Labor Day weekend, the final of the Big 3 of summer, is somewhat suddenly upon us.
It doesn’t seem possible.
Wasn’t it just a short time ago we were gathered on the causeway for fun, foam, food and fireworks? And it seems just before that Brooks Park was filled with the summer kickoff celebration?
Yes, once again the calendar has moved into September and soon the air will be filled with the ongoing aroma of pumpkin spice.
But fear not, there is one more summertime soiree on tap. Thanks to the folks at the River Country Chamber the annual Logging Festival arrives Friday and what better way to segue out of summer than to take in this 3 day extravaganza celebrating our area’s logging heritage?
From Friday’s kickoff with the Arts & Crafts vendors getting some musical accompaniment, chain saw artistry and (our personal favorite) the food trucks to the Amateur and Professional lumberjack competition on tap for Saturday and Sunday the event promises a boatload of family friendly fun.
Activities abound at Shaw Park and the shuttle allows for free and efficient access without parking hassles.
If you’ve never been to the lumberjack competition you are in for a treat. These wood-oriented athletes are nothing short of amazing as they put their lumbering skills on display in an all out effort to outdo the field. If you’ve attended one in recent years? You’re already there.
Elder’s Forest Products is the primary sponsor for this lively contest featuring world class competitors including current and former champions.
Downtown will be buzzing as merchants haul out some bodacious buys for 3 days of sidewalk sales and don’t miss the annual pancake breakfast at the fire department. And speaking of the fire department tradition reigns as the three day event culminates with the ever exciting waterball battle at Brooks Park.
If you’re a runner you are likely doing the ‘eat pasta run fasta’ thing Friday in preparation for the Marshall Memorial Run but if (like this writer) running is more of a spectator sport you can cheer on the entrants when the race begins at 9am in Riverside Park.
Here’s a link to give you the skinny on festival fun.
Here at N3 we plan on celebrating this end of summer fete the way we did at the start of summer event.
Did someone say Elephant Ears?
Side Note: Events like this can only happen with the beloved assistance of a cadre of hearty volunteers who step up to help breathe life into these community happenings. Volunteering helps get you involved while meeting some cool people and delivering that sense of accomplishments one gets from being part of a successful team effort.
And it can help promote your business as Ms. Lightfoot describes:
"I volunteer because it is amazing to give back to our communities and at the same time, I can wear my Coldwell Banker logo gear and keep my business name out in the public. I love to be everywhere!"-Lisa Lightfoot, Realtor at Coldwell Banker Schmidt & River Country Chamber Board of Directors.
Whether to increase the visibility of your business or to just get to know folks in a fun way, contact the Chamber office and help continue their tradition of putting on some seriously fun and family friendly events.
By Tim McGrath
“Cycling in the rain and wind is like standing in a cold shower tearing up $100 bills” - Bob Clouse after a particularly thorough soaking
Third time’s a charm, so it’s said; better late than never; let’s get the show on the road. It was a long anticipated trip to Ireland, the likes of which we had yet to see. There was to be a week cycling about the western regions of County Clare and County Galway on the Emerald Isle with a group of chums we’d met on other trips. Then a week of Cheryl and I renting a car and wandering about the country from Galway up to Killybegs and Slieve League cliffs in the north. We’d loop back south to experience the Dingle Peninsula, and The Ring of Kerry. There would be some stops along the way searching for evidence of the long ago ancestors who’d come from near Castlebar, then eventually wound their way to America. We’d enjoy meeting the Irish people along the way, experiencing the culture, gazing at the beautiful scenery, and of course, tipping a pint or two of the Guinness. Ah, the Guinness. Nowhere on Earth is the Guinness like it is in Ireland. Then 2020 hit and all the foostering around with Covid put a wee bit of a damper on the occasion. 2020 came and went, then 2021; no cycling, no wandering about, no Guinness. Our suffering mercifully came to an end early in 2022 when the tour company we were traveling with announced all trips to Ireland were a go. So off we went, ready for a grand time.
There’s a very good reason Ireland is called the Emerald Isle – everywhere one looks it’s some kind of green – 40 shades of it, it is said. Beautiful. Then there’s that other thing: all that green means all that rain. And by thunder, we found out about that rain. Days in a row while cycling around that exquisite land we found out what it means when they say “it was blowing a hoolie”.
