By Brian Bobal
Mason Times staff writer
Mason is approaching a milestone in its history. 2015 will mark the city’s 150th birthday. Starting in 2013, the Mason Chamber of Commerce has mixed a city tradition with a new look to try and get people excited about the sesquicentennial.
The streetlight banner program gives individuals and businesses an opportunity to sponsor their own banner, which is displayed on streetlights downtown and along North Cedar Street. For members of the Mason Chamber of Commerce, the banners cost $125 and for nonmembers, the cost is $175. Any additional banners cost $80.
Doug Klein, executive director of the Mason Chamber of Commerce, talked about the origins of the program.
“It started in the late ’90s,” Klein explained. “The banners are set up for a three-year program. The city department of public works is good enough to put them up and take them down for us. We really appreciate that tremendously every year.”
At the start, the banners were very popular.
“About six years ago we expanded out because there were poles on North Cedar Street,” he said. “We eventually had enough people subscribe to it that we had them on every light pole.”
Lately, however, the program has lost some of its luster.
“Things have slowed down quite a bit,” Klein said. “We may have run our course.”
Still, many businesses in Mason have been involved since the sesquicentennial banners became available last year. Steve Ware, of Ware’s pharmacy, was one of those sponsors.
“I just support practically everything that Mason has going,” Ware said. “They come in and ask me if I will participate, and I do.”
Another business that sponsors a banner is Salon 130, owned by Jena Keller.
“I just think it’s really good to support the community,” said Keller, who opened the store back in 2006. “Especially in a small town, it’s important to give back.”
Keller also said she’s been involved for a long time.
“I purchased a banner the very first time it was brought up to me,” she said. “As soon as I was aware, I bought one.”
The banners have had many different looks over the years. The look for the current three-year program features a Mason sesquicentennial logo. Klein said this logo now is better than some of the original ones.
“Some people said (the original banner) looked like Homer Simpson’s face,” he said laughing.
Once a banner’s three-year run is over, the Chamber of Commerce takes it down and sends it to people who give the Chamber contributions. The banners will be up by the time Spring Fling comes around.