Rockin’ The Park Music Festival Arrives This Week
Along about the mid 70’s or so my sister had told me about a music festival she had gone to up in Remus. She recommended it highly so the following year LSC Lil and I along with some folks we knew drove down from Manistee where we were living at the time.
It was that perfect combination of camping mixed with music, people being downright friendly and a little laid back partying going on. The music trickled beyond the portable stage brought in for the event and could be heard at many of the campsites.
What was there not to like?
We continued to attend for the next 25-30 years or so.
There weren’t a ton of people at those early Wheatland days. If you’re acquainted with the terrain we camped around where the kids hill now exists, At the time it was on the outside fringe of campers. Of course those familiar know that the festival draws some 15,000 each year with tents, fifth wheels, campers, trailers and motorhomes in every available space.
And there’s a heckuva lot of available space.
This weeked White Cloud County Park will be the site of the inaugural Rockin’ The Park Music Festival, and while Wheatlandesque numbers will not be pulling into the Cloud organizers are hoping for good turnout from folks who like to gather together for some good times and music played under an open sky.
Daily entrance fees to the park have been waived for the event with camping available at the regular rate.
Wednesday there’s a Amateur BBQ contest hosted by Smokin’ Goodtime BBQ. It’s free to enter and open to all who view themselves as a bit of an epicurean artiste. The action begins at 11am with registration and at noon it’s “Gentlemen and Ladies...Start Your Meat!”
I’ve covered these gigs before and part of the fun is in talking with competitors about their methods equipment, etc. Mark Westcott of SGTBBQ will be directing the action and possesses a passion for outdoor cookery. Look up Mark while you’re there wandering about He likes to talk ‘Qing, knows his stuff and has always been a great source of info.
Starting Wednesday one can channel the Pinball Wizard inside each of us and ‘play the silver ball’.
Admittedly a long time pinball aficionado, my era was in the pre-hightech games. Back when you got five balls for a dime, three games for a quarter and learned to nurse the hand- to-machine activity down to a science to prevent that dreaded TILT sign flashing above what was to be an epic score.
These beauties from Special When Lit are vintage-inspired so bring a roll or two of quarters and give it a go.
Of course, if you’re maybe thinking, “They ain’t seen nothin like me, in any amusement hall” and want to pit your pinball prowess against others you can enter the tournament held Thursday from 4-8pm. There’s also a separate tourney for kids 11 and under.
And if you see an older guy trying to give a little soft side slamming action to a machine that’s been yielding points rather stingily?
Stop and say Hi.
From 7-10pm Thursday there will be an acoustic jam session as the first of the three days of music gets off to a start with some local talent taking to the stage to showcase their stuff. It’s called Open Mike so grab your guitar, banjo, uke, harmonica, zither, accordion, mandolin, clarinet, canjo or maybe just your shining voice and get ready to share your music with others
Friday there are guided kayak trips down the White River starting a 10am and noon and I must say this is a truly wonderful paddle. If you’ve never cruised down the White this presents a great opportunity to be dazzled by the places this scenic stream takes you through. Load up your ‘yak and get ready to paddle.
Pinball open play and tourney qualifying continues, kids activities will be happening from 10am-2pm and at 4pm the music kicks off with Rob Manchester. An hour late Kevin Conley takes the stage followed by Jill Lamphere at 6pm then from 7-9 kick it out with some classic rock and roll from Stealing Mary.
Saturday the park is once again abuzz with activities for kids, kayaking runs and pinball with music beginning at high noon.
But before all that? Grab a little al fresco pancake breakfast from 8-10am as TGFF (Tracy’s Gang From Fremont) will be putting out the vittles as part of their ongoing efforts to support the cause of combatting MS. Good cause, good eats.
The event culminates with a 7-10pm performance by the Braunschweiger Blues Band.
If you’ve not yet experienced Braunschweigermania in action make it a point to see this eclectic set of characters who gather on stage to have a good time and share it with their audience
Warning: This is all interactive so be ready to kick up those heels with a little dance action.
Whether you grab a couple of adult beverages at the beer tent and enjoy the music played from the stage or wander about and listen to (or participate in) a few campfire jams, Rockin’ In The Park offers up the chance to enjoy listening to live music in the best of all possible ways.
More information can be had by visiting:
By Alicia Jaimes
My parents just dropped me off at my room. The room was small, cluttered and unfamiliar. We said “I love you”s and hugged goodbye and even though I lived 45 minutes away, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of sadness and the feeling that something was changing.
This was my first step towards adulthood.
I was living on my own. Free to do whatever I wish. The world was my oyster.
So, about five minutes later, I called my parents.
I never thought I'd be the kind of person who'd be homesick. Whenever I imagined my future, I thought I'd be successfully living on my own with roommates who’d become my best friends and we’d create multiple video montages of us living the college life. I was certain I'd hit the ground running, but instead, I stumbled.
