Velocity of Newaygo presents the 12th Annual St. Nick Kick! This small town tradition attracts some of the best competitive athletes from the West Michigan area. It's also a great way to give back to the community with proceeds benefiting Newaygo High School Cross Country Team. Sign up for the 10K, 5K or 1 Mile Walk and bring your friends!
Looking to register? Click HERE!
More information about the event can be found on the River Country Chamber website.
Race kick off is at 10:00 am on Saturday, December 3rd, early registration from 9am-9:45 AM. Join in for a fun day of holiday cheer, running, walking and great food afterwards.
Got a favorite local shopping spot? Let us know and we will check it out
It is indeed in full bloom and I don’t mean the Christmas cactus residing in the upper reaches of N3 World Headquarters and Endless Emporium of Decorative Christmas Spirit sometimes referred to as ‘Bronner’s West’.
We’re talking gift seeking season. When you’ve Black-Fridayed, and Cyber-Mondayed all those deals on the array of electronics, gadgetry, and big items from big places it’s time to truly shop. I mean go on the hunt for those whose gifts might take a tad bit of thought and exploration while providing a smidge more meaning than, say, a gift card or other artful dodge.
The Shopping With Ken initiative started several years back to shine a light on local places for present purchasing. Though guilty of possessing a past personal prowess for procrastination, particularly when it comes to seasonal gift buying, spearheading SWK has led me to forging forward much earlier than the traditional day or two before Christmas. Of course I often still wait until the clock starts ticking down but the SWK exploration helps narrow the field of gifts when the days dwindle to a few.
I truly empathize with those who are mystified when it comes to finding just the right gift. I mean we all want our gift to be valued if not treasured, right? It’s just that time seems to always be at a premium these days so this is our effort to bring a little perspective, perhaps provide a pointer or two for present pursuit.
Thus the journey ahead. Starting this week we will explore some area options, look for unusual, eclectic, adventurous or frighteningly useful items for gifting and follow through with checking out reader recommendations that might sound compelling.
So send us suggestions and the crack SWK team will investigate and report on the grand array of gifting opportunities that thrive here in our beloved Near North.
And of course always remember….
Buy Local…Be Local…Eschew obfuscation.
N3 Note: We received the above flyer the other day and it piqued our interest so we caught up with Lori Lane from Pilots For Christ who provided a little skinny on the event.
Tell us a bit about PFC.
Pilots for Christ is a 501c3 non-profit located at the Fremont Airport in the Pilots for Christ hangar. We fly people in need, free of charge, showing the love of Jesus Christ in everything we do. PFC has been in existence since 1984. The Michigan chapter was formed in 2005.
How did this come about and why?
We had put on a “Santa flies in” event in 2014 and it was a huge success with over 2000 folks attending.
Why is it called Storytime?
Storytime is just one of the activities. We have a fisher of men game where the kids can fish for a candy cane. Then Storytime will be reading a Christmas story and giving out a gift just for listening. Next is the Nativity ducks where a prize is won! There will be plenty of cookies and milk for all. Write a letter to Santa on take a break and finish your cookie in a tv room where a Christmas favorite will be playing.
Who should attend?
This is family friendly, no pets please. Anyone looking for a fun and new event in the area will experience Christmas joy unlike any other.
What should those attending expect?
Santa will be flying in at 6pm. Upon his entry to the hangar, families will follow a path inside the hangar and be able to participate in assorted fun as they chose, finally coming to Santa.
We understand there will be an appearance by Mr. Claus. Is he flying the plane?
YES, let's not forget the Jolly man himself! Santa will listen to each child’s desires and send them on their way with a gift of their choice. An elf will help them decide.
Anything you'd like to add?
This is Christian based as we are Pilots for Christ. Many of the items are Christ based. There will be a prayer booth with tracts about the Lord's birth and salvation.
Fremont businesses Christmas Window Decoration contest opens December 9
Of all the Christmas related activities that abound this time of year nothing piques the childhood memories like seeing holiday decorations go up in the nearest town. Years ago it was many a family’s tradition to take in the sights as some of the merchants would look to outdo each other when it came to sizable displays while others leaned in a more subtle yet captivating direction that spurred the imagination. The best were towns where strolling the sidewalks provided the best tours.
Fremont has always been one of those towns.
And the Fremont Chamber is once again providing a little incentive to this season-centered effort by tossing in a bit of a friendly competition for those who make up the business landscape of the area.