The Irish, being the philosophical sort they are when it comes to weather, have what’s dubbed the Fliuch /floosh/ Scale – the wet scale. They use it to describe the various types of rainy conditions that seem to be a permanent condition there. I’ve taken the liberty of including a paraphrased version that comes from The Daily Edge - an Irish entertainment journal that was written by Michael Freeman in September, 2014. Thought it might help explain things.
Level 0: La greine /law gray-nyeh/: Irish for a fine sunny day. Could rain later.
Level 1: A grand soft day: grey, misty, might rain later.
Level 2: Spitting: definitely raining, but might clear up. Won’t keep you from going out.
Level 3: Wetting rain: deceptive. Looks like no more than a mist, but soaks right through your clothes.
Level 4: Rotten: all over greyness; possibly windy, as well. Unrelenting. The weather equivalent of a sulking teenager.
Level 5: Pissing: heavyish rain. Windshield wipers up to second setting on car.
Level 6: Raining stair rods: big, fat rain – really means it. Ruins good shoes.
Level 7: Bucketing: heavy rain with a surprise. Generally appears when you’ve planned an outdoor activity. Won’t quit.
Level 8: Hooring: windshield wipers on high. People scurrying about with newspapers covering their heads. A completely pointless exercise as the newspaper is a sodden mess in seconds.
Level 9: Pelting down: serious quantities of rain. Conversation starter when it’s compared with previously miserable days.
Level 10: Lashing out of the heavens: raining so hard it’s bouncing off the ground, and probably going sideways with the wind behind it, giving it its full measure.
Level 11: Hammering: even the Irish are taken aback by the force of it. The extreme version of Lashing. In other words, it’s “blowing a hoolie”.
Our adventure began as we arrived in Cork; in the far south of the country. We had the chance to spend a couple days exploring this lovely city with its charming pubs and traditional music. Wandered in and out of the colorfully painted shops lining small cobbled streets. Decided to hop on the Ho Ho bus to experience more sights of the city. We stopped for a visit at the city jail, now a museum, with its terrible history of jailing indigent women and children. Their only crime was to have been born poor. Mercifully it closed in 1923. We caught a train near the city center to visit the Titanic Museum in the nearby town of Cobh. Cobh was the final passenger pick up point for the doomed maiden voyage to New York City. It was an eerie feeling to be standing in the spot where a little over 100 hundred years earlier Irish eager to make it to America, and begin a new life waited anxiously, unaware of their fate just a short time later.
Our next stop pre-cycling took us to the town of Ennis. Like Cork, lots of small, colorfully colored shops and pubs to explore. Visited the Ennis Friary, established in the mid 13th century. Fascinating history. Feeling a bit tart after all this exertion, we were drawn in to the Diamond Bar on one of those tiny side streets for a pint. Met some local people who were interested in what we Yanks were up to anyway. Great conversation and lovely people. Delightful.
Fliuch score: Level 0 for the threeish days we were in and around Cork and Ennis. Warm, sunny, a bit grey at times. Ha-ha we thought, what’s all this talk of rain, rain, and more rain. Pish posh.
On past cycling trips we’d quickly realized there’s no better way to see and explore an area than on the seat of a bicycle. Swooping along hidden byways, through small villages and towns, grinding up hills, then sailing down the backside sometimes for kilometers. The little tickle of danger when your brain reminds you there’s about a half inch of rubber between you and the pavement racing away below you. All part of it, I suppose; just don’t think on it too much.
So off we went. We’d jumped on the bus from Ennis to the beginning of our ride in the tiny town of Lisdoonvarna, stopping off at the Cliffs of Moher on the way. What a magnificent vista it is. Got to Sheedy’s Country House hotel, then took a short warm up ride to dial our bikes in. Green hilly countryside sweeping out as far as the eye could see, bisected by endless hand made rock walls dividing the fields. Many of these have stood for hundreds of years. Sheep grazing peacefully in and around these fields. Idyllic.
Fliuch score: 0 -1. Did have a brief shower, but forget about it, nothing to see here. Hard to beat blue skies with just the occasional puffy cumulus cloud drifting overhead.
