However, this year that’s the exact sentiment driving Kelleys Island free Islandfest, taking place July 20 through 22 around the downtown area.
“Last year we added a car show but now we decided to move that to September because it was just like too much going on at one time,” said Kelleys Island Chamber of Commerce Director Debbie Herwick, who has lived on the island for over 30 years. “The ferries are just packed for Islandfest the whole time so it made it really difficult for the car people to get over here.
“Also, last year we had a carnival for Islandfest but now because of the congestion we’re going to move that to July 27 through 29. We thought it would spread things out, give more people an opportunity to come over and have fun for those events.”
Something else of note in 2012 is this year’s Islandfest has anniversaries galore. Not only is the summertime tradition celebrating its 25th anniversary but Kelleys Island Township marks its 125th anniversary.
“It’s a huge thing because it’s a big milestone for us,” Herwick said. “We’re hoping to get some of the descendents of the Kelley brothers, some of which still live here on the island. Hopefully they’ll be involved in the parade.”
In addition to a slew of food and craft vendors, Islandfest boasts its popular parade on July 21. This is where locals and business folk decorate golf carts and pickup trucks. Then that evening fireworks at dusk can be seen from all over the island. For the kids there’s a children’s dance on July 20 and 21, while the adults can celebrate in the evening by taking in one of the many musical offerings being offered all weekend long at various Kelleys Island venues. This includes Rendezvous at Bag the Moon, Cruisin’ at The Casino, Steve Brownell at Dockers, Paradise Island and Paul Unplugged at West Bay Inn, Almost Famous and 730 Club at Caddy Shack and Chris Hatton at Brewery.
As clichéd as it may sound, Islandfest boasts something for everybody, and more.
“We do it mostly for our friends and family who have been coming to the island for years and years,” Herwick said. “Also we’re hoping to attract visitors to our area so they can see all of the fun things we do on Kelleys Island. Really, it’s just to be a part of the celebration.”
For more information, call the Kelleys Island Chamber of Commerce at 419-746-2630.