Suggestion Box: Trail Town Beckons
Head to the Cloud this weekend.
The place where the north begins and the pure waters flow will be hosting a humdinger this weekend with a one-two punch of Homecoming and the new, improved and prepared-to-knock-your-socks-off Trail Town Celebration sharing time in the county seat.
Homecoming in the Cloud is special and the Trail Town celebration happening at the same time gives the whole city a pretty festive atmosphere. Couple that with what will undoubtedly be a stirring halftime performance by the always uber-entertaining White Cloud Band and you have got yourself a party folks, complete with a parade, a little tailgating and the ever popular Braunschweiger Blues Band pounding out some crowd pleasing tunes at the beverage tent in the park.
There will be vendors in the park (including N3WH staff favorite Two Hot Tamales) a scavenger hunt from 4-6pm, free wagon rides to a Haunted Hollow in the park from 6-9pm and the beverage tent (and band) stays open til 10.
And there is also a football game being played as the Indians take on the Holton Red Devils.
Sounds like a lot?
Well that’s just Day One. Warm-up day.
On Saturday there are the running events (latecomers can still jump in starting at 7:30am) with a 10 mile, a 10K, a 5K and a 5K walk to choose from as well as a kayak race. Non-runners who find themselves a bit hungry can partake in the pancake breakfast being served up by the Knights of Columbus 7:30-10:00am
Meanwhile from 10am to 10pm the celebration continues. Food vendors will be serving up some serious grub and the beverage tent promises to quench the thirst that can be worked up when havinga good time. There will be workshops on orienteering, fire making, and shelter making as well as guided hikes, a chili cook-off, a duck race (N3WH invested in a quartet of the little buggers) , and of course, the ever popular rock-painting ..
It will be a day filled with great music from a variety of performers including Dennie Middleton, Sandra Bernard, the Pryer Sisters and the Denise Anderson Connection who will close out the festivities.
This event has grown dramatically from it’s beginnings 2 year ago and provides a fitting tribute to not only the remarkable length of real estate known as the North Country Scenic Tail but of the White Cloud area and the wealth of natural wonders that surround the city.
You know, with a bit brisker fall-like weather on tap this has the makings of one of those classic autumn weekends and what better way to spend it than celebrating the abundance of nature, communing with some friends and neighbors and taking advantage of perhaps one of the last opportunities of the year to hear music played the way it sounds the best…
Check the ad on our home page for Trail Town details and get yourself up to the Cloud for a seriously good time.
Taking A Peek At ArtPrize
Story and photos By Marianne Boerigter
On a quick trip to Grand Rapids last week, I wanted to stop and take in at least a part of ArtPrize before the venues closed for the night. I stopped at the home of ArtPrize entry "Kindness – Newaygo County", at the City Water Building by the Richard App Gallery, located at 1101 Monroe Avenue near Leonard, and was pleasantly surprised by not only the number of artists showing there, but also the variety of work at this venue, which is on the northern fringe of ArtPrize.
The City Water Building is a venue that has been re-purposed for ArtPrize and is full of nooks and crannies, small rooms and big spaces. With 34 artists at this venue, it is well worth stopping off during your ArtPrize visit. Two pieces at this venue are on the ArtPrize jurors short list and several others have made the ArtPrize top 100 through the public vote.
The entries at this venue that made the top of my "wow that is interesting" list were:
The first floor of the building Richard App Gallery is also featuring work from a variety of artists, including singer/songwriter and now woodworker/artist, Drew Nelson. His small tables are chunky, thick and all have a cool factor to them.
On my next trip down to Artprize, San Chez Bistro will be one of the stops to check out Newaygo photographer Mark Andrews' display "People Places and Things of Old Havana, Cuba". His collection of photos from his travels to Cuba capture pieces of everyday life on this interesting island.
Take a day, take a few hours, or even a few minutes to experience ArtPrize in Grand Rapids. Soak in whatever amount you can and enjoy the creative atmosphere of ArtPrize!
ArtPrize runs through October 8 with venues throughout the downtown Grand Rapids area and beyond. For more information you can go to http://www.artprize.org/ or visit their facebook page.
