Working schedule and itinerary for the Outdoor Writers of Ohio’s annual conference held May 3rd to 6th, at Cambridge-Guernsey County. Download Full Program
Host hotel – Holiday Inn Express. This hotel is easy accessible just north of Interstate 70 and west of Interstate 77. The Holiday Inn Express is the second newest hotel in the city. The room rate is $99 per night with the furnishings and interior appointments all being well maintained, relative to the newness of the hotel. The room pre-registration cut-off date is April 3rd. And if OWO can find a general sponsorship perhaps we could reduce the pre-registration room rate by $10 to $15 per night and/or wave the registration fee with a WORKING figure of $35 to $50 per person. As best as possible the pre-registered guests will be placed on the first floor, nearest the event’s in-house activities. For those who register late or who choose to do so, the rooms on the subsequent floors are easy to access via two elevators that are actually very speedy. Some rooms are handicapped accessible too. The hotel has agreed to host-sponsor the meeting room (can accommodate 45 to 50 people, theater-style) and which is located just off the exceptionally spacious lobby/breakfast dining area. The hospitality room is located at the end of the first-floor wing and just a short walk from the registration/meeting room and lobby area. For those who will depart early on Friday to attend the work-in-progress functions, boxed lunches can be delivered by 5-5:30 a.m. The boxed lunch cost is $9.50 per person, so a sponsor is needed.
Wednesday, May 2nd: Early arrival for those of us planning the event, setting things up, and ensuring that the subsequent activities, food, etc. are being handled properly. Dinner will be on our own.
Thursday, May 3rd: Members begin arriving with conference registration in the meeting room. Dinner options include a barbecue picnic at a city-owned pavilion with the meal being catered, both of which will require sponsorship. Or – the second and preferred option – will be dinner at Theo’s, located in Cambridge’s central area and really a unique venue with excellent food. We would meet for dinner at 6 p.m. with meals ordered from the menu and on our own as far as cost is concerned. This method was employed with success at the 2016 OWO conference at Grand Lake St. Mary. Theo’s dining room can accommodate up to 25 persons and the room would be comped by Theo’s. Following the dinner, a naturalist-led/after-dark hike at (likely) Salt Fork State Park and wildlife area is being discussed. This hike will be in search of Ohio’s very own “Bigfoot” legend. The venue can provide a special menu, themed around the later activity, including Grassman Slad, Yeti Spaghetti, Bigfoot Burger, and Sasquatch Stew. A POSSIBLE Thursday daytime activity could feature a pontoon saugeye fishing trip at Salt Fork Lake and handled by Rob Loewendick instead of doing this on Friday.
Friday, May 4th – All day at the Wilds. Pre-registration of activities will be a MUST and presently consists of fishing several of the Wilds’ former mining extraction lakes for bass, an exceptional and unique angling opportunity; horseback riding; zipline. All activities are being hosted/sponsored by the Wilds. POSSIBLE other activities could include saugeye fishing with Rob Loewendick and his pontoon boat at Salt Fork Lake, guided wild turkey hunting for one or two persons. A self-guided turkey hunt is likewise possible and would not require any additional OWO servicing. For the day-long Friday activities, boxed lunches will be provided. The cost is $9.50 per person so a sponsor is needed. The dinner on Friday night is being hosted/sponsored by the Cambridge-Guernsey County VCB via executive director Debbie Robinson along with a guided and motorized tour of the complex. It will be imperative that OWO members be present at the Wilds by mid- to late-afternoon with the exact time to be announced later. Maps of how to travel between the Holiday Inn Express to the Wilds will be provided. To help ensure that people who sign up for an activity actually attend, OWO could assess a refundable $20 activity fee. The money would be cheerfully returned to those who show up for their pre-registered activity but done so at the banquet. This method would likely have the effect of the people using their activity fee to buy banquet raffle tickets. It is used with great effect by OWO’s Pennsylvania counterpart at its banquet raffle. OWO even used this approach once a long time ago and it also was viewed favorably.
Return to the Holiday Inn Express with the hospitality room opened for business.
Saturday, May 5th: Breakfast on our own but time restricted via the Holiday Inn Express’s hot/cold breakfast buffet that comes with each room rental. As is typical, the Past President’s committee will assemble for 45 minutes to one hour in the meeting room. This would be about 8:30 a.m., give or take 30 minutes. We would then assemble as a group for the general membership meeting. Planned craft improvement sessions are being explored and COULD feature one lengthy session or two shorter sessions. If the Board desires, we could allocate time for the as-often-as-not presentation by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and/or the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
Boxed lunches will be provided at $9.50 each. OWO utilized this for its 2017conference in Hudson and we didn’t hear anyone complain. This meal thus would need sponsorship.
Dinner and conference program at the Cambridge Country Club. The club is located a short distance to the east of the city and is very, very easy to find. There is a $100 set-up charge. The complex is older but is very well maintained and comfortable. The food is very good. The meal can feature either a single entrée at $18.95 per person or $21.95 per person for two entrees. Our recommendation is for two entrees, though since sponsorship is desired, this selection will need to be exploited further by whoever is working on obtaining sponsorship. We will need to firm up these plans within the next few months. If there are any golfers the Country Club will open this to OWO members at $46 per person, including cart rental.th is activity would be done on Friday.
Following the banquet and conference program, OWOers return to the Holiday Inn Express. The hotel will set aside and post signage for the large and well-illuminated breakfast area for our exclusive use and will even set up a bar area where we can provide the refreshments from the hospitality room. It is our opinion that using the larger area would offer the membership much greater elbow room and much more comfortable appointments.
Sunday, May 6th: Wild Turkey Club. This secret society will do its own thing whenever it chooses. OWOers gather in the breakfast area and utilize their respective room reservation privileges. It will be up to the president and board to decide if there is to be any sort of organized or ad hoc assembly before the membership disengages from the conference and heads home. Board to meet at its discretion, likely in the meeting room.
Spouse Activities: This ledger of potential things to do is being explored by Bev Frischkorn, Debbie Robinson and Linda Loewendick. Roughly, Friday’s activities would be on-your-own but could involve visiting various sites and venues in Cambridge and featuring maps and other, general to specific, information that would present a unique perspective on the city. Saturday’s activities could be more structured and feature tours, stops and such. It is POSSIBLE that a large van or multi-person transport could be rented in order to accommodate those taking the excursion. Boxed lunches could/would be provided. Sponsorship for any motor vehicle rental and boxed lunches is highly recommended.