photo credit: Bill Gordon Photomaker Studios

Photo credit: Bill Gordon Photomaker Studios


Walleye Madness at Midnight

Downtown Port Clinton, N. Madison St., Port Clinton
3 pm-12 am
17th annual event will provide fun and excitement for the whole family! Be sure to keep updated with events vendors and new entertainment on the Facebook page “Walleye Madness at Midnight.”

New Year’s Eve Moonshiner’s Ball
Culinary Vegetable Institute, 12304 SR 13, Milan
419.499.7500
8:30 pm-12:30 am
$150/person, $275/couple (plus tax and gratuity)
Ring in 2014 with award-winning mixologist Jason Howard and special guests creating specialty cocktails, passed appetizers, four course dinner, live music, and champagne toast. Please call to make a reservation. Discounted rooms are available at Sawmill Creek Resort.

New Year’s Eve at Zinc
Zinc Brasserie, 142 Columbus Ave., Sandusky
419.503.0864
6 & 9 pm
$85-110/person
Ready to Ring in the New Year? Zinc is pleased to offer two seatings on New Year’s Eve. Reservations are required. Please call for details.

New Year’s Eve Party
German’s Villa, 3330 Liberty Ave., Vermilion
440.963.0772
7:30 pm
$145/couple
The evening features dinner for two, dancing, open bar, and a chance to win $2,014 in the reverse raffle! Only 100 tickets will be sold. Please call to purchase tickets.

Toast to the Town New Year’s Eve Gala
Merry-Go-Round Museum, 301 Jackson St. (at US 6), Sandusky
419.626.6111
6-8 pm
$15/person
Ticket includes admission into the event, food, beverages, carousel rides, and music.

A New Year’s Eve Celebration
Chez Francois/Touche’ Wine Bar, 555 Main St., Vermilion
440.967.0630
First two sittings: $65/person; Last seating: $85/person
There will be three sittings: 4:30-6:30 pm, 7-9 pm, and 9:30 pm. Each seating will feature a multi-course dinner. The last seating will feature Mr. Mike Moore with an atmosphere for dancing.

Las Vegas Style Charity Casino
Sawmill Creek Resort – Wilderness Hall, 400 Sawmill Creek Dr. (off US 6), Huron
800.729.6455
8:30 pm-1 am
Featuring Vegas-style gambling, dancing, cash bar, and a chance to win prizes with gaming tickets. Overnight packages are available at Sawmill Creek Resort.

New Year’s Eve
Quarry Hill Winery, 8403 Mason Rd., Berlin Heights
419.588.3179
8 pm-12 am
Enjoy musical entertainment by the Christian Kaser Band. Food, wine, beer, and fruit wine martinis available.

7 Questions to Ask When Planning a Trip to Cedar Point’s HalloWeekends

Scares from mild to wild; families love daytime fun for the little ones and the Monster Midway Invasion Celebration Parade Saturdays and Sundays. Come sundown, thrillseekers challenge haunted houses and fright zones. Monster Midway Celebration


1. What is the best day to visit?
HalloWeekends is very popular. However, Friday nights and Sundays are great times to visit. Although not all rides are open on Friday nights, all haunted attractions are, so you can take advantage of the special additions to the midways.

2. What are the ticket prices?
Ticket prices vary depending on what day and time you visit the amusement park. Click here for current prices.

3. Do I have to pay extra admission for HalloWeekends?
No. A regular admission ticket or 2014 Season Pass/Platinum Pass is valid for entry. There are no extra fees for the haunted attractions.

4. What are the hours?
HalloWeekends at Cedar Point is held every Friday night, Saturday and Sunday beginning September 12 – November 1. The hours of operation are: Friday 6 pm – midnight, Saturday 11 am – midnight and Sunday 11 am–8 pm. Please note that Cedar Point is closed during the week.

5. Can small children attend?
Of course! There are special attractions just for small children, like the Magical House on Boo Hill, the Kid’s Costume Contest, Monster Midway Invasion Celebration Parade, live shows, a hay bale maze, and not to mention the famous PEANUTS characters.

