Sandusky County Blogs

3rd Annual fishing and Outdoor Festival

Publication Date : 05/29/2019 19:41:26

Author : Mandy Burris

  • Jungle Island
  • Dunk tank
  • Fremont Fire Department
  • Lake Erie fishing
  • Hawg trough
  • ODNR
  • Fishing Festival

May 18, 2019 marked the 3rd Annual Fishing and Outdoor Festival in Downtown Fremont. In the past it’s been rainy and cold, but much to our delight this year was bright and sunny and really the first VERY warm day of spring! It was 85 degrees on Saturday and I think most of us reveled in the opportunity to get outside and enjoy some outdoor fun, which is exactly what this festival had to offer.

This festival is definitely a labor of love. Friday night the festival committee was downtown directing the early arrivals. The Hawg Trough, dunk tank, mining company and petting zoo (just the fence not the animals) all arrived Friday night for setup. The Fremont Fire Department came to fill the Hawg Trough, the dunk tank and the mining beds with water. (They have done this every year and we wouldn’t have been able to make this event possible without their help. Thanks guys!)

Hawg Trough I

Hawg trough II    Hawg trough III

Fish I    Fish II

Hawg Trough IV

Dunk tank I

Early Saturday morning the committee was downtown setting up and directing vendors. Food trucks and tents, craft tents and tables, boats, trucks and trailers; it was a massive undertaking! The petting zoo animals all arrived and had to be put in their pins, the ponies had to be hooked up, and the mining company had to set out all of their mining kits. The Exchange Club was also there early making sure their members understood what to do at the dunk tank. Fremont Mayor Danny Sanchez and Sandusky County Commissioner Scott Miller also arrived early. They helped move picnic tables and opened the festival with a quick word of thanks to those in attendance.  

Mayor talk

This event has seen growth every year since it started. The crowds get bigger and there are more vendors and things to do. This year the festival had an entire area of kid’s activities. There was a petting zoo, an interactive bird trailer and pony rides all from Jungle Island. Ballville Fire Department had their Fire Safety and Prevention Trailer there and the Hoffman family brought Matrix Mining Company back to the festival this year.

Pony Rides

Petting Zoo I    Petting Zoo II

Mining II    

The Fremont Exchange Club sponsored the dunk tank that sat in the kid’s area and every ball purchase went toward child abuse prevention. 

Dunk tank III    Dunk tank IV

Dunk tank II

Just outside of the kids area was the Hawg Trough. This is what really brings people to the festival, because it’s really just a ginormous fish tank! The Hawg Trough holds 2,500 gallons of water. It is HUGE! The fish are brought in a holding tank, and after the trough is cleaned and filled they load them in little by little to prevent shocking them. The tank was full of crappie, walleye, sunfish, bass, perch and even an albino catfish. There were fishing demonstrations at the trough by Adrian College Fishing Team member Grant Gallagher and fishing charter captain Michael Simonton throughout the day.

Gallagher Fish Talk

Gallagher Fish Talk II

This was a perfect opportunity for the ODNR to come out and educate the kids and their parents about our local wildlife and fishing. The ODNR gave talks about what they do and why it’s important, and they also had their archery trailer for the kids to enjoy. There was a tent with local wildlife and fish exhibits, and also a table full of animal pelts. This area is also where Matt Liebengood had his Sheriff K9 SUV parked and did K9 demonstrations throughout the day.

Archery BW    ODNR Talk    Pelts

A festival wouldn’t be complete without food and music. The music for the day was presented by Clay Kirchenbauer and Paul Grover, both of which definitely led to some impromptu dancing in the streets! (And not just from me!!!) The kids really enjoyed the upbeat tunes and local celebrity Jay Cullen stopped to bust a move too. The food included exotic finds and old fashioned goodness. Local barbecue legend Jimmy G’s had their food truck at the festival offering their classic menu of fresh cut fries, sides and barbecue. The Garrison had a tent and that served up hotdogs and fish, and River Ranch food truck was there offering Bison and Alligator (which is actually REALLY good)! No festival would be complete without some fresh kettle corn! Poppy’s Kettle Corn was made fresh and bagged right in front of you. (The SCCVB tent was right beside it…the smell was glorious.)

Clay Sing BW    Sing


There were vendors from all over the region at the festival. There were arts and crafts vendors selling things like jewelry, sewing crafts, and yard art. There were businesses like Edward Jones, Bath Planet, Everdry Waterproofing and more. There were makeup vendors, churches offering fishing activities, marinas, and even boat, truck and outdoor racing equipment vendors. Local radio stations 97.7 and BAS broadcasting were there along with Camp Fire Sandusky County and the Sandusky County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Camp Fire had a S’more station where they helped kids put cereal, marshmallows and chocolate teddy grahams in a baggy, and the SCCVB offered free signups for fishing poles and downtown gift cards. There was also a Segway course put on by Sandusky Segwave. (Sandusky Segwave does historic Segway tours of downtown Sandusky.)

Sign up    Camp Fire

This is such a fun festival. Fishing is a major part of Sandusky County’s economy in the spring, being as fishermen young and old come from all over the country to fish our river. We encourage them to stay the night, eat at our local restaurants and shop at our local establishments. We offer an angler’s savings card that when presented with their fishing license will give them discounts on things like dining and hotel stays.

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