Living away from home that first year made me realize how much I took for granted. I'd go to make cereal and remember I didn't buy any milk. I'd cut my finger and realize this bathroom didn't come with any band aids.
*When in a pickle, I recommend toilet paper and tape **P.s. Remember to buy tape**
Life was hard and I found myself calling home a lot and glued to my phone texting my family between classes. I locked myself in my room and was content with it. Looking back, I may have done things differently.
Don't get me wrong, I think it's healthy to have a relationship with your family and you should call them when you miss them. Just maybe not two or three times a day.
College is intimidating. Living “on your own” is intimidating, but that's what make experiences worth it. To know that you were scared, yet you leapt anyways.
I'm not saying freeze out your family. They miss you too, but just know that they aren't going anywhere. They'll be there when you come home on the weekends or when you invite them to lunch on campus. Don't be afraid to text or call them when you get an A on the test you were dreading, but don't be afraid to miss them.
Experience these four years.
Go to the home games.
Accept the invitation from your roommates to go out to dinner and get to know each other.
Hit the gym.
Watch a theater production.
Even if you aren't sure you'll like it, try it. It may not be the best, but at least you will leave college saying you've gotten all that you could out of it.
Homesick? Create a home away from home.
This is your time. Embrace it.
Room necessities for the everyday freshman:
First Aid Kit
Can opener (and other utensils)
Aspirin (and other medicines)
Cups and plates (and pots and pans)
Dishwashing Liquid (or pods)
“And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days.”
The remarkable American poet James Russell Lowell whose work from a century and a half ago still resonates, captures the heart of this glorious month.. June is the perhaps the most humble of the summer trilogy as she waves a wand over the landscape and creates a lush and radiant rainbow of color.
Beyond that an ocean of kids are out of school for the next 10-11 weeks or so and what better way to kick off summer than a day at the Annual Newaygo County Kids Day.
This is a very cool event that helps kids get acquainted with the folks who are tasked with keeping our community safe. Here’s our piece on it.
And if you see Ross Nelson wandering about and looking things over give him some kudos for having organized this celebration of our community’s young folks for the past 5 years.
A couple weeks ago LSC Lil and I were n the deck at Dockers in Muskegon with our friends Dianne and Charles Chandler. While the bar area was a sea of humanity we could still hear the band and it was kicking it out with gusto to an appreciative crowd. Who was it?
The Westside Soul Surfers. Some serious R&B with a funky undertone. They were outstanding and Friday if you care to drive to Hackley Park in Muskegon you can experience what they do to an audience at Parties In The Park from 5-9pm.
Truly good music.
Saturday night you want to make your way over to the Stephen F. Wessling Observatory north of Fremont for their latest Star Party.
What? Never been?
These are great opportunities to capture the magic and mystery of the universe and introduce young folks to the awesomeness of astronomy. Adults get in for a mere 5 bucks, 17 and under just 2 bucks and under 5 free.
Jupiter and the Galilean Moons are on tap this weekend so find out how the esteemed Mr. Galileo discovered those moons some 400 years back.
The observatory is located at the Kropscott Farm Environment Center 6523 Baseline Road and the fun starts at 9 pm.
It’s reveling time Near Northians. Get thee outside and embrace the days our poetic friend Mr. Lowell found so delightful.
By Ken DeLaat
Monday while eastward bound on 48th street and having just left our western metropolis Fremont enroute to the county seat my thoughts were wandering a bit while maintaining a sense of vigilance should an errant shoe appear alongside the road.
There was the Tiger game of the previous day, the first in what hopes to be a multitude of baseball games attended with Ms. Harper a treasured friend and the youngest of the four most intelligent attractive and downright likeable grandchildren one could possibly hope for.
H. took in the game like any 3 year old might since a major league game is a feast for a limited attention span with things going on in so many places that the action on the field remains considerably secondary.
I had just left the monthly Ag Legislative Breakfast so my mind moved on to consider some of the information being delivered by our elected officials. Geoff Hansen will be leaving the Senate due to term limits and Scott VanSingel is in the second year of his first term in the House so there seemed to be a bit of a ‘changing of the guard’ flavor to the meeting with a new electee to begin occupying Geoff’s seat at the monthly breakfast as well as his spot in the Senate come January.
I was in the process of meandering to some thoughts about a few N3 articles in the works when I saw the sign going up on the corner.
I was cruising along (at 55 of course because that’s the limit and all) and when the sign appeared it took a second or two for the concept to sink in.
I immediately slowed down and turned around at the first opportunity. If my memory was correct this would be Ida Mae’s Berries a venue that has been one of the more regular market stops since our first discovery a few years ago.
I whipped down the ¾ mile (going 45 mph because that was the limit) pulled into the driveway, parked and approached the stand with a bit of trepidation.
You see, Ida Mae’s stand is located in a spot that makes you unable to see if indeed there are still goods remaining because once they’re gone…..
This leads to a dollop of suspense even after arrival.
