OTTAWA — Tom Rosenbauer enjoys his yearly trips to Nashville so much that one day he decided to bring it home with him.
Now, many from Ottawa and the surrounding area gather on Main Street to celebrate it with him.
Taking a yearly trip to Nashville every year, Rosenbauer thought it bringing home the Nashville atmosphere would be a great idea for a fundraiser for the Ottawa-Glandorf Rotary Club. Rosenbauer, who is chairman of the event, made a pitch for the idea to the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce and the first one was held three years ago. Attendance at the event has steadily rose from 2,000, to 3,000, to 6,000 last year. They were hoping for even more visitors this year.
“I go every year to Nashville and Main Street is set up a lot like Nashville,” Rosenbauer said. “You have bar after bar. I came back and told the chamber about it, and they were willing to try.”
The event is now offered solely by the Rotary Club, but it has become one of the club’s top two fundraisers annually in a short time. Every bar featured a band playing during the one day event Friday, and street musicians were also playing at every corner. Rosenbauer said it is simply a good time for friends to meet in downtown and visit.
“People like meeting their friends up town, and we even have a lot of reunions schedule during Little Nashville,” Rosenbauer said.
The event’s feature act was Nashville Crush. Also playing at various locations were Midwest Dueling Pianos, Cross Eye Willie, Al Felkey Mixed Up Band, Venus Spanking Mars, Steve Frey Band, Truck Stop Manners and T & Rich. Deejay Marty Schnipke also provided music.
The event raised more than $50,000 and the club is hoping to top that level this year.
“We are doing a restroom remodeling at Ottawa Memorial Park and the cost of that is about $70,000,” Rosenbauer said. “We also have the Strive scholarship were we try to help out B and C students because the A students get a lot of scholarships.”
The event began at 5 p.m. and went until midnight.
Reach Lance Mihm at 567-242-0409 or at [email protected]