Some hints for you weekend wanderers
By N3 staff
The Gathering returns to Brooks Park in Newaygo for a weekend of celebrating our rich native heritage.
Near Northians are privileged to be extended the opportunity to opt in for a slew of outdoor events despite the way way too short period of climatic cooperation we bi-penisular people are provided. The local chambers have done a good job developing these happenings, other local organizations have put together some newer offerings as well as maintaining some of their enduring events.
This one is perhaps the most unique of all, because while there is much to see and many to meet and voices worth listening to, The Gathering always feels like something more. There is an atmosphere akin to what we felt back in the early Wheatland days. A sense that despite everything else going on around us one could find a place of kindness and understanding and civility. A time to just be focused on the moment at hand. A time to learn.
Of course unlike those early Wheatland days we don’t have to camp out overnight ever at risk of ending up next door to a drunken group of couples engaged in an eternal argument that began with an errant truth or dare question...but that's for another time perhaps.
Check out the Gathering this weekend. For details, check out the article that graces the top of our home page.
We hear there’s a great little farm market in Grant on Saturday mornings starting at 9am. Look for the old train water tower and the market will be underneath.
Whaat? Acoustic Lunch at Newaygo Brewing Co. is about to offer up the tunes, brews and eats that have made it a relaxing refuge for both locals and the folks traveling through (who cannot fathom their luck in stumbling across such an oasis) for the 40th time and you have (gasp) yet to experience it?
No better time to join the A.L. crowd than this Saturday when Adam Labeaux returns to the stage.Noon to 4pm.
Big fun, good people, and food with character.
And if you want a last of the summer shot at reliving a smidge of your youth with a little family trip to the Drive-In Movies, the Getty is showing “E.T.” and “Back to the Future” Friday and “Hook” with “The Neverending Story” back to back on Saturday starting at 7pm. both days.
By Lesly DeLaat
Photos by Abi Koster
Saturdays starting at 9 in the a.m. the hot spot to be in Grant is the quaint little Farmer’s Market located at the Water Tower Park along M-37.
Though seemingly small in size, the yield is rather large with a wide array of items on display ranging from homemade cinnamon rolls to handmade soap to exotic squash pumpkins.
Vendor Karalise Pratt grows veggies in a sustainable and chemical free manner. She enjoys making artisan breads and fresh jam and also sells the wondrous Michigan maple syrup harvested from her grandmother’s 6th generation farm. Her children also pitch in with their bouquets.
Barb Loe of Funny Farm Produce has been involved in working the farm where she was raised since 1994 alongside her husband Jim. Her booth carries the organic produce they grow, craft items and aprons fashioned by ‘The Apron Lady”, Lucille Price.
The booth of Betty Higgins is where you will find the aforementioned cinnamon rolls, created at her home under michigan’s Cottage Food Law.
Abigail Koster of Little Mitten Soaps has been practicing soap-making for the past 4 years. Her handmade creations combine sustainably sourced locally based ingredients with essential oils to add a pleasing aroma.
These scented beauties are available in many shapes and sizes as are the unscented varieties.
Although smaller than most, the Grant Farmer’s Market packs a lot of punch so make plans to check them out while the season lasts. There are four more Saturdays to take advantage of this local treasure so find your way to the Water Tower from 9am-1pm.
If you saw Sunday’s kickoff of Ken Burns’ latest documentary on Country Music which looks to be another classic from the portfolio of this gifted filmmaker, perhaps you noticed one of the interviewees, a singer who spoke of the influence of the Carter family in the early days of the sound.
The granddaughter of bluegrass/country icon Mother Maybelle Carter and the daughter of June Carter Cash talked of the impact her grandmother had on the sound and spoke of her memories spun from listening to her play and talk about the origins of the music.
That grandaughter was Carlene Carter who will be performing at the Dogwood Monday night.
If you saw the initial offering of the series you might be compelled to see this member of one of the founding families of country music.
If you missed it, find a way to stream the show because it an outstanding beginning for what looks to be a great series.
And if you’re a fan of country music?
