SANTIAGO -- This week in our Home Town Spotlight series, we cross over into Sherburne County and visit the historic city of Santiago.

This quiet town was established in 1857 and was credited to growing thanks to the help of the area lions club.

Dale Bozorksi is a member of the lions. While he isn't sure why Santiago is historic, he says the town gained spotlight when they became the first lions club to allow women members, due to their lack of membership.

"We got a hold of Lions International, told them what we thought about doing, and they said it's never been done before. So we thought let's do it," says Bozorski.

Bozorski says today, women make up over half of their memberships and have been a vital part to keeping the club alive.

"Once other women around the town saw these women getting noticed, they thought it might be a good deal after all," says Bozorski.

But that wasn't the only thing to put Santiago on the map, and you don't have to travel far to find it.

Ray Mulvey opened Bailey Ray's Roadhouse 17 years ago. Named after his daughter, Mulvey says the restaurant went through a difficult time in the early years.

"Within the first six months the place flooded, and then six years later it burned. We think if anything gets us now it would be the wind," says Mulvey.

Since the rough start Bailey Ray's has become a must stop destination, with its home cooked meals, fun atmosphere and friendly staff. Even celebrities like Jim Belushi have event stopped by this local establishment.

"It was a marketing ploy for us. We were trying to Santiago on the map and I wanted something major like that. Thirteen years later people are still talking about it," says Mulvey.

Mulvey says it's humbling to hear story's about his bar, but he is the first to admit he couldn't have done it without his best advertisers, his loyal customers.

"When you have a place nice people come to, people learn that and they check it out," says Mulvey.

You can get the full Bailey Ray's experience by stopping by their annual Santiago Shakedown festival scheduled for August 26th.

(Photo: Chrissy Gaetke, WJON)
(Photo: Chrissy Gaetke, WJON)

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