Award-winning folk and Americana artist Ralston Bowles will perform at the Dogwood Center on Friday, August 13 at 7:30 p.m. Bowles is a uniquely compelling troubadour whose influence and songs reach across the United States and the globe.
The musician and singer-songwriter has released several critically acclaimed albums – including “Carwreck Conversations” and “Rally at the Texas Hotel” – containing songs that have been covered and reinterpreted by a host of indie-folk artists, from Peter Mulvey to Caroline Aiken. He has frequently toured the United States and Europe, sharing stages with the likes of Bob Dylan, Shawn Colvin, Arlo Guthrie, Hothouse Flowers and many more.
Bowles' compelling and insightful songs have inspired a generation of musicians, evidenced by a recent double-album (“Michigan Music”) compiled as a tribute to Bowles, a project featuring 33 Michigan bands and solo artists. He also has been a regular performer at the annual West Michigan Luthier Concert.
Tickets are only $15 and are available at www.dogwoodcenter.com, through the Dogwood Box Office, downtown Fremont at NCCA-Artsplace. For information, phone 231.924.8885. The Dogwood Center is located one mile east of downtown Fremont.
Registration opens for fall program in the Upper Peninsula
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced today registration is open for its Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program, which is set for Sept. 10-12 in Marquette County.
This will mark the first-ever Michigan BOW fall gathering for women, 18 and older, who are seeking an opportunity to improve their outdoor skills in a relaxed, noncompetitive atmosphere. The traditional February and June gatherings were cancelled earlier this year because of coronavirus precautions.
“Becoming an Outdoors-Woman is a program where each individual is encouraged to learn at her own pace,” said Michelle Zellar, BOW program coordinator in Newberry. “The emphasis is on the enjoyment, fun and camaraderie of outdoor activities and sharing in the success of one another.”
The fall BOW program is sponsored by the DNR and offers instruction in more than 20 different types of activities, including kayaking, wilderness survival, lake and fly fishing, rock climbing, geocaching, shooting sports, hammock camping, basic land navigation and introduction to turkey hunting.
“Volunteer BOW instructors provide basic and advanced teaching that is tailored to each participant's individual ability, helping participants learn the basics in a short amount of time,” Zellar said.
Please take the BOW Participation Survey to provide important information that will help shape future BOW gatherings.
BOW participants in the fall program will stay and take their classes at the UP-Bible Camp, a universally accessible facility overlooking Farmers Lake, which is situated about 20 miles south of Marquette, near Gwinn.
Participants will be housed in a dorm-style facility with amenities, including a sauna, basketball courts, high ropes course, zipline, hiking and biking trails, along with easy access to a beautiful, forested area.
Registration enrollment will be limited to fewer attendees than our traditional summer event which typically hosts over a hundred participants.
“All of our programs typically fill quickly, so early registration is encouraged,” Zellar said.
The $225 registration fee includes all food and lodging, as well as most equipment and supplies. The deadline for registration is Aug. 15, 2021. A limited number of partial BOW scholarships are available to help low-income participants with the cost of registration. The scholarship application deadline is Aug. 6, 2021.
Class information and registration materials are available online at Michigan.gov/BOW. Registrations must be mailed, with payment, to the Newberry Customer Service Center stated on the form.
For more information on the fall BOW program, contact Michelle Zellar at the DNR Customer Service Center in Newberry at 906-293-5131 ext. 4004, or by e-mail at DNRBOW@michigan.gov.
On the Run: A Covid Conversion
By Alexis Mercer
1 bus conversion to RV
We sat on the beach in the summer of 2019 and I listened to my husband plotting with my cousin's husband, John. I was used to this kind of talk. “Let’s build a floating oasis….” or some other kind of grand scheme. They were full of ideas. This time it was “We need to buy a bus and turn it into an RV.” His wife Stephanie and I just smiled and nodded.
“Yes, I’m sure,” we said with a knowing look. We had been here before. All talk. No action.
