Maumee’s Strongest Town Community Cookout Is Lightly Attended On Saturday Afternoon

Maumee City Council members Scott Noonan (left) and Philip Leinbach volunteer their time cooking hamburgers and hot dogs at Saturday’s cookout. MIRROR PHOTO BY MIKE McCARTHY

BY MIKE McCARTHY | MIRROR EDITOR — The Maumee Strongest Town Community Cookout on Saturday was intended to be a fun public gathering celebrating the city’s title as the 2024 Strongest Town Champion, but the hot weather seemed to melt the attendance, with only a fraction of the people who had made online reservations showing up to participate in the event.

Initially planned as a modest celebration near the White Street parking lot along the Towpath Trail, online reservations kept pouring into the city’s website during the days leading up to the event, prompting city officials to move the event location closer to the Ft. Meigs Memorial Bridge so that they could add larger tents and order more food to accommodate the hundreds of expected guests.

The tremendous public interest in the event forced city officials to shut down the free registration process two days prior to the event, since over 1,400 online reservations had been made by last Wednesday, maxing out the food and drink allocation capacity for the picnic.

On Saturday, an overwhelming majority of the residents who had initially signed up for the picnic failed to show up for the event, perhaps due to the 94-degree weather or a last-minute change in their weekend plans. 

Unfortunately, the residents who were prevented from registering for the event in the two days prior to the picnic were unaware that there was plenty of food and drink still available because of the lower-than-expected attendance.

There was no way to effectively get that message out to the community in such a short period of time, although there was a post made on Facebook explaining that extra food and drinks were available for anyone who wanted to attend the event on short notice.

Those who did attend the three-hour event seemed to enjoy themselves. Live music was provided by popular guitarist and vocalist Shane Piasecki from his comfortable post near the Towpath Trail. 

Hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, cookies and beverages were readily available with volunteers manning the grills all afternoon long. There was even a steady breeze wafting from the Maumee River to provide welcome relief from the heat.

Children’s games, a huge inflatable slide and a bounce house were popular attractions for young children and their parents.

Maumee fire and police personnel were on hand, as well as city officials and city council members, many of whom volunteered their time to cook food and keep the tent area clean and functional.

The mood was festive, and the atmosphere was friendly and relaxed.

All leftover perishable food was donated to the Cherry Street Mission and packaged chips and cookies were saved for use during the Uptown Maumee Music Fest on July 3-4.

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