Blues by Bonamassa
Blues by Bonamassa
By Alexis Mercer
About three years ago, I asked my parents to think about Christmas and birthday presents for my children that would be “experiences” rather than toys or things. Mostly this was selfish because I feared if I stepped on one more Lego or heard one more “kowabunga” from a battery operated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle that I might just lose my mind. They kindly obliged, with only slight departures now and again.
So when I was thinking of what to buy my Dad for his birthday, the man who has everything, I decided I needed to reciprocate my own request.
If you know anything about my Dad, you know that he’s a blues man. I didn’t know this until after he retired as Superintendent of Schools the years following my graduation from college. I didn’t know much about him because he, like any good Dad, was afraid I would find out how fun he was and I would try to do the things he did.
One of the many hobbies of my Dad in his retirement years is playing the bass guitar. He is a certified professional bass guitarist from the world renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston. And he plays in a band. A blues band, in fact.
He and my mom traveled to Memphis one year for spring break to see how many blues bars they could frequent. And not the fancy, newfangled blues bars. But the old-school, down to Earth, biker blues bars in the middle of nowhere. They had the time of their lives.a
Knowing all of this, I realized I needed to get him tickets to hear a concert. And then I passed a billboard advertising Joe Bonamassa. Done.
Luckily for me, my Mom was going to be out of town the night of the show. So I was able to attend the concert at the DeVos Place with him. We grabbed dinner at Reserve and sat out on the street, watching the masses of Art Prize appreciators passing by. And we mosied on over to the concert hall in plenty of time to find our fourth row seats.
I had absolutely no idea what a treat I was about to experience. Joe Bonamassa is nothing short of a genius. He played and his 7 piece band played for more than 2 hours straight, only stopping so Joe could respectfully introduce each member of the band, including their accolades.
In particular, I enjoyed listening to his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Pianist, Reese Wynans. That man can slam the ivories like something I’ve never seen.
We were close enough that I was able to observe, in complete awe, the intensity with which Bonamassa plays his guitars. Multiple guitars, mind you. I counted 9 different guitars throughout the night. He would physically vibrate while strumming the strings. Absolutely amazing.
The crowd was appreciative, respectful and inspired. Heads were moving to the beat, knees were bouncing, toes were tapping. It was the kind of music that you can feel in your bones.
While the show was a one-night-only performance, I highly recommend seeking out a show by Joe Bonamassa sometime in the future. Whether for an “experience-seeking” gift or just for the appreciation factor of fantastic music, it would be well worth your time and money.
Thanks, Dad, for teaching me to appreciate the good things in life. Blues music being one of them.
MJ Meets: The World Inside Your Head
Photos and story by Mollie Jo Swendrowski
What I am about to say may (or maybe not, depending on if you like reading my pieces) come as a shock to you: I am not a journalist by trade.
I did, however, plan to go to a university to study journalism. After one year at community college I decided to try working for Mickey Mouse, made a career change and ended up with a parks and recreation major (insert joke about the tv show here).
After experiencing a few job changes and a waning passion for insane hospitality hours, I decided to make a complete departure from my chosen career path and became a nanny.
I am lucky to spend almost every day with two year old twins I will call Ruby and Dean going forward. Just call me Mollie Poppins.
As almost any adult who spends most of their days with small humans will tell you, your sanity begins to slip after a while. You start talking to adults as if their comprehension level is much lower than it actually is. My poor boyfriend will attest to the fact that I am constantly picking things off him and trying to wipe his face in public (sorry, Adam).
To combat this I try to plan outings with the twins at least once a week. Last week we had the opportunity to attend a media preview at the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) for the Brain: The World Inside Your Head exhibit which opened on September 16.
Admittedly I was nervous taking two year old twins to a “real” museum. Driving to Grand Rapids my mind was reeling with questions. Will they listen today? Are they going to touch EVERYTHING? How much money do I have in my bank account to pay for something they might open in the gift shop? Will they manage to knock down the blue whale skeleton from the ceiling (this was in fact a valid concern)?
We arrived to Grand Rapids and managed to walk unscathed from the parking garage to the museum unscathed (one worry off my list). In an attempt to corral the kids, we took the stairs to the second story and were greeted by Kate Moore (Vice President of Marketing and PR for GRPM) and Christie Bender (Director of Marketing and a Newaygo High School graduate).
