Walleye Madness - Port Clinton, Ohio
Although Port Clinton is a small town, its spirit is huge
- especially on New Year's Eve! For the past 20 years,
thousands have braved the cold and gathered for hours, in
waiting for the"Madness at Midnight" Walleye Drop. Port
Clinton is the "Walleye Capital of the World," so what else
would they do on New Year's Eve but drop a 20-foot,
600-pound walleye from the sky at the stroke of Midnight!
The small town USA energetically promotes the celebration
through the participation of local businesses. Restaurants
prepare Walleye specialties such as Walleye Chowder, Walleye
Sandwiches, Walleye Cinnamon Chips, and Walleye Popcorn. A
local Winery has even created a "Walleye White" wine to
honor the city's Walleye Fame. Recognizing the momentum of
Port Clinton's "Madness at Midnight,"
History of the Walleye Drop
The Walleye Drop idea came to life when "Drop
Man" Dan Sedlak,
with the support of the "Big Fish"
Mayor Tom Brown,
presented his idea to the Ottawa County Visitors Bureau and the
Port Clinton Chamber of Commerce. With the assistance of John Fellhauer,
John's dad-Bob, Dan's brother Kevin and Ron Miller of OurGuest Inn, the Drop
became a reality that cold December of 1996, and 20 years later the event is a huge success!
The event is an outdoor
celebration (other than the heated tent) and its not uncommon to
face less than 10-degree weather with the "special" Lake
Erie wind chill! So bundle up! Brrrrrr.....
Captain Wylie the Walleye!
Wylie comes in many forms. The costume, Wylie, (shown
left) was designed by Barb Bouska and he can be spotted at
fairs, parades, schools and senior centers. He's made appearances
on TV stations from both Toledo and Cleveland. The City of Port
Clinton has embraced Wylie as their city mascot.
The original papier mache Wylie weighed in at 120-pounds and measured
17 feet long. He was created by Andre Cuthel, a contemporary artist
from Berea, OH. Wylie was replaced by his fiberglass successor
after a rough New Years celebration in 1997 that caused him to crack
Wylie that is lowered today has grown a bit since those early days.
He is a 20 foot, 600 lb. fiberglass fish that was created by Jim
Wendt of Jim's Taxidermy.
The original Walleye Madness at Midnight logo (shown right)
was designed by Barb Bouska.