After seeing attendance drop to 30 people for its annual banquet, the Wauseon Area Chamber of Commerce knew something had to change.
So a committee was formed and came up with the concept of “Wauseon, A City You’ll Take to Heart.” as a gala event and began promoting it to the community. Attendees were invited to pay to sample offerings from several area eateries, drink some wine and otherwise mingle, talk and be entertained by two musical groups.
The chamber’s new event drew a sellout crowd of 300 Feb. 11 at St. Caspar’s Catholic Church’s Parish Life Center. Chamber officials were ecstatic over the response.
“We had to try something different,” Executive Director Bill Drummer said.
Half the tables were purchased by area corporations and half by individuals. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Heart Radiothon.
The event featured food from Ryan’s Restaurant, Sullivans, AKA Designs, Upper Crust, Sauders Barn Restaurant and Manny’s Taco. Attendees could come up as long as the food lasted.
For Manny’s Taco, that ended well short of the hour-long dinner period.
“We made enough for 500,” Rebecca Martinez said. “People came up three, four times.”
At the Upper Crust, owner Toni Britton and baker Glinda Stewart were offering quarter rolls, a pork slider and apple cake. Britton has owned a catering business since 2012 and opened her restaurant Aug. 6, 2016.
“Our beer menu is new for us,” Britton said about her restaurant.
The event was long on food and fun and short on the traditional “business meeting” that a chamber banquet typically centers around. This one lasted about 5-10 minutes.
The chamber honored several businesses with its “Heart Beat Business Awards. Honorees were: The Lead Shed, Birch Theater/Magic Corner, Grieser Interiors, All About Health, Continental Plaza, Napa Auto Parts, Haas Door, Ambria Photography and The Upper Crust.
Musical entertainment was provided by Cassidy and Webb Wells, a brother-and-sister combo. The pair have been performing for almost three years and hope to make singing a career.
Cassidy, 21, said she had been asked to sing at the 2014 Wauseon Homecoming parade and once she learned how to play an instrument in front of people, she knew she could be a performer. Webb had been playing drums since the sixth grade and provides percussion for the duo.
The pair have three gigs a month now and will be looking for more once Webb, 17, graduates from high school in 2018.
Cassidy had been in college studying French education, but “stopped cold.”
The sibilings’ plan has the support of their parents, David and Ellie Wells. Ellie is their manager.
“They are more accepting of it,” Webb said.
The act includes country, worship and older tunes in an eclectic set. The two are also part of the Oasis Christian Fellowship worship team.
For more information and booking dates, call 567-454-9448.
The main act was a band from Toledo “Ameila Airhearts.” The six-piece group performed covers of rock and country classics ranging from Hank Williams and Johnny Cash to Fleetwood Mac and Creedence Clearwater Revival.
James Pruitt may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org