Warm-up for Irish Fest draws outdoor crowd
Montague’s bandshell was the site of a tease for anyone thinking about attending the exceptionally entertaining Muskegon Irish Music Festival coming September 12-15 to Heritage Landing. Aoife Scott brought her engaging vocals along with a talented touch for storytelling to a Tuesday evening concert as a bit of a promo for the MIMF and charmed an appreciative (if a bit moist) crowd.
If you’ve not been to this 4 day extravaganza of music, mirth, merchandise, and munchables give it a shot (or two at the whiskey tasting station).
One very cool idea they have instituted is the placement of televisions airing the day’s football games so if a member or two of your party have interest that run a bit more goalline than gaelic, they can enjoy a brew and watch the game while across the tent their companions are taking in some well-performed tunage.
It is the 20th year for this much favored festival born from humble beginnings to become one of the premier events of West Michigan. It is beyond doubt the best organized event of this type to be found.The planned placement of all the structures and venues involved in this extravaganza is done to perfection allowing for the event to manage large crowds of attendees with relative ease.
The outdoor stripmall of shops offer an array of intriguing items including kilts but if you happen to be in need of a bit of sustenance as some of us tend to be fairly frequently, find the Village Bakery booth and get those hungry hands on one of their scones.You won’t be plagued by buyer regret.
And the music is simply sublime. If you’ve ever been in one of those pub tents on a Saturday night near closing time as a raucous crowd eggs on yet another encore from a high energy group on stage usually joined by folks from other bands I am more than likely preaching to the choir because you’re already there.
But Irish Fest is more than the music (and the whiskey). It is a true celebration of the culture and traditions of Ireland celebrated through a number of genres.
And it has consistently been one heckuva lot of fun.
It’s too late for online tickets but you can get them at the gate. For more info visit
Bitely poet to read at Newaygo bookery
By Marsha Reeves
Flying Bear Books is honored to host Alan Basting of Bitely as our featured poet for September’s Poetry Night, Wednesday 9/4/19 beginning at 7pm. Our Poetry Night attendees have been enjoying Alan’s poems for several months, as he has treated us to snippets from his published works. Now he will be the ‘main attraction’ at our September event. One Poetry Night regular said ‘I could listen to Alan’s poems all night!’ Now she will get the chance to do exactly that.
Home and Away, the newest chapbook of poems from Alan Basting, is his sixth published collection. The poet and publisher, Christopher Howell, writes, “I have been listening for years to Alan Basting’s calm, wry, affectionate voice telling faithfully the shapes and textures of life as he sees and lives it. The plain, direct language of the poems that voice delivers reminds us what it is like to be awake minute by minute in the world of our being. More importantly, and profoundly, their humor and unaffected humility suggest that we may have available to us a steadier, more capacious happiness than we know.”
Alan Basting was born in Detroit and grew up in Maumee, Ohio. He attended Earlham College and received his undergraduate degree from University of Cincinnati. Later he earned graduate degrees from Colorado State University and Bowling Green State University. He taught writing and literature at the University of Cincinnati and Owens Community College in Toledo. His chapbooks include Singing from the Abdomen, Stone-Marrow Press; What the Barns Breathe, Windows Press; Suddenly, Herons, The Writers’ Cooperative of Toledo; and Deep Time, Daily Habits and Events, from The Arts Commission of Toledo, Ohio. His collection, Nothing Very Sudden Happens Here, was published by Lynx House Press, Spokane, WA, in late 2013. Poems for the new chapbook, Home and Away, have appeared in The American Journal of Poetry; Birch Gang Review; Walloon Writers Review; Fungi Magazine; Blueline; and Common Ground Review. He lives in the Manistee National Forest near Bitely, MI.
More of Alan's story, and poetry from nearly all of his chapbooks, can be found at www.alanbastingpoetry.com
We acknowledge that Poetry Night is held on the traditional homelands of the Anishinaabe People.
“Gash Kozin, Niibawin, Giigidoon”.
( Wake Up. Stand Up. Speak Up.)
Wow, Labor Day Weekend.
The finale of the summer trifecta of holidays and the one that spells the end of this ever fleeting season as we have known it.
Sure there are likely more boat days ahead and we can assume there will be weather conducive for one last tube down the river, and the beaches will still draw folks to enjoy another day at the Big Lake.
