BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — Concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic have led to the cancellation of the 43rd annual Maumee Summer Fair.
The event, which is sponsored by the Maumee Uptown Business Association (MUBA), would have taken place on Friday and Saturday, August 7-8.
“While it’s not a surprise we have to cancel in light of the public health concerns surrounding COVID-19, it certainly is sad news for the community members and supporters who enjoy this event,” said Allison Fiscus, MUBA president. “Avoiding crowds remains a mainstay of stopping the virus spread and we certainly want to keep our community safe by making this responsible decision.”
The MUBA organization voted in favor of canceling the event earlier this month. Traditionally, thousands turn out for the two-day festival, which kicks off with local restaurants participating in Taste of Maumee, a kids’ area and a parking lot party with live music. The festival then continues on Saturday with a parade, a car show and vendors lining several blocks.
Considerations were discussed to stage a modified version of the festival, but even then, so many unknowns would have made planning something very difficult this year, said Mike Dibling, who along with his wife Karen serves as event organizer and chair.
If the event would have taken place this year, the Saturday morning parade, kids’ area and beer garden would have been eliminated, and if restaurants participated in some sort of scaled down version of the Taste of Maumee, the tables would have been removed. In addition, vendors would have had to be spaced apart in accordance with social distancing.
“I’m good with the decision to cancel, given the unknowns,” said Mike. “There are too many guidelines in question right now.”
Sponsors who have submitted payment will be refunded, along with the vendors who reserved space. According to Mike, approximately 70 vendors had signed up and paid for this year’s festival, which is about normal for May. Last year’s festival drew approximately 130 booth vendors.
The decision to cancel the event comes on the heels of the city of Maumee’s announcement to postpone indefinitely the city’s Independence Day fireworks display. Jason Mendelsohn, who owns Jacky’s Depot and also serves as vice president of MUBA, said that the decision to cancel the Maumee Summer Fair was not made lightly.
“As a business owner, the summer fair represents a large chunk of revenue. For me, the difference between a good season and a great season is summer fair. I can tell exactly which year it rained on summer fair based on my revenue, so this is huge. It hurts,” he said, “but I don’t think in good conscience you can put on an event in the middle of a pandemic and risk getting thousands of people sick.”