Cultural Attractions & Events

Vermilion is recognized for its festivals and community events, including the Vermilion Harbour Triathlon/Duathlon.  The Woollybear Festival is a one-day gathering that draws over 150,000 visitors to our city and includes the longest parade in Ohio.  The Festival of the Fish, held each June, is a three-day event drawing visitors to take part in our celebration of the sea. Historic SummerFare - Antiques, Collectibles & Artisans in the Park brings thousands of visitors for the annual car show, street dance and Antiques in the Park. Outdoor movies and concerts are offered all summer long, as well as Second Saturday Citywide Sales. Christmas in July celebrates winter in summer with Santa arriving by riverboat.  Santa returns by way of the Christmas tree ship, Vermilion's re-enactment of the 1887 Rousse Simmons, in December. Art shows are planned throughout the year. Additional events include Scavenger Hunts, the Annual Chocolate Festival, Taste of Vermilion, the Annual Gardeners Fair, the Annual Duck Dash 500, Crusin' Car Show, and much, much more.

Vermilion is located on the Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail, the Wing Watch & Wine Trail, the Back Roads & Beaches Bike Route, the Lake Erie Circle Tour and the Shipwrecks & Maritime Tales of Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail. The area's largest vineyard and winery is located on Vermilion's South Side.

Vermilion River Reservation is home to the the picturesque Bacon House Museum at Mill Hollow. Walk through the original settler Benjamin Bacon's house, built in 1845. The museum features themes of daily living and puts an emphasis on the community life, including the profound effect the railroad had on the economy and on people's lives.

The Vermilion News Print Shop Museum, former home of Vermilion’s weekly newspaper 1905-1964, houses two linotypes and four letter presses as well as a collection of Vermilion photographs, signs, and other materials. The Vermilion Area Archival Society stores and indexes archival materials for research from the Vermilion area and provides assistance, as well as monthly programs, regarding the history and records of the area.

The Arts Guild features rotating exhibits of a new Artist of the Month, as well as special art shows and events. A wealth of art galleries abound in the Harbour Town district. The Vermilion Community Music Association, which features the Community Band, Community Chorus, and the Wind Jammer Dance Band, provides professional music services to numerous events throughout the year. The Vermilion Opera House, built in 1883 in the Vermilion Town Hall, is being restored to house a premier performing arts center featuring high quality touring performers, local theater, music and community events. Ritter Public Library, which is the jewel of our community, provides cultural events, plays, speakers, book clubs, and educational programs to all levels of our community. Meeting and housing space is provided for the many non-profit activities and events in town.

Harbour Town 1837

Harbour Town is home to dozens of retail shops, restaurants, professional businesses, marinas, accommodations and tourist activities.  Visit Harbour Town by car or boat. Downtown public docks are within walking distance of a museum, dozens of boutiques, art galleries and fine dining.  Harbour Town is also home to a beach and several parks. Enjoy the sandy beach, recreational boating of every kind, jet skis, canoeing, sailing and more where ship building was once the major industry. On summer nights, residents and visitors congregate on the large deck at Main Street Beach to watch boats sail back and forth in front of the beautiful Lake Erie sunset and enjoy the Mystic Belle, a small paddle wheeler, offering rides on the Vermilion River.

Harbour Town features events and entertainment throughout the year including sidewalk entertainment, artists, grand parades, festivals and bazaars. Summer months feature outside music and movies and weekly events. Winter offers an array of holiday activities and fabulous shopping bargains.

It doesn't get any better for rail buffs than Vermilion's historic downtown, with at least 5 trains racing through town every hour. The railroad action in Vermilion is virtually non-stop, and no other railroad town offers a more beautiful location in a picturesque town on the shores of Lake Erie.

Bacon House Museum

Surrounded by tall trees and a split-rail fence, you can't miss the picturesque Bacon House Museum and Carriage Barn at Vermilion River Reservation's Mill Hollow. Walk through the original settler Benjamin Bacon's house, built in 1845. The museum features themes of daily living and puts an emphasis on the community life in Brownhelm, including the profound effect the railroad had on the economy and on people's lives.  The museum is located at 51211 N. Ridge Road in Vermilion and is typically open on Sundays during during the Spring and Summers and during special events during the Fall and Winter.  Call (440) 967-7310 for more information.

