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Full summer of fun coming up at Kelleys

New watering hole, craft beer fest making debut

Kelleys Island Chamber of Commerce

The Kelleys Island Chamber of Commerce is looking forward to a busy summer season and plenty of new developments this year. In this update, we’ll cover a few events, initiatives and noteworthy milestones observed by some of our member businesses and organizations.

Welcome birders

The month of May is prime time for birding on the island. We welcomed hundreds of birders to our quiet, 2,800-acre island this spring where they observed various species of migrating songbirds. Bird banding lasted until May 31 and was facilitated by the Kelleys Island Audubon Club. Participants were afforded the opportunity to view birds up close, weigh and measure them, catalog them and even hold one in their hands and set it free. Birding events are helmed by the island’s resident Master Bird Bander, Tom Bartlett, who also serves as a Field Biologist for the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and is licensed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Bartlett is also a retired science teacher and has been banding birds for more than 40 years. He will be back on the island to lead another bird banding event Sept. 16-22 on Long Point, located on Kelleys Island’s north side. This October, Bartlett will facilitate owl banding in Scheele Preserve, also located on the north side of the island.

Glacial Grooves

Kelleys Island’s most popular natural attraction, the Glacial Grooves, will be receiving much-needed upgrades this year. The Glacial Grooves were carved into solid limestone bedrock about 18,000 years ago by the great ice sheet that once covered part of North America. The site is the largest and most easily accessible example of glacial grooves in the world. Access to view the grooves currently includes a set of stairs. The installation of a ramp will make the Glacial Grooves truly accessible. Updates to the site will meet the standards for accessibility as designated by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Construction – facilitated in collaboration with the Ohio History Connection – will include an aluminum ramp, new signage developed using Universal Design, and an improved upper viewing area. Shaw OTT Medical, located in Mansfield, OH, will manufacture and install the aluminum ramp.

History on display

The Kelleys Island Historical Association’s campus is bustling with activity this year. The 2018 History Museum display themes are “Bathing Beauties of the 1950s” and “The History of Electricity on the Island.” The Old German Reformed Church, also located on the campus, is open and available to visitors, as well as the church Parsonage, which is now inhabited by a resale shop. The shop proved to be so popular in its first year of operation (2017), it’s back for a second season. All proceeds from the shop will be used to restore the Parsonage’s kitchen floor and to provide new signage for the resale shop and the museum. The museum is currently open on weekends, but will be open 7 days a week from noon to 4 p.m. starting June 9. The Parsonage resale shop will be open noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Donations are always welcome.

The Sandtrap

Construction for Kelleys Island’s newest watering hole, The Sandtrap, is now complete. The open-air bar, located in the center of Caddyshack Square in Downtown Kelleys Island, began serving customers Memorial Day Weekend. The property features an 18-hole putt-putt golf course with all new landscaping. Materials were repurposed from a previously existing course on the same spot and also opened Memorial Day weekend.

Craft Beer Week

June 16-19, Kelleys Island will host its first ever Craft Beer Week. Every establishment on the island with a liquor license is slated to participate, with the exception of the VFW. The week will provide much-needed activity during a typically slow portion of the season. Attendees can expect to find live music, delicious special menu items at local eateries, and tap takeovers from beloved craft breweries like Jackie O’s, Sibling Revelry, The Brew Kettle and more.

Also coming up in the month of June on the island:

  • 5K and 10K Run/Walk 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 3
  • Bacon Fest, June 8-10 at the Kelleys Island Wine Co.
  • Cops and Bobbers (with the Kelleys Island Police Department), noon to 2 p.m., June 10

For information about local businesses, events and organizations, contact the Kelleys Island Chamber of Commerce at 419-746-2360 or

Jordan Killam is office manager for the Kelleys Island Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, One Seaway Marina, Kelleys Island, 419-746-2360,