The Barge Party’s back

Event set for July 12
Andy Ouriel
Apr 10, 2014


Local boating enthusiasts have resurrected a rambunctious yet popular bayside beach bash for this summer.

After a one-year hiatus, the Sandusky Bay Barge Party returns July 12.

Event organizers canceled the barge party in 2013, mainly for financial reasons and legal complications. But there’s no doubt the party is returning for one edition in 2014. In 2011 and 2012, the barge party occurred twice each summer. “I’ve had hundreds of people email me, write me, text me, Facebook me and ask me to bring it back” said Shaun Bickley, the event’s main coordinator. “So we are going to bring it back”    

Boaters and revelers flock from all over — Ohio, Michigan, even Canada and elsewhere — to gather at the sandbar in the lake waters just across from Cedar Point. They then anchor their boats and crowd around a barge, which organizers transport to the site.

The floating stage serves as the party’s centerpiece, featuring rock concerts, dance contests and other performances. “It’s great camaraderie and just good, fun times,” Bickley said. A typical barge party costs about $10,000. Bickley estimates he’ll need about $8,000 through sponsorships to make this year’s barge party a break-even venture.

For more info or to sponsor contact Bickley at 419-656-3893.

Event marred by underage drinking in ’12
The barge party has become a mainstay of Sandusky summers. Up until a few years ago it lacked any true controversy — until authorities arrested the event’s main coordinator and his family members.

In June 2012, authorities charged Shaun Bickley with complicity to sell alcohol without a license and furnishing alcohol to a minor. The charges were later reduced to a single count of disorderly conduct, a fourth-degree misdemeanor, after Bickley accepted a plea deal. Bickley paid a $100 fine and served 20 hours of community service. Additionally, Bickley’s son, Colt, was charged with underage consumption.

Authorities later dropped the charges, but Colt still had to attend alcohol classes and write an essay on his experience.

Colt, then 16, had been flipping burgers on a small barge when an undercover agent asked to buy a beer.

Colt reached into a communal case and sold the agent three beers. Bickley’s father, Joel, was also cited by the U.S. Coast Guard for operating a ferryboat without a license, although authorities dropped that charge as well.



we, the people need to start charging the government with crimes. lord knows the government is the biggest bunch of criminals around..

JD's picture

And how does that have to do with the subject

JD's picture

And how does that have to do with the subject


you must really want to know.. apparently, you missed the part of the story that told of holier than thou criminals with badges acting on behalf of the criminals in the government arresting people for a source of revenue. it's not about enforcing the law, it's about making a buck. it's time we turn the tables.

JD's picture

Ok so they didn't break the law?


don't know. i wasn't there. i would bet that what they do is no worse than what the cops do..

JD's picture

You weren't there but the cops were wrong for aresting someone who broke the law?




im not sure how it has to do with the subject, but that's what it has to do with the subject..


Go Shaun!!!!


Went one time, there was so much sewage in the water, terds actually floated past us. Imagine being at a rock concert and everyone next to you is just going. lol But I do understand why some would go. Hope they try to make it a little more organized and safer, before someone hurt or worse.


I agree. Went once. It was like partying in a giant toilet. I've got mixed feelings about it returning.


Please clarify were the turds the attendees on blown up rafts floating by or was there actual fecal matter floating in the water???


actual floating turds in the water


I couldnt agree more on this issue, however with those who are promoting this event are lawless and careless regardless where they go, so I highly doubt they will be concerned for the safety of others.
I hope there is enough law enforcement to assure the safety of not only those partying but boaters and fishermen near the area...
Next year they can call it the turd bowl :)

Peninsula Pundit

That'll keep those dang young-uns in line!
Get a few police dogs,too, so's they can find all that wacky-tabacky that's been' smoked out thar and 'rest those sarry individu'ls.
And frisk every boat and bikini you see.
Now THAR'S a good days police work.
We need law and order!
None of those shinanigans!

Dwight K.

Ah drunk people in boat and the water

looking around



The sandbar has always been a popular site for boaters but I have heard that since these barge parties, you dare not walk barefoot there anymore because of the broken glass everywhere. They are trashing the place.

Licorice Schtick

This is a case study in our species' limitless capacity to ruin nice places.




Been to a few and had a blast every time.. I'm sure people go in the water but with the waves and current its gone as soon as they go. Its like sneezing in the swimming pool.


If you have actually been there and that's your complaint , u pro ally have a hard time having fun every where u go


So what you're saying is that it's ok to relieve yourself in any public waterways while you're drunk because it's fun to be drunk?

Peninsula Pundit

I dunno about signs, but you're reading a lot into what he's saying.


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).


Trashy, so it doesn't surprise me that it's back. This area seems to thrive on trashy events. Can't wait to move to somewhere with more class.


Most tasteless 'party' I've ever been to. Yes, I've been to it. I'd rather not see hairy beer bellies and butt cracks, or bowel movements, let alone in the disgusting bay.

Peninsula Pundit

For the less-well-traveled amongst you, this type of thing is done all over the Great Lakes. If you are squeamish about this, you shouldn't tube the Hocking river in Loudonville,either.
When you're young and there are bikini's around, you don't spend much time looking at the water. When you get older, I guess you do.
You could always just stay on the boat.

Peninsula Pundit

Here's another good time!

Peninsula Pundit


Bay Point's isn't this big!
See for yourself.


Who cares that it is back, it is just a liability to all involved ! Grow up and quit the nonsense !

Darwin's choice

All you turd watchers do know that less than a mile away from the party, during every heavy rainstorm, tens of thousands of gallons of raw sewage are discharged into your Sandusky Bay. But, because someone isn't having fun with it, you ignore it......

The entire Bay and Lake Erie is no more than a septic tank.....

Ask anyone in the health department.


I go to the Sandbar 2-3 times a week during the warm weather. Have been to every Barge Party. Several got out of hand with 'Spring Breakers' who did not know how to behave or the sandbar 'rules'.
I have never seen a turd in the water.
Biggest complaint is that the 'Spring Breakers' do not clean up their trash. The regulars do after they leave.


And the world's greatest conman prevails.

Curious to know if all the charges were dropped or reduced because Bickley knows people in high places or if law enforcement see the barge party as a money maker boarding and charging boaters with safety and alcohol related offences.


Just what the community needs - another opportunity for everyone to behave like unsupervised fourteen year olds, except with booze.

Because THAT'S what's going to convince a potential investor/employer that Erie County can provide lots of mature employees with sound judgment.