AUTHOR’S NOTE: I’ve returned to this festival in 2016. You can read the updated festival review here –
When festival-goers hear of Vermilion, Ohio, the first thing that pops in their head is the Woolly Bear Festival, a festival where people look to the width of a caterpillar’s reddish-orange band to predict the severity of the upcoming winter.
The one-day festival has Woolly Bear products at most of the booths, television coverage galore, one of the state’s largest parades, and a huge crowd of people forced to park half a mile away.
Vermilion’s other festival, the Festival of the Fish, does not have these things, even though it lasts three days. It’s more a quaint town festival with a decent crowd of people and some nice qualities.
These qualities include…
…a picturesque park in the midst of it all…
…interesting games and challenges…
…things to buy in the main area…
…as well as in the park downtown…
…live beasts to see in some trailer (grizzly, wolf, cougar, black bear) – I admit that this scared me a bit…
…and Mayflies (it IS a coastal town, after all).
.…and Fudge Puppies..
Unfortunately, the main problem with the Festival of the Fish was the weakness of its theme. If someone stumbled into town, I doubt he or she would even realize that it WAS a fish festival. It would be easily confused as either the “Vermilion City Festival” or even the “St. Mary Church Festival” with their huge banner at one end of the food area.
And, granted, St. Mary’s was serving fish (they had perch), along with one other tent at the festival (perch and maybe walleye). But in this area, perch and walleye are fairly easy to get. I can almost guarantee that you’ll see two or more booths selling perch during the Woolly Bear Festival as well.
So why not incorporate other fish? Salmon burgers. Even fried smelt (every festival should have this!). Maybe just Fish and Chips – although, if you look at the following picture, you’ll notice tons of chips (fries) already present.
(Click on the photo to open a bigger version in a new window)
Maybe, like the Woolly Bear Festival, there just needs to be more “stuff” related to fish. Clothing, souvenirs or other things to help me remember why I was there.
At the moment, I can only remember the cougar trailer…and those mayflies.