Annual Jose DeRivera Founder's Day Celebration

Annual Jose DeRivera Founder’s Day Celebration

*** Founders Day has been Cancelled, please check back in 2021 ***

UPDATE: This 2020 season, due to the Ohio Governor’s rules regarding public festivals, social distancing, and masking, you will find local businesses celebrating inside of their own bars and restaurants and shops instead of at the park with the usual mass gathering. But don’t worry! This will still be a great weekend, so please come visit and enjoy!

Hop on a Put in Bay ferry to be apart of one of the most heartfelt weekends of the summer is Founder’s Day. Jose DeRivera was a Hispanic merchant who purchased the South Bass, Middle Bass, Sugar, Gibraltar, Ballast, and Starve Islands for the sum of $44,000 in 1854. Then, Jose sold off parcels of the land to the community for a fraction of the price. He sold the school property for $1 and the St. Paul’s church property for $10. Founder’s Day is in place to celebrate the rich history, strong island heritage and the impact DeRivera’s good deeds had on the community as a whole.

Founder’s Day is sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce. This guarantees delicious food and lots of fun for the entire family. Most of the Put in Bay attractions for the day are organized in DeRivera Park, aptly named after Jose DeRivera, near the waterfront of downtown. Events will start at 11:00 AM and end at 5:00 PM. Furthermore, island entertainment will be on hand to perform a free concert from 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM. The local EMTs will be on hand to pass out safety information and will also be offering free rides in the miniature life flight helicopter for the children.

The picnic lunch will be available for a small donation and provided by the Put-in-Bay Hog Roasters. Browse the downtown shops and tents and find the perfect gift among the local artisans’ mementos. Additionally, there will be community-based nonprofit organizations with booths ready to share their missions and make new friends with Put-in-Bay visitors.

Founder’s Day Festivities

Once the Founder’s Day festivities are finished up head over to Put-in-Bay Historical Museum. Here you can explore the story of Jose DeRivera and the history of the Lake Erie Islands. After browsing the exhibits, take a stroll over to to the Put-in-Bay Brewing Company. Most come for the wide variety of craft beers but end up just as impressed by their robust menu options. Everything on the menu is amazing. If you’re in the mood for a delicious burger, appetizer, or may some chicken wings, then you’ve come to the right place. Some favorites are:

  • Walleye Bites- flash fried Lake Erie Walleye to share!
  • Ultimate Fries- fries with melted cheese, bacon and ranch, yum!
  • Mac & Jack Brewery Bites- mac & cheese wrapped in bacon and fried!!!

With a menu like this you’re sure to make your friends and family happy campers.

You’re not going to want to miss out on Founder’s Day weekend. Check out our lodging page to view rates and availability of our Put in Bay resort and rentals today!

* This is a Put-in-Bay Chamber of Commerce sponsored event *