Fast forward to summer of 2020. The world had been in quarantine since March. Adam was, against my better judgment of course, taking an Amtrak to New Jersey where he had just purchased a 24’ school bus sight unseen. He would immediately turn around and drive it home so as to avoid any hotels.
I couldn’t even begin to contain my shock that this was happening.
“We will have it done by next summer so we can go on vacation even if everything is still shut down,” says Adam.
It wasn’t until the bus pulled in the driveway, extendable stop sign and all, that I figured I better get on board for this project, otherwise I would be left in the dust.
Demolition quickly began, giving our family a project to enjoy together and a long term goal to look forward to despite the despair of the state of the world in a pandemic. We knew next to nothing about renovating a bus. But no time like the present to figure it out.
YouTube videos came in handy. We researched best practices for making this a truly livable and enjoyable experience. We drew out a rough sketch of what we were thinking to make it work for our family of 5. We made a long, long list of what we needed and off we went.
Once the bus was gutted it was time to make decisions about materials that would go back in.
Adam: “Let’s get our own trees milled.”
Me: blank stare
Adam: “No, really. We will cut them down from the property and the tree at your parents’ house that has to come down anyway and I’ll get them milled.”
Me: blank stare
Most people buy wood. Not my husband. Nope. So off we go trying to figure out how to get the massive tree my parents had cut down onto our trailer to get to the Amish to cut. Then I got to enjoy it drying in my garage for the winter months. Who needs two parking spots anyway?
In the meantime we had my dad’s assistance installing the floor. We chose vinyl planks due to their versatility and ease in caring for them. This after the insulation went on the floor and every wall. I remembered the days of riding the school bus in the cold. I wasn’t interested in feeling that freezing again.
Slowly but surely we made improvements. We found a dinette on Facebook Marketplace for $40. A foldout couch removed from a nearly brand new RV for $50. We planned on a bathroom (with just a portable toilet to avoid the difficulty of black water), as much storage room as possible and a kitchen area with a sink.
Once it came time to use the trees, Adam’s dad came in to help with building cabinets, the doors and shelves. His mom did all the staining since by this time we were back to work and school full time in person and some of the smaller details were getting hard to do on our own! Plus she is an expert, so why not let it get done correctly?
For the fridge, sink, and any other electric needs we installed an inverter. We would also bring a generator in case we were camping anywhere without electric for an extended period of time.
My spring joy came from choosing dishes, towels, and accessories. Not too many, of course, because the last thing we wanted was to be stuck in a bus for hours upon hours without any room to even move! I managed to keep it simple.
Choosing paint colors was one of those parts of the project that made me just shake my head. Adam’s vision was to make it like the original Eddie Bauer Bronco colors. Deep blue and tan. But paint colors don’t work the same as just finding an RGB value of a photo of an old Bronco. No, that would be too easy.
What did we end up with? Buckskin and Medium Royal Blue. Which, in my opinion, sounded nothing like what he was going for. I mean...Buckskin? Ugh.
But I’ll admit when applied it looks just fine.
Now that this project was becoming a reality, we allowed ourselves to start planning the trip itself. We were dreaming big. The year was so challenging for everyone. Stress was piled layer upon layer on our shoulders and even though the kids handled it all better than I’m sure we did, they still needed a break. A true vacation.
“East or West” we asked the kids?
“EAST!” they all decided. West could be the next trip. After all, our last adventure before Covid had been to Yellowstone. Time to explore a completely different part of our vast country. This way we could bring the mountain bikes the kids had all acquired during the pandemic (after months of waiting, of course, since everyone else and their brother got one of those as well).
Just the act of planning the vacation was cathartic. I ached to leave on the actual trip so I could begin the process of restoring myself to some normality. Some deep breaths in the mountain air.