You can still get tickets for Carter’s 7:30m Monday show by contacting the Dogwood Box office at 231.924.8885.
You won’t regret it.
Occidental Gypsy returns to the Dogwood Saturday night and will bring their unique sound to the club-like atmosphere of the Black Box.
We caught them first time around and still proudly wear the t-shirt purchased after a performance that left a grateful crowd wanting more (see photo above).
The tshirt has been spotted by others in some out of the way places and we’ve been met with comments like ‘Hey, I know that band. Those guys are great.’ or ‘We saw them in ___ a while back. Great show.’ or sometimes ‘Don’t you think a wedding requires a bit better clothing than a tshirt?’.
7:30pm and get ready to channel your inner Django.
If you haven’t experienced the Acoustic Lunch series at Newaygo Brewing Co this would be an outstanding weekend to take in some fine music along with an ever evolving menu of food and drink inspired by imagination and innovation.
Tuneswise, Travis Radaz is back in town after a long summer tour with the Kari Lynch Band of GR. Travis mixes the hard edge of a rock n roll with the poise of a thoughtful songwriter. Most of his time is spent as the lead guitarist in the Kari Lynch Band, and Travis spends his off season from touring playing solo acoustic shows, playing original music and covering hits from the 70s to today.
A most pleasing musical atmosphere and the victuals are stellar.
Noon to 4pm Saturday. Downtown Newaygo
The 2019 AMA D-14 State Championship Hillclimb and Drags is what’s happening all weekend at Dan Raymond Park in Bridgeton.
Friday & Saturday there will be grass drags under the lights Starts at 8 pm.
Sign ups are from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm You can purchase a $5 Limited stay tickets available for Friday Grass Drags.
On Saturday the Hill Climb Starts at 11am.
St Mark's annual Pig Roast will be held from noon to 3pm Sunday. Eat there while listening to some music and checking out the goods on sale or take it out and enjoy some porcine-centered provisions while watching the Lions roar to another tie perhaps. Ten bucks a plate, $5 for kids.
Need a little road trip? There is of course the Irish Fest in Muskegon but you might want to visit the Festival Mexicano at Calder Plaza in GR or the Fallasburg Art Fair near Lowell.
And for the truly adventurous, there is the Potato Festival in Edmore.
Last weekend it was Pickles in Chase and now we have Taters in Edmore.
Don’t you just love it?
Michigan Irish Music Festival lands in Muskegon this weekend
“May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, the foresight to know where you are going, and the insight to know when you have gone too far”- Irish Blessing
When you love the Michigan Irish Music Festival so much that despite a family tree that gravitates more toward Holland you wonder about sending some saliva to one of those ancestry things to see if perhaps a Hibernian mailman somehow worked their way into the picture?
You are among those of us who have this wondrous weekend in September crossed off before the first snowfall of the previous winter.
The festival, born from humble beginnings and passionate organizers, is in its 20th year and beyond being an absolute feast of really, really good music there is way more to do on site than exists the time to do it.
Thus, we go for the weekend and stay over in our Metro neighbor on the Lakeshore . This time within walking distance because we tend to have a seriously good time and what better way to top an entertaining evening off than a little stroll back to where you will be getting some rest in order to capture another day of Gaelic inspired gaiety .
As we have stated before, this is without a doubt the best organized festival of its kind we have ever attended anywhere. Despite huge crowds there are so many options that it never feels crowded.
And a big bonus? There are televisions in the makeshift pubs with football games on for those who don’t want to miss their fave team or alma mater do battle on Saturday as well as those who like to spend their Sundays torn up with the anxiety of knowing that regardless of any lead the Lions might have they are more than likely to blow it.
But a story for another time perhaps.
Beyond the tantalizing tunes on hand at the stages check out the Wake House, the Highland Games, the Whiskey Snug, The Tea Room and the wide variety of intriguing merchandise in the Market where we buy a hat every year because each one seems to get misplaced during the year (we project that at some point in time wherever we go there will be one of our hats).
Good food, good drink, good people dressed in their finest Irish garb, a sense of camaraderie since folks tend to channel their inner Irish regardless of heritage and a boatload of fun.
