LIMA — The Lima Pipeline proves all roads lead back to Lima as hundreds of people raised here returned home for a celebration this weekend that has all the feel of a high school reunion
“We’re bringing people back to Lima, back to our hometown,” said William Howard, the chief organizer for the event. “It’s just a lot of fun for the community.”
Lima Pipeline began in 2009 with this the second event. Lima Pipeline was started by a group of people who wanted to come home for something positive instead of a funeral or another sad occasion, Howard said.
“We said, 'Let's come home and put on an event,'” said Howard, who returned from his home in Denver.
Lima Pipeline is for the whole community, not divided by schools or neighborhoods. It’s held at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Center Park on the south side of town.
What started out as a group of 10 staying in touch on the Internet has grown to 500 and continues to grow. Even with the threat of rain Saturday, Howard expected more than 400 to show for the picnic.
“This reunion is about love,” he said.
But it’s more than just a picnic. There are a bunch of events from a children’s bike giveaway, fishing tournament, and a basketball skills contest.
Those attending came from across the country, even as far away as California.
April Long came from Laurel, Md., where she works as an accountant. But that’s not her only job. She sells flameless candles through her home-based business, Scentsy Fragrance, and was set up as one of the vendors on hand.
She loves the event and said it’s a great way to reconnect with old friends.
“I’ve seen people this weekend I haven’t seen in years and it’s just great to come back together,” said Long, a 1987 graduate of Lima Central Catholic High School.
Another person who came from afar was Tonya Alexander, of Atlanta. She is a 1985 graduate of Lima Senior High School. Alexander not only came back for the event but to set up as a vendor selling jewelry, something she does away from her full-time job.
“I thought it would be a good opportunity to come back and meet old friends and see family,” she said “It’s a family reunion and a class reunion all at the same time.”