Everyone has heard of New York City’s famous ball dropping at Times Square every New Year’s Eve. Now you have the opportunity to experience and witness the dropping of the walleye at the annual “Madness at Midnight Walleye Drop” on Thursday, December 31 in Port Clinton, Ohio. Port Clinton is 81 miles from Cleveland and it is approximately a 90 minute drive.
Known as the “Walleye Capital of the World,” Port Clinton, Ohio will be dropping a 20 foot, 600 pound fiberglass fish named Wylie (created by Jim Wendt of Jim’s Taxidermy) at the stroke of midnight to usher in 2016. First presented in 1996, the Walleye Drop attracts thousands of visitors each year. Visitors will be able to purchase walleye food items like walleye chowder, walleye cinnamon chips, walleye sandwiches and even walleye popcorn. There is also a “Walleye White” wine created by a local winery.
At the Family Fun Center at the Knights of Columbus, visitors can participate in the Rock-Paper-Scissors Challenge. There will also be free entertainment (at Wylie’s home, the shipping bay of Port Clinton Fish) and there will be music on the street throughout the evening provided by Professional DJ and Rock & Roll Express. Street dancing is encouraged. Vendors will be selling Wylie Walleye souvenirs and Walleye Mardi Gras beads among other items. You can also participate in the Touch a Truck event (from 4 p.m. -5:30 p.m.) where you can learn how those big trucks work. Crawling around and honking the horn are not only permitted but encouraged.
Port Clinton’s mascot, a costumed Wylie Walleye, Jr. will be available for photos and autographs. Special Note: The original Wylie Walleye decided to retire the Florida Keys a couple years ago. There will be a Kids’ Drop at 6 p.m. at the Family Fun Center at the Knights of Columbus for those children who can’t make it until midnight. They can also participate in free kids’ games.
At midnight, Wylie the Walleye, the 600 pound fiberglass fish will be dropped from a crane followed by a fireworks finale, singing and dancing the “Wallerina.” All the festivities will take place in downtown Port Clinton. Because most of the activities take place outdoors, be sure to dress warmly to guard against the cold.
Admission to Walleye Midnight Madness is free. The event runs from 4 p.m. – midnight. Parking is free. For more information about the Madness at Midnight Walleye Drop, call 419-734-2101 or get online at www.walleyemadness.com. Port Clinton is approximately a 1.5 hour drive from Cleveland.