Detroit Blamed For "Christmas in July" Island Chaos at Put-in-Bay

Put In Bay Christmas In July Weekend

The Christmas in July weekend at Put-in-Bay has become a popular destination for boaters and party-goers for years. The Christmas themed weekend attracts tourist to from Cleveland and Michigan to enjoy all the South Bass Islands festivities. Some stay at hotels, and condo's, while boaters fill the marinas along the Put-in-Bay shoreline for a weekend transit.

South Bass Island, in Lake Erie, Ohio, is home to Put-in-Bay—the Midwest’s favorite island vacation destination. The island often referred to as the "Key West of Lake Erie", is approximately 3.7 miles long and 1.5 miles wide - draw over 750,000 tourist yearly. Visitors often rent bikes, golf-carts to get around to island and enjoy recreation activities such as: parasailing, jet skis, go-carts, wine-tasting, pool parties, night clubs and more.  

The '12-hour turn-Up' is how I would describe "Christmas in July" for visitors who travel to the island with no hotel accommodations.  People can ride the ferry as early as 6:00 a.m. to get to South Bass Island, rent a golf-cart, enjoy as many activities as possible before the last ferry heads back to the mainland.


Catawba Island Police Chief John Gangway said fights began on South Bass Island and spilled over to the Ferry Boats transporting passengers back to shore. 

3,000 and 4,000 people flooded the Miller ferry docks by 8:45 p.m. to catch the last ferry boats back, when more scuffles broke out.

Miller Boat Line co-owner Bill Market says he believes the incident on the ferry started with an argument between two females over what he described as personal matters.

"The majority of passengers were well-behaved, but unfortunately we will have disagreements when you have large crowds of people," Market said. "I would by no means describe it as a brawl since it only involved two people and was dissolved in a short, timely matter."

One man, who visits the islands frequently wrote, “You would have lost your mind. Complete disrespect for the island, property and law. The fact that extra security was brought in says enough. I visit this island a lot and this will be my absolute last time when the tour buses visit….I just don’t understand why folks can’t just come enjoy the island, respect it and leave it the way you found it. Sad."

"The difference from last year is that the numbers of buses was more sporadic," Gangway said. "This year it seemed like all the buses got there at the same time."

Gangway said there were around 40 buses near the Miller Ferry dock in Catawba that created traffic and crowd control issues.

Outside of pool party at Put-In-Bay

Did Detroit Steal Christmas in July?


In the beloved children's tale by Dr. Seuss, the green Grinch decided to ruin Christmas for the cheery citizens of Whoville. The Grinch comes down from his mountaintop home and sneaks into town to swipe everything holiday-related from the Whos. Did Detroit steal Christmas in July weekend? 

 According to Put-In-Bay news outlet, “Christmas in July” is no longer an officially sanctioned event recognized by the Chamber of Commerce at Put-In-Bay.  

Many of the visitors were members of a special tour group organized in Detroit, Michigan, by Tamika Williams.  The Chamber of Commerce previously (2017) requested that Ms. Williams spread tour participants out over several weeks in order for the island infrastructure to accommodate visitors.

Police radio monitoring revealed incidents involving public urination, marijuana possession, head-on automobile crash (LifeFlight called), disorderly conduct, and combative subjects in police custody.

Residents and frequent island visitors are fed up with some Christmas in July patrons and are doing everything in their power to prevent large bus-tours to visit.

See comments below:


This weekend’s trip for our wedding party was absolutely the worst trip ever. As soon as we bored the ferry to visit the island we instantly questioned our entire trip and eventually regretted it. Never have we seen multiple fights at the same time, in the same vicinity, public urination, vomiting, drug use, vulgar dialogue and indecency, inappropriate dress and sooo much more. We witnessed endless loitering, trash everywhere, wreckless driving of golf carts with several crashes, an act of arson. Police and facility staff doing nothing about clear violations of policy and law affecting the safety of visitors. I doubt I will ever return and will tell others to avoid it like the plague on society it appears to have been during our visit.


It was overwhelming for a 1st timer it was not what I expected. I came on the bus with Tamika and going and coming was a horrible experience it was unorganized there was fights. I didnt get home until almost most 1am because people were retained for fighting on the island when her flyer said we would be back by 9pm. She has since took down the event from Facebook because she knew there would be backlash. I text and put on the event because I lost glasses on bus with no response . I would like my money $100 back also and I am sure there are others.


I will never go back, this was not the island I remember! How sad that people would be so disrespectful. The place was trashed, smelled like urine.


Too bad for this behavior, it is ruining the fun times we have become accustomed to! It’s very sad!

Tamika Williams

I love the island I encourage people to follow the laws and enjoy the fun the right way without causing an disturbanceThanks for sending me the material to pass outTo my guest. I appreciate your efforts toProviding us with information

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