But face it, it’s over. Once we hit the finish line of this 3 day sprint to the finish you can kiss goodbye ice cream and wave in pumpkin spice in a plethora of incarnations.
Fall brings it’s natural splendor to this bipeninsular paradise to be sure but when summer departs we all know it’s to be a lengthy sabbatical before she returns.
So time to revel folks. Time to revel.
Whether looking to get some things done around the house, cottage or cabin, hoping to take a stab at some outside fun or just gearing up for some serious revelry there is no better way to start off than a good breakfast, right?
Well we got a good one for you as the annual Fire Department Pancake Breakfast serves up some righteous vittles from 7-11am Saturday.Good food a good cause and a chance to meet the fine fire folks who keep us safe.
Even with breakfast you’re going to be getting hungry by afternoon and a stop at Newaygo Brewing Co will slake your thirst satisfy your culinary cravings and as a bonus provide some really fine listening in the person of rock and roller Nathan Dill charming the Brewaygo crowd with some tantalizing tunes.
Saturday Noon to 4pm.
The Logging Fest begins Friday and runs through Sunday in downtown Newaygo. Lots of activities all weekend with most centered at Brooks Park.
Did you miss the Polish Festival in Grand Rapids , our metro neighbor to the south and feel cheated out of celebrating all things Polish (beer, music, food, beer, etc. ) in an outdoor setting?
Well, nigdy strach.
It seems Muskegon, our metro friend to the west, is putting on their version of this uroczystość.
Hackley Park is the locale for the Muskegon Polish Festival 11 am -11pm Friday and Saturday.
The Driftwood Deck in Croton has Outlaw Express Saturday from 5-9pm and Top Shelf Country from 3-7 Sunday.
And Monday? Well a true bipeninsular biped will walk the Bridge (Mackinac not the Colonial) at least once and you can still get there for the opportunity to take a free stroll on the Mighty Mac. Starts at 7am but no shuttle so you must either plan well (like a ride from the other side) or choose the option of walking halfway then walking back.
Cool thing to do and you might get a chance to chat with the Gov who will be walking it as tradition dictates. Probably not but you never know, right?
Take The Trip
By Alexis Mercer
Two years ago our older two kids started talking about a trip to Yellowstone. They enjoy watching Planet Earth and had seen an episode pertaining to the wildlife there. It stuck in their minds and a seed had been planted.
My husband and I used to go on yearly camping trips to the UP when we were first married - but since having the two younger boys we have stuck closer to home to help with logistics and babies camping. This, if we could pull it off, would be our first major road camping trip as a family of five. I’m not going to lie - I was a little nervous. Not so much about the kids. They’re adaptable. Mostly about my husband. He doesn’t even pretend to like tent camping.
So when he suggested renting an RV, I first balked at the potential cost. I lost my breath a little thinking about how much a 10 day trip would be. But the kids kept talking about it - researching attractions - and I let it simmer. If renting an RV was going to help all of us, including Adam, be happy, then I suppose it was worth it. Right?
I found a potential rental on RVShare.com. A 24’ Mercedes Benz diesel that slept 6. Done deal. I reserved it, and paid the down payment to make it official. Little did I know that people plan trips to Yellowstone years in advance. So when I called for reservations in campgrounds inside the park, there was one night available. ONE? Alrighty - sign me up for that night. I did learn there are first come, first served campgrounds too. The Ranger told me what to do to try for those, so a plan was forming in my head. I’m quite competitive - those sites would be mine.
The other details of the trip I just flat out didn’t have time to work out. I was swamped at work. And Adam isn’t a planner. We’d have a place to stay in the RV, even if it was parked in the parking lot of a Walmart, so we would just have to figure out the rest as we went.
Vacation day arrived. The kids were so geeked they could hardly sleep the night before. Their backpacks were stuffed with books, games, and toys to keep them occupied. I had an entire tub of card games to play. AND there was a DVD player in the RV. I bought more food than would fit in our household kitchen for on the road, and off we went.
The first day we headed off south, around Chicago then through Wisconsin. Of course traffic was abysmal through Chicago, so it was slow going. Around midnight we hit the border of Minnesota. Our oldest two got out at the rest stop and took pictures by the Mississippi River. They didn’t hate riding in the RV and were still excited. Winning.