Once the stand was front and center I saw them. Tucked into the shade of the stand were bright red beauties just begging to be taken home and eaten with yogurt,cereal, fruit bowls and the undeniably epic dish known as strawberry shortcake. Two left and I wanted them bad.
A search of my wallet produced credit cards (no good here), a fin and a couple of 20’s. So I needed change.
Unfortunately a knock at the door produced no answer (I believe it was the proprietor putting up the sign back on 48th) so the dilemma was to either settle for one quart (inconceivable) or see if I could rustle up another three bucks.
I recalled having kept a cache with some quarters for parking meters stored during a road trip with LSC Lil awhile back and a thorough search located it underneath a sheath of business cards which were underneath a notebook that had a baseball glove and a couple of pairs of socks on it. The tray yielded $2.25.
I scraped under the seats and came up with two nickels three pennies and a dime so I was 52 cents short. I considered a rehunt under the seats when I recalled getting change from a drive through and dropping it into the cupholder before placing my coffee atop it. Three quarters were part of the booty so now they filled in the gap nicely and with 8 bucks gathered I dropped the cash into the box and sped off (doing well under the speed limit).
That night was shortcake night and it was heavenly.
The early berries are always just a bit tart (personal preference) but they are unmistakably Michigan berries. Throughout the winter, enticing looking berries from those warmer states inhabited by fair weather fans have found their way into our home and on our table. They look and taste somewhat like the real thing until the home grown gems are sampled (like maybe half a quart on the way home). Then the taste buds speak loudly and clearly.
"Make no mistake, this is the real deal, clearly superior in every way, and fiercely regional strawberry. There are no substitutes."
This is the beginning of the wondrous stretch when one becomes struck by the realization regarding the good fortune we bi-peninsular types enjoy in living where we do.
Our region is drop dead gorgeous, we have abundant water to play in, the people hereabouts are convivial for the most part and the locally grown food is exceptional as evidenced by our recent foray into asparagus (get the deep fried at Daniel’s) rhubarb (love it in a crisp) and the aforementioned and highly treasured strawberries (already returned for five more quarts).
And don’t even get me started on corn.
"I have only to break into the tightness of a strawberry, and I see summer - its dust and lowering skies."- Toni Morrison
Free event promotes fun, safety
There’s something about that last week of school. There is a pent up excitement among the kids who are busting to get out the door for the final time this year while teachers and other staff members are doing whatever they can to rein in the tsunamic energy surging through the buildings.
Soon it will be over. Streams of young children will pour out of our schools and be given hours of free time to engage in some serious summer fun.
And with safety as our top priority for our progeny, the Annual Newaygo County Kids Day is an ideal setting for the younger set to become acquainted with the women and men who help keep our community safe.
This event, spawned from rather humble beginnings nearly 20 years ago, puts a perfect punctuation mark on the school year and celebrates not just the start of summer but our most valuable of all resources our children.
Kids Day has expanded into an exciting extravaganza with an enticing array of activities for families to participate in.
“This will be another great year for Newaygo County Kids Day,” said Dr. Ross Nelson who has organized the event the past five years. “Last year we lost count at 700 kids and I’m hoping for 1000 this year.
“The event continues to grow with more fun activities and participants and it is great to see. You won’t want to miss it”
The fun begins at Brooks Park in downtown Newaygo Saturday June 9th at noon and runs (in a rather spirited manner) until 3pm.
Best of all?
It is Free.
The Christian Howes Quintet will perform on the Dogwood Main Stage on Saturday, June 16 at 7:30 p.m. Among the elite jazz musicians in the country, Christian Howes is both a stellar performer and studio recorder and is well respected as a strings educator and clinician.
Since 2011, performer, educator and composer, Howes was voted #1 in the Downbeat Critics Poll for Rising Starts in Violin, named among the top three jazz violinists in the JazzTimes critics poll, and nominated for Violinist of the Year by the Jazz Journalist Association. He received the Residency Partner Award through Chamber Music America for residencies in school orchestras, earned a USArtists grant through the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and was invited by the U.S. State department to teach and perform as a cultural ambassador in Ukraine and Montenegro.
His 2013 release on Resonance Records, “Southern Exposure” earned recognition in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Downbeat, Jazz Times, as well as a six-night run at Lincoln Center. His 2015 release, “American Spirit” was named among the Best Jazz Albums of 2015″ by the Huffington Post. Christian was a favorite of the late Les Paul, with whom he worked closely for 11 years.
Howes is the founder of “Creative Strings“, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to expand music education through the creation of online curriculum, an annual summer conference, and dozens of visits to schools annually teaching improvisation, contemporary styles, and related subjects. He endorses Yamaha violins and D’Addario strings.
Tickets are $20.00 and are available through the Dogwood Center Box Office, NCCA-Artsplace in downtown Fremont, or on-line at www.dogwoodcenter.com. For information, phone 231.924.8885. The Dogwood Center is located one mile east of downtown Fremont.
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