Maumee Summer Fair Draws Crowds With New Layout, Successful Vendors

Customers peruse Erin Lawrence’s work for Zo Clay Designs, which can found at zoclaydesigns.com.

BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — A new layout brought crowds onto Conant Street in uptown Maumee for the 46th annual Maumee Summer Fair over the weekend.

Arts and crafts booths, food vendors, inflatables and more activities filled Conant Street and the city and police parking lot on East John Street, in addition to West Dudley Street on Friday and Saturday.

“It went really well. It was a great new layout this year,” said fair director Stace Torio. “It was very busy everywhere. There were lots of people walking around the booths.”

According to Torio, several vendors said their sales showed more engagement from attendees this year.

“A lot of people told me they like the new layout. Some of them said it didn’t feel as congested, but then when they looked at their sales, they realized they had more people stop by than in previous years,” Torio said.

Don Adamski, who represented Maumee S.A.I.L., or the Substance Abuse Intervention League, at a booth, said the foot traffic was steady, with hundreds filing past throughout the day on Saturday.

Attendees left the fair with their arms full of local foods, handmade signs, plants, handcrafted jewelry and more.

Torio extended her gratitude to the families who showed up to the event to support the local businesses and individuals that Maumee and the greater Northwest Ohio area has to offer.

She said the support of everyone was important for the evening and the crowds were great.

Minor problems, including a generator issue and brief rain showers, didn’t stop the crowds, Torio reported.

In order to handle the issues that arise during large events like this, the help of hundreds of people is necessary.

“A big thank-you to Mike Dibling for his years of work on this and his advice and help while handing over the reins this year,” Torio said of the fair’s longtime organizer. “I also want to say thank you to all the city workers for all of their help and answering all of my questions. Also, a big thank-you to the Maumee Senior Center and Maumee football team’s coaches and parents.”

Both organizations provided volunteers who staffed the tables for the lot party on Friday and Saturday evening.

“Our seniors look forward to this every year. They have a really good time volunteering. We have people from their 70s to their 90s out here volunteering,” said senior center executive director Malinda Ruble. “We like to support MUBA and MUBA helps us by donating to help support the seniors, so it’s a great partnership.”

In order to hold the event, more than 500 volunteer hours are needed, Torio said. Without the volunteers, the event wouldn’t happen.

“(The) number one reason I like to volunteer is because they’re fundraising for a great cause. Number two, I love to mingle and say hi to everyone. And number three, I’m running for council, so I want to be out here,” said volunteer Tracey Elmore. “I just enjoy community events like this. I think it’s so unique to our community that we can bring people together as often as we do.”

Bringing the community together to see what Maumee can offer, from businesses to entertainment, is all part of the fair’s purpose, Torio said.

“The Reaganomics’ final show, as they’re retiring, was just fantastic,” Torio said of the band known for its ’80s covers. “We had great entertainment for the lot party and at Maumee Palooza.”

Entertainment is a big deal for the fair, with a space for young kids, live music for people of all ages and a drive-in movie for families, which Torio is hoping to hold again next year. 

While next year’s event is still 12 months out, Torio is already planning what she wants to keep and what changes will be necessary for the event.

“This is a long process, and this fair has been around for many years, so there’s always little tweaks and changes that have to be made,” she said. “I am always looking for volunteers who might want to bring some new things to it each year.”

Residents with new ideas or suggestions for next year’s event are encouraged to reach out to maumeesummerfair@gmail.com, Torio said.

Additionally, for anyone who wants to volunteer with the event or sign up for vendor spaces, information will begin rolling out in the spring.

“For people who want to participate next year, they need to start watching our website in March. They can also join our Facebook page for updates,” Torio recommended.

The Maumee Summer Fair information can be found on Facebook or at maumeesummerfair.com.

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