Night one we spent in a rest stop parking lot for a few hours. No time to waste when we had Mt. Rushmore to get to! Around 4:00 PM the second day we pulled in to Horsethief Lake Campground. Peaceful, serene, quiet. And less than 2 miles from Mt. Rushmore!
Mt. Rushmore was absolutely phenomenal to see in person. To think of the man power and time to complete the project was mind boggling. The next morning we set off on a hike. Right from our campground was a trail head. Adam and the kids would hike while I would run ahead a few miles and then turn around to finish the hike with them. Running at over 7,000 feet elevation was slow and hard on the lungs. But the views and scenery made it a dream. I smiled the entire time. I couldn’t believe how lucky I felt to be jumping creeks, climbing rocks, and bounding the trails. After my running miles, I met back up with my family and we took our time exploring little paths off the side of the main trail. I could have stayed at that campground the whole week there were so many trails and places to hike and run.
But we had other adventures awaiting, so off we went! Cody, Wyoming was our next stop. This campground we found - Yellowstone Valley - would be the only location we stayed with actual showers. Therefore it was my middle school daughter’s favorite spot. The highlight of this stop was a true, genuine rodeo. Every night June through August there is a rodeo at 8 PM in Cody. It didn’t disappoint. The rodeo clown even made a joke about the Chicago Bears, which totally made my day as I am the only Lions fan in a household of Bears fans.
The next day it was finally time to enter the park itself. We found our way to Lewis Lake Campground in the southern part of the park and secured our first come site. We let the kids play an intense game of hide and seek (while telling them to actually seek bears that might be nearby) before we head out to enjoy Old Faithful.
Day 2 in the park was the attraction I was most looking forward to - Grand Prismatic. We hiked ¾ mile to see it from above. What a view! I took a ridiculous amount of pictures and then just sat and enjoyed the plethora of colors the Earth had to offer. The kids also spotted some elk off in the distance.
That day Madison Campground was our one reserved night in the park. We settled in and swam in the river adjacent to the park. It was that next morning I took off for a run before hitting the road; my bear bell jingling loudly. But after 3 miles of not seeing anything in the way of wildlife, I silenced the bell to enjoy the peace and some of the most magnificent views I could possibly imagine. With ¼ mile left of my five miles, relaxed and happy my feet and body were holding up well at altitude, I looked up and my breath came out of me as I found myself 10 feet behind a massive buffalo. I stopped in my tracks and slowly backed up. Thankfully the buffalo wasn’t interested in stomping a runner out for a leisurely Sunday run. He stared at me a few seconds then strolled on his way. My average heart rate on that last ¼ mile far exceeded my maximum heart rate. I now refer to the bear bell as a buffalo bell and won’t be silencing anything next time I run in bear/buffalo country.
We found another small campground just south of Mammoth Hot Springs for a third night in the park - winning the first come, first served game yet again. We marked our spot then headed to the hot springs. Walking to the top was quite the challenge in the 90 degree heat - but it was all dry air so it didn’t feel as bad as 90 degrees and humidity that presses you into the ground. The views were well worth it.
Leaving the park the next day we headed out the North gate. We would push through all of Montana, North Dakota and part of Minnesota that day. This meant the next day we got to spend in the UP enjoying the sunset on Lake Superior. We watched the sun set over our Great Lake before crossing the Mighty Mack the following day to finish our tour.
Since returning I have been asked my favorite part many times. Without question it was the connection we were able to make as a family. Traveling together, enjoying each others’ company, laughing, relaxing and just being us. This road trip couldn’t have come at a better time, when I feel like the kids are getting so old and starting to do things with their friends much more often.
A second favorite part was waking each morning in a different location, boiling water and enjoying a cup of freshly ground pour over coffee while taking in the mountain views. I know I’ll think of that part often when I return to school this fall: on the go from the minute my alarm sounds until I crash at night.
My last favorite part was running every day. Sometimes in the campgrounds because of the bears. Other times on the most magnificent trails where I would occasionally gasp in pure awe. We live in a beautiful country. And I am so very blessed to be able to enjoy it on my feet with the fresh air filling up my lungs. To run on the same land that the founders of the historical park one day long ago enjoyed was a joy. What a great life.
Prior to going on the trip I was nervous about things working out. How much money would we spend? Were the kids the right ages? Would they get along? Was driving an RV crazy? What if my lack of planning left us miserable in a parking lot instead of the beautiful park we wanted to visit? The list went on.
