The Ohio Fish & Shrimp Festival returns Sept. 20-22 for its 18th year at Freshwater Farms of Ohio, 2624 N. U.S. 68, one mile north of Urbana. The festival offers a menu of mouth-watering seafood and other food selections, three days of music performed on an outdoor stage by some of the region’s most talented bands, and kids’ activities.
And there’s a new twist: free admission for anyone dressed in costume in the spirit of the festival – like sea critters, pirates, mermaids and other merfolk.
General admission is $5; $2 for ages 3-12; and free for 2 and under. Admission provides access to all live music concerts, the sturgeon petting zoo, fish and critter displays, bounce houses and the kids’ play zone. Parking is free.
Festival hours are Friday, Sept. 20, 4-10 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 21, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; and Sunday, Sept. 22, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Eleven food vendors, including Freshwater Farms, will dish up a wide selection of delicious menu items, including trout raised by Freshwater Farms, Ohio’s largest indoor fish hatchery. Craft beers, wine, margaritas and other beverages will also be served.
Freshly harvested shrimp will be sold on ice beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21.
Eleven bands will entertain festival goers with a range of styles – rock, jazz/funk, Celtic, folk, salsa, reggae and rhythm and blues.
The band schedule, menus and other festival features can be found at ohiofishandshrimpfestival.org.
Nonprofits offer fun and info at fest
Since the first Ohio Fish & Shrimp Festival, nonprofit groups have been invited to set up booths free of charge. This year, young fest visitors can have their faces decorated for free by the Face Painter Lady, and fest patrons can support North Lewisburg Boy Scouts with a purchase of cotton candy. Groups offering information about their services include Lawnview; SAFY of Ohio, a nonprofit promoting foster care and adoption; the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), promoting awareness of mental health issues; and Project Teddy Bear & Friends, a nonprofit that collects and redistributes stuffed animals to groups that help children in need.
“We welcome the chance to support (nonprofits) and I think it adds to the local atmosphere of our festival with community bake sales, kid games and the volunteers that make good things happen here,” said Dave Smith of Freshwater Farms of Ohio.
Over the years, nonprofits at the festival have included FFA raffle booths, cancer support groups, veterans groups and Habitat for Humanity.
Smith said deadlines to reserve space are in May and June, but that the fest tries to accommodate those who apply late when possible.