6. What is new for 2014 season?
The children can enjoy the expanded Howl-O-Palooza, with kid-friendly entertainment, activities, and attractions while adults can experience the thrills and chills of the new haunted house Hexed, where they’ll put a spell on you; a new musical show: Midnight Syndicate LIVE!; and Tombstone Terror-tory, a fright zone in Frontiertown.

7. Are there any attractions that require extra fees?
Boeckling’s Banquet: Take a seat in the grand dining hall of the Eerie Estate as creepy inhabitants of the old mansion welcome you, serve you and entertain you. Meals are served Fridays at 5:30 pm and Saturdays & Sundays at 12:30 pm. Cost starts at $74.95/person and includes tax & gratuity. Advanced reservations are required. Please visit Cedar Point’s website for more details.

Click here for more information on HalloWeekends at Cedar Point. Click here for more information on Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands.

Where can I enjoy fireworks during the Fourth of July in Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands?

Fireworks display at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.

Fireworks display at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio

July 3-4, 2015
4th of July Celebration
Cedar Point, Sandusky
419.627.2350
10:30 pm

July 3, 2015
Independence Day Celebration
Along the Riverbank, Downtown Oak Harbor
419.898.0479
A spectacular fireworks display at dusk.

July 4, 2015
Various locations, Port Clinton
Fireworks begin at dusk. Best viewing area is Waterworks Park.
419.707.9492

July 4, 2015
4th of July Fireworks
Lakeside Dock, Lakeside
866.952.5374
At approximately 9:45 pm or dusk, fireworks will offer a spectacular finale to the day (gate fees apply).

July 4, 2015
Fourth of July Fireworks!
Put-in-Bay
419.285.2832
Spectacular fireworks at dark (10 pm). Fireworks display over the downtown harbor; great views from Perry’s Monument and downtown.

July 4, 2015
Fireworks Cruise
Goodtime I, Sandusky
800.446.3140
Enjoy fireworks from the peaceful waters of Lake Erie. Call to make your reservation today.

July 4, 2015
Red, White & Blues Bang
Huron Boat Basin, Huron
10:30 pm

Birding Festival Returns to Lake Erie Shores & Islands May 3-12

Bird watching at Magee Marsh in Oak Harbor, Ohio.

Bird watching at Magee Marsh in Oak Harbor, Ohio.

Lake Erie Shores and Islands is largely regarded as the best place for observing spring songbird migration. The reason is the abundance of preserved ecosystems along marshy coast, woodlands and diverse settings friendly to spring migration. The region includes more than 15 areas designated by Audubon as “Important Bird Areas.”

The “Biggest Week,” planned during the peak of spring songbird migration in the “Warbler Capital of the World,” is one of the premier birding events in the country. It offers some of the best birding North America has to offer. The 10-day festival features workshops, guided birding activities, birding bus tours, keynote speakers, and more.

Visit biggestweekinamericanbirding.com for registration information and a full schedule of activities. Lodging discounts and packages are available for birders at SHORESandISLANDS.com.

What’s New in 2013 in Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands?

This new addition to Cedar Point will be the longest wing roller coaster and boast the longest drop of any wing roller coaster on the planet.

This new addition to Cedar Point will be the longest wing roller coaster and boast the longest drop of any wing roller coaster on the planet.

GateKeeper Flies over Cedar Point! Cedar Point will introduce a winged roller coaster, GateKeeper, forever changing the landscape of the Cedar Point Peninsula. When it opens in May, GateKeeper will be the longest winged roller coaster and boast the longest drop of any winged coaster in the world. The track will dramatically fly above the main entrance of the park, passing over arriving guests with rolling flyover maneuvers. The $30 million investment will surely help Cedar Point maintain its status as “roller coaster capital of the world!” Cedar Point has also announced an investment of $45-$60 million over the next three years for upgrades to the resort’s hotel properties.

