Dayton Barnett came to Sandusky for one reason but stayed for another.
Barnett, originally from Solon, transferred from Bowling Green State University’s main campus in 2020 to the Cedar Fair Resort and Attraction Management (RAAM) program, based in downtown Sandusky, making Dayton a part of the first graduating class.
“I specifically switched into the RAAM program when they created it because, along with management, I knew I was actually going to end up in either aquatics (a waterpark) or a resort,” Barnett says. “Those were the areas I wanted to be in, so the RAAM program just perfectly matched both my interests of management as well as where I wanted to do it.”
After graduating from the program, Barnett, now 23, liked Sandusky so much that he decided to make the North Coast his home. He has been working for Shores and Islands Ohio
in the social media marketing division since September 2022. In his position at Shores & Islands Ohio as social media manager, Barnett travels around the area to document events and businesses.
“Work is always constantly moving, but it’s fun,” he says.
On a typical work day–if there is a typical day–Barnett tries to stick to a routine, but with his line of work, nothing is routine.
“A typical day, the umbrella look is I go to work with Shores & Islands from 9-5, straight to the gym 5:30-7:30, and back home to work on DashofDayton, which could consist of recording content, making and prepping orders, or planning and developing until about 12:30-1 a.m.,” Barnett says. “The routine is the same but no day is the same because at work I’m out recording content for a new event, business, activity whatever and at home it’s a new recipe, video, custom order. That’s the beauty in it all.”
is Barnett’s passion project–but more on that later.
“My favorite part of the job is that I get to have fun,” he says. “I get to not only experience all the amazing events and activities in the region, but I get to be the one to share the best way I can to as many people as I can and promote this region. Additionally, connecting with so many people everyday in the community is a positive energy.”
He has done just that in his short time in his position, according to Larry Fletcher, president of Shores & Islands Ohio.
“As a graduate of the Cedar Fair/BGSU RAAM program, with years of experience creating exciting content for his personal social platforms, Dayton was able to quickly step into his role with Shores & Islands and not only maintain our strong social following, but take our efforts to a new level of engagement,” Fletcher says via an email interview.
Barnett attributes his value to the Shores & Islands Ohio team to the RAAM program, stating that his ability to adapt to new environments and trends as well as his skills with communication and leadership all stem from his time in the program.
“Dayton has been a key member of the marketing team,” says Christopher Lewis, marketing and sales director of Shores & Islands Ohio via an email interview. “He has been instrumental in implementing our social media strategies to increase our brand awareness, engaging with visitors, and helping drive traffic to our website to plan a trip to Shores & Islands Ohio. His video content
has been engaging, informative, and relevant to our followers on each platform. This summer will be exciting as we continue to build a strong social media presence with new creative ideas and connecting with potential visitors in meaningful ways.”
That strong social media presence brings us back to DashofDayton
. While he initially was preparing to pursue a career in management, Barnett’s passion for media arts and baking put him on the path for a career change. Barnett started a TikTok
account to showcase his baking skills, and things took off from there.
“It was honestly so sudden I never realized how just a couple videos could change my life so much so quickly,” he says.
With the success of his videos, Barnett’s passion for content creation became a priority.
“I’m always constantly trying to figure out new ways to keep attracting my viewers on DashOfDayton,” he says. “I’m really focused on my live show and being consistent with it. I see it being a real live show one day on TV.”
The sudden success gave Dayton the opportunity to start a brand and become an entrepreneur.
Fast forward to the present day, and Barnett has amassed more than 500,000 followers and 8 million “likes” on Tik Tok alone. His plans for his social media career include focusing more on DashOfDayton down the road.
“Eventually, I would like to leave that role [at Shores & Islands Ohio] and go full on DashOfDayton and fully build the business so that I can use the things I’ve built with it to continue to give back to the community,” he says.
When it comes to Barnett’s baking and the connected community in Sandusky, along with his online fans, he just might.