Uptown Maumee Celebrates 40th Annual Summer Fair

St. Paul’s volunteers Beth Monroe (left) and George Brenner get ready to serve up Philly cheesesteak sandwiches.
Allie Miller (left) and Bella Delffs, both 11 and both from Maumee, enjoy ice-cold lemonade at the fair.

BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — A picture-perfect summer day set the backdrop for the 40th annual Maumee Summer Fair last Saturday, where thousands turned out to watch the parade, shop for locally made vendor goods, enjoy delicious food and admire antique cars. “I’m happy with everything I am seeing this year,” said Janet Russ Jones, who purchased a piece of metal lawn art from Colonial Wagon & Wheel out of Lancaster, Ohio. She also bought a painting from the You Can Be An Artist art studio. “I think the vendors are terrific and what I like is that they are reasonable – I can buy something here,” she said. More than 100 commercial and craft vendors were on hand, offering everything from organic dog treats to soy candles, tie-dyed T-shirts and henna tattoos. Bryan Imes of Waterville set up snow cone carts at two fair sites. This was his fourth year participating in the Maumee event, one of 80 he takes part in throughout the summer. “The community has been good to us,” he said. Imes purchased his first snow cone cart after perusing Craigslist one late evening when he couldn’t fall asleep. He had read information about owning a cart to generate extra income and decided to make the small investment – something he says he is glad he did. “Business is good and it all started because I couldn’t sleep one night,” he said. Teresa Brailsford and her mother Lillian Filicko, both of South Toledo, have been coming to the summer fair for 15 years to shop for local goods. “There are always great crafts and people are very friendly,” said Teresa. “The weather has been great.” Former Mayor Tim Wagener doesn’t remember ever missing the fair. “I do love it. It’s so much fun,” he said. During his tenure as mayor, Wagener directed the Maumee Community Band, something he still fondly recalls doing. “It would be hard for me now to balance on the podium, but I do miss it. They are awesome,” he said. “There’s so much history here. People come back for this, even if they are out of town.” The Taste of Maumee kicked off the summer fair on Friday evening, with local restaurants featuring their very best fare, including Brandywine Country Club, which served up plenty of Cajun lamb chops. “Since it’s the first year we’ve been open, we wanted to get involved,” said manager Rachel Airhart. Live music, a beer garden and a kids’ area were also part of the Taste of Maumee, which continued until midnight on Saturday. Last year, the fair was scheduled to end at 11:30 p.m., but storms forced it to stop much earlier. This year, the city granted summer fair organizers Mike and Karen Dibling permission to keep it going 30 minutes longer in honor of the 40th anniversary. That, and the fact that Mother Nature was much more cooperative this year, made it a successful event, Mike said. “The 2017 Maumee Summer Fair was one of the best I can remember,” Mike said. “It’s been a rough couple of years with less then perfect weather, but West Dudley Street was full, the Fun Zone increased this year and the lot party on Friday night had good numbers.” There were 113 participants in the antique car show, raising $1,800 for Adopt America; and the Taste of Maumee booth-decorating contest winners were El Salto and Barrs Public House, he said. Mike also extended his appreciation to the city of Maumee, the many sponsors, the Maumee Chamber of Commerce for planning the parade and those who performed on the Saturday afternoon Maumee Palooza stage. “My wife Karen and I are only two people and this event takes well over 100 to make it happen,” he said. “After the dust settles in a couple of weeks, we will turn the page and begin to work on the 41st Maumee Summer Fair and again hope for good weather. Next up is a great community event that is growing each year – the Maumee Film Festival. It will be nice to be on the other side of this event.”

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