Christie showed us inside and immediately the twins took off at full speed, but lucky for me: 1. The exhibit was in a room with no way for them to escape unnoticed and 2. We were the only ones there.
When you first walk in the room, you actually walk into a brain. It took me by surprise at first, but when I stopped to look, there were brain specimens of other animals as well (Dean particularly thought the shark brain was cool).
Again, I was grateful for the fact that we were the only ones at the exhibit so I could take a look around and not worry extensively about the twins bothering others Which brings me to another benefit to this particular exhibit: it’s ability to cater to all ages. I was worried that the twins would be too young to entirely enjoy an exhibit explaining the inner workings of the human brain, but there were activities for different age levels. One they both particularly enjoyed was one where you had to raise a ball and send it down a nerve path. It lit up as it went, and kept them entranced.
In a close second was a spinning puzzle. I enjoyed helping them discover what brains went to what animal and what pieces of the brain went where, while they enjoyed spinning it and dumping the pieces and making me do it all over again.
This experience based exhibit truly does have a hands on learning experience for every age level. It’s genuinely intriguing to discover how far we have come since the brain was first being explored, and realizing how far we have to go.
I know that the twins and I will be making a return trip.
Brain: The World Inside Your Head runs through January 7, 2018.
Too many folks try to do too much.
I mean sure there’s always work to be done and even if it’s not staring you in the face it’s looming out there somewhere because there is always and I mean Always stuff to be done. The key word here is ‘done’ because the reality is, it’s never really done, right?
Given this, the goal of a weekend should ultimately be able to kick back Sunday evening with the work week looming ahead and say “Yep. That was a good one.”
For your consideration we at N3WH offer a few helpful hints toward achieving that goal.
Close to home the Native Circle of Newaygo County is holding their second “We Are Still Here” event at Brooks Park in downtown Newaygo Saturday and Sunday (see ad on home page).
The gathering is a celebration of Native culture and tradition and will feature drumming dancing singing and storytelling. You can witness beadwork and basket-making and hear from a number of speakers who will explore topics from sacred fires and indigenous plant medicine to traditional values and perspectives on native education.
For those following the captivating Ken Burns series ‘Vietnam’ on PBS Gene Reid will talk about his experience as a native veteran of that war.
Great family event, with a chance to learn more about the culture of the people who inhabited this whole hemispheric part of the world before being ‘discovered’.
I have to admit I have not been to the Kent Theater in Cedar Springs to see the Cedar Springs Community Players perform but I have heard wonderful things about their shows over the years. This weekend they are putting on “Seussical”
“This is a fun show based on the stories of Dr Seuss, that has great songs,” said Director Lori Koester. “We have some really talented singers and great acting skills!”
There are 28 kids ages 7-14 in the cast and four others helping on the technical end of the production And 10 of the cast members are from right here in Newaygo County.
“With so many lead roles, many younger kids get a chance to really shine,” added Ms. Koester.
This is a show filled with vibrant colors, snappy tunes, and creative costuming and will appeal to all who are familiar with the stories penned by the good Dr.
Besides, when you go, you can check out the Schnitzelbank-inspired menu at the Cedar Springs Brewing Co. Make sure you get the side of hot potato salad.
Shows are at 7pm Friday and Saturday and 2:30pm Sunday. Check out their facebook page for details.
And ArtPrize is back!
This is perhaps one of the absolute coolest things in our region and that says a lot because we have a lot of really cool things around these parts.
Oh and if you hate crowds? Don’t go during the weekend.
Why? Because if you go with someone like say, me for example, who doesn’t mind crowds as long as they’re not giving chase across a field of sunflowers with pitchforks raised while wearing purple shirts (a somewhat disturbing recurring dream but that’s for another time perhaps) we don’t wish to hear how crowded it is. Like when it’s hot. I don’t mind hot. But I don’t want to hear about how hot it is. What’s the point?
So, rant aside, prepare to see a lot of people as well as a lot of really splendid art pieces of every imaginable genre.
And make sure you visit the amazing “Walk a mile in my shoes – Kindness Newaygo County” piece,a true community collaboration led by local artist and wonderful person Jane Stroschin (see article on home page). You’ll find it at the City Water Building by the Richard App Gallery located at 1101 Monroe Ave. NW.
