The award-winning January Series of Calvin University is once again coming to Newaygo County! From January 9 through January 27, the Dogwood Center will be one of the remote webcast locations worldwide to broadcast one of North America’s leading lecture and cultural arts series.
The 2023 lineup includes New York Times best-selling authors, a former speechwriter for three U.S. presidents, and the holder of the longest winning streak on Jeopardy! For a full list of speakers and topics just click here.
A few of the world-renowned speakers on the 2023 docket, include: Ken Jennings, the current host of Jeopardy!, who is also the highest earning American game show contestant ever; Kate Bowler, a New York Times bestselling author and host of the popular podcast Everything Happens; and Peter Wehner, who served in three presidential administrations in the roles of Deputy Director of Speechwriting and Director of the Office of Strategic Initiatives.
This is a great opportunity to listen to nationally acclaimed speakers surrounding a variety of interesting topics. The Dogwood Center, a remote site for the Calvin University's January Series and supported in part by the Fremont Area Community Foundation, is pleased to bring the Calvin University's January Series to Newaygo County.
The January Series lectures will be video streamed live at the Dogwood Center, 4734 S. Campus Court, Fremont, from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, January 9 - 27. The lectures are free and open to the public. The Black Box will be available for seating and attendees may bring their lunch. View the speaker schedule at www.dogwoodcenter.com and pick out which ones you will be attending!
SWK continues to hit the road to provide readers with those close-to-last- minute opportunities for finding that almost perfect gift for that nearly perfect person.
Having found a treasure in Bitely (https://www.nearnorthnow.com/features-and-fun/shopping-with-ken-the-quest-for-creativity-brings-us-to-bitely) we visited a favorite spot a bit closer to N3 World Headquarters (AKA Bronner’s West these days), a shop that has never failed to possess some of the most intriguing wares to be found.We’re talking the Holiday Artist Market that arrives at the Artsplace in downtown Fremont each year during the gift hunting season.
When it comes to gifting many like to take the easy way out. You know, grab a gift card, write a check or maybe hit a big box outlet for the standard fare and what not. However, if you are looking to be a gifting champion with the person on the receiving end not only adoring the present but escalating their opinion of your thoughtfulness, this may very well be the shoppe for you.
There are a multitude of reasons to make this stop one of your destinations, not the least of which is the opportunity to support the artisans among us who have put their works on display here.The goods available are incredibly varied with a sea of little discoveries to be made while browsing.
Many of the artists have been showing their wares for many Christmas seasons and others are newer to the Market. One new collection this season is the remarkable leather work of Gerad Sarb of Grindstone Leather and for years SWK has been particularly fond of the imaginative ceramic pieces created by Rita Shields, particularly those that have her signature reptilian touches.
Beyond the wonderful collection of uniqueness at the HAM there is the opportunity to give the gift that keeps on giving by getting a certificate to one or more of the many classes offered on site.
And beyond the wonderfulness of the art works on display,the people who operate this magical menage of artistic imagination are extremely cool folks who can deliver the skinny on the items and their creators while delivering some of the best customer service to be found anywhere.
Time's a wastin’ so make a trip to this downtown Fremont gem soon.
And if you tell them Ken sent you the chances of their reply being “Ken who?” is likely to be pretty good.
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.
With time ticking down, if you know of a place suitable for last minute yet unique gifts to be had, let us know via email at email@example.com
Sunday, December 11th, the choir's annual Christmas Concert returned with a performance at the Grant Fine Arts Center
In Search Of Excellence
Community Choir putting it all together for Sunday performance.
Story and photos by Ken DeLaat
“Then the singing enveloped me. It was furry and resonant, coming from everyone's very heart. There was no sense of performance or judgment, only that the music was breath and food.”- Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies
My choir experience is limited to a lip synching role in our elementary school’s Christmas Chorale. Thus, I’m unfamiliar with some of the intricacies involved in putting together a performance involving dozens of voices harmonizing in a way that creates a powerful musical presence.
This past Tuesday I stopped in during the River Country Community Choir’s rehearsal session to snap a few shots and write up a bit of info on the upcoming concert held at the Grant Fine Arts Center this Sunday.
What I saw and heard impressed me to no end. The three dozen or so voices were working through a segment of a song…not a song, mind you, a segment of a song. Over and over they followed the direction of Nancy Grabill as she put the quadrant of musical ranges through the repetitive practice that aims for excellence.
This choir is made up of a range of ages and choir experience. Some have been part of the Community Choir for many of its performance years. Others came to the choir in more recent years and some are participating for the first time.
Our favorite former stand up comic and occasional N3 contributor Megan Wirts is a newcomer to RC3. We ran into her at the rehearsal and captured a few moments between sessions.
“I love Christmas and I love to sing Christmas songs. For years my friend Charlie Johnson (aka S.Claus) has said “Megan you should join the choir’ and I’d say “yeah’ and then I’d forget. Well, this year I finally remembered!” she said with a laugh.
“I absolutely love this.. I haven’t been in a choir for over 20 years and just being part of this group is really fun.”
The singers regrouped and got back to the task at hand. And while I didn’t hear a complete song during my time prowling around the rehearsal hall, what I heard was a group of dedicated members of a choir committed to bringing what looks to be a quality performance to the GFAC.
Don’t miss it.
Stage Door Presents…
Stage Door Players, located on Wilcox Avenue in White Cloud, are putting on yet another outstanding play, George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion”. Performances will be Friday and Saturday evening December 9th and 10th at 7:00 and Sunday afternoon December 11th at 2:30. Tickets are available at the door for $12, $10 for seniors and students, $25 for immediate family.