And while we did spend a lot of money - I was relaxed about it because this kind of memory making is why we work so hard throughout the year. Everything was simply perfect. The kids had so much fun they didn’t have time to even get in small disagreements. The RV met our every need. My lack of planning resulted in some fun adventures finding places to stay!
Maybe next time we take a trip things won’t be as perfect. But I certainly will risk it and take the trip. I won’t wait because I only had 2.5 months of planning or think twice because of the ‘what ifs’. We will take the trip and make the memories to last a lifetime.
Carlene Carter will be performing at the Dogwood Center on Monday, September 16 on the main stage! The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. Carter has been releasing music for almost four decades. The daughter of June Carter Cash and county star Carl Smith, and stepdaughter of Johnny Cash, she is the physical embodiment of the Carter Family in the 21st century.
Wherever she performs, Carlene knows that she is doing her part to honor those who came before her, in her own way. "From the day I first touched a guitar or piano," Carter states, "my mom said, 'You have to carry on the legacy of the Carter Family music. It's supposed to be passed on and passed around." Now, many years after their first recordings changed the course of American music, that circle remains unbroken by Carlene Carter.
Since 1978, Carter has recorded twelve albums, primarily on major labels. She has released more than twenty singles, including three No. 3-peaking hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts.
Carter is a prolific songwriter and musician, carving out a place for herself with hits singles such as "I Fell In Love" and "Every Little Thing." Most recently, Carter released an album with John Mellencamp, titled "Sad Clowns and Hillbillies".
Her upcoming album will be a new Carter Family project, “Across Generations.” Produced by her brother, John Carter Cash, it will feature five generations of Carters in new recordings and archival material.
Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for children 18 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.
“But there’s a full moon rising, let’s go dancing in the light
We know where the music’s playing Let’s go out and feel the night”
-Neil Young, Harvest Moon
Ok so maybe more of a waning moon than a full one but still, Friday night in Sparta you can dance ‘neath the stars. Of course this is our peninsular paradise so seeing the stars might be iffy but they are definitely there.
The Sparta Flat River Big Band will be providing the musical backdrop for the Swing Dance at Rogers Park beginning at 6pm.
The 5th annual Burning Foot Beer Festival is tomorrow at Pere Marquette Beach and we’re told there will be Brewaygo representation.
Tunes, brews, beach,,, sounds like summer is holding on. Advance tickets only.
Speaking of the folks from Newaygo Brewing Co, Acoustic Lunch is back at the Brewery so for a kickback Saturday join Ben Kolk and friends from 12-4pm for some fine folk-inspired tunesmanship.
The Artisan’s Market in Montague is held on the fourth Saturday of the month at the Farmers Market.
This is the fourth Saturday.
Cool stuff, cool town (love the soda fountain in the drug store) and afterwards there is an outstanding ice cream place we recently stumbled across between the grocery store and the campground.
Big Rapids is having a Summer Fest from 11a-6p Saturday downtown with street performers games, and other goings on.
Stolen Horses will be playing the Driftwood Deck Saturday and Sunday.
Rock on peninsular partners.
Inferno Book Review
By Alexis Mercer
Many years ago I read Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code. I also saw the movie. Both I enjoyed immensely. So when a new pile of books showed up at my house thanks to my mom cleaning out more of her library from home, I kept Inferno, also by Brown, at the top of the pile to read.
Slowly but surely I have been plugging away at it. The book is 463 pages long, so it was no small endeavor. And summer time always means full days of sunshine, fresh air and activity, so when I lay down to read before falling asleep, it isn’t often more than just a few pages before I find my eyelids sinking.
Thankfully Inferno was entertaining from beginning to end. The main character of The DaVinci Code, Robert Langdon, is the protagonist in this book as well. There is no mention (at least that I remember) of his adventures in the other book, this one having been published a full decade after the other.
Langdon wakes up in a hospital bed in Florence, Italy, with zero recollection as to why he is there, how he got there, or what the injury to his head came from. He does have slight flashes of a woman with silver-grey hair who warns him “Seek, and ye shall find”, though Langdon has no idea what the vision means or why he sees her.