The biggest issue arose only about a month before we were set to leave. The air conditioner was not working. Which we never would have known since we hadn’t used it in summer yet. But the thought of driving in the summer humidity without an air conditioner was close to panic inducing for my husband. The place we found in Big Rapids that would be able to fix it (this was outside Adam’s area of expertise) started the process. We were confident it could get done in time but we hadn’t left them enough days to receive parts by the time it got to them, so the day before we left, we picked it up and set our minds that windows down was just going to have to cut it.
Minus that one hiccup, the bus was complete and we were ready. We had done it. Not perfectly of course. But it was a true family project and we were on our way. Now to donn it with a name.
“That there’s an RV, Clark.”
I suppose it had to be named something. And so of course it had to be from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. The bus would be Uncle Eddie.
The trip ended up lasting three weeks. And it was heavenly. Exciting, relaxing, restorative. Exactly what we were dreaming of all those months. We enjoyed two weeks with my parents, sister, and her family (they all had tents while we enjoyed the luxury of the bus). Then we spent the last week exploring more just as our little family.
Nothing could dull the vivid experience. It poured rain for a few days but Eddie was a dry refuge. We traveled hours upon hours on end to get to our next destination but Eddie gave us a way to rest and still relax while on the road. It was a record hot day in the East as we neared New York City but Eddie kept cool in the campsite on the Hudson. Mountains and rivers and valleys and waterfalls. Uncle Eddie got us there.
The variety of the stops on the trip were what made it most exciting.
Niagara Falls, New York: Branches of Niagara Campground
New Hampshire: Monadnock State Park (Gilson Pond Area)
Acadia National Park, Maine: Bass Harbor Campground
Freeport, Maine: Wolfe’s Neck Campground
Massachusetts: Wompatuck State Park
Boston (day trip)
Nantasket to swim in the ocean (day trip)
New Jersey: Liberty Harbor Campground
New York City (took the ferry over for this day trip): 9/11 Memorial Museum, Times Square
Pennsylvania: Ben Franklin RV Park
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia: Mathews Arm Campground
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia: Big Meadows Campground
Pocahontas County, West Virginia: Watoga State Park, Beaver Creek Campground
Pocahontas County, West Virginia: Watoga State Park, Riverside Campground
We soaked in all this trip had to offer. Campfires, s’mores, the ocean spraying us with its powerful surf, the city streets, the Green Monster, hiking sections of the Appalachian Trail, finding new biking paths, Beech Mountain in Acadia National Park, navigating busy streets and the opposite - finding our way in the mountains of West Virginia inside the 13,000 acres of zero cell service and no GPS.
We read books, we laughed, we rested, we wore ourselves out with adventure. We showered when we could and found rivers when no showers were to be found.
I ran everywhere we went. Trails upon trails galore. Once, while in Wompatuck State Park, I was about to jump in Heron Pond, a tiny but unbelievably pristine pond back in the woods, when what popped up to greet me, only inches from my face? The biggest snapping turtle I had ever seen. Followed by another one, who topped the first one’s size, and started fighting the first. I changed my mind about the swim. I like keeping my toes.
I even came across a bear on my run in the Blue Ridge Mountains and made it out alive. (He really didn’t even care that I was there...but let me tell ya...I cared he was there.)
One late afternoon I sat on top of a rock overlooking a 97’ waterfall and the skyline full of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I had descended nearly 900 feet from the campground to get there, so I knew my run back up would be intense. But all I could do was soak in the breathtaking beauty of the scene in front of me.
All the months of stress leading up to this moment left me one breath at a time. I was by myself and couldn’t see another human for hundreds of miles. This was exactly what I had needed. I was flooded with relief; the peace I had been seeking.
And it all started two years ago with two guys on a beach and a brilliant idea...
Book Review: When the Stars Go Dark
By Alexis Mercer
Two topics that render a book undesirable for me to even open are child abduction and death by cancer. I figure there are so many millions of books in the world, why would I bother with topics that terrify me?