Two categories are offered in the event. Best Decorated Christmas Window and Peoples Choice Window Display.
The judging will run from December 9th until December 22 so the displays need to be in place by the December 9th opener.
Beyond the year-round bragging rights, the Best Decorated Christmas Window winner will be pocketing $300 with second place taking home $100. The Peoples Choice award will also nabbing $100.
How do I get in, you say?
Easy. You can Register at the Chamber Office by calling 231 924-0770 or send us an email: email@example.com
And a shout out to Buy Rite Auto LLC who are sponsoring the doings.
It’s that time again! Time to visit NCCA-Artsplace to shop for great personal holiday gifts! The Holiday Artist Market is ready for you to come in and shop now through December 30.
Make your selections from handmade functional or decorative pottery, unique paintings, prints, textiles, candles, photography, wood turning, sculpture and jewelry. Decorate your tree this year with a variety of handmade ornaments or give them as the perfect holiday gift!
Whether you’re looking for fine hand made jewelry for the special someone, new ornaments for the tree or an original painting, you’ll find it all at NCCA-Artsplace Holiday Artist Market. And you can give the gift of creativity this holiday season with NCCA-Artsplace’s gift cards available in any denomination and can be used towards original art and future classes.
The NCCA-Holiday Artist Market will be open through December 30. Regular hours are Monday- Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
For more information stop by or call NCCA-Artsplace, 13 E. Main, Fremont, 231.924.4022 or check out www.ncca-artsplace.org.
Fremont Christmas Stroll Friday Coming December 9th
Fremont comes alive with the Christmas spirit in this magical and enchanting evening that features a parade in which all the entries are illuminated with lights. Santa is the Master of Ceremonies, and awards for floats will be given. See the large Christmas inflatables: the Grinch, Snowman, Nutcracker and Santa, pulled by local car dealerships and the Fremont Cross Country Team. This event will make you remember what Christmas looks like through the eyes of a child!
Fremont Area Chamber invites you to join in on the fun of a nighttime parade on Friday, December 9th; festivities begin at 6:00 pm. What could be better than seeing Santa come to town riding on a beautifully lit horse drawn carriage? Each year a different theme challenges the community's creativity and ensures a wide variety of entries. This year our parade theme is “Home for the Holidays”. This year’s parade is sponsored by Gerber Life Insurance Company, Brant Electric and Gerber Federal Credit Union.
After the parade, bring your kids (young and old) to visit Santa at his house, located at the Veterans Memorial Park. Other activities taking place in the park include decorate your very own Christmas cookie with Huntington Bank, Kids Make and Take Crafts, sponsored by TS Graphics, Nieboer Electric and Gerber Life Insurance; Horse Drawn Carriage Rides with Percheron Horses; sponsored by Gerber Life Insurance and Nieboer Electric and food trucks including Two Hot Tamales, Couyon’s Cajun and Happy Camper Donuts.
While walking around downtown Fremont, enjoy the Christmas Stroll sponsored by White & Associates, Scheid Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, Fremont Regional Digester, and Compass Credit Union from 6pm – 9pm as many of the local businesses will be hosting holiday open houses to help with your holiday shopping.
Don’t forget to stop in at the Fremont Chamber office, 7 East Main, downtown Fremont where the “Spirit of Christmas” auction is taking place. You can bid on one of the many auction items in the Chamber Office. All proceeds donated to Fremont Young Life.
Breakfast at the North Pole, sponsored by Pilots For Christ, Baars Pharmacy, Harbor Hospice, Fremont Moose Lodge 1555, Compass Credit Union, and Nieboer Electric will be held on Saturday, December 10th from 9:00 am to 11:00 am at Charlie’s Grill, Fremont. Order off the menu for breakfast. Children can look forward to fun activities like singalongs and visiting with Santa.
RSVP please contact the Chamber office at (231) 924-0770 or go to
Fremont Cinemas is offering an afternoon Movie Matinee, “Cool Runnings”, Saturday December 10th at 12 noon. Free admission with concessions purchase.
Buy Rite Auto LLC is sponsoring a Christmas window decorating contest for Fremont Businesses. Set up your display by Friday, December 9th. Judging will be December 9th through December 21st. Two Categories: Best Decorated Christmas Window and People choice window display. Winners will be announced December 22nd, best decorated Christmas window receives first place - $300, second place $100; People's Choice first place - $100. Register at the Chamber office by calling 231 924-0770 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be sure to visit the downtown businesses and see the beautifully decorated display windows.
