Ok, ok, we know you’re all engaged in a bit of emotional ennui about the impending departure of our most playful seasonal friend Summer.
After all, school is back in session, boats are being lifted from the water, nights are getting cooler….
But hey, this weekend, the weekend that delivers the third of our Big Three summer holidays also means the return of the Logging Fest, that three day fete of forestry, food, frivolity and family fun that begins on Friday
Arts and crafts will be at Brooks Park in downtown Newaygo all three days along with some fine local eats and chainsaw carving and Friday the Farmer’s Market will be bustling what with the cornucopia of luscious local eats being harvested these days.
It is also the first day to register for the Amateur Lumberjack Contest, in our opinion the centerpiece of this year’s festival since it gives folks that golden opportunity to be a little Bunyanesque. To channel their inner logger and grab a little chainsaw glory. You can register (equipment provided) at the Chamber booth all day Friday and Saturday morning so man up and woman up and put your John or Jane Hancock down and get ready to rumble.
The event itself is Saturday from 1000-1130am. Don’t miss it.
And if your skills lean more toward gastronomical type competition this year you have an opportunity to grab some glory at the Hot Dog Eating Contest that will be the culmination of Saturday’s festivities at 4pm. For inspiration try viewing the camp competition scene in the classic Bill Murray movie Meatballs and then register from 10am-3:30pm at the Chamber booth.
From Noon to 6pm the pros take over as the Mid Michigan Professional Lumberjack Competition gets underway. Maybe you’ve watched a tree taken down or some trimming taking place but here’s where you see the true skills these loggers possess in full-fledged action mode. Impressive to say the least.
Log Rolling competition will be drawing a crowd as well when the USLRA Amateur Competition gets….well... rolling... with warm-ups starting at 11am and the contest kicking off at noon. Kids from 5-17 can try their hand (or rather feet) at the sport during the Spectator Log Rolling beginning at 3pm.
Saturday also features the 14th annual Marshall Run a 5K run/walk that benefits the Law Enforcement Torch Run for the Special Olympics and do not forget about the Fireman’s Pancake Breakfast from 7-11am at (of all places) the Newaygo Fire Department. It’s an outstanding way to start the day and benefits the good work done by our Fire Folks.
Sunday brings the parade. I mean who doesn’t dig a parade right? It starts at 1pm and ends at 2pm just in time for the finals of the Lumberjack competition beginning at 2pm and then at 4pm the firemen, fresh off the previous day of serving up vittles show off their skills with a Waterball Tournament.
Come on, even though summer is fading as fast as a politician sidestepping an honest question there’s still time to make a lot of merry in downtown Newaygo.
It’s the Logging Festival a three day party with events primed to pique the interest of all who attend.
See you there.
Harvesting Healing Herbs
Lisa Rose Presents Midwest Medicinal Foraging Class at Fremont Library
Live @ the Library, a series of events including author visits and writing workshops is welcoming author Lisa Rose to the Fremont Area District Library.
Lisa Rose is an herbalist, forager, and author. With a background in anthropology and a professional focus on community health and local food systems; she has gathered her food, farming, and wild plant knowledge from many people and places along a very delicious journey.
She’s coming back to the library to present her popular foraging information with her newest book; Midwest Medicinal Plants: Identify, Harvest, and Use 109 Wild Herbs for Health and Wellness. With its wealth of botanical diversity, the Midwest provides an abundance of healing herbs accessible to all. Whether you are just starting out or are looking to deepen your herbal knowledge, this book is your essential companion for finding, identifying, harvesting, and safely using the most important wild medicinal plants.
Be sure to come dressed for a walk outside! This free program will begin in the Community Room on Thursday, August 31st at 6:00 p.m.
Calling all Monsters! If you’re between the ages of 8-13, you are invited to invade the Dogwood Center for the Performing Arts! “Monsterpiece Theater” is a fun filled youth theater program where youth will learn skills in acting, mime, juggling, acrobatics and very cool backlight illusions.
Local performer Mat Emerick is the director…or “monster maker” as he likes to call it. An open call will be held at the Dogwood on Tuesday, August 29 from 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. with weekly Tuesday night practices after that.
The program concludes with a very funny, family friendly Halloween show on Saturday, October 28. No blood or gore, “Monsterpiece Theater” is a masterpiece of spooky, kooky skits and music.
For information, phone 231.924.8885. Ages 8-13 years, limit of 30 participants. The Dogwood Center is located one mile east of downtown Fremont.
MJ MEETS: MINDBENDER MANSION
By Mollie Jo Swendrowski
About a month ago my boyfriend, Adam, and I took a big step in our relatively young relationship: we got a Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) membership.
