Driving down the city of Hamilton’s Main Street, murals are painted across buildings and various sculptures are placed along sidewalks and roadway medians. Each have a story and are related to the history of the city, creating an opportunity to learn more.
Butler County local, elementary teacher and art enthusiast Tricia Paugstat has created an interactive walking tour called The Hammy Tours, which explores the various pieces of art throughout the city by educating and sharing her passion with the community members.
“I moved to Butler County, back in ‘98, I taught in Hamilton and just a couple blocks from downtown, and I remember how lifeless it was and when things started to turn around here, I’ve been cheering for Hamilton,” Paugstat said. [Text Wrapping Break]
Paugstat first got involved with the art scene as a hobby but soon found out about the artworks tours in downtown Cincinnati and then trained to be a tour guide. She quickly realized her home base had the art and history that the larger metropolitations had to offer and wanted to bring the tours here.
“I was driving home, that 35-minute drive home, and I thought Hamilton has all of this, why not highlight what Hamilton already has? So that sent me on a mission to research and find out more information,” Paugstat said.
Hamilton’s various murals done through StreetSpark is really what inspired her to showcase the artwork, but she also incorporated sculptures and the history of the buildings into the tour.
“The history of the buildings and architecture and how the flood impacted Hamilton, so it’s a big combination of art, sculptures and history, and then I’m able to highlight small businesses along the way too,” Paugstat said.
The tour is 1.5-miles long and is available on the weekends, but not all works of art can be featured. Paugstat’s decisions on which murals, sculptures and history to feature was like putting a puzzle together, she said, as she focused on telling Hamilton’s story through its art.
“I looked for the ones [murals] that were in close proximity to downtown, that would be a walking distance that I think most people would be okay with,” Paugstat said.
The Hammy Tours LLC was approved on May 1. She presented her business to the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and has since done four tours with the largest at 23 people. Since then, she has decided to cap tours at 12 to 15 people so the group can ask more questions.
Upon creating her business, Paugstat evaluated the legalities, the safety and the other businesses in the city that have done something similar. She spent much time researching and meeting with the Butler County Historical Society to have a better understanding of the area.
The tour starts at Miami University’s Hamilton campus and then winds over the High Main Bridge to explore the city and then wander back on the bridge to see Rossville and end at Armstead Park and True West Café.
Even though she isn’t able to feature every single piece of artwork through the tour, she makes sure to mention particular pieces even though the tour doesn’t walk past them. Along with the various small businesses throught the city, she makes sure to point them out and talk about what they have to offer.
The tour is family friendly, and welcomes children to come and learn. As a teacher, Paugstat loves educating and enjoys communicating with community members of all ages.
“My pricing is based on adults bringing kids, and I want families to be able to do this… so it’s now just $5 flat for each student, and students can go with an adult, and the adult will carry the higher ticket price,”
Adult ticket prices are $20 and the tour can last anywhere from 90 minutes to 2 hours. Tickets can be found on Viator as well as The Hammy Tours social media pages on a google registration link.
Paugstat has partnered with small businesses throughout the city to offer deals for those who complete the tour. People will receive a small wooden coin with The Hammy Tours logo and a QR code on the back which links all of the possible offers. They can then present it to one of the various businesses offered and receive a deal.
“I’m enjoying the collaboration with the small businesses because I want to be a team and I want them to be successful in their ventures. I want to bring attention to Hamilton, so I don’t want to be independently doing something on my own and I’m just loving the collaboration,” Paugstat said.
Some of the local businesses Paugstat has partnered with include Municipal Brew Works, Petals & Wicks, Scripted Studio, Tano Bistro, Luke’s Custom Cakes and more.
The Hammy Tours can be found on social media at “My Hammy Tours” and Viator, as the website is still in the works, but Paugstat is excited to further grow her business and show lifelong Hamiltonians something different that they might have not seen before.
“I just enjoy what’s going on here and I want to see people succeed, you’re going to see these businesses succeed and I want people to come into Hamilton and leave with a beautiful picture of what’s happening here,” Paugstat said.