The Ohio Fish & Shrimp Festival is back for 2021 at Freshwater Farms of Ohio, a mile north of Urbana at 2624 N. U.S. 68.
After a break last year, the 19th edition of the festival will be held on three consecutive Saturdays, Sept. 11, 18 and 25 – instead of its traditional three-day weekend format. Festival-goers, though, will be treated to the same crowd-pleasing mix of great food (including fresh seafood from the farm), family fun and live music performed on an outdoor stage.
The festival – 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day, with free admission and free parking – kicks off Freshwater Farms’ “Seven Seafood Saturdays of Fall,” which also includes October Halloween Bash, four consecutive Saturdays, Oct. 9, 16, 23 and 30.
Online reservations for festival food and drive-thru onsite ordering and pickup will also be available for the first time. Online reservations can be made prior to each festival day at fwfarms.com/shop or by calling 937-652-3701.
Some seating will still be provided under tents and in the stage area, but visitors are encouraged to bring seating if possible. New expanded areas for enjoying the food and music will be provided around the farm.
All seven Saturdays will feature the best of area food trucks and seafood specialties from the kitchens of Freshwater Farms, along with craft beers, wine, margaritas and other beverages.
The festival also offers:
– Arts and crafts vendors and local merchants
– The farm’s critter displays, including the sturgeon petting zoo, touch tanks and – making their festival debut – pygmy goats
– The Freshwater Farms of Ohio Farm Market
– New wildflower maze and eco-farmed produce patches are open to the public for the first time
– Pirate Treasure Sand Dig, “John Darts” throwing game and disc golf target game for all ages
Fish & Shrimp Festival Bands
6-7:30 p.m., Will Freed Band – Featuring singer/songwriter/guitarist Will Freed, based in Columbus and formerly West Virginia and Kansas City, Missouri, performs a mix of acoustic rock, soul and blues. Freed was a regular for seven years at Cranberry Resort at Indian Lake.
8-10 p.m., Laredo Band, performing since 1988, has opened for many top country artists such as George Jones (twice) and Trace Adkins. The six band members, from Champaign and surrounding counties, play country, southern rock, gospel and other musical styles.
6-7:30 p.m., The Usual Suspects has been performing in central Ohio since 2009. The nine-piece band includes a four-piece horn section – two saxes, a trumpet and a trombone – that anchors a fat, full, danceable sound. The band’s repertoire includes music of The Blues Brothers, Bruno Mars, Eric Clapton, The Commodores, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Etta James, Tower of Power and Chicago.
8-10 p.m., Locking Up Otis, a three-piece ensemble, plays ’60s to ’80s music. Band members have opened for a wide range of artists such as Alice Cooper, The Turtles, Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, Jonny Lang, Foghat, Iron Butterfly, Johnny Paycheck and the Edgar Winter Group.
6-7:30 p.m., Seefari is an award-winning, critically acclaimed reggae/world music band that has toured the world and headlined festivals across the U.S. The band mixes the soulful sound of classic reggae of the ’70s and ’80s with dub, rock, jazz, Latin and African influences.
8-10 p.m., Big Gil’s Blues and His Funky All-Stars bring high energy to their mix of the blues, contemporary jazz, R&B and old school funk, with a touch of Motown. Leading on trombone, Big Gil creates a soul-stirring event for his band’s audiences. Mentored by the late, great bluesman Piney Brown, Big Gil was an original member of the funk group Slave.
October Halloween Bash Bands
In addition to delicious selections of food and the following bands, Halloween Bash will feature fall activities like hay wagon rides around the fish farm, eco-farmed produce and pumpkin picking patch, a bonfire, costume contests and pirate ship rides to the after-dark “Spooky Pirate Treasure Adventure.”
6-7:30 p.m., Ladies of Longford, performing for over 20 years, serve up a unique blend of contemporary Celtic, traditional Irish and fresh acoustic styles with superb vocal harmonies and musicianship.
8-10 p.m., Dulahan draws on contemporary and traditional Celtic music with subtle hints of roots/Americana music. The four band members combine powerful three- and four-part vocal harmonies with multiple layers of acoustic instrumentation.
6-7:30 p.m., Anna and the Consequences conjure up the sounds of a New York cabaret with a song list that spans over 100 years of popular music, including jazz, pop and blues – plus songs from the last decade, performed with a twist, and some saucy originals.
8-10 p.m., Deuce ’N a Quarter is a hard driving blues machine fronted by the powerful voice and wailing harmonica of Brian Peters. The band’s forte is original music, a respectful tribute to blues legends. The band is completed by Jeffrey Allen’s masterful guitar work, John Sipher’s melodic touch on the keys, Martin O. Brown’s bass groove and the hypnotic pocket of Andre Scott on drums.
6-7:30 p.m., Dawna is an eclectic rock band from Columbus that pays homage to American roots, blues, jazz and country, creating soundscapes and adventurous imagery that takes listeners on a fun, thoughtful and soulful journey.
8-10 p.m., Peter Madcat Ruth and the C.A.R.Ma Quartet perform traditional and improvisational music, led by Grammy Award-winning Peter Madcat Ruth, who has established an international reputation on the harmonica, playing blues, folk, jazz, country, rock and roll, and world music.
6-7:30 p.m., The Hedgehog String Band features songwriter Bob Lucas, his daughter, Chloe Manor, and her husband, Chris Westhoff. Not drawing the line at old-time traditional music, they also dive into contemporary music. Lucas’s 1972 release, “The Dancer Inside of You,” received a four-star rating from Downbeat Magazine, with two of the songs recorded by Newgrass Revival. Alison Krauss has also recorded Bob Lucas compositions. And he’s admired regionally for his work with Mad River Theater Works.
8-10 p.m., Hardtackers will accompany the festival’s seafood with sounds of the sea – that is, their close harmony renditions of sea shanties, the traditional folk songs of the crews of merchant sailing vessels. They serve up their tunes – old and new – with a good measure of witty banter and history. Based in landlocked Columbus, the Hardtackers say, “We sing songs about seas, lakes, rivers, canals — anything wet.” Even a fish farm.
For more information, visit fwfarms.com/festival.