Local officials gearing up for Drum Corps

CARA MORNINGSTAR/Sun-Gazette Jason Fink, executive vice president of the Williamsport/Lycoming County Chamber of Commerce, left, talks with Allen Buell, Drum Corps Associates president, about plans for Williamsport to host the 2018 DCA Championships on Labor Day weekend at the Williamsport/Lycoming County Chamber of Commerce office, 102 W. Fourth St., on Thursday.

With the 2018 Drum Corps Association Championships happening at STA Stadium in Williamsport on Labor Day weekend, the association this week met with local restaurants and vendors to discuss the impact the event may have on the city in September — and which may require businesses to adjust to later hours.

“I’m in town specifically to meet with all the restaurant owners and discuss opportunities for them for business over the weekend while we’re here,” said Allen Buell, Drum Corps Association president.

He said he wanted to give an overview of the actual event so they could keep it in mind accordingly with their businesses.

“It’s all the potential for them to make money, basically,” he said. “In my real life, on top of being in this organization, I’m in the visitor industry from Rochester, New York. I respect the tourism dollar — I get it, and I know what people look for rather than the average person who looks at it as if there’s just an event in town. I want to look at it from the business aspect so I can make sure these people have the potential to make a wonderful amount of money.”

He said it will help not only everyone in town have a great experience but also all of the people who are coming into the city.

It’s important to understand the uniqueness of the event, Buell said, and the flow of the weekend around the competition.

“The average person goes to dinner at 6 or 7 p.m. at night. Our people don’t kick into gear until about 11 p.m. at night because they’re here competing,” he said. “So, I wanted the restaurants to realize that there’s so much activity and so much money for them to be made … but it’s later in the evening.”

He said he didn’t want to do all the efforts of bringing everyone into town while restaurant owners, around the usual dinner time, are wondering where everyone is.

“They’ll all be at the stadium, watching the competition,” he said. “When that ends and they just let loose all through the city, that’s when there’s potential for restaurants to boom, jazz clubs, things in the evening people will do after the competition.”

It is important for restaurants to be prepared for a different activity time, so they can have extra staff or make needed adjustments.

“A restaurant wouldn’t expect that. They’re looking around thinking, ‘OK, it’s dinnertime. Where is everybody?’ We want to make sure they understood what it’s all about,” he said.

He said Little League is a fantastic event and if anyone knows how to host a world event, it’s Williamsport.

“That’s one of the reasons we were comfortable coming here because you can handle Little League,” he said. “The uniqueness with us is … we are completely adult. All the adults (are) coming into town with pockets full of money to make a major impact on this local community.”

After the event is over, those adults who have come from around the world to compete will want to come into the city to eat dinner, so it might be problematic if restaurants aren’t prepared for a rush at an otherwise unusual time.

Jason Fink, executive vice president of Williamsport/Lycoming County Chamber of Commerce, said he has been working with the Drum Corps Association for two years.

“We have had several meetings with the school for various logistical reasons associated with the event taking place up there,” he said. “We’ve met with hotels, a local committee in place we’ve been meeting quarterly with … The restaurants was another meeting we needed to get done. We’re meeting with a number of people throughout this process.”

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