The Bacon's

In 1817, Benjamin Bacon settled with his family along the top of the cliffs overlooking an oxbow in the Vermilion River that would eventually be called Mill Hollow. Soon afterwards, and at an early age, Benjamin was elected to the prestigious position of Justice of the Peace, and in 1824 was selected as one of the first commissioners for Lorain County. In 1835 he purchased an interest in a saw and grist mill that had been relocated to the oxbow in the river. A mill race was cut across the oxbow to increase the water power that turned the mill’s large water wheel. The mills were very successful and by 1845 had provided Benjamin the means to build a nice house across the road. When he died in 1868 at the age of 78, the house and mills were sold to John Heymann, a German immigrant new to the area.

Benjamin Bacon

Frederick Bacon was born in 1840, the youngest son of Benjamin and Anna, Benjamin’s third wife. In 1860, he enlisted in the Union army and fought in the Civil War for four years, after which he returned home to his wife Abigail (formerly Abigail Wells) and started a family in Brownhelm.  In 1879, John Heymann sold the mills to Frederick Bacon. They’d been modernized with steam power after a fire destroyed them in October of 1876 which started after the close of business. Frederick now not only owned the mills, but also owned land in Geauga county and coal fields in Iowa. This diversity was very fortunate because with the advent of the railroad, fewer farmers needed to mill their grain locally and many local residents weren’t even farmers, but rather worked at the sandstone quarries instead. By 1901, the mills were no longer profitable and had to be sold and dismantled.

Frederick and Abigail Bacon

Frederick and Abigail had nine children, seven of whom never married. After Frederick’s death in 1901, his children continued to farm the river valley. By the late 1920s, only Sarah and Charles remained, and the house was rented to several people for decades until Charles’ death in 1957. Dorothy Bacon DeMuth, a distant cousin, inherited the property and donated it to the newly formed Lorain County Metro Parks. The Vermilion River Reservation became the first park in the Lorain County Metro Parks. The Bacon House was opened as a house museum in 1962 with the help of the Lorain County Historical Society. Today, the house is open Sundays and Holidays, Memorial Day to Labor Day, and scheduled private tours throughout the year.

The Reservation

Spanning two adjacent areas separated by the Vermilion River—Mill Hollow on one side and Bacon Woods on the other—Vermilion River Reservation is a favorite of picnickers, naturalists and anyone who just wants to enjoy its natural beauty. Just next to the Bacon House Museum, the Carriage Barn offers visitors information about the park and hosts nature programs.  Vermilion River Reservation is located at 51211 North Ridge Road,  just 4 miles south of downtown Vermilion, by the intersection of North Ridge and Vermilion Roads.

Vermilion News Print Shop Museum

The Vermilion News Print Shop Museum, in Downtown Vermilion, served as a print shop and a weekly newspaper from 1905 to 1964. The print shop houses two linotypes (c.1915), and 4 letter presses: A Stonemetz 2 revolution newspaper press (c.1919); a Kelly press (c.1917); a Chandler & Price 8"x12" Gorden Jobber Press (c.1900); and a Heidelberg windmill Press (c.1954). There is book bindary and storage room with a manual paper cutter, electric stapler, and a manual hole punch machine.

The building was built in 1904 by Caselton Roscoe of Milan, Ohio for his son and daughter-in-law, Pearl and Bessie Roscoe, to house the business. There is an apartment above the shop where the Roscoe's lived and raised their two daughters. Today the apartment has become part of the museum featuring historical artifacts from the printer's family, as well as those from Vermilionites of the past. 

Vermilion Farm Markets & Roadside Stands

There is something special about preparing home-cooked meals with fresh fruits and vegetables picked up at a farm market within hours of harvest. Discover farm fresh foods at Vermilion's farm markets.  Vermilion markets and roadside stands offer the freshest produce and seasonal favorites.  From homegrown apples, lettuce, corn, beans, cucumbers, brocholi, radishes, cider, gourds, and fall squash - to a vast array of tropical fruits - you'll find everything you need for your cooking needs at Vermilion's own farmers markets and roadside stands. Visit area farms during one of the Pick Your Own seasons.  Families and children gain the learning experience of where food comes from by Picking Your Own.  Relax in the rural setting and soak in the fresh air and sunshine.

