The leaves are beginning to change colors, the nights are getting chillier and fall officially is here. Students are back to school and summer vacation is just a memory. But what a summer it was in Seneca County!
The Seneca County Convention & Visitors Bureau, which consists of me, a part-time employee and occasional volunteers, was very busy this summer assisting groups and events.
In case you didn't realize it, nearly 3,000 bicyclists visited Seneca County in June for the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure. The group arrived in Fostoria after riding 60 miles on a hot, muggy June day. Then, they proceeded to set up camp, take a shower and take off to explore attractions, hotels, businesses and restaurants in the area.
There were people everywhere you looked in the city of Fostoria! Whether they were cooling off in the shade at the Fostoria High School campus, which served as their temporary home, or at one of the local restaurants enjoying some cold beverages and great food after a long, hot ride, it was easy to see these bicyclists were enjoying their visit.
However, this event just doesn't happen on its own. I began working with the GOBA Coordinator Julie Van Winkle in October 2008 when she decided to bring the tour back to northwest Ohio and was looking for a site in Seneca County. After careful consideration and receiving great cooperation from Fostoria High School officials, Van Winkle selected Fostoria to be the last overnight stay on the 2009 tour. It had been more than 10 years since GOBA stayed the night in the city of Fostoria!
From there, the work really began as I worked with the Fostoria Chamber of Commerce to select committee chairs and a town coordinator to oversee the entire event. We spent the next nine months planning for the arrival of the nearly 3,000 visitors. Not only did I assist with the planning of the event, but I also handled writing and distributing press releases about GOBA, handled the creation of the GOBA tabloid that informed riders and locals of all the things to see and do in the area and oversaw the local information booth that was open during the event.
With the help of great committee chairs, the Fostoria Chamber of Commerce, Fostoria Area Visitors Bureau, the city of Fostoria, volunteers and of course, the Fostoria Town Coordinator Tiffiny Morel, the event was a great success!
As a matter of fact, Fostoria was rated the best out of the five cities on the week-long tour in the areas of evening entertainment, alternative camping and shuttle system.
The summer also included for the CVB working with bus groups, assisting visitors for reunions and weddings and working with event planners for two antique car club tours.
The Ohio Region Antique Car Club of America and the Northwest Ohio Chapter of the Model T Ford Club of America visited Seneca County, bringing more than 400 people.
The CVB provided a variety of services to our special visitors, including assistance with news releases, Seneca County welcome bags, tours and planning services. Both car groups got the opportunity to visit different attractions, restaurants and businesses throughout the area.
Then, in addition to assisting specific visiting groups, the CVB helped individual visitors, as they stopped by our office at 114 S. Washington St., with discovering our local treasures in Seneca County.
We also were out and about in the county this summer attending various events to distribute information about our great attractions, events and businesses. You may have seen us at the Seneca County Fair or Around the Town events, or even received information from us during the Jazzin' Tiffin festival or Tiffin-Seneca Heritage Festival.
And there were many other great events ranging from the Tiffin Flea Market and the Oak Ridge Festival to community church festivals and other festivities that filled the summer with great events for local residents and visitors to enjoy!
Despite the economic times, people continued to travel and make Seneca County their home away from home this summer. A giant "thank you" to all event planners in Seneca County who give people yet another reason to visit and enjoy Seneca County!
Malinda Ruble is executive director of Seneca County Convention & Visitors Bureau.