N3 will be posting stories from our Art Prize correspondents who, while not embedded in the event, nonetheless will offer some personal takes that should prove interesting so stay tuned.
ArtPrize goes until October 8 which seem s like a long time away but really isn’t.
Ok folks, three fam-friendly fetes for you. A chance to hit the Seuss show Friday evening (maybe after a little Mettwurst) check out the doings at the park Saturday and slide down to our metropolis to the south on Sunday to take in some fun funky and fantastic displays of artistic excellence.
And should you choose to forego any activity throughout the weekend that does not involve being close to or partially submerged in water?
Well, who can blame you?
It’s hot out there.
Introducing Trails To A Newcomer
Introducing Trails To A Newcomer
By Alexis Mercer
I recently have had the pleasure of getting to know Maddie Roman, the youngest staff member at Newaygo High School. She is a recent graduate of Michigan State University and filling the two year role of College Adviser for our students. She happens to be a runner, so she has been assisting with my cross country team.
Maddie is originally from the East side of the state, Metro Detroit area. Her parents still live there and she will go home occasionally on weekends to log miles with her dad, who is a die hard runner as well. She used to run on campus at MSU, often getting up early on Saturday mornings to seek the peace of the streets before the hustle and bustle began.
I grew up in an area much like Newaygo, so it was a comfortable transition for me when I moved here, but she is completely unfamiliar with all Newaygo County has to offer. So I’ve been introducing Maddie to trails in our area to log her miles while she lives in Newaygo County.
We run trails in White Cloud, Newaygo, and Fremont. I’ve introduced her to the North Country Trail and other less traveled paths.
“It’s so quiet here,” she said.
“I know. Isn’t it amazing?” I reply.
She loves everything about the trails, the serenity they offer, and the lack of pounding on the pavement that can be abrasive to a runner’s legs.
Getting to introduce Maddie to the trails in Newaygo County has only rekindled my love for this area. While many parts of the country have wooded areas, not all those parts have actual groomed trails to enjoy.
This time of year, in particular, is my favorite for trail running. Milder temperatures, leaves starting to turn vibrant colors, the occasional rainstorm to cool me off, and deer bounding in front of me as I come across them in the woods.
I wish I could explain the feeling of running on the trails to those who aren’t runners. But I find that in order to really understand the peace, you have to experience it first hand.
If you’re in the county the last weekend of September, you can enjoy the trails in a family (and dog) friendly race or walk. The Independent Bank Blue Blaze Trail Run will include a 10 miler, 10k, 5k or 1 Mile family/dog walk on the North Country Trail. Details can be found on the River Country Chamber of Commerce Facebook Page.
And if you pass Maddie or me on the trails this fall or winter, you’ll know because we will be the runners wearing Newaygo Cross Country gear and peaceful smiles on our faces.
Something For Everyone At Trail Town
By Charles Chandler
N3 Note:We asked Mr. Chandler, Mayor of White Cloud, avid angler, outdoor enthusiast and Chief Protagonist behind the Trail Town celebration to provide us with a little background as well as a little preview of what to expect at this third annual festival of forest flavored family fun that fetes the abundance of natural wonders enjoyed by those of us who call this area home.
September 29 and 30th in the White Cloud Campground and County Park
Thanks to the Near North Now editorial staff for t the opportunity to talk about our National Recreational treasure, the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) and the upcoming White Cloud Trail Town Celebration.
White Cloud became a trail town when a diverse group of North Country Trail Association (NCTA) folks helped build the current 4.5 Connector trail that begins and ends in the White Cloud Campground and County Park and links White Cloud to the NCT. After completing the Connector trail we petitioned the NCTA and on June 7, 2014 the City of White Cloud received their Trail Town Designation. To celebrate this important designation the City of White Cloud and the River Country Chamber of Commerce hosted the Annual Trail Town in September of 2015 in the White Cloud Campground/Park. That event was a success and we committed to developing the trail and White Clouds brand image as a trail town with a “Trail for Every Season” along with associated local and regional recreational and economic opportunities the trails bring.