I know, right? Momentous occasion. One of the first things we discussed doing together when we started dating was going to the museum to check out the current visiting exhibit called Mindbender Mansion, which is all brain teasers and puzzles. After some internet research I discovered the exhibit coming in November, “Dragons, Unicorns, and Mermaids” (my nerd heart is ecstatic about this) and quickly realized that a membership might be worth looking into. So we bit the bullet, went all in and are officially card carrying museum members.
The next step was to find out how to get the most out of our membership, because DARN IT ALL we paid for it and we are determined (and by that I mean that I am determined) to get the most bang for our buck. My shameless plug to encourage you to get a membership is that one of the many perks is receiving admission to over 340 other museums across the country, including some of the famous ones in Chicago, which is an easy day trip. Oh, and free rides on the carousel. Just saying.
Another thing I discovered while being thrifty was an upcoming event called Puzzles and Pints. The GRPM has a series titled “Beer Explorers” and frequently hosts events that pair the booming breweries in the city with a bit of history and learning. Puzzles and Pints allowed guests of drinking age to come try their hand at the Mindbender Mansion while enjoying adult beverages (more on the impact of those later).
Now, I’ve always fancied myself an independent person. Asking for help is not something that comes easily to me, and I would rather struggle under the weight of 17 oddly shaped bags and packages than let someone help me bring in groceries or, gasp, make two trips. I moved across the country twice, took a solo trip to London last summer (I’ll tell you all about it some time), and have grown very comfortable being alone and figuring things out on my own.
However, there are some things that require teamwork and asking for help. One of them is being in a relationship, and another is the Mindbender Mansion.
The day leading up to Puzzles and Pints was a busy one for both Adam and I. While he was busy running around scouting locations for projects, fellow N3 writer Alexis and I took six kids to the zoo. We managed to not lose any of them and no one got a sunburn, so overall it was a great success. Let me tell you though: wrangling six kids ranging in age from two to ten (no matter how well behaved they are) in public and surviving it relatively unscathed is enough to make any person want a glass of wine.
Needless to say when we showed up to the event the first thing I did was locate the advertised “pints” portion. Armed with beverages and admittedly tired brains, Adam and I decided to tackle the “puzzles” part.
According to the GRPM website, the exhibit has over 40 individual brainteasers and five larger group activities. The goal of the Mansion is to solve the puzzles and enter the answers in the “vault” in the labeled rooms to gather clues that then give you passwords. You then enter at least three of four passwords in the final “vault” to join the Mindbender Society. Disclaimer: Adam and I are both fairly competitive so NOT being inducted into a “secret society” was an option we were not willing to give ourselves.
After (hastily) reading the instructions we started attempting to solve some of the individual brainteasers. I’d like to say it’s because all of the ones that give you the aforementioned passwords were being used, but the reality of the situation was we were so tired that we did not fully understand what we were doing. Re-examination of the instructions led us to discover we needed to enter the rooms of the Mansion and look for symbols on puzzles that would aid us in getting the passwords needed for entry into the secret society, not just complete any puzzle we found, which was the original strategy.
I consider myself fairly well versed in brain teasers and puzzles. Each night from 7-8 pm is a personal challenge to outsmart the contestants on Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, but I am absolutely horrendous at anything pertaining to numbers and math. This is where the teamwork comes into play, and lucky for me my teammate is much better with numbers than I.
Since we both had long days we got to the event with roughly an hour left until it ended. Once we figured out exactly what we were supposed to be doing to “win”, it was game on. It went with unspoken agreement that Adam handled anything to do with numbers (hint: practice your Sudoku before you go) and I gave my all at the puzzles regarding shapes and creating things.
We each only had time to consume one drink at the event, and that was probably a good thing. Being exhausted, combined with alcohol and the pure adrenaline that comes with being AMAZING at solving puzzles together, started giving us both foggy brains after a while. We did not get inducted into the Mindbender Society (yet), but we already have plans to head back this week to finish all the puzzles and get our certificates and our picture on the wall.
The greatest thing about this exhibit is the ability for people of all ages to participate. It could not come more highly recommended for anyone looking to do something a little out of the ordinary with a family, partner, or friend. But, if you want to join us as members of the Mindbender Society then you’d better get there quick, because the Mansion will be making room for “Dragons, Unicorns, and Mermaids” on September 17th.
Or — just become a museum member and do both.
