The head of the Millbury Fireman’s Association says a decrease in the association’s membership and a slow economy were behind their decision to not host the annual ox roast this year.
Jonathan Hart, president of the association, said the membership didn’t think it could deliver a “quality event” this year.
Up-front costs of almost $10,000 for permits, licenses, food and other expenses put an increasing strain on the roast, which wasn’t generating sufficient revenues to cover the costs, Hart said.
|A parade and car show were featured during the roasts.
“People just aren’t spending money like they used to,” he said. “And there are so many festivals going on at the same time. Last year, I think there were festivals in Genoa and Perrysburg on the same weekend as the ox roast.”
Hart said he plans to meet with the Millbury Village Council to discuss starting a new event with the association partnering with the village, Lake schools, churches, civic groups, and local businesses.
“Basically, what we want to do is get a community event,” he said. “Maybe we could get groups to sponsor certain activities for a spring, summer, or fall festival or something like that. If we can get the right people together I think we could put something together for next year.”
Such an event could still be held at Millbury Fire Hall and the grounds, but would not be totally controlled by the fireman’s association.
The association had sponsored a roast for nearly 40 years, Hart said, although some veteran members say it had a different name in the early years.
“Someone said it’s been 38 years,” he said. “But some of the guys said it was called something else when it started.”
A parade and car show were featured during the roasts.
He thanked the Lake community for its support of the ox roast, which has raised funds for the Lake Township Fire Department.
Dennis Traver, assistant district chief of the Lake Township Fire Department and a member of the association since 1960, said funds raised by the roast were often used to purchase equipment for the department including a safety trailer the department uses for educational purposes, portable radios, air packs, and stabilizer jacks.
For many years the roast was held on Sundays before being switched to Saturdays, he said, adding the change from the Sunday tradition may have hurt attendance.
The association is open to area residents as associate members. It holds business meetings on the first Monday of the month at 7 p.m. at the hall on Oak Street in Millbury.
The website is millburyfirehall.com and the phone number is 419 836-7238.