In early spring members from White Cloud, the River Country Chamber of Commerce and Newaygo County form the Trail Town Celebration event committee and collaborate to raise money to fund the annual event, We enlist sponsors and host the Celebration with activities and events that are fun, and focus on the NCT and feature local recreational and business opportunities. This year we have new events that are sure to be home runs with the folks in White Cloud and the larger recreational community.
Friday September 29th is also homecoming for White Cloud and we have partnered with Boomerang to host the Friday events including a great Tailgate Party. The Friday festivities begin at 4:00 PM with Pre Party Food followed by the Homecoming Parade starting at 5:30 PM and the Tailgate Party from 6:00 to 10:00 PM. For the Party Participants there will be live music by the immensely popular Braunschweiger Blues Band guaranteed to get you up dancing and having fun.
This year’s food vendors will be the returning favorite Old Iron Grill bringing you their succulent smoked BBQ, and new for this year, Two Hot Tamales with tasty Mexican menu items, and owner Rita Rodriguez’s special tamales. The Beer Tent will be open from 6:00 until 10 PM. Friday evening’s fun in the Park for the younger and older kids includes face painting, scavenger hunts, wagon rides, super spooky Haunted Hallow, a warming fire and marshmallows all free of course. Friday night events will focus on hometown folks, with the Braunschweiger Blues Band, good food and beverages and kids activities all guaranteeing a good time in our local Park.
Saturday’s events focus on the NCT, our beautiful White River and the recreational opportunities they bring to our community. The festivities begin at 7:30 AM with the traditional Knights of Columbus breakfast follow shortly with same day registrations and the kick off of our trail activities. At 8:30 AM the gun sounds for those who like an early morning workout.
First up and new this year is the 10 mile trail run, followed by the 10K run. The route for these two runs is a loop that begins in the White Cloud Campground/Park travels along the beautiful NCT as it passes through the National Forest over Rattlesnake Creek and back. The maples along the route should be in full color. The very popular 5K run and walk begins in the Campground/Park and follows the interesting High School cross country trail down along the White River ending in the Campground/Park. Also new for this year, a one mile dog walk that begins in the Campground/Park goes down along the White River and back.
Another new event is the Duck Race that will kick off at 8:30 AM in the White Cloud Rotary Park along the White River. This event is strongly recommended promising high entertainment and a chance to win significant cash prizes. It will be well worth the price of the ticket to watch our new and very personable County Administrator Chris Wren wearing his duck suit wrangle the flock of small yellow ducks along the race course.
The White River Kayak race and paddle that is appropriate for all skill levels will follow at 11:30 AM starting from the same spot and continuing for three miles along the sparkling White River ending at the Flowing Wells Park take out.
For those looking for other activities on Saturday will find an abundance of entertaining and interesting choices. Expert hikers, naturalist and the trail maintenance crew members from the Western Michigan Chapter of the NCTA will be on hand to discuss the North Country Trail and all aspect of hiking, trail building and maintenance. Starting at 10:00 AM they will lead two interpretative hikes along various sections of the Connector Trail and the NCT. The folks from the Huron-Manistee National Forest Baldwin District Ranger Station mentioned that Smokey the Bear will again make an appearance this year.
The Long Beard Chapter of the Wild Turkey Federation will have a BB gun gallery for those interested in safe gun handling and target practice. There will be an agent from the Department of Natural Resources demonstrating survival skills like shelter building, fire making and compass reading. And for the kids the traditional favorites, rock painting, wagon rides to the frightful Haunted Hollow and marshmallow roasting around the campfire.
The vendor and craft displays and Beer Tent will open from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM with Old Iron Grill and Two Hot Tamales on duty to provide delightful dishes to the hungry. This year Boomerang will host a Saturday afternoon Chili cook-off and tasting, so drag out your world famous chili recipe that you have been bragging about and get in there and compete. On Saturday the live entertainment lineup includes: 11am-1pm Jerry Arlen Jones local music composer/producer, songwriter. 1pm-2:30pm Dennie Middleton - fun laid back playing the classics and his original music, 3pm-4:30pm The Pryer Sisters local talented sisters playing folk/gospel, 4:30pm-6pm Sandi Bernard a local musical treasure, and6:00pm-10pm The Denise Anderson Connection - One of West Michigan's most popular Country and Classic Rock 'n Roll bands bringing something for all her fans and visitors alike.
