BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — Uptown Maumee wrapped up another successful Summer Fair last weekend, as the 44th annual event drew big crowds for the live music, local food and activities on hand.
After the event was canceled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, plenty of people came to shop this year from the more than 150 vendors on hand. Chris Glanzman and her sister, Judy Ruhm, came from Stony Ridge to browse the many unique items featured by local craftsmen.
“I absolutely love it,” Glanzman said. “I can’t believe that we haven’t been here before. We’ve seen these (bird sculptures) all over the place at other places, and these by far are the most reasonably priced.”
Steve Vaughan, of Uncle Steve’s BBQ Sauce, was one of many vendors on hand selling goods. His homemade barbecue sauce is a family-owned venture.
“We are Wood County-proud, even though we are headquartered out of Dundee, Michigan,” he said. “We are family-operated, and we pride ourselves on fresh ingredients, including fresh peppers, fresh onions and fresh garlic.”
The tomatoes used in his sauce come from Hirzel Farms and family members are featured on the jars. It was his second time participating in the Maumee Summer Fair.
“We were well received in 2019, so we wanted to come back again,” he said.
This year’s Summer Fair included all of the mainstay features such as a classic car show, a BMX demonstration, kids’ games, a parade, local food and craft beer.
Union Elementary also celebrated a 150th anniversary. To mark the occasion, an open house took place with tours of the school. At least 300 people went through the building, including Fred Ahrens, who attended Union from second through fifth grades in 1979 through 1983.
“It’s awesome being back here. I feel like this is Christmas in the middle of summer,” he said.
Other than minor changes to the building, he was happy to see many of the same things in the classrooms. He also reminisced about playing kickball on the back playground during morning recess.
“It’s wonderful that they have preserved it,” he said.
Rachel Wimberly also attended Union School. After moving out of Maumee for several years, she recently returned to the area with her husband, Bradford Christison, and daughter, Hannah, and was happy to see the school.
“It’s very emotional,” Wimberly said. “I haven’t stepped foot in this school since I left in fifth grade, and that was in the 1970s. When they closed the school, I was worried they were going to tear it down. That would have been a tragedy.”
The Summer Fair began on Friday evening and ran through Saturday night with the popular Reaganomics taking the stage as the final act in the beer garden.
Event organizer Mike Dibling said that overall, the event went well. He acknowledged that the crowd was much lighter than usual on Friday evening due to several other events taking place in other parts of the area. Saturday’s weather and the evening crowd made up for that deficit, he said.
“Saturday did not disappoint – the streets were full, people were buying, so the vendors were happy, and the restaurants were slammed,” Dibling said. “People took their time to walk through – they enjoyed the day.”