So why the book When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain called to me as I wandered through the shelves in a Barnes and Noble in Harrisburg, Virginia, I’ll have no idea. In fairness, a character’s death by cancer wasn’t on the book cover. But child abduction?
Anna Hart is a detective in the San Francisco area who specializes in missing people. But a personal tragedy causes her to escape her everyday life and head to northern California, where she spent the majority of her childhood. While there she gets sucked into investigating a teenager’s disappearance.
While working through the crime she grapples with her own life’s hardships, both past and present. The loss of her adoptive parents, the tragedy that befell her that caused her to leave San Francisco, the trauma of her childhood.
The cover of this book includes a quote by Kristin Hannah: “A powerhouse of a novel that is guaranteed to keep the reader up all night.” At first I thought it meant because the story unfolded so well that I wouldn’t want to stop reading. Which was true. I flew through the book in two days and stayed up much too late doing so. But, at least for me, the quote also meant that I stayed up thinking about the traumas that were so vividly described in this novel.
For whatever reason this book pulled me in at first sight and I am so glad it did. Emotionally heavy, but a great read nonetheless. The next book I read most definitely fell into the “beach read” category, with absolutely nothing of substance, in order to balance out. But the mixture of intensity was a good change of pace.
The National Baby Food Festival got off to a bang with crowds filling the downtown area during kids day to take advantage of the number of businesses, agencies and organizations setting up shop to deliver information and some giveaways. Down the street the carnival got into full swing, the park was the scene of an aerobics class, and lines began to form behind food trucks serving up nachos, corn dogs and of course, the always desirable elephant ears.
When the unlimited rides wristbands went on sale at 5pm the booths were inundated with patrons who took to the variety of rides in droves.
Carnival action continues today while the flea and farm market, the baby photo contest, a martial arts demo, movies in the park and other activities roll out as well.
Check out the schedule at the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce facebook page.
Henning Park court improvements come to fruition
By Ken DeLaat
Photo by Mark Pitzer
It doesn’t take long to recognize the booming popularity of the absurdly named net and paddle game known as Pickleball and nowhere is said popularity more apparent than at the corner of Darling and Maple in Fremont.
There you will find the impressive P-Ball courts constructed a bit over 2 years ago and witness a constant stream of twosomes putting their game up against competitors with skill levels stretching from beginners to ‘if you’re going to be on the court with me you better be a serious player and for pity’s sake learn to stay out of the kitchen’.
Yeah, personal experience.
Adherents of the game are perpetually searching for places to ply their pickleball prowess and most possess the ability to sniff out a potential court from an impressive distance.
And now a new sextet of courts will be drawing pickleballers to Henning Park. Behind a collaborative effort the Newaygo County Parks Department has taken the old tennis courts used for many years as a makeshift place for matches and created a stellar set that will see players from throughout the region taking advantage of the new digs. And one can easily predict there will be a number of pickleballing campers who wander over from their site to knock the ball around a bit.
These are indeed beauties with new fencing, new permanent nets and total resurfacing.
"I want to thank the local Newaygo County Pickleball Club, Newaygo Community Recreation Authority, and Newaygo TIFA for their financial assistance with the project,” said NC Parks Director Nick Smith. “ We have seen a dramatic uptick in users and a lot of new faces on the courts. We hope to see even more people in the future once the word gets out about how great the Park and courts are."
Six more spots to welcome those who have picked up a paddle and joined the ranks of a burgeoning bevy of enthusiasts.
Play on, pickleballers, play on.
And if you’re a novice?
Just try to stay out of the kitchen.
Fremont Library Summer Reading Finale Parties
The Summer Reading Program wraps up soon, beginning with the Children’s Finale Party on Tuesday, July 27th from 10:00-11:00 a.m. Weather permitting, this event will be at Veterans Memorial Park, with the library’s Community Room as a backup location. Keep an eye on the library’s Facebook page and website for updates. Animal Tails Puppet Theater will be at this last Discovery Tuesday, and we’ll also have an ice cream cart to hand out free ice cream bars to kids! Children need to turn in their reading logs by August 6th to be entered into the Grand Prize Drawing, but can continue turning in their reading logs until August 31st to collect their prizes.
