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Waddington eyes new events to draw crowds to B.A.S.S. fishing divisional

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WADDINGTON — A committee that organized the successful 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament is looking at new ways to draw in crowds for this year’s B.A.S.S. Northeastern divisional.

The divisional won’t draw as big as a crowd — the Elite tournament in August drew over 34,000 people — but will have more anglers and their families and help pave the way for a second Elite Series event, officials said.

The Northeastern divisional, slated for Sept. 24 to 26, will bring close to 250 anglers — over 100 more than the Elite Series — who are looking to compete in the 2014 B.A.S.S. National Championship to the village and nearby townships.

The village will pay B.A.S.S. a $7,500 host fee — over $50,000 less than the Elite Series Tournament. Organizers are hoping to raise that money through sponsorships and fundraisers, as well as by organizing a concert and charging admission.

Committee members are hoping to secure most of the divisional hosting expenses through in-kind services. The committee is looking for donations for the host fee, help with daily cleanup, ice for weigh-ins, catering for a banquet for 225 people, waste management services, overnight security at the weigh-in station and a donation of 25 hotel room stays.

But organizers say drawing the crowds to Whittaker Park will be the biggest challenge this time around, as the event will take place during the week, not the weekend. “We have to work hard on this if we are going to hold it during the week,” committee member Christopher F. Reagan said.

Last year, organizers held a craft fair to draw in crowds. The vendor show raised over $12,000 but the cost of putting on the fair was paid for by and refunded to the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce. Organizers are also considering hosting a casino night, beer tent and carnival.

“A carnival or concerts would keep kids entertained and bring people in, especially on a Friday,” Robert J. Giordano, 2013 Elite Series event coordinator, said.

The committee will determine the main event at its next meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Municipal Building, 48 Maple St. The committee is still searching for volunteers to help organize the event. Anyone interested can contact the village at 388-5534.

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