Sandwich Mayor Rick Olson has plans to put Sandwich on the map as a destination for visitors this year, he told a group of about 30 merchants, government officials, civic and veterans groups, and residents March 21.
Police Chief Jim Bianchi said the bar and restaurant owners came up with a schedule of six street events for this year.
Each event would start at noon and end at 11 p.m., when the sponsors would be responsible for cleaning up their area, he said. They also will have entertainment.
June 23 would be the Bull Moose Event on Main Street between College and Route 34; July 7 the Route 34 Pub and Grub Event in the parking lot along Old Route 34; Aug. 4 the Main Street Pub and Grub event on Center Street between Main and Green streets; Aug. 18 the Derailed Event on Railroad between Main and Eddy streets; and Sept. 15 the Olde Tyme Inn event on Main Street between Route 34 and Railroad Street.
Bianchi said he also suggested that the Sandwich Bar Association hold an event on Sept. 29 on Railroad Street between Main Street and an undetermined area.
He said each event sponsor must make a donation to a local charity.
A schedule of 36 events planned for the Sandwich Fairgrounds from April through October, in addition to the annual fair, includes several weddings, picnics, parades, park district fireworks, antique shows, car shows, wood carvers show, dog show, craft festivals, gun show, old gas engine show, sheep tattooing show, rugby tournament and numerous other events.
While many will attract a specific audience, every person attending these events is a prospective customer for the city’s other businesses, the members noted.
Olson said an area resident has shown an interest in taking over management of the city’s hotel on the east side along Route 34.
When this person visited the hotel with Olson, he commented on two open display cases in the lobby and said they should be filled with antiques from the city’s antique dealers. Antiques are one of Sandwich’s main attractions.
He said the prospective manager also suggested having package deals to include a day of golf, as part of their hotel stay.
Another member said three car shows are scheduled for the downtown area: June 15, Aug. 17 and one in September. They will have a food truck at the first show on a trial basis, he said.
Olson said the city has agreed to issue a liquor license to the Sandwich Opera House for specific events. He said there have been requests from patrons to have a drink before the performances and during the intermissions.
A representative of the Opera House said they plan to have literature at their events listing the downtown restaurants. In turn, restaurant owners could tell their patrons about the Opera House programs, she said.
Another member suggested having a package for the Opera House to include a meal at one of the restaurants and a room at the hotel.
One attendee said her group has done a survey that will be shared with the group at a later date.
Olson said the city receives 10 percent of fees paid to the Visitors and Convention Bureau. The city has accumulated about $20,000 from these fees and Olson said this group should discuss ways to spend it to help attract people to the city.
He said they expect to receive about $2,000 each year for the fund.
Olson said the DeKalb County Tourism Committee will visit Sandwich in May. Their visit will include the hotel, which generates funds for the committee.
He suggested having a bus or similar vehicle to transport the committee members through the city instead of them using their own cars. A park district official offered their bus.
“We’ll have them captive for 25-30 minutes to tell them what Sandwich has to offer visitors. Hopefully they will be impressed and that information will be distributed in their literature,” he said.
Olson noted that countless numbers of people have visited the Sandwich Fair every year, but never visited the city’s downtown. They hope to change this, he said.
One member noted that sporting events also attract several thousand people to the city who use the hotel and the many restaurants.
Another said the veterans organizations also have events that attract visitors to the city.
The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. April 18 in the council chambers of city hall. Meetings are open to the public.