Ok things are busying up what with it being right on the cusp of the holiday season and just days away from the four-day-food-and-shopping extravaganza known as Thanksgiving weekend. Man, where does the time go?
So down to it.
If you have never been on one of the epicurean expeditions Chef T. has commandeered in Croton you have not truly experienced dining in Newaygo County.
Her dinners are legendary and are intermingled in a most satisfying way with her narrative describing each dish and how it came to join her culinary vitae.
These feasts are held at Hit The Road Joe and you need to make reservations. They fill up quickly so if you miss out, ask to be put on their email list.
This Saturday, Nov. 17th it will be a journey to bayou country with a Cajun Dinner.
And it will not disappoint.
231.652.6020 for info.
The coolest seasonal gifting opportunity in our area tosses open their doors for a grand opening as NCCA-Artsplace in downtown Fremont kicks off the annual Holiday Artists Market. From 10am-2pm Saturday you can browse the artful displays of a wide variety of creative items that beg to be gift wrapped by the fine folks of the Artsplace. Having always been a bit challenged by the wrapping process I stand in awe of their prowess in this area.
The Market will be open through December 29 but opening day is always fun and the transformation that has taken place to set the stage for this tasteful little treasure of a store is always worthy of a look or two.
Mary Poppins is on stage for their second weekend performances at the Grant Fine Arts Center. LionHeart does a great job with all their shows but their musicals have generally been the centerpiece
Check out the review then make plans to attend because community theater is truly a wonderful asset and deserving of our support.
If you’re going through some fireworks withdrawal….particularly if you live on a lake where you get to enjoy them popping off nearly every day all summer long….head to the center of downtown Sparta for a holiday celebration as they kick off start the Christmas season with a fireworks display at 7PM. You can view the winter illumination from the top of the bridge and parking lot near Balyeat Field and enjoy some hot chocolate and treats while mingling under the early night sky for this Santa's Sparkle light. Downtown shops will be open and apparently there’s a marshmallow roast starting at 5pm which can only mean one thing….s’mores.
The Santa Parade in Grand Rapids begins at around 8:50am Saturday morning for those who are fond enough of parades to drive into downtown GR on Saturday morning, find a place to park and good spot to stand so you can freeze your behind off and leave early to find someplace warm.
It’s also usually on tv starting at 9am so….
On Sunday at 2pm There will be a free showing of the documentary Dawnland at Loomis Lodge presented by the Native Circle of Newaygo County. I recall seeing this film and being profoundly moved by what unfolded on the screen.
Here’s an article on the event.
Lots of stuff coming up so count on us to deliver the skinny on a variety of happenings hereabouts.
America’s practically perfect favorite nanny has landed at the Grant Public Schools Fine Arts Center, and she is creating quite the stir. LionHeart Productions presents its latest fall musical, Disney’s Mary Poppins, and they have pulled out all the stops for this show. “We’ve stretched LionHeart in directions it has never tried before,” states Director Ron Jenkins. “It’s been a challenge on many fronts, but well worth it and I believe our patrons will agree.”
Disney’s Mary Poppins is based on the stories of P. L. Travers, and tell of a magical nanny who arrives just in time to save the Banks’ family from repeating the mistakes of the past. Mary Poppins is played by Annette Deaton who brings just the right amount of charm and sass to her role. Her voice is melodic and beautiful. Counter to Deaton is Mat Emerick who plays the role of the lovable chimney sweep, Burt. Mat’s experience with clowning adds just the right amount of fun and humor to his role. The Banks’ children, Michael and Jane, are played by Steven Sower and Jordyn Fortuna respectively. Their youthful voices are a nice blend with Deaton’s, and they carry themselves with every bit of professionalism.
George and Winifred Banks, Michael and Jan’s parents, are played by Mark Walters and Julia Coles. Mark plays the tight strung, conservative banker adeptly, and Julia will have your heart as the confused yet willful wife of George.
