PAULDING – 2020 has been different, for a lack of a better word. It’s been challenging, disappointing at times, and overall pretty unexpected.

The Flat Rock Creek Fall Festival should have been Sept. 18-20 this year, but was cancelled due to the threat COVID-19 still poses in our community.

The festival averaged 10,000 people over the three-day fall event and is the biggest event in Paulding County. The food at the festival is provided widely by non-profit organizations in the community; such as Boy Scout troops, churches, and more. Many of these groups rely on Flat Rock every year to raise money to fund their projects and organization. No festival means no funds for those non-profits.

The Black Swamp Community Cruise, to be held on Saturday, Sept. 19 from 10 a.m.–7 p.m., was sparked by a group of people wanting to help those non-profits affected by the cancelation of the festival. The idea of the cruise was to get families and friends together to take an adventure around the county to support these organizations in their hometown. Not only is this an opportunity to get your festival favorites such as french fries, corn on the cob, ice cream, apple dumplings, and more; but it allows participants to visit parks, clubhouses, and more places that are important to many organizations in each community. Not to mention each food vendor keeps 100% of their profits.

“This cruise gives people the chance to see different parts of the county that they may never venture to,” says committee member Joe Barker. “Load up the minivan, or drive your lawn mower for all I care, just get out and support our community non-profits,” he says.

Aside from indulging on festival favorites, cruise participants have the chance to win $2,500. You read that right, $2,500!

To be entered to win the grand prize, participants will first need to purchase a $5 ticket at any of the welcome centers easily identified at any of the five locations which include the Antwerp Conservation Club, the Riverside Park in Antwerp, the Paulding Fairgrounds, the Grover Hill Welcome Park, and the Oakwood Community Park.

Maps with all of the locations and food vendors can be found for free at each welcome station.

Once the ticket is bought, participants must purchase at least one item from one of the vendors at each of the five locations. Simply bring the purchased item to the welcome center at that location to receive a stamp on the ticket. In order to be entered to win the grand prize the ticket will need all five stamps.

Finished tickets can be deposited at any of the welcome centers. The winner will be drawn and contacted the next day, Sunday, Sept. 20. The second place winner will be the new owner of a gas grill, graciously donated by Paulding Ace Hardware.

“It’s been exciting to see businesses wanting to help different groups throughout the community,” says committee member Mike Kauser. The $2,500 prize was collectively donated by Baughman Tile Company, Ben Kauser Trucking, the Chad Lantow family, Cooper Farms, Den Herder Funeral Home, Harvest Farm Management, Haviland Drainage Products, Kauser Trucking Service, MY102.7, Paulding Ace Hardware, Paulding County Area Foundation, Paulding Eagles #2405, Paulding Putnam Electric Co-op, the Roy Klopfenstein family, Schweller Electric, Stoneco Materials, and West Bend Printing & Publishing.

To get up to date information on the event visit the Black Swamp Community Cruise Facebook event or contact Guy Dasher at 419-769-7269.

Get out and support the community, all while stuffing your face with delicious fall festival favorites!