Quickly his world becomes even stranger as the hospital room is attacked by an unknown woman and he flees with the help of Sienna Brooks, one of the doctors who was attending to him that night. In the fast paced series of events to come in the next hours, Langdon comes to realize he is in the middle of a scheme by a scientist to destroy the world with a plague and that Langdon himself is one of the only people who might have the knowledge and power to stop him.
Throughout the novel, Brown weaves in imagery of the famous scenery from the countries where the action takes place. He describes real life events, art, sculptures, buildings and streets from these iconic locations, adding details to the book that help the reader feel as if she is traveling there herself.
Dan Brown provides a fantastic storyline in Inferno that weaves reality with fiction and delights the reader with suspense and beautifully written words. Inferno is a great read. Hopefully the remainder of the boxes of books my mom dropped off are just as entertaining.
Occidental Gypsy plays an exhilarating blend of gypsy swing, jazz and world music that enraptures the listener with a complex acoustic sound, burnished by smooth vocals reminiscent of the first era of swing. Join us on Saturday, September 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the Dogwood Black Box for a great night of music!
Hailing from New England, Occidental Gypsy plays a dynamic, multi-genre mix of original vocal and instrumental pieces. Well known as capable heirs and nouveau pioneers of the music of Django Reinhardt, Occidental Gypsy was featured at the 2015 DjangoFest in Mill Valley, California. The band has sold out legendary venues such as Nighttown in Cleveland, as well as offering workshops and shows at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, The Ark in Ann Arbor, The Triple Door in Seattle and many other notable spots.
The band has shared the stage with greats like Rikki Lee Jones, Jorma Kaukenen, Stanley Jordan, Joe Sample, Tony Rice, and David Bromberg. Band members have also participated in side projects that have brought them around the world alongside legends, like the 24 year old Eli Bishop who has played with Wynton Marsalis, and regularly performs at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
The band features Eli Bishop, a Nashville prodigy who recently won 1st Place in the Mississippi Fiddle Championships. Bishop stuns crowds with his lightning-fast and emotional violin. Lead guitarist and composer Brett Feldman drives the sound with masterful gypsy swing guitar. Jeremy Frantz — a protégé of legendary jazz guitarist Joe Negri— brings his sultry, “retro” vocals and expert jazz guitar to the front line, and serves as an exquisite counterpoint to the down-and-dirty driving sound brought by Brett. Percussionist Jon Chapman and bassist Jeff Feldman fill out the band’s rich sound and keep crowds moving with beats and complex rhythms that make their audience keep coming back for more.
Occidental Gypsy’s sound is appealing to a wide spectrum of people, and their shows consistently attract enthusiastic audiences at colleges, arts centers, festivals, concert halls and clubs.
The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Dogwood Black Box. Tickets are $15 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.
Still time to grab some tickets to the Thursday night performance at the Dogwood Center starting at 7:30pm. as Bob Milne provides a salute to Ragtime music taking the venerable Steinway out for a spin on the Main Stage.
Mr. Milne has tickled the ivories of the Dogwood’s prized piano before and his show brings the ragtime era to life in a most pleasing manner.
And if you are wondering what the smell issues in the Holton/Brunswick/Fremont area are about and plan on heading for the olfactory oriented meeting with the EGLE folks it’s at Holton Fire Barn tonight (Tursday) beginning at 7pm and there is likely to be a good crowd on hand so put on your kind and patient hats and ask the questions that need to be asked.
Friday this week's version of those wonderful park parties in Muskegon will be featuring the Hurricane Reggae Band as the featured music. Hackley Park 5-9pm
Speaking of environmental kind of stuff, do you have concerns about the state of old Mom Earth? Want to help but unsure of where to go or what you can do?
Well, lucky you.
The Newaygo County Environmental Forum will be held at Loomis Lodge this Saturday (August 17th) from 11:30-3:30pm. Here you will find a boatload of information on ways to help our beleaguered environment and in particular, how you can help locally with groups aimed at assisting in current efforts while developing new initiatives.
Speakers, panel discussion, raffle prizes, and did we mention it is FREE? One of our favorite words.
Looking to take a drive? The Danish Festival is this weekend so head for Greenville to enjoy one of the area’s oldest ethnic fests.
Music here and there:
Woody’s Backwoods Express Saturday 7pm-Woodland Park
Driftwood Guinness Brothers Saturday 5-9pm Sunday 3-7pm-Croton
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