Don’t Give Up the Ship! Events are well underway, building up to the Battle of Lake Erie Bicentennial Celebration. The 200th Anniversary Commemoration takes place Labor Day Weekend, August 30 – September 10, 2013 and will include such highlights as more than a dozen tall ships, Navy ships (both American and Canadian), a celebration parade featuring The Ohio State University Marching Band, and a re-enactment of the battle. Considered by historians as the turning point in the War of 1812, the Battle of Lake Erie saw Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry and his crew defeat the British Royal Navy to secure U.S. control of the Great Lakes. His victory message to the general inspired our young nation: “We have met the enemy and they are ours.”  Visitors will be able to tour tall ships, enlist as crew members in the re-enactment, or be part of the Bicentennial fleet or militia.

Commemorations of the Bicentennial also include the issuing of the Perry’s Victory Ohio quarter dollar by the U.S. Mint in April and the Battle of Lake Erie U.S. postage Forever® stamp in September.

BRIG NIAGARA IN HARBOR FULL SAIL - COPYWRITE JOHN E. REES.

Brig Niagara in Harbor Full Sail – Copyright John E. Rees.

Ohio’s vital role in the War of 1812 is also commemorated in a new exhibit at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center. ‘The War of 1812 on the Ohio Frontier’ runs from February 13 – October 7, 2013 and includes artifacts and manuscripts from both public and private collections to offer insights into the war’s battles on the Ohio frontier.

More Indoor Waterpark Fun! Maui Sands Resort, which reopened its hotel rooms in 2012 under new ownership, will reopen its indoor waterpark in the spring. The Hawaiian-themed property boasts a 45,000 square foot waterpark amongst a tropical garden setting with state-of-the-art water attractions, slides, and activity pools. Attractions include Liquid Lava, MakaMaka Treehouse, Kai River, Coconut Cove, and Pineapple Bay. A variety of rooms and suites are available within the hotel, and group packages are offered.

Embark on a Magical Quest! A new live-action game attraction has arrived at Great Wolf Lodge. MagiQuest blends video game technology with a three-dimensional adventure. With magic wand in-hand, families can explore an enchanted kingdom and join in the ultimate adventure as they enchant objects, befriend a pixie, learn from an ancient wizard, and outwit a dragon. The experience takes place on all four stories of the resort as players follow clues to unlock mysteries – their magic wands creating music, activating animatronics, and opening treasure chests. The resort’s new MagiQuest store features magic wands for game play along with medieval-themed costumes and accessories to enhance the experience.

Bounce & Play! Ghostly Manor Thrill Center has expanded its family-friendly fun attractions for 2013. A new edition to the complex has allowed for a large selection of bounce houses and an extensive play area. The additions are designed for guests age 12 and under, and join the already popular Skateworld, Wizard’s Journey 3D Blacklight Mini Golf, XD-3D Theatre, and Ghostly Manor haunted house. There is no charge for the play area and a combo pass for the bounce houses will be available with other on-site attractions.

The Jet Express is the only catamaran ferry on Lake Erie.

The Jet Express is the only catamaran ferry on Lake Erie.

Island Anniversaries! Jet Express passenger ferries to Put-in-Bay and Kelleys Island celebrates 25 seasons of fun. Jet Express has been providing the fastest way to the islands since 1989, providing exhilarating rides from Port Clinton and Sandusky. Jet Express also offers special excursion cruises and is available for private parties. Heineman’s Winery, Ohio’s oldest family-owned winery and Put-in-Bay’s oldest business is celebrating 125 years in business. The sixth generation of the Heineman family is excited to welcome visitors to taste their island wines and tour the neighboring Crystal Cave, the worlds’ largest geode. The Booga Shack at Caddy Shack Square on Kelleys Island is celebrating 20 years of the “Booga Invasion.” An island original since 1993, Booga Wear helps wearers uncover their inner “Booga” with the theme “Relax, it is your Right as a Human Being!”

Lakesiders to Splash! For the 2013 summer season, Lakeside Chautauqua plans to transform the east waterfront area into a recreational water play destination where children can experience a broader aquatic adventure using their imagination. The play area will feature a newly constructed, zero depth entry, children’s pool, and a state-of-the-art splash pad. Water-erupting turtles, frogs, and numerous other spray features will be staged throughout the 75-foot children’s splash pad. In addition, a patio area will be added east of the splash pad for parents to watch the children enjoy their water adventure.

