GOBA To Roll Into Village

NEW BREMEN — This summer, New Bremen will host more than 3,000 cyclists during a their two-day pitt stop in the village as part of the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure (GOBA) — effectively doubling the village’s population for 48 hours.

The village held a public meeting Thursday night at the Lockkeeper’s house to inform residents about the event and what to expect when the cyclists roll into town.

“Basically, 3,000 cyclists are going to invade New Bremen through June 19 through June 21,” New Bremen Economic Development Director Angela Hamberg said. “They will be arriving probably as early as 10 a.m. ... Those are the people who are all about racing and about getting the best time they can, and there are people who are just coming for a leisurely ride who will arrive probably around 5 p.m. The two days that they’re here, our town will be doubling in size, so obviously a lot of planning needs to happen. Fortunately, GOBA has done this for 24 years, so this will be the 25th tour, which is cool.”

Each year, the GOBA committee selects five towns through which participants will make stops and stay overnight to rehydrate, eat and explore. The village’s goal is to create an atmosphere the cyclists will enjoy and remember and to be asked to host GOBA in the future.

“We want to haul out the red carpets as best as we can,” Hamberg said. “They will be coming (into town) from Maria Stein Spiritual Center, down Amsterdam, up Eerie. and they will be residing at GOBAville — New Bremen High School.”

The high school grounds will be transformed into GOBAville, complete with tents, shower trucks, semis hauling luggage and thousands of locked-up bicycles.

Participants range from Ohio residents to other states to people from other countries. New Bremen has seven committees working on organizing the event: Emergency planning, Food, Transportation, Housing, Entertainment, Information and Camping Logistics.

The food and entertainment categories were emphasized as areas where committees needed much support from local nonprofits, volunteers and other organizations.

“With the food, you’re going to have to figure out a way to feed 3,000 people, not only breakfast, lunch and dinner but also in between,” Hamberg said.

“So it’s a great opportunity for nonprofit organizations. If you’re part of an organization or you know somebody who could really use the fundraising opportunity, please reach out to me. We have a few holes that we need to fill. We looked at the organizations that we knew had large manpower (first). In addition, we looked at the school organizations because the school is providing the grounds. Without that, we couldn’t pull this off.”

Hamberg is chairing the food and housing committees. Hamberg encouraged those interested to help supply the cyclists with snacks during their stay.

“Snacks are a huge thing,” she said.

“Lunch is the first meal. We’ll be serving them lunch on Wednesday, dinner on Wednesday, and then Thursday’s breakfast, lunch and dinner and Friday’s breakfast. They roll out of town by 9 a.m. (Friday). They start probably as early as 5 a.m.”

Three groups currently working on securing adequate water, Hamberg said, but it is essential to make sure drinks are available separately from food so those cyclists who are just getting drinks do not have to wait on those in line who are also eating. Keeping riders hydrated is important because they can’t carry coolers and are sleeping in tents.

Hamberg gave everyone in attendance some food for thought as to possible volunteer and nonprofit opportunities. One big thing cyclists always appreciated, she said, was when locals open up their homes for the few days — whether that be for housing or just for a hot shower.

The committees are working on connecting with local restaurants and retailers, who will be heavily affected as well, Hamberg said.

“There’s going to be a lot of traffic, and they don’t ride their bikes, typically during that time,” she said.

“Because they’ve been biking all day, they want to sit on a shuttle bus, which is part of the transportation committee’s job, and roam around town. Some people stay at GOBAville, so we will have fundraising opportunities going on there as well.”

Activities and entertainment was the next heavily-discussed topic at the meeting.

“Entertainment’s looking to have Wednesday night as a big ordeal down here at Crown Pavilion,” Hamberg said.

Southwestern Auglaize County Chamber of Commerce Director Scott Frey, who is in charge of the Entertainment committee for GOBA’s New Bremen visit, talked about the events his side of the program is planning.

“One of the things GOBA really, really loves is getting into the fabric of the community and rubbing elbows with regulars,” Frey said.

“So Wednesday night, the theme is going to be, ‘Welcome to New Bremen,’” he said. “We’re going to have live music at the pavilion ... We’re going to reach out to (local artisans) and try to get them to come ... We’ll have historic tours.”

This night will be opened up to the community, Frey said, as GOBA participants prioritize giving back to the communities they visit.

“The chamber’s going to run with the whole information piece, because that’s what we do on a daily basis,” he said, noting the chamber will be providing maps, signage and activity information.

For more information on volunteering, involving a nonprofit organization or on GOBA in general, contact Frey and Hamberg at GOBA@newbremen.com, or visit GOBA New Bremen on Facebook at Facebook.com/GOBANewBremen.