Stage Door Presents Radio Weekends
Let us go back to the days of yesteryear when families would gather around the radio and listen to their favorite radio shows. Stage Door Players is pleased to present Gunsmoke and The Lone Ranger, August 25-26, 2017, and Popeye and Abbott & Costello, September 8-9, 2017, at 7:00pm, at the Stage Door Players Theatre in White Cloud.
Our talented performers: Kim Rosemand, David Coller, Herm Becker, David Kailing, Elizabeth Marie, Karen Howe, Anthony Solis, and Lacy Gray, will transport you back in time and let you experience these classic shows once again or for the very first time. The shows are directed by Denise Gray, sound effects by Kim Rosemand and David Coller, and lighting by Brendan Gray.
Doors open at 6:30pm performance nights, and pricing is $14.00 for adults, $12.00 for seniors/students, and $25.00 for a family (2 adults and children). There will also be a short intermission between shows.
“Turn Around, Bright Eyes”
Monday brings Solar Eclipse
Yes by all means turn around Monday in the early afternoon hours when the eclipse of the sun (not the heart) spans across the continent. If you haven’t heard the warnings against looking at the eclipse even very briefly for pity’s sake “DON’T LOOK AT THE ECLIPSE ... EVEN VERY BRIEFLY! ”
That is unless you have the special glasses and then please ensure they are the correct ones.
An eclipse is a very cool thing. This one has received more hype than the Mayweather/ McGregor fight and you can watch the eclipse without having to fork out for Pay Per-View.
There have been over a dozen movies with an eclipse in them including one titled, cleverly enough, The Eclipse. Eclipse had a part in The Mummy, Angela’s Ashes,and a few dystopian types along with a couple vampire flicks.. Mark Twain included a solar eclipse in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and a lunar variety was part of the plot when Sir H. Rider Haggard penned King Solomon’s Mines. We’ve seen eclipses pass through our TV screens in a multitude episodes from shows as diverse as Power Rangers, CSI Miami and Mad Men.
And Carly Simon said to the unnamed You’re So Vain” guy ‘You flew your Lear Jet to Nova Scotia for the total eclipse of the sun’ a seemingly innocuous line until you listen the venom she injects into it.
Yeah, it’s a pretty awesome astronomical experience the whole eclipse thing and it's not like it comes around every year like the Super Bowl or every four years like the Olympics or a Cher Farewell Tour (Joke. Seriously, I love Cher. no need to send me hate mail).
There are four more totals worldwide in the coming years but each takes place in a rather deep portion of the southern hemisphere. In fact the next one of the total variety in a place one could reasonably drive to from here is April 8, 2024 which, coincidentally or not, will be the 5oth anniversary of Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's record
But you probably knew that.
The main trunkline of the ‘24 version will be a couple hundred miles south of us so plan on booking a room in Akron or Indy.
But back to Monday’s event.
It won’t be total here but close to 80% a higher mark than I ever got in Science class and it should last a good couple three hours starting around 1pm and maxing out around 2:20pm.
So where to go for this show featuring two of our biggest skyward celebrities? Back yard? Park? Rooftop?
Well the folks at the Stephen F Wessling Observatory including the facility’s namesake are going to be on hand for the Solar Eclipse Party being held Monday August 21 from 12:30-3:30PM. Admission is $ 5.00 for adults and $2.00 for children ages five to seventeen. The special solar viewing glasses come with the price of admission while they last. And there will be special solar telescopes set up for viewing the eclipse in white and hydrogen alpha wavelengths.
Oh and those glasses you need in case you don’t get to the observatory Monday afternoon?
And I mean truly, truly need because we don’t want need you damaging those precious vision orbs, right?
You can get them at the Conservation District Office for $2 a pair on a first come first serve basis.
Not even a quick peek without them.
Suggestion Box: Animals Airplanes, ATV’s
By N3 Entertainment Squad
Wow. August is screaming by at warp speed. Next week the high school sports season kicks into high gear as football, cross country, tennis, soccer, volleyball, swimming, and golf begin their seasons in earnest.
But take heart good citizens, it is still summertime. Head for a lake or river and bond with the water via tube, canoe, kayak, speedboat, jet ski, pontoon stand-up board, fishing boat or just a plain old fashioned swim.
Then take in some much needed sustenance at one of our fine local eateries (check the Nibbler page). The staff at N3 World Headquarters & Flower Sanctuary are known to dine out on at least 2 occasions each weekend due to always having at least one of those uber-active days that generally end with a mutual desire to stay out of the kitchen and/or the popular weekend breakfast ritual that has gone on for decades.
Here’s a tantalizing trio enticing activities happening in our parts this weekend.
