Farm Preparing for 10th Annual Fish and Shrimp Festival
Freshwater Farms of Ohio, a mile north of Urbana, is finalizing arrangements for the 10th annual Ohio Fish and Shrimp Festival, September 16-18.
A celebration of Ohio’s annual freshwater shrimp harvest, the festival reels in the flavor and feel of the seashore to the countryside of verdant Champaign County. The three days of family fun feature a succulent menu of fresh, locally grown seafood, other delectable fare, continuous live music, games, carnival rides, and fun, informative farm tours, complete with an alligator named Fluffy and giant sturgeon fish that like to be petted (the fish, not the alligator).
Freshwater Farms, Ohio’s largest indoor fish hatchery, became one of the state’s first freshwater shrimp producers in 2001. The farm celebrated its second shrimp harvest in 2002 with the inaugural Ohio Fish and Shrimp Festival.
Originally set in downtown Urbana, the festival has been on the farm, 2624 N. U.S. 68, Urbana, since 2005. Festival hours will be 5-9 p.m. Friday, September 16; 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday, September 17; and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, September 18.
Vendors, Nonprofit Organizations Invited
Vendors—including businesses and nonprofit organizations—are invited to join the festivities, which draw thousands of guests. August 26 is the deadline to submit a vendor application, downloadable from the farm’s website, fwfarms.com. The application fee is refundable to non-profit organizations, which are encouraged to offer activities or sales to raise money for their causes.
Here’s a summary of what this year’s festival has to offer:
· Continuous live music on the farm’s outdoor stage, with a new band every hour, catering to a wide range of musical tastes—rock, bluegrass, folk, gospel, reggae and more—as guests enjoy an equally varied menu of food, including fresh seafood
· Freshly harvested shrimp for sale by a variety of Ohio farmers, beginning on Saturday morning. The supply sells out quickly.
· Games for the whole family to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the American Cancer Society
· Tours of the farm’s fish-raising facilities and extensive displays of live fish, frogs, turtles and other native critters. The display even includes an alligator named Fluffy, who has been living at the farm since being captured in a local pond by wildlife officers and deputies near the end of last year’s festival.
· The farm’s sturgeon pool, where Ohio’s largest native fish stop to be petted by guests
· The farm’s market, which offers fresh and smoked trout and other local products
· The Kids Wet Zone, including a sand castle play area, treasure dig and water balloon catapults
· A shrimp peeling and eating contest
· Carnival rides
· A coloring contest that children can enter on the festival website for prizes
General admission is $3, which includes two free game tickets, and $5 for a weekend pass, good for all three days, plus two free game tickets. Admission is free for children 2 and under. Tickets are available only at the event. Admission includes access to all live music, the sturgeon petting zoo, fish and critter displays and more! Games and rides are extra.
For more information on the festival, visit fwfarms.com/festival, or call (937) 652-3701.
About Freshwater Farms of Ohio
· Largest indoor fish hatchery in Ohio and the state’s only producer of fresh trout products
· First farm in the world to feed rainbow trout sustainable grain-based diets and to raise trout in a water recirculation system in solar-heated barns to conserve water and power
· Raises 100,000 pounds of fish a year
· Family-owned farm, operated by three generations. Founded in 1983, using buildings from a former chicken farm.
· Vertically integrated operation that includes hatchery, grow-out, processing, marketing and an on-site retail store
· Open year round, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; closed Sundays and major holidays
· Owner Dr. Dave Smith served as first president of Ohio Aquaculture Association
· Freshwater Farms also offers expert advice on recreational pond and water garden setup and maintenance, along with its own line of WaterSmith decorative fountains, lighting and filtration systems and accessories, as well as pond stocking fish and fish feed