VOL Historic Ballroom

In 1919 a group of investors from the Cleveland area purchased a wooded property with 600 feet of Lake Erie frontage in tiny “Vermilion-on-the-Lake”, Ohio. They cleared the land, and using the very logs they felled, built an approximately 10,000 square foot private community center known as the Vermilion-on-the-Lake Clubhouse.

The big bands of that era were soon accompanied by couples dancing on polished hardwood floors beneath a glittering globe.  Those original hardwood floors, framed by the original log walls, are still there today.  Soon, “Vermilion-on-the-Lake” became a summer playground and a sparkling jewel for well-to-do residents of western Cleveland.

These pre-Depression era high rollers purchased summer cottages throughout the area and shared access to the clubhouse’s 600-foot pristine and sandy beach.  Ladies with parasols strolled the boardwalk of the “Atlantic City of the Midwest”.  As late as the 1950’s, top-notch entertainment attracted society’s elite to the “V.O.L.” to see the big bands of the day, including the leading edge sounds of the “Chuck Berry Trio” performing their hit “Maybellene” one summer Tuesday night in 1955.

But, alas, the luster faded.  Rising lake levels reclaimed the pristine beach, the economy turned sour and many lot owners looked to sell. Maintenance waned and the original owners agreed to deed the property over to the “Vermilion-on-the-Lake Lot Owners Association”.

During the 1960’s “Vermilion-on-the-Lake”, which had been an incorporated village, was annexed by the then “Village of Vermilion” to create the current “City of Vermilion”.

The VOL (Vermilion-on-the-Lake) Historic Community Center remains today one of the only wedding venue's still situated on Lake Erie's shore.  The 'VOL CLubhouse' as it has been called, demands only modest rental fees which assist the effort to save and renovate this historic building.

The Vermilion-on-the-Lake Lot Owners Association is a non-profit corporation formed under the laws of the State of Ohio as a service organization.  Besides the restoration and operation of the Historic Community Center, their mission includes community service, involvement in the security of the area through our "Block Watch" program, providing a venue for community fellowship and political discussion, and providing education to our citizens about the history and culture of our area.

Through a recent affiliation with the Lorain County Historical Society, they hope to emphasize the historic nature of this unique building and encourage the businesses and foundations tasked with preserving our heritage, to lend a hand in restoring the Historic Community Center to its once glorious condition.

VOL Historic Community Center is located at 3780 Edgewater Blvd, Vermilion, Ohio 44089. Phone: (440) 967-4118.

Vermilion Alpaca Farms

Nestled in the beautiful countryside of Vermilion, Ohio are several Alpaca farms.

The Alpaca is a member of the camelid family, first found in recorded history in the high mountain regions of South America. For thousands of years, Alpacas have coexisted with humans. They were nearly driven to extinction by the Spanish conquerors, small herds survived in the high Andes mountains, one of the most inhospitable places on earth. The Andean civilization of the Andes mountains gave the animal a central place in their society, using Alpacas in religious ceremonies and clothing themselves from their fleece. The high altitude and harsh landscape ensured only the hardiest of these creatures survived, and these ancestors of today's best bloodlines have provided a gene pool producing hardy, agile animals with dense, high quality fiber. In 1984, a small group of importers brought the first of a carefully selected herd of highest quality alpacas into the United States and Canada, and they immediately became a beloved part of the North American landscape.

Alpacas are friendly, calm, inquisitive, and easy to farm. The females, or hembras, grow to 60-70 kg and males, or machos, grow to 90kg, standing at our eye height. Babies (cria) are born at between 6 and 9 kg and should reach 40kg well before their first birthday.

They are placid, friendly, intelligent and careful animals, and for the most part non-aggressive. Their natural defence is a reflex kick to the rear, and spitting if really provoked, although good spit tends to be reserved for pecking order tussles within the herd, or to keep nuisances in line. A loud "bark" acts as a warning call to others. A soft humming is the only other noise they make.

Alpaca fiber comes in 22 colors that are recognized by the textile industry, and there are many blends in addition to that. Alpacas are shorn for their wonderful fleece each year which is a soft, warm fiber that is turned into the most luxurious garments in the world. When it comes to raising alpacas, there is something for everyone.

Alpaca is five times warmer than wool, hypoallergenic, soft as silk and wears forever. Never dry clean alpaca clothing. Washing in cool water with a mild detergent, roll in a towel and lay out to dry.

Discover Vermilion's Alpaca farms.

 .