As part of the free ORV weekend at Diamond Lake Park the West Michigan Ridge Runners ORV Club is organizing a ride at 9:30 a.m. Saturday leaving from park and heading north and east to the Hawkins area on Cottonwood and 17 Mile Road in Barton Township and then back again.The campground is located at 3351 N. Mundy Ave., White Cloud, and was formerly called Camp Swampy when it was owned by Steelcase who used it as a retreat center.
Those who wanted to take a little cruise over the Cloud during the Fly-In on Father’s Day but failed to get cooperation from the weather, will get a second shot at it Saturday from 10am-2pm at the White Cloud Airport. If you’ve never flown in a smaller plane around your area and are not stricken with acrophobia this is an outstanding experience. My venture on one of these flights a few years back remains in a personal Top Ten All Time Activity List
The Zoo is coming to the Dogwood!
No, not the whole zoo, that would need much more room.
Instructors from the wondrous kingdom of animals located in our metro neighbor to the south and known as the John Ball Zoo will be on hand at the Black Box Saturday starting at 3pm (see ad on homepage)to provide some intriguing programming aimed at the 5-10 year old crowd. It’s limited to 40 participants so call 231.924.8885 for more info or go to www.dogwoodcenter.com
And speaking of the Dogwood…… Second City (yes that Second City) is coming in September.
Have an up-close encounter with live animals at the Dogwood! John Ball Zoo instructors will present “Michigan Wildlife” and “Animal Adaptations” in the Black Box on Saturday, August 19 at 3:00 p.m.! This program will be limited to 40 people so pre-registration is suggested.
“Michigan Wildlife” explores the wild side of Michigan. Participants will learn about the animals that might be right in their own backyard! “Animal Adaptations” will give an up close look at the amazing physical and behavioral adaptations animals use to survive in the wild. Don’t miss this great opportunity to meet a few animals and have an educational and fun afternoon!
The recommended age range for this program is 5-10 years old. This program will conclude at approximately 4:30 p.m.
Tickets are $8 per person 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.
By N3WH Entertainment Squad
Cruising into Mid August folks. As always there are a lot of doings in our parts. Fair Week winds up Friday with Truck and Tractor pulls starting at 7pm an event that never fails to thrill. Of course the end of the annual agricultural extravaganza’s week-long run means the 4-Hers will begin spending time prepping for next year’s event now and tuck away memories of this year’s version of Fair Week.
But never fear. The weekend promises some fun stuff both near and far and we at N3 World Headquarters are on hand to highlight a trio of tantalizing offerings for those seeking some good times...READ MORE
The Magician's Assistant Review
The Magician’s Assistant Review
By Alexis Mercer
Earlier this summer I posted a review of Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth, with the statement that she had won my heart and the title of Favorite Author. And after a not so great read with Phil Philips’s Mona Lisa’s Secret, I needed a guaranteed good read, so I turned back to Patchett.
The Magician’s Assistant is true magic, but in a take-you-places-make-you-think-and-appreciate-life kind of way rather than pull-a-rabbit-out-of-a-hat kind of way.
Sabine, the main character and voice in the story, loses her husband Parsifal to a brain aneurism. He was a magician and she his assistant for 20 years. After his sudden death, Sabine learns of a family in Nebraska he claimed long ago died. In her quest to learn more about the man she loved and his true past, and to begin to overcome her debilitating grief, Sabine travels to the snow covered fields of Nebraska, a world away from her Los Angeles life. It is here she learns not only about her deceased husband’s unshared past, but also about herself.
The plot line was intriguing and pulled me in right away. But it was the characterization and emotional development within the story that truly left an impression on me.
I don’t read Ann Patchett’s novels because I see myself in her characters; quite the opposite in fact. I find beauty in her ability to remind me that each of us is so vastly unique, but that we all share emotions and parts of ourselves that are often found deep inside our core.
The Magician’s Assistant is another of Patchett’s gifts to the world displaying that even in total desperation, we can all find a connection to each other. She has the ability to demonstrate the interweaving similarities of humanity.
When I was reading this book, I was hearing in my head the infamous poem by Dr. Maya Angelou – The Human Family.
In minor ways we differ,
in major we’re the same.
I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.
We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.
This is not a familiar plot line or anything like a book I have read in the past. Some parts I would even say are slightly strange in how unfamiliar they are to my reality. But these are the things that made it most endearing.
I highly recommend this book. You’ll feel a wide range of emotions while reading it. Sadness, joy, fear, contentment, and suspense to name a few. It just may be the perfect book to enjoy as we are moving away from “summer beach reads” to the beauty and magic of fall.
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