The 2017 season of Tecumseh! was shaping up to be a record setting year on Sugarloaf Mountain. Then Hurricane Harvey visited Ohio. “Rain, of course, keeps people from doing outdoor activities like going to the pool, hiking or attending an outdoor drama. As is true every year, our closing week brings in enormous numbers of people, and this year that Friday and Saturday were the days that what was left of the hurricane made its way to our doorstep. We likely lost around 2000 ticket sales as a result.” Said Brandon Smith, CEO of The Scioto Society who produces Tecumseh!.
Smith added, “But we had a Sunday evening show scheduled this year…something we’ve never done in the past, because we thought it would give families one last shot at seeing the show. We expected a few hundred people. The weather cleared that morning, and we sold out that night. As a result, we closed the gap on the sales we lost the previous two nights and wound up with 100 more people for the season than we saw in 2016. Pretty remarkable. Of course, our issues with this storm are not even a blip on the radar compared to what the people of Texas and Louisiana are going through."
In addition to the uptick in attendance for Tecumseh, the Live On the Mountain Bluegrass series sold a record number of tickets for its summer season, largely on the success of the Ricky Skaggs concert. Additionally, nearly 2,000 people attended two free Shakespeare performances.
Two initiatives to provide opportunities for lower ticket prices did well during the summer. The Monday Night Food Drives in their third year, gathered 10,000 cans of food for pantries in Pike, Ross and Pickaway counties. The Ten Club, in it’s first summer, offered anyone the opportunity to purchase tickets for just $10 in the front two rows of the theatre on Tuesday through Thursday evenings. Thousands took advantage of the two programs.
While the strike crew is busy boxing up the summer, there is also a Haunted Mountain crew working at the same time building the annual Halloween event.“We’ve made a huge investment in the haunt this year. The trail now offers an interactive experience with team laser zombie tag. The ticket buyer will be given a laser gun and go through the haunt with it…looking for targets while they explore the haunt.
We think we’re the only haunt in Southern Ohio with such a feature. Along with lots of new traditional scares this year, it will be a VERY different experience for people who love haunts!” said Smith.
Plans for the 2018 season will be released soon.
Smith says the next hurdle is to continue to grow the sponsorship and membership campaigns. “None of this works without the financial support of our business community.” Smith said. “Their generosity to our non-profit makes all of it happen. Without donations of dollars from local people and businesses, Tecumseh! will not survive. We had a good year this year and its time to start again. I hope that people and businesses will be as generous as they were last year. We took every dollar they donated and turned it into $24 spent in our community. That’s an investment that most business people will take every day.”