ASHTABULA – With the Wine & Walleye Festival returning to Bridge Street for 2017, organizers are announcing plans for this year’s festival and inviting people to sign up as vendors or volunteers.
This year, the festival will be held on July 28-July 30, kicking off on that Friday evening, with the wine-tasting portion of the festival being held on Saturday and Sunday.
“The response of returning the festival to the Historic Ashtabula Harbor has been amazing,” Christine Seuffert, chair of the Lift Bridge Community Association, which is sponsoring the event, said in a press release.
Added Seuffert, “Our festival committee and the City of Ashtabula have been meeting at least weekly since last November and we have received a tremendous response from the public. Our goal is to create a festival that reflects our community, appeals to all ages and showcases the wondrous assets of our area and of the Historic Harbor.”
While the festival officially opens at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 29, organizers said there will be some activities Friday night, including excursion boat cruises; the opening of the Ashtabula Rotary Beer Tent; and a Gala Dinner in the Wine Area that will pair multi-food courses prepared by Bridge Street restaurants with local wines.
Saturday will see a full slate of activities, including street vendors lining both sides of Bridge Street, live music all day, boat cruises via an excursion boat that holds 60 people and local restaurants serving food with an emphasis on perch and walleye inside and out. The Fraternal Order of Police will provide fried fish offerings. The Rotary Beer Tent will feature craft beers and live music, and the Wine Tent will have top local wineries offering tastings of their finest wines. Saturday night will feature a lighted boat parade and fireworks along the river. Shuttles will transport festival attendees to and from the area, organizers said.
The festival will continue on Sunday with boat excursions, vendors, the Bridge Street merchants and boutiques, great food offerings along Bridge Street and inside the restaurants, including the FOP Fish Fry, Beer Tent and Wine Tent, and live music.
“We are especially gratified by financial support we’ve received so far,” Seuffert said. “We have three
major sponsors, Molded Fiberglass, Huffman-Mayer Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors and Great Lakes Auto: three leading local firms who have committed major financial support. In addition, we’ve received substantial commitments from seven other prominent businesses and entities who are sponsoring various activities. We expect to raise a total of $35,000 to $40,000 in donations overall. We knew going in that a successful Wine and Walleye Festival requires a lot of funding and hard work by lots of volunteers and we are very pleased about the progress on both fronts.”
Anyone wishing to donate for the Wine and Walleye Festival should contact Ren Carlisle at 440-964-8000 or by email at lorenzocarlisle@ gmail.com.
“We are still accepting vendors and volunteers are always welcome,” Seuffert said.