The next few days were filled with incredible beauty. Ruggedly hilly, breathtaking at times, wild, unyielding, untamed, and always windy. Places that seem to have been untouched by human hands, unfazed by the passing of a mere few hundred years. We got to ride there; along narrow two lane roads, and a handful of tiny single lane roads – paved two tracks, really. And the Irish drivers, in their unfailingly kind way, would always be courteous when coming on our group. Never saw any rude behavior toward us; no cursing at us for being in their way, no middle fingers flying. Cycling along the Wild Atlantic Way through places with names like The Burren, Kilfenora, and Carran. All of them rolling by like some magical landscape. We tackled The Hill – The Tchaikovsky, affectionately known as “The Nutcracker”. I’ve never experienced a hill of this magnitude – terrifying; looked to be almost straight up. Most had to dismount and walk their bikes up. A few of us rode as far as we could, and then walked. There was a point where I could not push the pedal, even in the lowest of the low gears, it was too steep. But all eventually made it to the top, breathless and heartily cursing that thing. Yet there was a certain pride in having made it to the top. Wanted to jump off the bike and proudly do the Rocky dance. And yes, it rained, but just sort of a meh, yup it’s raining.
Fliuch score: a solid 1, perhaps a bit 2ish, maybe a 3 for a time. It was wet, but nothing too ridiculous.
That’s when we found out about the rain. It began as we headed for the Aran islands, just west of Galway Bay. The ferry chugged and bounced its way over the chop from Rossaveel across to Kilronan. As we got off the ferry the wind was howling, and it was raining; big stinging rain, blowing sideways. This is what we’d see on and off for the next three days. While cycling to the Kilmurvey House from the boat docks it rained and blew so that the only way to keep going was head down, and pedal on. Our vision was limited to a two foot patch of the road in front of us as we slogged on. After what seemed like a decade, we dragged in to the Kilmurvey House, cold and wet. And then, like a beacon on a cold dark night, we found ourselves drawn to the little café situated next door. Scores of other wet, cold strangers filled the place. Delicious food, and again, the Irish charm that welcomed and made us feel like old pals. We had the chance to visit Dun Aengus, right next to Kilmurvey House. It’s a prehistoric fort built on a rocky cliffside some 330 feet above the sea below. Its history goes back to 1100 BC. As we toured it, the wind and rain blew unrelentingly. There were times it was hard to stand. The mystery of how the generations of people living in that fearsome place is remarkable. And the few steadfast souls that make the Aran Islands home today are a seriously hearty bunch. They just shrug off the wind, cold, and rain as just part of living there. Felt like a bit of a pansy even thinking of complaining about the weather. It truly is a wild place.
Fliuch score: varied between a level 4 and upwards of a 9. The residents living there would only chuckle at us American softies, probably giving it a 2 or 3.
The only thing I can say about the last two cycling days is that we made it. We cycled through the magnificently rugged Connemara and Renvyle Peninsula, eventually landing late each afternoon at Lough Inagh Lodge, where that delightful creation, Irish coffee, waited to warm our bones. What had started as a lark several days ago, was now a determined slog to the finish. Both afternoons saw our group doggedly determined to ride the 30 mile plus routes in what was a level 11 typhoon. As I rode those afternoons, the steady rain running down my face streamed in horizontal tendrils off the tip of my nose, joining up with their mates just past my right ear. Each time a car passed by, the looks on the drivers’ faces was one of astonishment and wonder. I don’t think so much for what a brave and daring group of Yanks we were, but why are you people such eejits?
Fliuch score: a solid 11 – It was indeed blowing a hoolie
Oh, lest I forget, most of us on the trip got Covid. Fortunately, no one was horribly ill, yet it was just another bit in the adventure. It added a certain c’est la vie to the whole thing.
As that week came to its end, it struck me how fortunate we were to be able to experience that wonderful land. We delighted in the people we rubbed elbows with: kind, charming, funny, gracious, and helpful. In spite of blowing hoolies and other levels of rainy, miserable weather, we witnessed first hand just how stunning the country is.
A land of 40 shades of green.
And much, much more.
On the Run: A Year Long Streak
By Alexis Mercer
A year of running. August 14, 2021 I set out for a run and it turns out it was the start of something much bigger.
For a while I had been training for the occasional race here or there but not every day. In fact this had been the case since 7th grade when I joined the track team, later to join cross country and then as an adult as a recreational runner (with the few years’ hiatus from running more than on a volleyball court when I played at Hope).
