Put-in-Bay, Ohio – Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial will open for the season Saturday, May 20. Put-in-Bay’s largest attraction has a full schedule of programs and events planned for 2017 despite the memorial column being inaccessible while it undergoes repairs. “We are giving the memorial some love this season as any 102 year-old deserves,” said Superintendent Barbara Fearon, “but it’s not slowing us down in sharing the park’s history and mission, or in experimenting with new events and ranger programs.”
The national park will host the free Put-in-Bay Music Festival, a collaboration between the park, Miller Boat Line, the island’s Chamber of Commerce, local historical society and the park’s friends group on Saturday, June 10. “The music festival has been a large undertaking,” said Fearon, “but I believe it will become a fixture on our schedule for years to come.” Seven musical acts, spanning from bluegrass to zydeco and Cajun to jazz, will perform throughout the day, beginning at 11 am. Fearon said Mowry Foods will sell Italian sausage sandwiches, gyros, fries, and ice cream, and the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society will sell beer, wine, water and soft drinks at the festival. There will also be four to five free music workshops during the day, and the park’s longboat and carronade will be part of a living history display. The Battle of Lake Erie Corn Toss – two ACA sanctioned single elimination cornhole tournaments – will be held in conjunction with the music festival. Players can sign up for the single and two-player tournaments at putinbayohiocornhole.com. There is a fee for competing and cash prizes for the winners.
“That’s just one event,” said Fearon. “The park will also host our annual Memorial Day Salute to the Troops, a Youth Maritime Celebration and Mayfly Festival, a Naturalization ceremony and Freedom Concert on July 4th, celebrate Oliver Hazard Perry’s birthday, World Ranger Day, and three days of celebration on our Historic Weekend.”
Besides events, Rangers will engage thousands of children from more than 26 regional school districts in May, June and September. About 2,100 school children will participate in Perry Education Days May 23-25 and May 28-June 1. Through a National Park Foundation Every Kid in a Park grant the park will provide transportation for about 500 students from underserved school districts. Every student will have hands on experiences in 1812 period cooking, medicine, artillery, the park’s longboat and carronade, and learn about environmental stewardship.
“This year we also come full circle with US and Canadian students who participated in the Paths to Peace program,” Fearon said. The program was initiated in 2012 as part of the Bicentennial of the Battle of Lake Erie educational programming. The final program, patterned after Perry Education Days, will be held at the park June 2.
Through a Centennial Challenge grant, funds may be available to help with transportation costs for students to attend the Youth Maritime Celebration and Mayfly Festival on June 17. We expect the US Brig Niagara to be in port and part of this event, which is a magnificent opportunity to learn about our maritime heritage as well as past and present environmental issues. Interested youth groups can contact the park for more information at 419-285-2184, extension 1229.
“We’re also very excited about our new approach in our interpretive programming,” she added. “Our new programs are designed to engage our visitors and make them active participants in the experience.” Rangers and volunteers will also give black powder programs over six days for Road Scholars, and five weekends will give two-day firing demonstrations of the park’s carronade, a short large-caliber gun used by the US Navy during the War of 1812.
“We keep hearing we’re closed,” said Fearon, “but that could not be further from the truth. While the memorial, rotunda and plaza are not available for tours during the restoration this summer, the park and visitor center are open and we’re anticipating a busy year.” Those interested in the memorial’s construction, and past and current restoration efforts will have frequent opportunities to learn more through ranger programs.
For a full schedule of events and programs visit nps.gov/pevi or find us on Facebook.
Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial was established to honor those who fought and died in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812 and to celebrate the long-lasting peace between the United States, Great Britain, and Canada. The Memorial, a Doric column, rising 352 feet over Lake Erie is situated 5 miles from the longest undefended border in the world. For more information about Perry’s Victory visit www.nps.gov/pevi, Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial on Facebook, Twitter @PerrysVIPM, instagram @perrysvictorynps, or call 419-285-2184.