Christmas in July a hot topic-The turn out at the Put-in-Bay Visitors and Convention Bureau meeting in February at Tipper’s
wasn’t your typical meeting. Some 60 people at the meeting were more concerned about this year’s “Twelve Days of Christmas in July” scheduled for the last twelve days of July. About two dozen people were at the January meeting and heard president Ty Winchester explain how a one-weekend event turned into twelve days. At the February meeting, it was already a given the event would proceed as scheduled, but Winchester told those gathered for the larger meeting they would be proactive in seeing this would not continue.
First, he told the audience, they would be setting it to schedule a full year ahead of time instead of six months ahead of time. This in part is what caused confusion last summer when visitors wanted to rebook for the Christmas In July weekend this season. The date was not fixed and hotels were booked the wrong weekend. When that was noticed, the problem of two weekends in July manifested itself.
Secondly, Winchester told the group they would be sending out a survey to its members asking whether the Chamber should continue to support the normal weekend-long Christmas in July event in seasons to come. A majority of the 100-member group will decide which way the Chamber will proceed in the coming years – drop support for the event totally and let individual business do with it what they want, or continue to support the event as it does now with it schedule and promotion. At the meeting, Julene Market from Miller Boat Line voiced her concerned about them supporting an event which has become so contentious because of the type of clientele it brings to the island. She wants the Chamber to be promoting more positive events and a more positive image of the island.