BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — Independence Day festivities filled the streets of uptown Maumee, drawing thousands of people to a variety of food trucks, entertainment and more on July 2 and 3.
The Maumee Uptown Business Association held its annual family picnic on July 3, encouraging families to patronize uptown businesses or purchase food from a variety of local food trucks and take advantage of entertainment from GLOvation, inflatables, Rita the Balloon Lady and the Maumee Community Band.
“I think the picnic and the music festival went off really well. We got really lucky with the weather,” added MUBA president Jason Mendelsohn.
It was the inaugural year for the Uptown Maumee Music Fest, which brought crowds to Conant Street to watch bands perform over the two-day event.
“I thought it was extremely successful,” Maumee Mayor Rich Carr said. “I think people had a great time. They are going to do it again next year and hopefully it will become a tradition where people can just come together and have some fun.”
The first night of the event hosted Steve Kennedy, The New Fashioned, Matt Waters and The Recipe, and Distant Cousinz, with a small variety of food trucks.
“The first day is more relaxed, lower key, but I think it will grow,” Carr said.
Having a smaller event on the first day was important, Mendelsohn added. While local residents typically host celebrations at their own homes for the fireworks festivities, many of them had the opportunity to enjoy the uptown celebration on Sunday night and hang out with their families and neighbors.
On the second day of the event, along with the family picnic and fireworks, attendees had the opportunity to listen to Caswell and Company, Ice Cream Militia, The Nylon Two’s, Public Water Supply and Smilo and the Ghost.
The expansion of the Independence Day festivities brought in much larger crowds than in previous years, Mendelsohn noted.
“The second day, it was the biggest crowd we have ever had there, and everyone was really well-behaved,” Carr said.
Maumee Police Chief Josh Sprow estimated the crowd to be in excess of 20,000 people on Conant Street on the night of the fireworks.
While attending the event, participants of all ages were able to find activities and entertainment to participate in on the street and inside the local businesses.
“Speaking for Jacky’s Depot, we broke sales records,” Mendelsohn said. “Just being out in the crowd, I think there were so many more people out there than in previous years.”
Erin Hyndman, who helped coordinate the bands for the festival, said she was told many businesses had seen increased sales because of the event.
“It was a lot of work for all of the staff (at the local businesses), and they did a great job,” Hyndman added.
With the high turnout for the first-ever event, Carr said he is optimistic for the return of the music fest.
“The plan is to do two days again, at least next year,” Carr said. “We thought, for the very first day, the turnout was very good. Whenever you try a new event, you learn from it.”
The city, he added, is looking for ways to improve upon the event next year based on input from residents.
Hyndman said she has heard positive feedback, but is also looking for ideas from residents.
She has requested that interested musical acts or sponsors reach out to her at email@example.com.
Food trucks operators and other entertainers can also reach out to the MUBA event coordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I feel like, for the most part, everything was well-received,” Hyndman said. “I heard a lot of great feedback about how the streets looked, the greenery specifically, all of the new plantings.”
Additionally, Hyndman and Mendelsohn said they had heard positive reports about the fireworks, with people able to observe the display from many points throughout Maumee.
The event, which was planned quickly, Hyndman noted, required the work of several volunteers to execute.
“I would like to thank everyone involved in this,” Mendelsohn said. “Mayor Carr for the wonderful idea; Erin for putting together a great lineup and organizing the bands; the city service workers for the amazing job that they do; Patrick Burtch for the vision to put the uptown streetscape together; and also, the volunteers. Without the volunteers, we couldn’t make these types of events happen.”
Several local organizations and businesses worked together to bring thousands of people to uptown Maumee and create an enjoyable event, he added.
“We want to bring people uptown. We have a number of businesses, new and old, in the area, and we want people to see what’s up there and enjoy the uptown atmosphere,” Carr said. “The idea is to have family events uptown, with something for everybody. I know there are people out there who have some new ideas that would be helpful, and I hope they’ll let us know.”