For teens, we’ll have a Summer Reading Ending Celebration on Friday, July 30th at 2:00 p.m. in the Community Room. We’ll have food and prize drawings! Teens should turn in their reading logs, prize entries, and collect their prizes by July 30th. It has been so wonderful to see our bulletin board filling up with the book titles that our teens are reading this year! Great job, teens!
Adults should turn in their reading logs and collect their prizes by Friday, August 13th.
Thanks to the generous support of the Friends of the Fremont Area District Library, Fremont Area Community Foundation, Meijer, Spanky’s Pizza, the Koffee Kuppe, We Love Nutrition, Blades Hair Design, SHB Gifts & Décor, and many other sponsors, all summer reading events at the library are free and open to the public. For more information about library programs, visit http://www.fremontlibrary.net, or call 231-924-3480.
Bootstrap Boys & Dueling Pianos highlight weekend concerts
The National Baby Food Festival Committee and Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce would like to invite everyone to come and enjoy family fun in Fremont, home of Gerber Baby Food for the 30th Annual National Baby Food Festival July 21 – 24, 2021. TJ Schmidt and Company amusements will be joining us with their midway and carnival rides! There are many activities planned for all ages, from the young to the young at heart.
To kick off our four-day event, the White Agency Arts and Craft Show will be held in Veterans Memorial Park, July 17th 9 am – 4 pm. With over 50 vendors we have something for everyone! Two Hot Tamales will be set up for lunch, and grab some of Jane Lee’s gourmet glazed popcorn for dessert!
Join us for the National Baby Food Festival .1k run!!!! New this year the .1k run will be located on Sheridan St. from Merchant Ave. to Division Ave. Even if you do not run in your free time, at least join us for this new fun event and you will even receive a t- shirt for participating!
Kids events will take place during the festival sponsored by the Fremont Moose Lodge! Be sure to get your frog and turtle now so you can participate in the frog jumping contest and see if you have the fastest turtle! Look for other children’s activities to be happening!
Thursday, July 22nd from 12 noon to 3 pm State Farm Insurance will be offering FREE child safety seat inspections! Be sure that your children’s safety seats are certified, installed and used correctly! Stop by John Kaminski State Farm Insurance parking lot, located at 726 W. Main Street, Fremont.
Thursday, July 22 and Friday, July 23 is the NBFF Farm & Flea Market in downtown Fremont! Come shop and find the perfect treasure! Booth spots are still available, contact the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce for more information at (231) 924-0770.
We pride ourselves on our FREE entertainment! Wednesday night, Resonate Worship Team will be performing for our Christian Music Night beginning at 7 pm. Thursday we will have a Movie in the Park featuring the movie “Yes Day” with Jennifer Garner, so bring your blankets! Friday evening a local artist, Hector Garcia will be opening for the Bootstrap Boys. Saturday evening, Michael Snell starts off the night with his sounds similar to John Denver. Finishing off the event on the Main Stage are the Dueling Pianos! A fun time for all ages that love music! All entertainment is on the Main Stage in Veterans Memorial Park Stage, downtown Fremont.
The Gerber Products Company and Gerber Life Insurance Grand Parade will step off at 10:30 on Saturday July 24th. Our parade begins at the corner of Pine Street and Gerber Ave. at Fremont Middle School, then heads north on Gerber Avenue to Sheridan Street, and continues east on Sheridan Street to Division, then heads south on Division, ending at Cedar Street.
After watching the parade visit our rides and the National Baby Food Festival Car Show hosted by the Fremont Rotary Club. From 11:00-4:00 stroll through and view that cars from far and near that will be on display, on Main Street, downtown Fremont.
