Twenty-five years ago, a handful of artists and crafters sold their wares along the streets of Maumee during the city's first summer fair.
Since then, the Olde Maumee Summer Fair has evolved into an annual two-day celebration.
This year's attractions include rock bands and Chinese food; cloggers and a car show; trolley rides and bike stunts, and a patriotic parade with marching units, floats, vintage vehicles, and Mayor Tim Wagener as grand marshal.
More than 30,000 people are expected to attend the Summer Fair tomorrow and Saturday in the 100 blocks of East Dudley and East Wayne streets.
What's behind the popularity of Maumee's gotta-be-there bash?
“The Summer Fair constantly reinvents itself,” Mayor Wagener said. “It grows, it changes. It is very well-organized. Many volunteers work like crazy. We usually have wonderful weather. That's also helpful. We hope the same happens this year.”
Mike Dibling, event coordinator, has his eye on the sky. Mr. Dibling too, hopes that rain clouds stay away (along with high temperatures and humidity).
“We have never had to cancel because of the rain or bad weather,” said Mr. Dibling. His family has been involved in the event since it began as an arts and craft fair 25 years ago.
In recent years, the fair has expanded from one to two days with extra attractions added to the lineup, including the popular Taste of Maumee. On this year's menu for the event, about a dozen area restaurants will offer samples of menu favorites from 5 to 10 p.m. tomorrow and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday
The Maumee Uptown Business Association presents the annual Summer Fair with assistance from a variety of sponsors, including many local businesses. The city supports the fair too: Workers will pitch in by doing activities such as hauling 50 picnic tables to the Uptown area.
The association will sponsor a Summer Fair lot party with bands playing from 6 p.m. to midnight tomorrow and from 12:30 p.m. to midnight on Saturday.
“It is just so nice to see all these people come to Uptown Maumee,” Mayor Wagener said.
A park-and-ride service will be offered from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Two TARTA trolleys will pick up fairgoers at Gateway Middle School and Maumee High School. Passengers will then be dropped off at Gibbs and East Broadway streets. Return service to the schools will be at Gibbs and East Broadway and at Conant and East Dudley.