Whether looking to reconnect with old friends, good food and entertainment, exposure to the North Country Trail, a medal-winning run or paddle, or a fast rubber duck, this is your event. Put the leash on the puppy dogs, gather the kids and put your hiking or dancing shoes on and come and experience an ole fashion community event in a great outdoor location on a lovely fall weekend.
For additional information and event forms or to volunteer go to the River Country Chamber of Commerce events page: http://www.rivercountrychamber.com/event-trailtown-celebration
For those wishing to camp at the White Cloud Park that weekend you can go to the Newaygo County Parks and Recreation page and reserve your site: http://www.countyofnewaygo.com/ParksAndRecreation.aspx.
Fremont Library Offers Harvest Crafts & More in October
The Fremont Area District Library is hosting several fun and educational programs in October for the whole family.
Pa Lao will present a free Natural Winter Wellness class on Thursday, October 12th at 7:00 p.m. as part of the library’s Live @ the Library series. Pa is a licensed Naturopathic Physician with clinical interests in diabetes, cardiovascular health, allergies, chronic inflammation, chronic pain, and musculoskeletal support. Her talk will focus on the ways in which the colder months affect our bodies, and what we can do to help support those changes in order to avoid chronic illness. She will discuss simple dietary and lifestyle changes along with common herbs and nutritional supplements to promote immunity and improve your chances of winter wellness.
The Children’s Department will have a fun and spooky Halloween Craft on Saturday, October 21st from 10-11:30 a.m. that the kids can make and take home. Toddler Storytime, for babies and toddlers up to age 3, will be held on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m., and Preschool Storytime for children ages 3-5 will be held on Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. and Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. We’ll also be showing a new movie after school on Thursday, October 26th at 3:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served, and all are welcome. Movie details can be found at www.fremontlibrary.net/kids-teens.
The LittleBits: Beginning Coding program will be offered again on Saturday, October 14th to 1st-5th graders between 10:00 and 11:30 a.m., and 6th graders and up can enjoy the LittleBits from 11:30 until 1:00 p.m. LittleBits is a platform of easy-to-use electronic building blocks. Join us in the Community Room to play with our beginning coding toys! Teens can enjoy a movie (Rated PG-13; 96 minutes) and painted pumpkin craft in the Community Room on Thursday, October 19th at 3:30 p.m. Snacks will be provided, and all are welcome! The movie is based on the book Everything Everything, and details can be found at www.fremontlibrary.net/teens.
Computer classes are back! “Internet Searching & Email” will be taught on Thursday, October 12th from 2-4 p.m. In this beginning class, participants will learn how to access the Internet. Search engines will be explained and demonstrated. Participants will be introduced to various email providers and will learn how to attach files to emails. “Google Docs,” which is a new class, will be presented on Tuesday, October 17th from 2-4 p.m. In this new class, participants will learn to create a Google account, save and access documents, and understand the main features and benefits of Google Docs and Google Drive. All computer classes are $5 per person/class and are held in the Upper Level Computer Lab. Call 231-928-0257 to register.
The Daytime Book Group will meet on Thursday, October 26th at 11:30 a.m. to discuss Kitchen Privileges by Mary Higgins Clark. The Writers’ Group will meet on Friday, October 6th & 20th in the Upper Level Conference Room at 2:30 p.m. They share, edit, and revise writing submitted in the group, and welcome anyone who would like to join. Meetings for the Fiber Arts Social group will take place on Thursday, October 5th in the Community Room and October 19th by the North Fireplace from 2:30-4:30 p.m. The group welcomes anyone interested in knitting, crocheting, sewing, cross-stitch, and any other fiber art. Join us for learning, sharing, and socializing!
For more information about any of these events, please contact the library at 231-924-3480 or visit www.fremontlibrary.net.
Michigan Irish Music Festival Images
The Michigan Irish Music Festival was blessed with great weather amazing music and thousands of folks having a really good time. The event continues Sunday
Michigan Irish Music Fest Delivers
Photos by Lil DeLaat
This musical (and cultural) extravaganza continues through Sunday in Muskegon. Great music, fun times, fine food, friendly folks, and knock-it-out-of-the-park weather
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“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.”
- Eric Qualman