Starts in earnest Friday and runs through Sunday. 26 acts on 7 covered stages.
Oh and at 1:15 pm Saturday the Cedar Creek Cloggers will be on the Galway Stage.We mention this because the kind and patient woman who is head of operations for N3 World Headquarters and Monarch Ministry is one of their dancers.
Tickets at the gate:
$50 Weekend pass
We’ll be there and perhaps should the fun not cause us to forgo our journalistic duties, we’ll send along some photos and let you know what you’re missing.
But seriously, this is a really good time.
By Tim McGrath
“Green Acres is the place to be. Farm livin’ is the life for me. Land spreadin’ out so far and wide. Forget Manhattan, give me that countryside…” Opening theme from the 1960s sitcom Green Acres.
I don’t know how they did it. Even as a kid, it was a head scratcher. Dad just decided he’d had enough of the company life; so one day he came home and told Mom he’d quit his job, sold the small hobby farm in Holland, and bought a much larger one in West Olive. He was going into farming full time. Mom just looked at him, and, incredibly, said: “OK. But, I will not live out in the boondocks. We’re staying right here.”
Dad looked at her, and replied: “OK, that’ll work.” So, just like that, we’d become a farming family. And, for the next forty-odd years, they stayed right there in that house, and Dad (plus my brother and me during school vacations) commuted the twenty-six miles each way to the farm from our suburban Wyoming Park neighborhood. One has to wonder what really happens behind closed doors….
Farming is hard. Those of us with a steady income and benefits would bang our heads against a brick wall, and run away screaming if we had to live with the uncertainties of farming. The grinding toil, endless hours, and exhausting anxiety would quickly kill most of us. In farming there are few guarantees, except the guarantee that what can go wrong, quite probably will. Not enough rain, too much rain at the wrong time, poor pollination, ever increasing cost of fuel, fertilizer, sprays, poor prices for the product, new viruses and funguses to deal with, equipment breakdowns, government regulations. The list is endless.
So, it really is a mystery why Dad thought this whole thing would be a good idea.
Case in point:
We grew blueberries in West Olive; right smack dab between Grand Haven and Holland: four parcels, about one hundred acres. By today’s standards, that’s fairly small stuff. But, back in the 60’s and 70’s, that was a lot for one farmer to tend.
It was a late June morning, just prior to harvest, which usually began sometime around the Fourth of July. And, this was one of those rare years where everything seemed to come together – it looked like a magnificent crop.
We’d been doing catch up kinds of things around the place. Minor repairs and maintenance on equipment, general cleanup around the packing shed, readying packing equipment for when harvest begins: stuff that takes a backseat to the spring fieldwork.
Around 10:45, the wind picked up and an evil looking bank of black, boiling clouds blew in from the west.
“Close the big doors, boys, this looks like a bad one,” Dad hollered over the howling wind. As the storm roared in, sheets of rain driven by the gusts blew sideways finding its way under the doors and cracks around the windows. Continuous lightning and thunder crashed and roared. Dad signaled for us to get under the tractors. This was bad. The building shook and vibrated with each gust and burst of thunder. And, that’s when the hail came. Small pea size pieces grew to dime, then nickel size. We had to cover our ears as the sound was deafening inside the steel sided pole barn. For ten minutes it raged on, and then, suddenly, it just ended. The hail stopped, the rain quit, the wind, which minutes before threatened to rip the entire building apart, died down to a whisper. Crawling out from under the tractors, we peeked out the windows, which had miraculously survived the storm. The ground was buried under the hail.
“C’mon, boys, let’s go see what’s happened outside,” Dad said. We crunched our way to the nearest patch of bushes. The once magnificent crop was now mostly on the ground. Clusters of almost ripened fruit, leaves, and even some smaller branches lay in a heartbreaking tangle partially covered by the hail that was now rapidly melting.
Walking from row to row the picture was the same. A few stragglers left on the bushes, but most of this year’s fruit was now left to rot on the ground.
