Burning Snowman Fest is Back!


Last year, the first Burning Snowman Fest brought approximately 3,000 people to a cold, snowy peninsula on Ohio’s northern shore to hear live music, play “Bass Hole” (like Corn Hole, but with fabric fish), soak in hot tubs and, most of all, delight in a 25-foot-tall “snowman” going up in flames. More than $5,000 in proceeds went to United Way of Ottawa County thanks to the event built around the burning of “Norman.”

Guess what? He’s baaack.

Once again a towering snowman built of muslin, chicken wire and steel will be sacrificed to kick winter out the door at Burning Snowman 2016. The event from noon to approximately 8 p.m. Saturday, February 27, 2016 again will feature bands, Bass Hole, hot tubs, drink and food at Lagoon Saloon, off 53 S near Route 2, just outside Port Clinton. Admission is free.

“Because the weather has been warmer than last winter, people keep asking us if we’re still having Burning Snowman. The answer is yes!” said Tricia O’Connor, one of the festival organizers – all volunteers. “Whether we have snow or not, we’re going to be ‘on fire’ having a great time and raising money for charity.”

Burning Snowman is the centerpiece of a city-wide weekend event designed to make Port Clinton a “hot” destination the weekend of February 26-27, 2016. On Friday night, February 26, the Catawba Island Brewing Company (CIBC) is working with other craft breweries for a “Tap Takeover” of bars and restaurants in downtown Port Clinton.

“Instead of an after-party, we’re having a Burning Snowman pre-party,” said CIBC’s Mike Roder, whose brewery creates a Burning Snowman dopplebock for the festival. “You can enjoy some great beer and get fired up for Burning Snowman.”

Everything people loved about last year’s inaugural event will be back and even better, O’Connor said, based on what organizers learned putting on the first Burning Snowman. For example, to combat limited parking at Lagoon Saloon, the festival is contracting with a local company to provide continuous shuttle service from several points in downtown Port Clinton to the festival, and vice versa.

“This year we are strongly encouraging everyone to park downtown and ride the shuttles to and from Burning Snowman,” said Nick James, another festival organizer. “That also makes sense because after Norman the Snowman went up in smoke last year, people moved the party to downtown bars and restaurants. We love it because the festival’s goal is to showcase all the Port Clinton area has to offer in the winter.”

Festival organizers met again this year with the Bay Township Fire Department to ensure proper safety precautions are taken with the giant snowman. “Assuming the weather cooperates, everyone is going to see a spectacular burn,” promised Lenny Kromer, the snowman’s principal designer and builder.

Musicians will play from noon all the way to the lighting of the snowman at 7 pm. Musical acts at the festival will be announced soon. “Expect the best of local and regional talent,” said Kromer. Bars in Port Clinton also are expected to have special music during the weekend.

This year, day-of-event proceeds will once again benefit the United Way of Ottawa County, but also the International Rett Syndrome Foundation Research to Reality Fund. RettSyndrome.org is committed to funding research to find treatments and a cure for Rett Syndrome, a rare but severe brain disorder almost exclusively affecting girls, including several girls in Ottawa County.

Like Autism, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, Rett Syndrome is the result of a gene mutation. Conducting more research of this gene is critical for understanding the brain’s neurology and will help thousands with Rett and tens of thousands more with other neurological disorders. 

While burning a snowman may seem odd, getting snowmen hot and bothered is actually an international tradition. The Rose Sunday Festival in Weinheim-an-der-Bergstrasse, Germany, and the Sechseläuten in Zurich, Switzerland, are both popular festivals which celebrate the end of winter with a snowman going up in smoke. The rising smoke is thought to ward off any further snowstorms and beckon in warmer, spring-like weather.

Visit facebook.com/BurningSnowman to get the latest information on this year’s festival. Come kick winter in the keister at Port Clinton’s Burning Snowman 2016. Burn, Snowman, burn!