Mary Poppins sees some regular LionHeart performers return. Graydon Gesler playing the dimwitted house boy, Robertson Ay against Kathy Jenkins’ grouchy house keeper, Mrs. Brill is pure comedic gold. Sharolyn Metternich plays the “Holy Terror,” Miss Andrew as though she was born for this role, and Jack Long lends his joviality to the role of Admiral Boom. While not new to LionHeart, but new to the stage is Dana McKnight playing Miss Lark, who I might add is unfortunately upstaged by her dog, Willoughby, played by the lovable Boston Terrier, Ellie. And Kate Sower will melt your heart in her vocal role as the Bird Woman. The ensemble sees a mix of youth and adults, and are kept quite busy through the show with a minimum of five costume changes each.
Speaking of costumes, Kathy Jenkins and her crew of stichers have done a marvelous job. Truth is after the show I wondered if the costumes stole the performance. That’s all I heard about; “those costumes.” Mike Gesler’s set design is every bit a part of the show with many “special” features woven in to help bring the magic of Mary Poppins to life. The pit, directed by Courtney King, gives a wonderful performance in their own right. And the tech side, so often overlooked, adds wonderfully to all the drama and excitement.
I really do not want to give away all the secrets and wow factor that LionHeart Productions has put into this production, but suffice it to say, you will not be disappointed. Plus who doesn’t like singing along to such favorites as Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Step In Time, and Chim-Chimney. Mary Poppins runs this weekend Friday, November 16 at 7:30, and Saturday, November 17 at 2:00 and 7:30. Tickets are $15 for adults, and $10 for students and seniors. You can purchase tickets online through lionheartproductions.org, at the Fine Arts Center Box Office any day from 3:00-6:00 pm, or on the day of the performance.
By Charles Chandler
Many Newaygo County fishermen think November is about the perfect month for chasing steelhead. The oaks and maples along the river are showing off their fall colors, and on a given day the weather can still be pleasant. The eagles, hawks, and waterfowl are not as spooky and the river appears be slowing down and getting ready for a winter's nap.
Not all is slowing down because steelhead fishermen know this is that wonderful time of the year when those chrome missiles leave the depths of Lake Michigan and streak up the rivers to their favorite winter hangouts. Steelhead are called the “King of Trout” and each autumn one of these fish brought to the net is a well-earned trophy. They are wary, reluctant to bite and once hooked, a challenge to land. At the end of the fishing day steelhead fishermen most often talk about the reel-screaming runs and those signature tail-walking, tippet-breaking jumps, rather than the number of fishes brought to hand. There are a couple of tricks that you can use to up your odds of getting a photo of one of these beauties: hire an elite river guide and choose your fishing partner wisely.
November 1 was perfect when this N3 correspondent met elite fishing guide, Nathan Hulst of Hulst Outfitters and fishing partner, James Helgemo, for a day of fall steelhead fishing on the Muskegon River. Nate has been guiding on the Muskegon for about 25 years. Jim is a retired White Cloud school teacher, Master angler, a former Fenwick Rod representative and fly-fishing instructor on the famous rivers around Bozeman, Montana. On this day there was about 65 years of steelhead fishing experience in the boat. Both Jim and I have our own riverboats and regularly chase steelhead on the Muskegon with friends and family, often fishing the same favorite spots. Curious minds might ask why, with that amount of experience and equipment, would they hire a guide? Because it makes for a fun, less stressful day of more productive fishing.
Each day these fishing guides like Nate have to solve a very complicated puzzle for their clients. To consistently catch these “King of Trout”, the guide has to solve a rubik's cube of variables while interacting with clients, watching the weather, reading the water, untangling lines, dodging hooks and all while the clock is ticking. When you fish with a guide it is a busman’s holiday and you can sit back and relax because you don’t have to work the day's puzzle. Jim and I agree we love our sport but would not be a river guide for all the money in Fremont.
The launch point for the day was Mystery Creek. We loaded into Nate’s custom guide boat or as we think of it, the brown magic carpet. With a push of the throttle, we were flying down the river watching the beautiful fall foliage roll by. We stopped at one of Nate’s hot spots and the game was on. The gear of choice was centerpin rigs and the steelhead plat du jour was 8mm custom-painted magic guide beads. It should be mentioned that steelhead fishermen are quite unrealistic about their sport, most addicted, most superstitious and all believe in magic.
