On the island it's New Years. Well, sort of.
Just as there’s Christmas in July or Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day in September, there’s New Year’s Eve at the Bay, which this year takes place Sept. 13 and 14 on Put-In-Bay.
Not only will boats be decorated for the festive occasion but Monte Carlo style games are offered from 6 to 11 p.m. Sept. 13 in the downtown area. This includes Big Six Wheels games, a horse racing game, blackjack and dice games.
We talked to Put-In-Bay Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Maggie Beckford about the upcoming 40th New Year’s Eve soiree.
Tell us all about New Year’s Eve at the Bay.
“New Year’s Eve is the oldest fundraiser the Chamber of Commerce has done. In the early ‘70s, the president decided to disband chamber because nobody was paying dues, which were like $30 a year. The budget was minimal. So they decided they needed to raise funds for chamber to help offset advertising and things they wanted to do with marketing. They came up with this idea of New Year’s Eve.
Look, we’re all about Put-In-Bay’s unique summer holiday attractions but creating a New Year’s Eve event in September on paper sounds kind of crazy, right?
It worked because at that time it was the end of the [tourist] season. So it made sense.
So it started as a chamber fundraiser. How important is it as a fundraiser now?
There was a time it was very significant as the major fundraiser of the year, but that was some time ago. Part of that is back when this started there weren’t any places to go gamble. Now you can go to Windsor, Detroit, Toledo and Cleveland. So the novelty of that has worn off, but I think people still have fun. Depending on the weather, I’m sure we’ve had several thousand in the crowd. I think it’s a fun thing for people to do.
Considering the busy summer, including the massive Battle of Lake Erie Bicentennial celebration, are you going to be happy when the season is over?
This is just a special time because it’s the bicentennial. I don’t know if I’ll be happy when it’s over. It’s gone by really quickly. It’s been a juggling act to be able to attend everything but it’s been a lot of fun.