The Wauseon Chamber of Commerce will do something new and different this year to celebrate the city and its businesses, and the public is cordially invited.
The “Wauseon, The City You’ll Take To Heart” Gala will be presented Saturday, Feb. 11, at the St. Caspar Catholic Church Parish Life Center, 1205 N. Shoop Ave. The festivities kick off at 6:30 p.m., and will include a medley of food, drink, music, and raffles. There will also be a brief nod to several businesses being spotlighted for improving both themselves and city aesthetics.
Maxell Smith, owner of WMTR 96.1-FM in Archbold, will act as emcee. Beginning at 7 p.m., guests can visit A Taste of Wauseon, a series of food stations manned by Ryan’s Restaurant, Sullivan’s Restaurant, aka Designs, The Upper Crust, Manny’s Tacos, and Marco’s Pizza. A cash bar will provide beer and wine.
A 50/50 raffle will be held, and musical entertainment will include local talent Cassidy Wells and Amelia Airharts, an increasingly popular duo from the Toledo area.
During a brief ceremony, the Chamber will present the Heart Beat Business Award to nine Wauseon businesses that are among its 200-plus members: Haas Door, Continental Plaza, Grieser Interiors, All About Health, the Birch Theater at Magic Corner, the Lead Shed, NAPA Auto Parts, The Upper Crust, and Ambria Photography. Chamber Executive Director Bill Drummer called the award “a nice way to recognize local businesses that have taken the time to upgrade.”
Drummer stressed the gala is a public event, “a way for people to celebrate Wauseon.”
Some of the gala’s proceeds will benefit the annual Fulton County Heart Radiothon. The remainder benefit the Chamber, which funds such yearly events as the city’s summer outdoor movies, the Merchants Tent Sale, and the Chili Cook-off. The Chamber also funds scholarships for Wauseon High School seniors.
“They’re all the things that make Wauseon a better place to live. We need the Chamber to embrace those things and be able to fund them,” Drummer said.
The gala replaces the traditional Chamber dinner this year. It’s the brainchild of current President Marc Matheny and former president Kristy Snyder, both of whom wanted to include the public in a new, fresh event. “The community support has been overwhelming. It’s going to be a fun night,” Matheny said.
Drummer said Valentine’s Day weekend was especially chosen to capitalize on the event’s “heart” theme. The name of the event is, in part, a tribute to former Wauseon Mayor Jerry Matheny, an unabashed champion of the city who died Nov. 3.
“‘Wauseon, The City You’ll Take To Heart,’ was Jerry Matheny’s slogan,” Drummer said. “Jerry was very, very important to our city for all those years…and very great to Wauseon. So, we wanted to take that (slogan) and incorporate it with something bigger.”
Drummer said if the gala is well-received it could become an annual event. Thus far, sales are nearing 300 of the 350 available tickets.
“I think it’s a great adult evening for Valentine’s Day weekend,” he said. “It will be one of the biggest events of the year. This is a real celebration of Wauseon – the city, the people that live in it. People can celebrate the goodness we have here in Wauseon.”
Tickets are $40 per person, $75 per couple, and include two drink tickets. Contact any Chamber member, the Chamber office at 419-335-9966 or Bill Drummer at 419-822-7941, or request at firstname.lastname@example.org.
David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.