Saturday festival in Port to feature performers with area roots, run/walk, parade and plenty of fried fish
There will be a distinctly regional flair to the music heard Saturday, July 16, at Fish Day, Port Washington’s largest festival.
The list of performers from the area starts with country artists Josh Thompson, a Cedarburg native whose mother lives in Port, and Nora Collins, who hails from Brookfield. They will headline the Main Stage, with Collins opening for Thompson, just as they did in 2014.
The list extends to the side stages, where Milwaukee area groups like the Briton, Road Crew, Bobby Way and the Way Outs and The Rush Tribute Project will perform.
“There’s such a huge contingent of talent in the region,” Fish Day General Chairman Mary Monday said. “When we got Josh back and Nora back, we said let’s see if we can really make this a celebration of the talent you can find here.”
This year’s 52nd annual Fish Day celebration — the oldest festival in the city — will follow the theme “Fishmas in July.”
It includes something for everyone — an 8-kilometer run and 2-mile fun walk and run, parade, carnival, classic car show, arts and crafts area, smoked fish-eating contest, music, fireworks and, of course, a bounty of golden fried fish and chips.
Fish and chips are sold at seven stands run by local civic organizations that use the proceeds for community projects such as park improvements and scholarships.
In addition, chicken strips, cheese curds, craft and traditional beer, nonalcoholic beer, hard lemonade, Gatorade, soda and water will be sold at the stands.
Fish Day kicks off at 8 a.m. with a run and walk to benefit Portal Industries. The race will be chip timed, providing precise information and almost instantaneous reading of the results.
The parade starts at 10 a.m., with units stepping off from the corner of Wisconsin Street and Walters Street, proceeding south on Wisconsin to Grand Avenue, then continuing west to Wisconsin Street.
Among the units will be perennial crowd favorites such as New Generation and the South Shore Drill Team from Chicago.
Representatives of Port Washington State Bank, the longest-standing sponsor of the festival, will be the parade marshal. Alyssa Lanagan of Grafton High School, who designed the Fish Day logo, will be the junior marshal.
On the festival grounds, music is the main attraction.
This the first time Fish Day has had a repeat Main Stage headliner, Monday said.
“Josh was such a hit, people were asking for him to come back,” she said. “And then we thought, if we’re going to bring him back, why not Nora?”
Thompson, whose latest album “Change: The Lost Record, Volume One” is described as his most introspective, will take the stage at 8:30 p.m.
His first single “Beer on the Table,” hit No. 16 on the Billboard country chart, and his second, “Way Out Here” hit the top 40.
Thompson’s sophomore disc, “Turn It Up,” debuted in the top 10 and produced two singles —“Cold Beer With Your Name On It” and “Wanted Me Gone.”
Collins will perform at 8 p.m.
Also performing at the Main Stage during the afternoon will be Road Crew.
The headliner for the Blues Stage is Dynasty, a Chicago blues band.
The Bandshell Stage headliner is The Britins, while The Rush Tribute Project will headline the Lakeview Stage.
Local and regional acts will perform on stages throughout the day.
All the music at Fish Day is free, with the exception of the Main Stage acts. A Fish Day button is required for entrance there. The button is $2 before the festival or $5 at the gate.
A number of the food stands will also have musical groups.
Fish Day features a wide variety of events for families, including a carnival with a large Ferris wheel.
Helicopter rides will take off from Upper Lake Park.
The traditional smoked fish-eating contest will be at 2:30 p.m. at the Lakeview Stage.
The soccer water fights in Veterans Park will begin at 3 p.m. Teams of three youths can sign up for the fights at 2:30 p.m.The Upper Lake Park bluff is the location for the arts and crafts show and the classic car show, which run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The festival closes with a fireworks display at 9:30 p.m. Fireworks are set off from Coal Dock Park, which will be closed after 1 p.m. as crews prepare for the show.
Free shuttle buses will run throughout the city, stopping at designated points marked by signs.
In addition, buses will pick up and drop off passengers at the Ozaukee County Justice Center on South Spring Street, Harbor Hills on Port’s west side, the Ozaukee County park-and-ride lot off Seven Hills Road on the city’s north side and Walmart in Saukville.
Pets are not allowed on the grounds, and visitors are not allowed to bring backpacks into the festival. Bikes, skates and skateboards are also prohibited.
For more information, visit www.portfishday.com.