The Early Years
In the early 1900’s, sailing regattas were very popular. From 1906 – 1913, the Lakewood Yacht Club, which later merged with the Cleveland Yacht Club, came to Vermilion every year to hold regattas up until the Vermilion Boat Club was formed.
From 1914-1920, the club held canoe races, swimming and dining events. The club also continued the annual regattas in Vermilion. The first regatta in 1915 was call the “Open Regatta”. The 1916 regatta was called “South Shore Regatta” and remained for the following years. During these early years, people from all over would flock to the Vermilion Rive on weekends to what the regattas and have parties in the streets. These parties were the very early versions of what would transform in later years into what is now known as the Vermilion Fish Festival.
For nearly 50 years, the VBC did not have a permanent home and met in many locations in Vermilion. The first location was in the Mayor’s office on Main Street. Over the years, the club met in several locations on Main Street including the Nolan Saloon and the second floor of the Fischer building. In subsequent years, the club met in the Sail Loft (now known as Chez Francois), above Hart’s Drug Store (now Big Ed’s Main Street Grill) and later on the second floor of the former McGarvey’s Restaurant. In 1961, the VBC moved to its current location and permanent home on the
beautiful Vermilion River.