SALEM - On the football field in Columbus it was the 109th meeting for Ohio State and Michigan, but at Faith Chapel it was the first time for a free tailgate warmup before the game.
Just like outside the "Horseshoe," the food was grilled up but the parking lot party at Faith Chapel chilled out due to blustery weather driving everybody inside by kickoff time.
The chapel is located at 511 E. Pershing St. and its new LED sign has flashed the news of the tailgate event for days.
Faith Chapel assistant Pastor Mike Hileman, left, and Pastor Larry Paxson stand at the chapel doorway during the Ohio State-Michigan football game Saturday afternoon. Located at 511 E. Pershing St., Faith Chapel held its first Ohio State-Michigan tailgate party. The game can be seen on the large-screen television behind them and the plan is to make a tradition of the tailgate party. The chapel will hold another one on Dec. 30 before the Browns-Steelers game. (Salem News photo by Larry Shields)
It drew some 115 people, Pastor Larry Paxson and assistant Pastor Mike Hileman, said.
The tailgating began at 10 a.m. and members were encouraged to bring family, friends and neighbors to share in burgers, ribs, hotdogs and the football atmosphere.
A promotional flyer, with Ohio State and Michigan logos emblazoned at the top, said to "come support your teams at Faith Chapel."
The ratio was about 15-1, Paxson said, Ohio State to Michigan.
"Not a lot of Michigan fans," he said, "(but) we do have whole families here who are Michigan fans."
Hileman, who heads up the outreach ministry said the chapel's dream team, which is concept and visionary oriented, came up with the tailgate idea.
"Matthew Griffith had the idea for the tailgate party," Hileman said.
Paxson said, "We know if men come to the church, statistics say that men will bring their families.
"You can see it here where they bring their kids ... the kids find something of interest."
There were about 80 adults and 35 kids.
The idea has taken such a strong hold that Faith Chapel will hold a tailgate party before the Browns-Steelers game on Dec. 30 beginning at 10 a.m.
"It will be great fun for the community," Hileman, a Penn State fan, said adding that he was supporting Michigan "just for today" for a friend.
The aim of the dream team is to "bring the community together," the pastors said and that's one reason for the new LED sign out front.
Paxson said, "We needed something to communicate with the community. We have something going just about every weekend."
Hileman said the Tuesday night Bible study draws 70 a night.
"That's newsworthy," he said.
The total congregation numbers between 175 and 200.
There will be a craft show with the proceeds going to Kidz4Christ from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. next Saturday, Dec. 1.
Larry Shields can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org