To finish up our festival, join us at the Fremont Lake Swim area with your homemade cardboard boat for our 1st annual Cardboard Boat Regatta! Grab some corrugated cardboard and duct tape, any color, and craft your boat! Join as a family, team or individual. Registration begins at 1:00 pm and racing begins at 1:30. There will be 6 prizes; Division Champs—Fastest Time, Best Boat Name, Best Boat Design, Clipper Cup—Fastest of the Day, Spirit Cup—Best Costumes (Team Theme), Titanic Award—Most Spectacular Sinking—If you’re going down, do it with style! For rules and registration forms please visit www.fremontcommerce.com under the events tab.
Sunday 6:00 pm, we will be holding our Worship in the Park. Join us at Veterans Memorial Park as communities come together in worship.
For more information visit our website, www.fremontcommerce.com. Information is also posted on our Facebook pages, so be sure to like us on Facebook!
Thursday 7PM, Plain Jane and Moose Meals
The penultimate concert in the Vet’s Park series features Plain Jane Glory. a husband-and-wife duo from West Michigan specializing in a brand of Neo-Folk/Americana music.
From their website: “Their live performances often transform coffee houses, breweries, bars, and restaurants into an intimate party that culminates in infectious toe tapping, hand clapping, dancing, hooting and hollering, and all sorts of revelry.”
And who among us couldn’t add a little revelry to our lives?
Come to the concert early and enjoy dinner served by the Fremont Moose Lodge. Serving will begin at 5:30 pm with a menu consisting of pulled pork and pulled chicken sandwiches, potato salad, and a beverage.
Friday 7:30pm, Kickin’ Some Brass
A unique show coming to the Dogwood Friday evening. Well, coming to the Dogwood lawn that is. A free concert featuring some of the best ensemble music to ever hit the grounds of the NC RESA complex will be delivered as the GR Symphony brass quintet performs al fresco.
Unless it rains.
Then they’ll move inside so either way a free chance to hear some seriously talented musicians will be on tap.
Here are details:
Saturday 5:30-8pm, Pizza & Musical Toppings
Did you get a chance to hear the Bernard Sisters when they helped toss out the first songs at the opening week of the Hit The Road Joe patio (pronounced Pah Tay O at N3WH)?
Well they’re coming back and if you were there a few weeks ago, so are you. If not, you need to go. The duo sings songs you know, some you don’t and all with polish and panache.
Solid chance at a good time and good pizza is a lock.
And you can sit in the adult swings while digging into wood fired pies and some righteous tunes.
And Here’s Our Weekly Market Plug (Mata Awaits)
On Friday take the time to hit up the Newaygo version at Brooks Park because despite the construction the vendors are beginning to bring in more enticing items and BIG NEWS…! The market scored the hottest food truck around these days.
Yes folks, Mata Taco, the current rage in portable provisions, will be dishing up their delectables all afternoon…
Well, until they run out.
And they often run out.
If you miss it, head for the Fremont Market Saturday morning 8am-1pm. They will also have a cornucopia of fresh veggies and such BUT...
We haven’t heard that Mata Taco is scheduled to appear.
GRS Brass Quintet at Dogwood Center July 16
Experience a world-class brass quintet ensemble performing for you live at the Dogwood on Friday, July 16 at 7:30 p.m.! This free, outdoor performance on the lawn East of the Dogwood Center will feature a mix of light classical and pops with musicians from the Grand Rapids Symphony brass ensemble.
Musicians include Charley Lea and George Goad on trumpet, Erich Peterson on horn, Chris Haoulihan on trombone and Jacob Cameron on tuba. Bring your lawn chairs or a picnic blanket to enjoy the evening. This program is funded in part by the Fremont Area Community Foundation.
The concert is free and no ticket is necessary to attend. Plan on attending even if it is rainy….we will move indoors to the main state if the weather is bad. For more information please contact the Dogwood Center at 231.924.8885. The Dogwood Center is located one mile east of downtown Fremont, Michigan.
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