You don’t want to miss seeing the adventures of Eliza Doolittle, Henry Higgins, Alfred Doolittle and Colonel Pickering.
N3-SWK strives to bring ideas for late season shopping to our readers. Particularly those who have procrastinated in their presenting pursuits. If you know of a place that might provide some unique gifting opportunities let us know and we will check it out.
Bitely? Christmas shopping in Bitely?
Absolutely. The northern Newaygo County burg is abuzz with opportunities such as…such as…
Ok, the Up North Gift Company might be the only shopping spot beyond the gas station and the Bitely Tavern (great burgers) but it’s a good one.
At least that’s what N3 reader Tina Smith indicated when she suggested SWK check it out.
So it was off to Bitely, a most pleasant drive into lake-laden Lilley Township.
And the trip proved well worth it.
Some of the things we like about UNGC:
-The lake signs depicting longitude and latitude.
-The metalworks cleverness of the Tavern Puzzles that brought back a long faded memory.
- The vast amount of wares suitable for stocking stuffing.
-The University of Bitely shirts
-The Wasp Nest (Yup. Real one.)
-How they support local artisans with over 70% of their offerings coming from over 90 makers from throughout the area.
-The welcoming ambiance created by store owners, Pat and Janet Lipzinski.
The Up North Gift Company is a treasure trove of intriguing items befitting its settings. Tucked into a corner of downtown Bitely the shop draws those who have enjoyed the wealth of water the local lakes provide as well as those who have heard from others about its enticing and uber-local vibe
The Lipzinskis took over the store in 2018 but the UNGC was built just before the turn of the century and has endured as a staple for those in search of a unique gift as well as vacationers wishing to bring a memory of the area back home.
Pat and Janet were among that group before moving from their Grand Rapids home to put their personal touch to this appealing emporium of eclectic offerings. Many of the items at the store are made by the owners who do the screen printing for the popular t-shirts, make many of the candles that adorn the shelves and supply the locals with some bodacious baked goods as well.
Beyond the locally created items one finds, many of the other products in the store are Michigan made. Oh, and they have a penny press machine.
For those, as myself, unacquainted with the world of penny press peeps, there is apparently a whole thing out there I was unaware of, including an organization known as TEC (The Elongated Collectors) with a website that includes a monthly report on where new machines have been installed as well as where they have been ‘retired’.
But I digress.
The items that move the most?
“The T-shirts and hats are big sellers,” said Janet. “And anything with the name of their lake on it draws people. They all love their lakes and we have so many in the area.”
“Our jewelry gets a lot of attention,” she added. “ And of course the homemade food items go quickly.”
And I must say, they looked mighty tasty.
The main thing SWK looks for during these shopping excursions is the kind of place one can go for inspiration. The shop to visit when you have run out of ideas and require an influx of imagination.
Up North Gift Co. is such a place.
For more info check out their fb page.
The Holiday Season Rings in at Newaygo Christmas Walk
Story and photos by Alexis Mercer
Maybe the mass of people was due to the mild weather. Or perhaps the abundance of advertising so more knew about the event.
Or maybe... it was that everyone was in need of true Christmas spirit, joy and love.
Whatever the reason, the streets of the little city of Newaygo were filled with people on Friday, December 2nd. From tiny babies in strollers and loving family members' arms, to the elders of the community who have been here to watch the town grow, change and develop; Newaygo was bustling.
Overheard while walking down the street as the horse drawn carriage ride was passing by: "It's just like in the movies"!
Storefronts were lit up, restaurants were packed to the brim, patrons were carrying bags with treats and perhaps some Christmas gifts, and bellies were full from the delicious vendors lining the south side of town.
Included in the fun this year was new business The Free Spirit Retreat, a cozy and quaint suite located right on main street. Their website boasts you can "stay in your own private retreat suite with a private grassy yard area in historic downtown." (Check it out for yourself at www.thefreespiritretreat.com)
The old church bell rang, then again, and then rang some more, bringing an audible reminder to everyone there that the holiday season is upon us.
A few photos of The Free Spirit Retreat:
Weekend promises mirth filled merriment
Struggling with capturing that Christmas Spirit?
The River Country Chamber has just the ticket this weekend with a medley of merrymaking festivities in and around Newaygo this weekend thanks to the sponsorship of Tamarac Spa, Velocity and Millie's Farm Market.
It all kicks off with Thursday’s Season of Hope Charity Auction held this year at the Center for Hope & Healing in White Cloud. This annual bid-fest has always featured an eclectic collection of items ranging from distinctive gifts to singular services and beyond.
Here’s the skinny:
And of course on Friday the centerpiece of the weekend celebration takes place in the downtown district. There is always a bit of magic in the air as the streets shut down and the riverside burg transforms into a bustling hive of activity. As you wander through town there are shop owners providing treats along with some sweet deals on their wares, food vendors lined up and ready to serve, and churches putting on some special events.
And this year with the addition of the outdoor social district known as the Outback, one can enjoy a beverage or two while communing with friends and family at one of the enticing fireplace settings.
Saturday will see runners and walkers getting in their steps at the St. Nick Kick, the pet project of N3 Editor and Newaygo Cross Country Coach Alexis Mercer. Here are the details:
Later in the day on Saturday you can take a ride out to Croton where the Walter F Howarth American Legion Post 381 will be hosting a number of fun activities .
Only those afflicted with chronic Grinchitis would still be lacking in the seasonal spirit after this cascade of Christmas carousing.
It is indeed time for some serious reveling Near Northians.
Let’s get to it.
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