When I think of Put-in-Bay, my first thoughts are of hanging out on the lake, sipping on wine, and enjoying the laid-back pace of island life.
Visiting PiB and Kelleys Island is a highlight of my Cleveland summers — not to mention spring and fall (here’s a recap of our trip to Put-in-Bay last Fall).
What doesn’t immediately come to mind is an epic battle. However, it was off the shores of Put-in-Bay that the ferocious Battle of Lake Erie was fought 200 years ago this September.
At dawn on the morning of September 10, 1813, Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry (best name ever + we share a birthday) sailed forth to engage British ships on Lake Erie.
The War of 1812 had been raging between Great Britain and the United States for a while. And although the odds seemed to be against him, when Perry came home that day, he was victorious. He famously wrote:
One of the most resounding victories of the War, the battle secured control of the lake and insured the states of Ohio and Michigan would remain U.S. territories.
It’s a battle befitting a huge bicentennial celebration and that’s what we’re going to get this Labor Day weekend on Put-in-Bay.
From August 29 through September 2, hop on the Miller Ferry to Put-in-Bay for live music (including Brent Kirby and Hey Mavis), food and craft vendors, tall ship tours and day sails, and my favorite: a re-creation of the sea battle itself.
On Sept. 2, volunteers portraying the ships’ crews will gather at 8am. They’ll sail to battle at 10am, with the battle reenactment happening from 12pm to 4pm. Spectators will be able to watch the reenactment by catching a ride on a boat or ship as well as enjoying on-land militia reenactments.
The schedule of events can be found at battleoflakeerie-bicentennial.com/events/bicentennial-events
Put-in-Bay will also host a Bicentennial Regency Ball on August 31 at the Niagara Event Center. Tickets are $25 per person and $45 per couple.
Members of “Dance Thru History–History Dancers” will perform and will teach dance steps from the 19th century. There will be a Most Authentic Dressed Couple prize, and the Perry Group will provide light appetizers. A cash bar will also be available through the evening.
All proceeds from the dance will benefit educational programs at Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial. Tickets can be purchased at visitputinbay.com/pib/regency-ball-tickets.
If you can’t make it to Put-in-Bay over Labor Day weekend, other celebrations will take place on Put-in-Bay through Sept. 10. Check out their events calendar for more information. And information about events happening at the now-opened Perry’s Monument on PiB can be found here.