PORT CLINTON, Ohio — The Walleye Drop has become an annual tradition in Port Clinton since 1996. And just like years past, local businesses are excited for the thousands of people from across the country coming into the city Saturday night to watch the large fiberglass walleye drop to ring in the new year.
"It's a huge event for all of us downtown," McCarthy's Irish Pub manager Lyndsay Howland said.
Businesses like McCarthy's will be open late, along with the other bars along the Marblehead Peninsula.
The Walleye Drop will also feature a "bar swim," which includes stops at six different bars on the peninsula. The tour will include free luxury bus transportation to all stops.
Music and ice sculptures downtown are parts of what make the night a huge boost for business.
The annual celebration draws in people from all over the country to lakeshore city.
"They come from all over the place," Howland said. "We meet people as far as Seattle, Washington and Florida. Wisconsin is a big state that comes and visits. This is a huge event. People come from all over the place to visit."
Down the street at the Brick House, management expects to be slammed.
"We expect New Year's Eve to be a very big night," manager Scott Warnicke said. "With the walleye drop, multi-state people come from everywhere, plus the big game."
Managers say the drop, coupled with OSU in the College Football Playoff semifinal, will make it one of, if not the, busiest nights of the year.
"We're looking forward to it," Warnicke said. "We just love being in the heart of downtown Port Clinton. We think it's a showcase. We think it should be a destination. We're just happy to share the holiday, share the new year."
There will also be a kids' party from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall with a "Minnow Drop." For the adults, festivities on Madison Street go from 6 p.m. to midnight. There will be a DJ, live band, ice sculpture demo and the annual Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament hosted by Port Clinton Mayor Mike Snider.