COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – With Red, White and BOOM! just days away, vendors are preparing for the festivities, with the local businesses playing a major role in the event.
From stage set up at BOOM! Central, down to the food line up, it’s a tradition that many have missed during the last three years, and there are high hopes when it comes to attendance this year.
For Carla Epler, the COO of Schmidt’s Sausage Haus, Red, White, and BOOM! signifies two things: summer and a busy festival season.
“I’ve been with Schmidt’s for 35 years and I’ve been at every Red, White and BOOM!, and we’ve been doing it since before I started,” she said.
Epler said preparation takes a lot of work and this year, she isn’t sure what to expect attendance wise.
Typically, Schmidt’s looks at sales from the previous year, but it’s been three years since the celebration happened.
“Prepare for the best,” she said when asked about plans. “And we’ve found, too, events that have happened this year that haven’t happened for two years have really been nice, big increases in attendance.”
Not only has it been a couple of years since the last display. Columbus has grown steadily in that time, becoming one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the Midwest.
John Page owns the company that builds the stages for the festival. He expects a big crowd.
“Couldn’t be more ready than to stage it this year,” he said. “It’s been hard, especially in our business in the entertainment world, everything basically shut down for a year and a half.”
Page said Red, White, and BOOM! is one of the biggest events for his business and is ready to show off a different look this year when it comes to the NBC4 state at Boom Central, adding a dome to the stage.
“We wanted to step our game this year, so we took advantage of having a couple years off on planning,” he said. “Now we are going to come back, so we were ready for this.”
Epler said Schmidt’s will have one food tent, down from the typical two it usually sets up.
She said she’s excited to meet new people and see some familiar faces downtown.
“They always come over and we are either their lunch or their dinner and we’ve watched their kids grow up,” Epler said. “That’s one of the best parts of the longevity of the event and the tradition of us being there.”
Set up for vendors and food trucks will begin Thursday, with many parked on Civic Center Drive, which is now closed to traffic.