One other time two years prior I had started a run streak and gotten over 100 days in when I had to have surgery to remove skin cancer. The dermatologist’s face as I asked him “so I can still run tomorrow, right?” after he stitched me back up was clear: the run streak was over.
Because of this, I had been hesitant to try again. I wasn’t interested in having something come up that forced me to end a streak. If I was going to end it, I wanted it to be on my terms. A choice I made; not someone or something else.
The urge to try again, however, had been pulling at me for a while. So that day in August after the run I made the decision to give it another go. Could I make it a year? The only parameter for such a run streak is that you have to run a minimum of 1 mile each day.
Today, August 14, 2022, I ran 20 miles on the North Country Trail with my friend David. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even know today was the one year anniversary. I knew it was getting close, but it wasn’t until I went to write in my runner’s log that I thought to count from the end of July. An entire year of running!
The process has changed me for the better.
Only one day comes to mind when I am certain I never should have run a mile. I was sick with a nasty cold (no, not the C word), it was freezing outside, and even getting off the couch was a struggle. I put on my running clothes when my husband asked what I was doing. “Going for a run.” His reaction was what I expected: dismay and disbelief at my stubbornness. But hey, I made it. And then slept the rest of the day and night.
My favorite runs? The crazy weather days when very few people would even consider going outside to do something like run. Pouring rain? My favorite. Windy to the point of questioning my sanity? Lovely. Snow storms? Enchanting. Hot and muggy? I’m a survivor.
Since I don’t do treadmill running (kudos to you if you are a treadmill fan, it’s like watching paint dry in my mind), I saw 365 days of weather and made it through all of them.
I can do hard things.
Running every day also provided me the opportunity to explore the places I visited throughout the year.
Philadelphia, New Jersey, Tennessee, Florida Keys, Ohio, Indiana, the Upper Peninsula, North Country Trail, Appalachian Trail, and many, many places in Michigan. Every time a new trip presented itself, I had the joy of finding somewhere to sneak in a run.
The part that was the most life-changing was how I made the effort to make sure I got the run in every day, no matter what. Sometimes that meant waking up at 4:30. Other times it meant running at 10:30 PM after my kids were in bed. If I was with my daughter at a volleyball tournament in Cleveland, it was checking the map and finding a route to run in between games on a Saturday. A long day of soccer tournaments for my sons? I ran miles on the country roads of Cedar Springs while they napped in our camper.
Excuses weren’t allowed. Everyone has the time, it is deciding what to do with it. This was important to me, so I made it happen.
Today’s run was extra special as David and I had the opportunity to train together for our upcoming 50k trail run. We took it nice and easy and finished feeling great with a swim in the Muskegon River! It’s not often I run with someone, so enjoying the miles on my year anniversary was perfect in every way.
Tomorrow? I’ll be out for a run.
Some "sweaty selfies" from my year of running.
Stage Door production features youthful thespians
Pictured above are most of the cast of “The Fairy Tale Network” a children’s play scheduled for performances at Stage Door Players in White Cloud on August 19 at 7:00 pm and Saturday August 20 at 2:00 and 7:00 pm. The cast includes youth from ages six to fourteen and appearances by a few adults. We caught up with Brenda Huckins Bonter who is directing the play for a few questions
What led you to take this on?
"I haven't done any directing since I retired from teaching. I love working with young kids and introducing them to the joy of performing. I directed the theater program at Grant High School for many years, often doing three shows a year, a children's play, a dinner theater, and a musical. I hadn't acted since college but played a small role in an SDP (Stage Door Players) play last December. Now that I'm retired from all my part time jobs, I felt like this was the time to get back into something I love so much. I am also currently on the board of directors at SDP. "
Tell us a little about the play and the casting process
The play is about a Fairy Tale Network that needs to up its ratings, they decide to re-work some familiar fairy tales to catch a new audience. Our young cast is very enthusiastic and are bringing a lot of positive energy to the production
What are the biggest challenges with such a young troupe of performers?
Probably the biggest challenge is getting them to use their "outside" voices and not be afraid to be silly!
What are the biggest positives?
Their enthusiasm and willingness to be flexible are outstanding!
Have any in the cast been involved in theater before? How many newcomers?