As we watched our indicators (floats) drift through yesterday’s hot spots, the boat chatter began. When we saw a Great Blue Heron wading along the shore the conversation turned to the challenge the Muskegon rainbow and brown trout are having. According to those in the know, this year the rainbow trout population on the Muskegon River was decimated. The likely causes were the unfortunate timing of maintenance on Croton Dam with the lack of rain resulting in low water levels, minimal flow and excessively warm water temperatures. Trout simply cannot survive in water temperatures like we had in the Muskegon River this summer.
It is suggested that another ongoing factor in their demise is predation by the growing numbers of Great Blue Herons that are stalking the riverside. These voracious fish catchers have learned where the fish hatchery trucks dump fingerling trout. They know that after being dumped at the boat ramps and bridges these small trout hang around for several days making them an easy meal. The river guides say that it is rare to land a Muskegon River rainbow trout that does not have a scar from a near miss by the dagger-like beak of the Great Blue Heron.
After giving the herons what for, we are off again and flying up the river to the next secret spot. Nate is constantly changing the puzzle pieces trying to find that elusive combination of factors that will elicit that magical bite.
It is very dramatic when a hot fall steelhead bites. It typically freezes your reflexes and the decision-making part of your brain. When you hook one of these bullets a good steelhead guide knows that usually the battle is lost in the first few seconds. He will stand six inches from your ear and scream as loud as he can, “DON’T TOUCH THAT REEL”, “HOLD THE ROD UP”, or “REEL, REEL, REEL.” Sometimes this works and your body reacts automatically, but most often not.
The first matchup for the senior correspondent resulted in a total beatdown by one of the bright silver acrobats. The fish cartwheeled across the river like an Olympic gymnast, as I predictably dropped the rod tip giving the fish of dreams enough slack to dive into a world-class log jam, breaking the spider web tippet. There is nothing like that feeling when the line goes limp and your friends quietly tell you, “It's gone.”
After one of these heartbreaking moments, if you have chosen your guide and fishing friends well, they will comfort you and help you recover some sense of self-respect. In this case, a short break was recommended so Jim broke out the greasy donuts and sliders. Hot coffee was poured all around, Jim fired up one of his trademark cigars and someone told a joke. While we drank coffee, we did the obligatory instant replay, shedding all personal blame for the previous loss (kind of like the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboy football coaches do at the end of the season). By the time the denying and lying and coffee break was over, hands had stopped shaking and Nate had tied on another magic bead. It was time to get back in the ring.
So went the day on one of Newaygo County’s great rivers -- zipping along the river on a brown flying carpet, chasing steelhead, sharing sandwiches and coffee and telling those “Do you remember that big fish…?” stories with friends.
It was truly a thrilling and magical day on the Muskegon River.
For a day on the river, whether new to the sport or an experienced veteran, there are many different methods and types of gear you can use to fish for these great sporting fish. Additionally, there are many quality river guides in our area that will accommodate your skill levels and preferences.
For a variety of very good reasons I always recommend two Guide Outfitters: Nate Hulst and Kevin Feenstra and his guides. These outfitters are usually booked a year in advance so make your appointments early and wait impatiently. More details can be found on their websites: http://www.michiganriverguide.com/ and http://feenstraoutdoors.com/wordpress/
Sidebar: Sports fishing on the Muskegon River makes a significant contribution to the Newaygo County economy. During peak fishing season you will see cars from a variety of states. We have fishing friends living in Denver, Kansas City and Dallas that come each year to fish for Michigan steelhead. It is strongly argued that you have to fish the storied rivers of Oregon, Idaho, Washington or British Columbia to find steelhead fishing as we have here in our home waters. The local guides, lodges, B&Bs, fly shops, custom boat builders, car spotters, and restaurants all receive a share of the proceeds delivered up by these fishermen.
As a cautionary note, our Western Michigan salmon and steelhead are a fragile resource and must be carefully monitored and managed. As the reputation of the Muskegon fishery grows so does the number of fishermen. All factors in the life cycle of these sporting fish are important and impact the health and numbers of these migratory fish. These include the impact of invasive species on their food chain, the DNR stocking programs, the quality and amount of the water in the Muskegon watershed, their predators like Pike, Lamprey, Heron, Osprey, Eagles, Kingfishers, Mink, Otters, and the number of fishermen and the “catch and keep” creel limits. All fish and their environments can take only so much stress, be it from loss of habitat, over-fishing, predation or changes in the larger environment. Many of the rivers are losing their steelhead population and in many of their former ranges, they are being listed as extinct or an endangered species. We cannot take our Western Michigan rivers or these great sporting fish for granted.
