Visitors Board looks to promote county

The president of the newly-created Fulton County Visitor Board said the county has a lot to offer guests.

Jeanette Smith said the board’s goal is to help people realize why they should visit.

“From agri-tourism activities, history museums and town festivals to a state park, unique dining, campgrounds, and hotels…Fulton County has so much to offer,” she said. “People from across the country and around the world are visiting Sauder Village and other destinations in our county, and there’s great opportunity to welcome even more.”

Larry Burkholder, Fulton County Fair Board member, noted that the county fairgrounds are utilized during nearly all of the summer months, with events such as the Black Swamp Benefit Bazaar, the Maumee Valley Tractor Pull, the National Threshers Reunion, and the Antique Motorcycle Club of America Show and Race. Burkholder noted that the 2016 Fulton County Fair alone attracted nearly 295,000 people.

And that and other events make the nearby Holiday Inn Express the destination of overnight guests, according to Miki Moon, the inn’s general manager and an FCVB member.

Established by the Fulton County Commissioners, the FCVB is funded through a three percent bed tax issued on lodging facilities in the county. Commissioner Bill Rufenacht said, with construction of a Visitors Bureau within the Shared Services Complex being built on State Highway 108, the panel realized an opportunity to create the FCVB “to help promote Fulton County in a manner that hasn’t been possible in the past.”

Appointed board officers for the charter organization include: Smith, sales and marketing director for Sauder Village, president; Neil Toeppe, executive director of the Swanton Chamber of Commerce, vice president ; Moon, secretary; and Lisa Walters, Winchester’s Restaurant and Saloon, treasurer. Other members include Rick Kazmierczak, Swancreek Township trustee; Burkholder; Steve Van Sickle, Sauder Village/Heritage Inn; Bill Drummer, Wauseon Chamber of Commerce; and Ad-Hoc members, Toni Schindler, Fulton County Commissioners, and Matt Gilroy, Fulton County Economic Development Corporation (FCEDC).

The FCVB was created to market county destinations to residents and visitors to encourage their use of accommodations, retail outlets, restaurants, heritage sites, museums, and entertainment and recreation venues for the community’s economic benefit. The board has reportedly worked on collecting lodging, attractions, events, and restaurant information to be used on web pages and brochures.

It also recently launched an FCVB web page – – that features “Stay,” “Eat,” and “Play.” The page offers information on area attractions, lodging, restaurant option, and an event calendar, and allows the public to sign up to receive upcoming event notifications.

“For years, I’ve had guests ask me for information on other events going on throughout the county,”said Steve Van Sickle, general manager of Sauder Heritage Inn.” “Historically, there has never been a place where all of the information was gathered. I’m thrilled that we now have a county-wide events listing and a brochure that I can hand them. I am hoping it will help our guests stay that one extra day, or book again in the future as they enjoy exploring other parts of the county.”

Additionally, the FCVB has been included in on Fulton County’s new app in which visitors can click the icon and have quick access to the same information.

Smith said FCVB goals for 2017 include potentially hiring a paid staff person, strategic regional advertising promoting overnight stays in the county, and aligning marketing efforts with those of the FCEDC. The board moves to a location at the Shared Services Complex upon its completion in late 2017.

“Fulton County is truly a great place to live, work and visit,” Smith said. “There are so many great attractions in Fulton County that we haven’t mentioned, so make sure you download the Fulton County app, and visit the website frequently.”

The app is available at no charge in the iTunes and Google Play stores under Fulton County, OH. For more information, contact the Fulton County Commissioners office at 419-337-9255 or email [email protected]