Most are newcomers to the stage with a couple who have been in previous shows, Layla Empie was Anne in Anne of Green Gables and will be playing her again in Anne of Avonlea in an upcoming production. The cast also includes a couple of adult seasoned actors in small roles.
Why should people attend?
We hope to have a great turnout to support these young people who are so willing to take up new challenges. It is a delightful play for young children and a chance for adults to see the spirit and skill of these young kids.
Stage Door Theater is located in downtown White Cloud at 1147 E. Wilcox.
Tickets are available at the door, $5.00 for Adults and $3.00 for children.
From our friends at CBD Store of MIchigan
On Thursday, August 18th, CBD Store of Michigan in conjunction with River Country Chamber of Commerce will be having an open house at their Fremont store located at 37 East Main Street.All are welcome.
Free food and beverages will be provided and we will also have several drawings for prizes as well as great discounts on products in the store.
CBD Store will have educational materials available as well as answering any questions you may have regarding their extensive array of products.
And while taking in some free eats and learning about the CBD product line, ask about the one of a kind Hemp putter being raffled off later this year.
It's a beauty.
Jake Allen at the Dogwood Center on August 6
Jake Allen will perform in the Dogwood Center's Black Box on Saturday, August 6 at 7:30 p.m. Join us and you will experience great live music at the Dogwood!
Allen, from northern Michigan, crafts a kaleidoscopic sound that plunges the curious listener into a world of endless sonic possibilities, incorporating progressive pop, waves of ambient instrumentals, and complex musical layers. Allen showcases the guitar, harnessing every nuance of the instrument and transforming it into an ethereal, shape-shifting creature that bends both notes and time.
Allen explores numerous musical styles with his guitar wizardry, ranging from lullaby-like dreams to burgeoning anthems. The constant groove of driving drums, bewitching guitar hooks, and the whisper of a longing voice spark wonder, evoking similarities to pop music’s golden ‘90s era.
As a solo artist, Allen utilizes impeccably timed live looping to create a captivating one-man show. Steeped in years of live performance and well-versed in an array of instruments, Allen’s dexterity is only amplified when he wields a single guitar. In an almost hypnotic display, he explores every inch of the instrument with unwavering confidence and creativity. Strings dance as they are plucked awake from their resting tension; percussive rhythms echo; harmonics ring brightly; and intricate chords emerge from each warm strum.
Allen has shared the stage with The Accidentals, Keller Williams, Mike Dawes, Andy McKee, and Guthrie Govan. His performances have included NAMM, Hoxeyville Music Festival, Blissfest, and Winnetka Music Festival. At the 2022 WYCE Jammie Awards, Allen was awarded the Listeners’ Choice Award.
Tickets are $12.50 and are available online at www.dogwoodcenter.com, at the Dogwood Box Office, or at NCCA-Artsplace in downtown Fremont or just click here. The Dogwood Center Box Office is open Tuesday - Friday, 10:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. For information, phone 231.924.8885.
By Andrea Gerstle, KEC Volunteer
The summer Ice cream social at Kropscott Environmental Center was a big success! No surprise, since there was ice cream and a beautiful, warm summer night. We had over 100 people from the Fremont area come and enjoy the fun and activities. The scavenger hunt led families around the Center to see all the diverse displays while collecting clues about science and the environment.
The first stop was the “Centennial” barn where everyone could gather clue number one and choose their favorite ice cream. The hunt continued to the ice-cream making area where kids of all ages could see how ice cream is made the old-fashioned way with a turn crank. Some visitors volunteered to help “turn the crank'' and everyone enjoyed a sample of the homemade vanilla ice cream.
The hunt took families to a display on composting materials and one lucky winner took home a home composting unit. Other stops included displays on healthy soil and a chance to look at sunspots through the telescopes at the Wessling Observatory.
Some families enjoyed a ride on the people mover around the field and to the forest area of the Center. There were lots of laughs at the photo board as families took pictures as ice cream cones. Kids who completed the scavenger hunt were rewarded with a magnifying glass to take home as a souvenir.
We must send a big thank you to the Newaygo Conservation District and Magna Mirrors for their contributions and support of this event. Thank you as well to the 30 local volunteers who gave their time and talent to make this event possible. Even Mother Nature cooperated and sent the showers and thunderstorms south of Newaygo on the 21st.
We hope families and nature lovers will watch the paper and social media for news of our next free community event and come and join the fun.
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