Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Fundraiser aimed at keeping Maumee clean

Sixth annual event will be held at The Phoenix

Olivia Hennessey

Whatzup Features Writer

Published June 22, 2022

Fort Wayne is filled with events and festivals during the summer season. Not all of them, however, support such a vital cause as the Save Maumee Fundraiser. 

Six years strong, Save Maumee Grassroots Organization’s annual fundraiser is not only a fantastic time for the whole family, but an important financial source for the eco-friendly nonprofit.

This year’s event will be Sunday, June 26, at The Phoenix.

For Our Rivers

Save Maumee is a volunteer-based nonprofit that revolves around environmentalism, with a stated goal of protecting the ecosystems of the Upper Maumee River. 

Save Maumee takes on degraded waterways by replacing invasive species with native ones, including a multitude of trees and grasses that existed in the area prior to European descent. 

Through this rehabilitation, habitats are restored for wildlife and insects, among many other environmental benefits that improve the overall quality of our waterways. 

The organization’s current project has been dubbed the Rose Ave Rehab. Funding for this project goes toward purchasing native plants, as well as the purchase of a wind-powered aeration device to provide oxygen to the waterway. 

According to Lauren Conklin, vice president of Save Maumee and organizer of the event, funds made from this year’s event will go toward this extensive project.

Brief History

Save Maumee’s annual fundraiser hasn’t always been as large-scale as it is today. 

The first fundraiser was actually a yard sale, Conklin said, before the organization began receiving grants. Volunteers donated their household items to be sold at the sale, with profits going to the organization. 

It wasn’t until a paint-a-long fundraiser at The Phoenix a few years later that the idea for a big fundraiser, like the one this year, was broached. It was around this time that Conklin became more involved in the organization, and ever since, she has played a huge role in making these sizable fundraisers happen.

In 2018, Save Maumee held their first bazaar, which Conklin described as a “big party.” The event was massive, with over 50 vendors, a maker space, and performers. The organization held another bazaar in 2019. 

But with COVID in 2020, the events, and the volunteer force, were pulled back for good reason.

With the 2021 outdoor event dampened by rain, Save Maumee is looking for a bounce-back year.

“Everybody is trying to find their groove again,” Conklin said. “This year’s event is a nice welcome back.”

Plenty of Fun

The 2022 Save Maumee fundraiser sees change from years past, including being held indoors.  Also, there will no longer be an excess of vendors. Instead, there will be live entertainment, food trucks, artists, and raffles. 

The event is meant to be a “fun party for volunteers,” according to Conklin. She hopes the event is not only a great time, but an inspiring one for potential volunteers. 

“It’s a really good way to bring people in,” she said.

The MC for the event will be Mark Lahey, who will keep the event moving and announce raffle winners.

Local musician Jonah Leatherman will get things started with a 1 p.m. set, with Shruggin’ Sisters following at 3 p.m., U.R.B. at 4 p.m., and the Kyle Haller Band finishing the night at 6 p.m. 

Throughout the musical sets, there will be a variety of belly dancers performing, including The Serpent, Lori Osterloh, Zosia, and Soraya. To top it all off, Pyroscope Entertainment will be in attendance with an LED show.

Seven live painters will also be on hand, and they will be selling their work via silent auction and donating the proceeds to the organization.

Bravas and Chow Down will have their food trucks, along with The Sassy Vegan, for the entirety of the event, in addition to a full bar. Lastly, there will be a raffle, with donated items and baskets from Earth Adventures, Old Crown, Rich Pacula-Diamonds, and Smile More Meal Prep. 

All in all, there will be something for everyone.

“This is the perfect opportunity to have a good time,” Conklin said. 

If you’re looking for a jam-packed family friendly event, and also want to give back to your community and environment, this is the event for you.

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