NCCA-Artsplace Winter Community Photography Contest
Photos feature last year's award winners
The NCCA-Artsplace Winter Community Photography Contest is an event that anyone can enter and showcases the season as we turn toward the winter months. Entry deadline is Tuesday, December 4 by 5:30 p.m.
This free contest is for all ages and all levels of skill. All entries will have “Baby, It’s Cold Outside!” as the theme. Participants may submit up to two entries. Each entry must be an 8”x10” unframed photograph.
All entries will be on display December 7 through January 5 in the corridor gallery at NCCA-Artsplace. First, second and third place ribbons will be awarded on December 7 at 5:30 p.m. just prior to Fremont’s Holiday Parade.
Registration forms for the competition are available at NCCA-Artsplace, 13 East Main Street, downtown Fremont or call 231.924.4022. The guidelines and forms may also be printed from www.ncca-artsplace.org or click here!
Magician Baffling Bill at the Dogwood Center on December 7
Join magician Baffling Bill for a spectacular holiday show of magic and illusion at the Dogwood Center on Friday, December 7 at 7:30 p.m. for “Baffling Bill’s Magic of Christmas Show”! With over 30 years of experience as an educator/entertainer, Baffling Bill knows how to make everyone have fun through dazzling magic, audience participation, and non-stop laughter!
Let the fun begin! Card tricks, illusions, rabbits, and puzzling magic! Things will disappear and re-appear later in the show when you least expect it. Be ready to giggle, laugh and then wonder… How did he do that? You will be astounded by classic feats of magic, as well as the magical appearance of Santa Claus!
The show will appeal to both children and adults and is perfect for the entire family. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 18 and under. Purchase your tickets through the Dogwood Center Box Office, NCCA-Artsplace in downtown Fremont, or on-line at www.dogwoodcenter.com. For information, phone 231.924.8885. The Dogwood Center is located one mile east of downtown Fremont.
Rooftop photos of the progress being made on the Dogwood Center project aimed at creating easier access for all patrons.
Make no mistake about it the holidays are looming now and what better way to usher in the 6 week seasonal sprint than a couple of opportunities to see what crafters have come up with this year.
Friday from noon-2pm the students and staff at the Education and Activity Center on the NC RESA campus will be holding a Holiday Craft Sale. This is their second time around with the craft show and the first drew some pretty rave reviews. If you’re cruising about the Fremont area Friday afternoon stop in. The EAC is a very cool program and you will be surprised at the items they have created.
Saturday it gets serious when the annual Jingle Mingle arrives at Fremont Middle School.
This is the big tamale of holiday markets in these parts with a vast variety of vendors, a considerable caravan of customers and that backdrop of Happy Holidays spirit infusing the atmosphere.
The action begins at 9am and runs to 3pm. For more info contact the folks at the Fremont Chamber at 231.924.0770
Want to take in a little sweet soulful music in a club-like atmosphere while enjoying a welcome to the weekend brewski or glass of wine?
The Dogwood Center’s Black Box is hosting Alex Guthrie Friday night starting at 7:30pm.. Chances are you might recognize him from a popular TV commercial featuring Jennifer Hudson however it will be his heartfelt sound and compelling lyrics that will capture your attention.
Mary Poppins is making an appearance in Grant this weekend as LionHeart Production presents their annual musical Friday at 7:30pm, Saturday at 2:00pm and 730pm and Sunday at 2:00pm at the Grant Fine Arts Center.
Looking to rock it out a little? The Guinness Brothers will be at the River Stop Saloon in downtown Newaygo Friday night.
One of our area football teams remains in the hunt for postseaon glory as the Holton Red Devils take on the Mendon Hornets at one of the nicer facilities in our area.
Come to Holton at 1pm and you will see how the community has embraced this team. The stadium will be rocking regardless of the weather because these fans are dedicated and devoted to this gritty group of players who have already taken their school into unknown playoff territory and look to add a regional title to the trophy case.
