September 2021 Front Page News - Bash on the Bay: Behind the Scene


Bash on the Bay: Behind the Scenes

By Peter Huston

It is really amazing to think that over ten thousand visitors and islanders had the opportunity to see and hear world class live country music from Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and even a surprise duet with Gwen Stefani right here on runway 3W2 on Put-in-Bay.

With three previous years of organizing Bash on the Bay already accomplished, islander Tim Niese fine tuned this years event and provided concertgoers with the best line up of bands yet. To make this event a success, support from our community, local business enterprise, the Federal Aviation Administration and a little serendipity all came together to provide folks with an opportunity to have a fun night out right here on Put-in-Bay.

Getting to talk to the people behind the scenes was especially interesting for me. To make something this big work, you need to depend on your friends, friends of friends and family, like Suzette Luecke working the Volunteer gate. When you realize just how many people it takes to make an event like this a success, that’s literally hundreds of people taking time from their day jobs to come to an island and volunteer. It makes you realize that there is so much more than meets the eye that goes into an event of this magnitude.

Let’s take a moment to thank all those skilled professionals and willing volunteers that made this event a reality. There were Deputy Sheriffs from 16 Ohio counties here, from Cuyahoga to Hamilton. Seven mounted equine (horse) patrols were in attendance, including Deputy Menefee who brought her own horse to be at the event. One sheriff said to me, “It’s a pleasure to be in a place where we are appreciated.”

Also here to help were dozens of fire fighters, such as South Bass’s own Doug Wilhelm and Pat Schanz from Middle Bass. And how about our island EMS team? Patrick Rogers, Bernice Walton, Steve Shiner, Anne and Greg Auger, Kelly Mohn, Ashley Shaffer and Jackie Spicer to name but a few.

How about parking? Todd Blumensaadt and PIB Port Authority were able to offer the use of adjacent land. Mother of Sorrows and Lake Erie Island Nature Center provided volunteer parking attendants who had the good fortune to raise money while providing a valuable service for the thousands of golf carts owners and renters looking to park near the action.

As the bands came out and the fans started to roll in, performer Cale Dodds from Nashville sang current hit “Here Drinking Beer,” and exclaimed from the stage that he was blown away by the logistics involved to stage an event like “BOTB” on an island!

Other groups like I-LYA happily provided refreshments for concert goers. Always positive Tom Thanisu and I-LYA officers past and present are donating proceeds from their BOTB koozie sales and all their tips to the Junior Regatta fund! Toledo’s Phil Barone (who told me he loves Put-in-Bay) sent his team and BBQ truck crew members Katherine Cordero and Sarah Dickenson to enjoy the day.

As BOTB progressed, I made my way forward to the front of the crowd, thanks to my media pass. At 7:45 p.m. on Wednesday evening, the anticipation of the crowd was growing with excitement for the arrival of Blake Shelton. Among the sea of people, we spotted some familiar faces.

Local lodging house “Aunt Mary’s Place” business owners Michele and her husband Chris Crnkovich brought their friends to meet Blake (the cardboard cut out). Paula and John Ladd, Linda Parker and Jeanette Leucke made their way forward with help from family and friends. Pat Thwaite and Marv Booker took it all in while some Cleveland cowgirls vamped for the camera.

Former Toledo Mayor Mike Bell, a huge friend of Put-in-Bay, had a chance to meet up with old school friend Blair Saba. Meanwhile, many business owners and managers took the opportunity to give their hard working staff a night out. Agnes Dubbert, with Madeline Pugh, from the Crews Nest brought some of her staff. Victor and Edward, stage crew members, took a minute to see what it was all about. They are from Chicago and want to come back.

After the many months of planning, the crowd was ready for Blake Shelton was ready to hit the stage and entertain. This is the moment everyone all waited for and so many of our friends and island family helped to make possible.


Editor’s Note:

All the news in the Put-in-Bay Gazette is based on facts, either observed and verified first, second or third hand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources or from wide-spread rumors. We never use fact-check websites because our island news is too new for the fact checkers to accurately check.


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