AMHERST — The parking lot of Kiedrowski’s Bakery resembled a mini tailgate Thursday as residents from Lorain County donned scarlet-and-gray shirts in anticipation of the arrival of Ohio State University President Gordon Gee.
Gee has been touring spots in Ohio as part of his “President Gee State Tour.”
Tim Kiedrowski, owner of the “best bakery in America,” encouraged the crowd to sing “Hang on Sloopy” when Gee arrived.
“Let’s show Ohio State what Lorain County can give ’em!” Kiedrowski said.
And when Gee stepped out of his vehicle, the crowd went wild, and Gee even joined in singing the official rock ’n’ roll song of the state.
As Gee made his way to the entrance of the bakery, he stopped to say hi to almost everyone who crossed his path. He even took time to sign autographs and take photos.
Inside the bakery, a banner read, “Kiedrowski’s Bakery Welcomes President Gee!”
Kiedrowski invited Gee back to the kitchen to see where the popular paczkis are made for Fat Tuesday celebrations.
Once Gee was inside the kitchen, he took a phone call, where he told the caller, “I am in the best bakery in America!”
After the phone call ended, Gee tried his hand at adding the cream filling to another Kiedrowski favorite — the snoogle.
Terri Kiedrowski said she and her husband, Tim, received word several weeks ago of Gee’s impending visit.
“It’s been crazy all day,” Terri Kiedrowski said.
In the morning, it was business as usual with patrons coming in to pick up their favorite breakfast treat, but as time neared for Gee’s arrival, the energy kicked into high gear.
“It’s been festive, fun and exciting to meet the president of OSU,” she said.
It wasn’t only adults who were excited to see Gee.
Broc Lehnowsky, 6, of Avon, arrived at the bakery with his parents just in time to catch a glimpse of Gee and munch down a yummy doughnut.
Broc’s face glowed when he began talking about the Ohio State Buckeyes.
“I call Michigan ‘those bums,’ ” Broc said, laughing.
His parents, Michael and Dawn Lehnowsky, said their son is an OSU sports enthusiast.
“He even watches old football games on the Big 10 network,” his dad said.
Gee’s tour of Ohio began several years ago, said OSU Student Life member Max Stearns.
Earlier in the day, Gee visited six other businesses in Ohio, including Grandpa’s Cheesebarn in Ashland and Smuckers in Orrville.
“He started it because Ohio State University is Ohio’s university,” Stearns said.
Stearns, of Winnipeg, Canada, who will be a first-year law student at OSU in the fall, said that while everyone may not have the opportunity to attend OSU as a student, having the retiring administrator visit different places in Ohio shows he cares about the state as well as its residents.
“It’s a great way for him to meet businesses and people,” Stearns said.
Gee’s visit to Kiedrowski’s Bakery comes nearly a week after he abruptly announced his retirement June 4 amid controversy regarding a comment he made toward Roman Catholics.
During the tour of the bakery, Gee did not speak of his retirement or field questions from the media or spectators.
Contact Melissa Linebrink at 329-7243 or firstname.lastname@example.org.