Friday opening expands downtown Newaygo serving area
We got a Social District?
You mean those cool outdoor gathering areas where one can purchase and enjoy an adult beverage while doing a little fresh air frolicking?
Yep. It’s called the Newaygo Outback.
And it is arriving this week.
The Newaygo Outback, so named for being “out back” or behind downtown retailers on the east side of M37, was created by a partnership between the USDA, the River Country Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Newaygo.
Back in July of 2020 the State enacted a new law that allowed businesses that are granted a Social District Permit to sell beer, wine, mixed spirits, or mixed drinks on their licensed premises to customers who may then consume the alcoholic liquor within the commons area of the Social District. It proved to be an innovative idea to help the restaurant business during a time when pandemic restrictions were still in place.
At the start, this initiative was jumped on by some of the bigger cities particularly in areas where a cluster of eateries and drinking establishments existed. Seeing the success of these districts, smaller towns began taking the idea and running with it to create their own enticing outdoor gathering areas. Rockford’s has been in place a couple years, as anyone who attends the Blues on the River concerts knows. This past summer Sparta joined in with their own social district.
And now it has come to Newaygo.
“Kamille Massey brought the idea of the Social Zone to the city over two years ago, and the City and Chamber believe now is the right time to have a positive, lasting impact on local families, visitors, and of course local businesses,” said Colleen Lynema, Project Coordinator.
And don’t think you’ll just be wandering about aimlessly in the parking lot. There has been some serious preparation for the Grand Opening this Friday (Nov. 11) at 4pm. We’re talking cornhole boards, firepits, group seating areas, and all in the glory of the great outdoors.
“People need to be around each other more than ever, and the Outback is another way to build community and connect with our neighbors and friends.” stated Carmen Faulkner from the River Stop Cafe. “We look forward to all of the downtown merchants and retailers benefiting from increased traffic and more happy people.”
The Outback is planned to be open through the ever popular annual Christmas Walk, Friday, December 1st, and will make its return in the Spring of 2023.
Michigan Mandolin Orchestra at the Dogwood Center on November 11
The Michigan Mandolin Orchestra will perform on the Dogwood Center's Main Stage on Friday, November 11 at 7:30 p.m. The Grand Rapids based MMO, led by Michigan’s mandoliner Brian Oberlin, will play an incredible line-up of music from the concert music repertoire.
The orchestra will perform concert hall standards, “March from Carmen” and Gabriel Faure’s “Pavane” to Britten’s “Pizzicato Polka”, as well as music written specifically for a mandolin orchestra will cascade from the stage courtesy of contemporary composers Aris Blettenberg and Amadei Amadeo.
Tickets are $17.50 and are available online at www.dogwoodcenter.com, at the Dogwood Box Office, or at NCCA-Artsplace in downtown Fremont. Click here for your tickets.
The Dogwood Center Box Office is open Tuesday - Friday, 10:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. For information, phone 231.924.8885.
Guided hike near Croton on tap for Nov 13
The Sailor’s Pines Preserve near Croton is the next hike to be led by Carmen Alfaro on Sunday, November 13 from 3pm – 5pm. Sailors Pines is a private preserve, and is located west of Croton Dam on 52nd Street just east of Locust Avenue. Parking is on the two track drives pulling into the preserve. This is a family friendly event with free-will donations accepted.
“Sailors Pines is a beautiful example of what our white pine forests looked like before the last wave of old growth clear cut logging that took place in the 1920’s,” stated Carmen Alfaro.
A short walk brings you to a cathedral of pines where some tower more than 100 feet overhead, with many over than 30 inches in diameter. This stand of giant pines was spared by William Sailors from the fate of his other timberland holdings.
“The purpose of these Guided Hikes and Gatherings are to bring people of all ages and backgrounds together in the beauty of our Newaygo County environment,” said Carmen. “We are so fortunate to have these woodland and wetland treasures right here in our back yards! Many folks are not familiar with the trails and preserves in our area, so getting out as a group in a safe and fun way to learn about them is one of my goals. The other goal is to increase the awareness and love for all of the plants and animals that live in these special places, so we will work to protect them.”
The Sailors Pines hike is the fourth event in the ongoing Guided Hike series. Future hikes planned may include a night time moon walk at Loda Lake, and discovering the new trails at Richmond Woods Nature Preserve east of Brohman. Events can be followed on Facebook @Sunhart Center of Ecology & Design. Carmen is also the new Director of the Newaygo County Environmental Coalition which can also be followed on Facebook.
