Every year, during the last Thursday of February, a large group of Fremont, Ohio, natives/residents gather along Fort Myers Beach, who are either on vacation down south or who now live in Southwest Florida. The annual Fremont Day will take place at the Smokin' Oyster Brewery (S.O.B.), 340 Old San Carlos Blvd., Thursday, March 1, from noon to about 4 or 5 p.m.
"We've had anywhere from 75 to 100 people from Fremont, Ohio, that make it to the party, who are on vacation or live here in Lee County," said Lee H. "LaRoy" Bowden, coordinator of the big gathering. "My wife and I, with our family, have been coming to Fort Myers Beach for about 34 years, renting at Kona Beach Club on the north end of island until purchasing a condo in 1990."
Lee explains how Fremont Day has turned into such a big event on the island.
Stop by SOB Thursday, Feb. 23, from noon to 4 p.m., for Fremont Day, celebrating all who live – or lived – in Fremont, Ohio. Photo by MELISSA SCHNEIDER.
"About 10 or 12 years ago, Denny Van Ness of 'The Time Out
Sports Bar' and 'Jimmy Buckets' Marina Bar,' both from back home in Fremont, Ohio, decided with Bill Freeman, owner of the Smokin' Oyster Brewery, that they should host or have a Fremont Day at Bill's island bar," he said. "It has been quite a success! We have loads of Fremont people who attend anywhere from noon to 4 or 5 p.m. that day. It's like 'old home week' for about 75 to 100 people!"
Lee said Fremont, Ohio, has a population of only about 16,000, and rests approximately 35 miles southeast of Toledo, "But we are very well-represented in Lee County by visitors, as well as residents!"
Another fun Fremont fact: Fremont is the home of 19th president of the U.S., Rutherford B. Hayes, who was also of good friend of Thomas Edison, because he was born about 40 miles away from Fremont, in Milan, Ohio.
As he concludes, "Come by and join us on Fremont Day at the Smokin' Oyster Brewery, Thursday, March 1!"