A Put-in-Bay Tradition Gets All Hopped Up
This year, the Put-in-Bay Spring Fling had it's biggest turnout ever. This is traditionally the first big party of the year up at Put-in-Bay before the season even really starts. It is a cross between a festival and a block party. For those in the know, they already had their hotel and house reservations booked many months in advance because this was another sellout weekend (even though it is in April/May). Some people attended because of the free music, and enjoy a mix of JD Owen, Mike "Mad Dog" Adams, Brave Youngster, and Pat Dailey. Some people attended because of the free beer and enjoyed over 30 kegs of Miller products poured by a bevy of beautiful young ladies. Some people attended because of the free food and enjoyed one (or two, or three, or even more) of the 1400 hamburgers/cheeseburgers that were flipped, 600 hot dogs that were grilled, and loads of chips and condiments to build your own burger creations. But let's face it, most people came because it was Put-in-Bay and they got a free party with a little bit of everything!
Back in the day, 1998 to be exact, when on Put in Bay there was no Jet Express yet and the last Miller Ferry for the day quit running at 7 pm, the first big thing to do was Victoria Day (the week before Memorial Day) and then Memorial Day got the summer going. Paul Jeris from the Island Club decided to call his friends and family and have a party the first of May and let everyone stay for free at the Island Club on Put-in-Bay. It was just a way to get everyone together and make sure the houses that they rent were ready for the season. People would come up, make sure the water in all the houses worked, all the utilities were on, and the houses were in working order.
Well free turned into friends from Cleveland, Toledo, Middle Bass Island, Kelly's Island and so on. Back then, they tossed on some burgers and dogs on to a little charcoal grill, threw a tap on a keg of beer, and along come some guys with a guitar and they had quite a little party for themselves. Everyone had such a good time, they decided to do it again the next year so Paul called his buddy JD Owen and asked him if he wouldn't mind playing for the small group of friends. Everyone from the first year showed up... plus about 100 more. Word was starting to spread and the Put-in-Bay Spring Fling was shaping up.
By 2002, all 73 Homes in the Island Club were completely booked full and they were going through an entire truckload of beer, 500 hamburgers, 300 hot dogs, and two featured bands. They obviously needed more room. The party needed to be expanded to include guests from other partner resorts and hotels. So Paul called his buddies from Putinbay.com: Mark Mathys (Put in Bay Resort and Edgewater Hotel) and Ed Fitzgerald (Mr. Ed's Bar and Commodore Resort) and they decided to pool their resources and make it in to a customer appreciation weekend.
Along the way, many of the local merchants started to realize how many extra people were coming up to the island thast early in the season and joined in to gave discounts. The Jet Express and the Miller Ferry both gave discounts on round trip fare to get to the island, and Island Club Taxis offered reduced taxi fares to get to the party from any of the participating hotels and resortd. In 2008, we cooked over 1200 hamburgers, 500 hot dogs and drank a truckload of beer. Mr. Ed's became the official host bar and Friday and Saturday night were as busy as a summer weekend! The best part of it all is that the party is free if you are a guest of Island Club Rentals, Put in Bay Resort, Commodore Resort, Edgewater Hotel, or the Bay Lodging Resort.
The Spring Fling has become THE big Put in Bay Customer Appreciation Weekend. It is our way of saying "Thank You" to the people who make this island what it is, the vacationing tourists/guests/friends, before the busy summer season starts at Put-in-Bay. Check out the photos page on the dedictaed Put-in-Bay SPring Fling website to get an idea of the fun filled weekend we call THE SPRING FLING. And if for some reason you miss out on the fun or if you have a boatload of fun and want to do it again later on in the year... look forward to the Put-in-Bay Fall Ball, our annual customer appreciation party in October!
You can reach the Put-in-Bay Spring Fling to check availability for a condo, home or hotel room by calling either 216-898-9951, 866-555-555, or 1-800-555-3333. You also can follow them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/putinbayohio or e-mail them at email@example.com .
Rating: Ten out of ten stars
Favorite Item: Char-grilled 1/4lb hamburger with double cheese, pickles, onions, and mustard (and a beer!)
Notes: free beer, free food, free music, can't go wrong!
This website is meant to showcase the Put-in-Bay, Ohio food scene. Monthly reviews of Putinbay restaurants occur during the season. When there is a festival involving food or wine in town, then that is covered as well. Put-in-Bay Bars get occasional notice for the quality of their drinks and entertainment. Each review is as unbiased as the palate of the reviewer (unless brussel sprouts are involved, that is a dealbreaker!).
The mystery reviewer is an island resident who has been boating and working on the island for over 15 years and can remember back to the days when there was a Taco Bell on the island and the downtown bars closed at 11pm. Times change, but everyone still needs to eat!