Mother Nature smiles on German Park Picnic; smokers cope with new ban
Angela Cesere | AnnArbor.com
Klaus Kummer stood in his gray lederhosen, white shirt and embroidered tie and held a neatly printed sign that advised German Park picnickers the new state law banning cigarette smoking in restaurants and bars had its applications here, too.
“Welcome to No Smoking!” Kummer called out at the entrance gate to the park north of Ann Arbor.
“The state says, ‘You serve food, you comply,’” he said. “We comply.”
An area in the corner of the park near the restrooms was the only place for smokers. But the new rule didn't seem to be dragging many people down.
Born in Kiel, Germany, and a member of the German Park Recreation Club since 2004, Kummer said he’d heard no grumbling about the new restriction.
“Nobody has been complaining.”
German Park’s first picnic of the summer couldn’t have had better weather, and people arrived relaxed and smiling at the traditional event. Scheduled on the last Saturday of June, July and August, the public picnics at German Park, located at 5549 Pontiac Trail, represent something essential about summer in the area.
Besides food and drink — including cold German beer — there’s dancing and singing until 11 p.m.
Ann Arbor native Jamar Lyon showed up for the first time ever, encouraged to attend by a friend who had come many times. Lyon said he would probably have a sausage, but he definitely meant to stay away from spaetzle.
“I do not like that. I’ve had it before,” he said. “I don’t like the texture of it. I’m not a dumpling fan.”
Club member Bob Walker had arrived at 6:30 a.m. to mix the spaetzle Lyon wouldn’t be eating.
He blended 5 dozen eggs, 12.5 pounds of flour, salt to taste and water to consistency to make one batch. And he made “at least” 20 batches.
Walker revealed the recipe when he walked into the smoking area with a cigarette tucked behind his ear. He said the smoking restriction had “kind of been forced on us. We had to do everything across the board by the book.”
“I’ve heard nothing but positive remarks,” Walker said.
He hadn’t heard the remarks of the two men he was joining at a stand-up table: James Sammons, of Oakland County’s White Lake Township, and John Jones, of South Lyon.
Jones said he would be 60 years old in two months and had been coming to German Park since he was 5 years old.
“It’s wrong,” he said of the restriction.
Sammons, joining the party for the third year, was incredulous that smoking would be restricted "in the open air." “It’s ridiculous.”
But he and Jones agreed they would be back next year.