Art Glass Redefined at the Milan Museum! The Milan Museum will unveil the year-long renovation of its acclaimed art glass collection.  Opening this June, the renovation includes pieces from Tiffany, Lalique, Steuben and Dominic Labino.  See the new multimedia display of how art glass is created and experience a collection unparalleled in our area.

Grab the Brass Ring! The Merry-Go-Round Museum celebrates the grand re-opening of “Grab the Brass Ring” for the 2013 season. The exhibit will feature new carousel animals as well the 1988 stamp horse and the fabulous Muller military stander (also known as the Ghost Horse) on loan from Cedar Point amusement park through early May.

Kalahari Resort Upgrades! Kalahari Resort has committed to a multi-million dollar renovation and development of various on-site amenities in 2013. The resort, home to America’s largest indoor waterpark and the Midwest’s largest resort convention center, has already delivered with the opening of Longneck’s bar and grill inside the convention center. Waterpark eatery Café Mirage has also recently expanded and new guest room amenities and improvements are expected.

Fall Bird Migration Celebrated with “World’s Friendliest Birding Event!The Midwest Birding Symposium is returning to Lakeside, Ohio September 19-22, 2013. This event which will attract more than 1,000 birders to the Lake Erie shore, is held every other year in the Midwest and includes programs by North America’s leading bird watchers and naturalists, an opportunity for birders to network with fellow enthusiasts, a vendor area, and guided bird walks at the area’s best birding spots.

Great Group Entertainment at the State! The Sandusky State Theatre has several new and a few returning “dinner and a show” options in 2013, perfect for motorcoach groups or date night. Plan on seeing Finnegan’s Farewell, Easter Celebration of Life and Resurrection, Always…Patsy Cline, Bob Goss and his Silver Sizzles Revue, Zombie Prom, Miracle on 34th Street, and more!

Catch Some Air! Take a thrilling ride on east Sandusky Bay with Air1 Airboats. Captain Tony Muscioni takes passengers on a 30-40 minute tour of the east bay, between the Cedar Point causeway and chaussee. View beautiful scenery, wildlife, Cedar Point, and the backside of many beautiful homes.

Scheele Preserve Grows! The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is adding an additional 10 acres of land to its Scheele Preserve on the north east side of Kelleys Island, including 330-feet of Lake Erie shoreline. The newly acquired property contains a mix of habitats including coastal forest, forested swamp, dunes, and shoreline. The preserve is now open to the public seven days a week, allowing for spectacular views of rare wildlife and migratory birds.

Biking Opportunities! Erie County’s only recognized off-road bike path, the Lake Shore Electric Railway Trail, will get some sprucing up in 2013. The existing path through the woods in Huron will be paved and expanded to allow ample room for bikers and pedestrians. The path, which runs parallel to U.S. 6 stretches 1.5 miles. A half-mile looping path is also planned for Sandusky’s Lion’s Park. The new trail will eventually link to the Sandusky Bay Pathway and is an added enhancement to the park that added a splash pad, basketball courts, new playground equipment, and restrooms in 2012.

Other Openings! Kitchenbar has joined the restaurant family of Chef Cesare Avallone (he already operates Zinc Brasserie, Crush Winebar, and Dockside Café). Kitchenbar features an Asian-fusion menu along with the same award-winning wine list as the adjacent Crush. Chef Avallone also plans a pizza oven restaurant in downtown Sandusky for later in 2013.  Ciao Bella Ristorante Italiano is slated to open in spring in Port Clinton’s Harbor Light Landing. Great Lakes Fibers sells hand-painted alpaca yarn, artisan scarves, shawls, socks, rugs, and much more. Watch the alpacas and llamas graze and see the studio where their fiber is transformed into wearable art. Classes will be offered soon.

For more information contact:

Jill L. Bauer, Public Relations Coordinator
jill@shoresandislands.com, @JillBauerLESI

Joan Van Offeren, Executive Director LES&I-East
joan@shoresandislands.com

Larry Fletcher, Executive Director LES&I-West
larry@shoresandislands.com