Thousands of concertgoers flock to Put-in-Bay for the Toby Keith concert

Posted at 6:28 AM, Aug 31, 2017
Twelve-thousand people are expected to flood Put-in-Bay Thursday to see country music superstar Toby Keith.
Keith is headlining the first ever Bash on the Bay Country Music Fest at the island’s airport. 
Put-in-Bay business owner Tim Niese organized the event. He expects it to bring several million dollars to the island. 
“It’s huge for the island and the area,” Niese said. “We believe that half of the people coming for this show have never been to this island.” 
Put-in-Bay Chamber of Commerce officials say all hotel rooms on the island are booked. Only homes for large groups were available as of Wednesday. 
Docks are filling up, too. Some boaters, like Shelly Carchedi, arrived days before the concert to secure a prime spot. 
“I call it Put-in-Bay Woodstock! You can’t miss it,” she said. “I’m expecting chaos.” 
Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Levorchick is in charge of the security plan. 
“We know that we’re on an island. If something goes wrong and we don’t have the resources, then we’re not going to get those resources in time,” he said.
Deputies have been called in to help from as far away as Pike County and Jackson County. 
“I know that larger areas, larger counties do this all the time. This is our first major concert.” 
Visitors will see deputies in marked cars, riding bikes, horses and Mules. The Ottawa County Sheriff’s office, U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies will be patrolling the water. 
“I’m hoping that when the concert is over, everyone makes their way to the boats and heads back to the mainland,” Levorchick said. “That would be ideal for us.” 
Restaurants, like The Boathouse Bar and Grill, hope visitors will instead stop for a post-show drink. 
“We got more beer, tons of Crown Royal,” said Boathouse manager Kathleen Shea. “We are fully staffed and waiting to serve everybody!” 
The majority of visitors will rely on the Miller Ferry and Jet Express. The Miller Ferry plans to run boats every 20 minutes until 1 a.m. or until the line is gone. The Jet Express will not provide a return service to Sandusky after the concert. Boats will only go to Port Clinton and will run until all passengers are off the island.