For 29 years, the Holiday Inn French quarter in Perrysburg Ohio has been the meeting ground for bluegrassers in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and everywhere for that matter. The January bluegrass weekend known as the Bluegrass in Super Class Winterfest show will have a new venue next year. The hotel, built in 1967, has announced it will be shutting its doors forever later this year. Started in 1991 by Robert White and Fred Ellis, and taken over by Larry Efaw and his wife, Lisa, after Roberts passing, the show has been a place for people to gather and watch the best in bluegrass, and also relieve some cabin fever in the middle of winter. From Bill Monroe to Ralph Stanley to Del Mccoury and the Lewis Family, almost everyone has performed at this venue over the last 29 years.
I’ve been fortunate enough to attend every one of these shows since 1991, and got a chance to talk to some of the employees who had been there since the hotel’s opening. Over the years, the hotel had hosted many presidential campaigns, including Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, and served as a landmark in the community for the enormous swimming pool and water slides that locals would come and enjoy in the winter.
The show will be moved in 2020 to the Maumee Bay Lodge, just northeast of the current location about 20 minutes away. My wife and I drove up Saturday morning to check out the new facility. It will be the perfect setting for a winter Bluegrass show. The grand ballroom sits right on the edge of Lake Erie with a panoramic view from where the show will be held. Rooms, accommodations, restaurants, and a lounge, also are top-notch.
This weekend saw a host of great bands at Winterfest. Larry Efaw and the Bluegrass Mountaineers, Caney Creek, Ottawa County Bluegrass, Harbortown, Ralph Stanley II and the Clinch Mountain boys, Rhonda Vincent, and a host of other bands hit the stage for a great weekend of music and fellowship. The entire hotel was packed with jam sessions everywhere. Bluegrass has grown by leaps and bounds in the Ohio area in the last few years, and Larry Efaw is committed to keeping Bluegrass in Super Class alive and well. His dedication to the music has allowed promoters to come to the show and advertise for festivals coming up in the summer. For that we thank him.
Anyone who might be interested in attending next year please contact Larry Efaw at 330-645-1542, or visit Larry’s Facebook page.
Thanks again to Larry and Lisa Efaw for a wonderful weekend. If you have not been to the Bluegrass in Super Class Winterfest show, make plans to attend next year!