The first annual Maumee Bay River Festival will be held Sunday, Sept. 30 (rain or shine) from 1 to 10 p.m. at the Maumee Bay Brewing Company, located at 27 Broadway St., downtown near the High Level Bridge.
The festival will be held to celebrate Toledo's greatest and most unrecognized asset – water. The Maumee River is the Great Lakes’ fishiest watershed. It feeds western Lake Erie which has more consumable fish than all the other Great Lakes combined. The Maumee Bay River Festival will bring information to the public about the water we drink, the Maumee watershed - the largest in the Great Lakes and other facts about Lake Erie and the Maumee River. The information includes how the river water ends up in our kitchen sinks and toilets as well as water conservation ideas.
“Northwest Ohio’s best-kept secret is its water,” says Sandy Bihn, Lake Erie Waterkeeper. “Communities with water have an economic advantage over areas with very limited water. In general, Northwest Ohio has reasonably priced, good quality water that most of us take for granted.
“The Maumee Bay River Festival is a celebration of water as a great asset for all,” Bihn said. “The Lake Erie Waterkeeper program is a 501c3 and is one of the sponsors of the organization. One of the goals of this festival is to get funding to help reestablish the sturgeon in the Maumee River.”
The festival will include bands all afternoon into the night, including some of Toledo’s finest – Russ Franzen, Rachel Richardson, Pat Lewandowski, Estar Cohen Quintet, The Antivillains, Ramona Collins, and more.
In addition to a live music stage, non-profit organizations and businesses involved with the river and lake will have booths at the festival. There will be rides down the Maumee River on the Sandpiper for a discounted rate. The City of Toledo Public Utilities will be explaining our local water cycle and the U.S. Coast Guard Toledo Station will have its Guard Boat docked downtown for the public to visit.
The Maumee Bay Brewing Company, host and sponsor to the festival, will be brewing a feature festival brew in honor of the River. They will have a food tent outside and a full menu available inside at the brewery.
Neal Kovacik, Manager at the brewery and Oliver House, fishes regularly in the Maumee, and is happy to be a sponsor of the festival. “The river is such an asset for Downtown Toledo, and since the Oliver House and Brewery are located right across the street, we’re glad to help bring awareness to the river,” he said. “Clean water makes for happy fish, good beer and a great quality of life.”
Additionally, Metroparks of Toledo, another sponsor of the festival, will be offering exclusive festival tours of the future Middlegrounds Metropark, located along the river between Owens Corning and the Amtrak station.
Tickets to the festival are $5 at the gate. Proceeds will benefit Lake Erie Waterkeeper. To participate in or sponsor the festival, call 800-551-1592 ext.4.
For more information, visit www.maumeebayriverfestival.org, or find the festival on Facebook.