“I hope to see new faces as well as some of our seasoned ‘Guided Hikers’ at Sailors Pines on the 13th,” stated Carmen. “We will step off at 3pm. Dress for the fickle Michigan weather, as we will visit the pines come rain, shine or even snow!”
Our Ms. W. delivers the skinny on LionHeart’s latest
Review and photos by Megan Wirts
LionHeart productions is back and better than ever! Head out to the Grant Fine Arts Center this weekend or next weekend to see an incredible show. Under the direction of Ron Jenkins, Cinderella by Rodgers and Hammerstein breathes life onto the stage. The costuming, by head costumer Kathy Jenkins and her crew including Nancy Puff (Cinderella’s dress designer”, Jennifer Chambers, Lori Vandever and Andrea Ott, is spectacular! With magical dress changes happening right before your eyes and some of the cutest little mice you will ever see, the costumes wowed me just as much as the voice of Avery Mills, who plays the kind and lovely Cinderella.
After being away from the stage for two years, LionHeart started off this year with a small scale show in May which won over crowds and showed us that we were all ready for live theater to come back. Cinderella is a brilliant choice for a come back show! The story of a peasant girl treated horribly by her wicked stepmother, played deliciously by Mandy Casebolt, who then turns her life around with her kindness, a little fairy godmother sparkle, finds true love with a handsome prince, defeats evil and good prevails, is a story we all need. It’s a classic that the entire family will enjoy.
I am always amazed at how LionHeart can find such incredible talent among us. Since the very first show they gave us 25 years ago, they have never disappointed. Grant native, David Hatter is back as Prince Topher, the orphaned prince of benevolent parents. Hatter’s voice is on point and his acting chops are just as fantastic. The vocal chemistry between him and Avery Mills as Cinderella will give you goosebumps. Mills is a newcomer to LionHeart productions but not new to the stage. Her resume is impressive but her vocals and ability to convey her emotions is brilliant.
We couldn’t have Cinderella without a fairy godmother and Shaunna Baker brings us a fairy godmother that we all need. She puts a spin on it that is funny, heartwarming and lovable. Her voice is top notch and well worth the price of admission. Of course with every great fairy tale, we need villains. As I said before, Mandy Casebolt is wonderful as Madame, the evil stepmother. Her expressiveness and all the drama kind of makes you love to hate her. Then we have the stepsisters, who may not be as wicked as their mother, but are definitely as dramatically hilarious. Gabrielle is wonderfully played by Monica Schneider and Charlotte is hilariously brought to life by Alicia Cole, whose Stepsisters Lament is one of my favorite numbers in the show. Schneider and Cole bring the sass and their comedic timing is on fire.
The other villain in the show is Sebastian, played by beloved GHS teacher Devon Conley. His portrayal of the corrupt Sebastian who is trying to control the good and kind Prince Topher and take over the kingdom is wickedly good. The scheming between Madame and Sebastian is one of the highlights of the show. Rounding out the main cast is Jamie Evans as Lord Pinkleton and Jarrod Howell as Jean-Michelle. Both LionHeart veterans and Grant natives with great vocals and giving the show more comedic relief. The casting of the show was perfection!
The heart of a musical is its ensemble and this one has great heart. As a community theater LionHeart brings entire families on to the stage sometimes and when you look through this shows program you will see many of the same last names, lots of Schneiders and VanderMeulens, a few Leons, Basses and a couple of Koesters and Casebolts. This is definitely a family affair! The chorus is strong and powerful when they come together for many of the big song and dance numbers. It also contains some of the cutest mice and woodland creatures that will steal the show and your heart.
Behind the stage is where much of the magic happens. LionHeart is an all volunteer theater and many hands help to put on the show. From the pit musicians lead by Cali Rae Flock, the set designer Mike Gesler, the aforementioned brilliant costume designers, to the stage hands and sound and lighting crew, the actors on the stage wouldn’t be able to shine as brightly as they do without them. Being in a small town is a wonderful experience and having a community theater that gives us all magic and joy on stage is a privilege we are all so blessed to have.
Do not miss this show! Tickets are available online at Grant Fine Arts Center Box Office or in person one hour before each show at the box office window. Shows are November 4, 5 and 6 and 11 and 12. Ticket prices are $15 for Adults and $10 for Students and Seniors.
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