As we made our way around the fields, we were silent. The shock of seeing a year’s worth of toil and care destroyed in ten minutes was difficult to witness, let alone understand. I kept thinking Dad would yell, curse, kick the ground. None of it. We just kept walking, stopping every so often to look around, then on we went.
We got back to the packing shed, Dad lit a cigar, spit, looked at us and said, “Well, boys, might as well go fishin’. Not much we can do here for awhile.” So, that’s what we did. Packed up the trailer and headed to Lake Gogebic in the UP for Walleye for a week.
That’s the way it was for them through all the years they farmed those pieces of ground. It’s hard to imagine doing what he did with quitting the job and all the rest, then just jumping full time into blueberry farming. And, our Mom accepting his decisions and trusting he’d figure out a way to make it all work.
Long after our Dad died, and before Mom died last year, I asked her about that time.
“Oh, it was hard, really hard so often. There were many times we didn’t know if we could even pay the interest on the bank notes, but, somehow your Dad figured it out. And, then we’d have good crops, so we could get ahead a bit. I trusted your Dad, honey. He was a good man, and I knew he would always do what was right. I never once saw him do anything without integrity. I think that, plus our faith God would take care of us, and some hardheaded Irish stubbornness got us through. We really did have a good life in spite of the hardships, didn’t we?”
We sure did.
The older I get the more I see how all those times and experiences on that farm influenced and impacted just about everything I’ve done and become. So, here’s to you, Mom and Dad. You both did so well: thank you for all of it.
And, here’s to all our farmers. Thank you for being the unsung heroes you are.
One week into September and an absolute plethora of fun and interesting stuff coming our way in the coming weeks.
This weekend? Well, Hot Boats a gathering of watercraft on Hardy Pond that has a bit of a rep as being a pretty good time (as well as providing overtime for a whole lot of law enforcement) will be going on. From what we gather it is perhaps not been as, uh, corybantic as in the past but we’re certain it can generate some excitement. It’s our hope the, uh, enthusiasm of the participants remain somewhat corralled and yet allow for a fine time for all on one of our area’s most unique bodies of water.
And remember... The Dragon is coming.
Feel like just cutting loose and doing something a bit madcap and out of the ordinary? Something to spur that late summer desire to fulfill a pledge or two made during last winter? To explore more and to take in the beauty that abounds in our peninsular paradise?
How about an Irish Festival at the most Irish oriented spot in the state, Beaver Island?
C’mon you know you’ve talked about going there and you’re not going to go for the first time during winter (trust us on this) so do one last spontaneous summerlike thing and grab the boat or plane over because they will be having some Hibernian doings and it is an island that truly enjoys a good time.
And if you go (visitors only) , stop in at the Beaver Island Community Center and ask for one of their signature pretzels or hot dog and mention this article we’ll spring for it...well that is unless a boatload of you arrive en masse for some kind of gathering and then we’ll shut it down when it reaches our $83.29spending limit.
It is a very cool place and believe me once you go?
You’ll go back.
Saturday is Sandy's Harley-Davidson's annual open house and flag retirement ceremony at 11am.
Demo Rides - 9 - 11am and 1-4pm (weather permitting; proper attire and motorcycle endorsement required) Lunch served by Ms. Piggies BBQ at 12pm and entertainment provided by Foundation from 2-6pm
The Taproom at Newaygo Brewery Co. continues it’s eclectic Acoustic Lunch series with Dale Wicks taking a spin at the mike. Great music and some seriously good food and brew. Downtown Newaygo. Saturday 12-4pm
The Eastown Street Fair was a magic time back in the day (early 70’s) and continues to spread some serious positivity. Saturday 9a to 9p. Wealthy Street, Grand Rapids
The Riverstop Saloon has The Intolerables Friday night and a DJ Saturday and they serve chip dip with their chips an idea we feel should be promoted throughout the land.
Heading to Chase? Of course you’re not but we can change your mind with two words.
Saturday in Chase (of course) and don’t miss the parade at 10:30am.
Sunday take a historical stroll through the White Cloud Cemetery Sunday from 2-4pm courtesy of the WC Community Library. Speakers will deliver a little inside info on the current residents.
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