Ah November the penultimate month of the year and the opening act, the warm-up if you will, to December. The trees have begun shedding their fall wardrobes and there seems to be a little more chill in the air.
We at N3 World Headquarters realize there are leaves to rake, a few odds and ends to put away and maybe a few errands to catch up on as the winter prep continues but weekends need to have a bit of fun inserted amongst the chores, right? The old ‘all work and no play’ thing is real and no one aspires to be a dull boy so here’s a few ideas for a distraction or two.
While we are generally impressed with the collections that grace the walls of the Jansma Gallery at NCCA-Artsplace the current “Thread of an Idea” exhibit is truly exceptional. These bold, innovative and texturally rich pieces will expand an appreciation for the creativity involved with fiber art.
There is a reception for the exhibition Friday from 530-7pm but the exhibit will remain until November 9 so make sure you get there before next Friday.
The Fremont HS Theater is presenting “The Addams Family” Friday and Saturday at the Dogwood Center Main Stage. Our community is fortunate to be home to a wealth of young talent including the thespian throng that will take to the stage for this production.
And while you’re there, check out the work being done on the Dogwood, a project that will allow easier access into the facility. Great project, great venue.
Our Ms. Wirts, the cheesecake baking, Megan Again column creating, consummate stand-up maven will be hosting the ‘Make It Spicy’ Comedy Show at Ridge Cider Co. this Saturday from 7-10pm. There are several acts prepared to test their comedic talents and given the title one might assume the evening will be aimed at an adult audience.
Looking to take in some live music this weekend?
Two worthy options will be landing at the River Stop Saloon in Newaygo this weekend .
The Intolerables bring their distinctive sound in Friday starting at 8pm and on Saturday Jack Leaver will be entertaining Saloon-goers also beginning at 8pm.
Check out either or both if you feel the need to satisfy that weekend craving for good tunes played in a fun venue. They won't disappoint.
There is nothing quite like a high school football playoff game and when it’s on a Saturday afternoon all the better. If you’re a Lion fan (Newaygo, not that perpetually disappointing team from Detroit) they will be taking on the Wildcats of Montague in a 1pm contest over there by the lakeshore.
Holton will be doing the Friday Night Lights thing down in Decatur a town in the southern part of Van Buren County beginning at 7pm.
Go Lions and On Holton!
Newaygo North Country Trail Section 13 – 16 mile Rd. to Lake County and back
Distance: 6.03 miles
By Bret Brummel
Sports schedules, increased responsibility at work, and Michigan weather made it difficult to find the time to run the last section of the trail. Anna and I made the decision that Sunday Oct. 28 would be the day rain or shine. We only had 3 miles to go to reach the Lake County line, so we decided we would run out and back to avoid someone having to make the long drive to help us drop a vehicle at the finish. We hopped into our van with the temperature a balmy 40 degrees hoping the rain would stop by the time we reached 16 mile road. It did, for a little while.
Anna led us in our warm up stretches dressed in her rain resistant soccer jacket and running tights, while I was in a long sleeve tech race shirt and shorts. As my body began to shiver, it felt like she was leading us in every stretch ever invented by mankind. I finally jogged up to the trail to find a spot for our race selfie hoping she would get the hint that my 47-year old body needed to run to warm up, not stretch. We took our selfie and Anna led us up the trail.
The rain had stopped as we ran up the leaf covered single track trail. We were led past a few marshy areas noticing that most of the colorful leaves had fallen since our last run. At the half mile mark, the trail ran through some wetlands that had a plank foot bridge to guide us through the swamp. The rain had made the planks slippery, so we had to slow our pace to make sure we didn’t trip. We crossed the swamp safely when the rain began to fall. At the 1.5-mile mark, we stopped to take a picture as the rain intensity increased. Anna put her hood over her head to keep her hair dry and we continued to the Lake County Line.
When the voice on my phone announced that we had run 3 miles, we had reached our goal. I stopped Anna and we took a moment to celebrate. Unfortunately, there was no banner, marching band or donuts waiting at the finish. Although, we wouldn’t have fully appreciated any of those things in the pouring rain anyway. I told Anna we should have a sign made with our picture on it to mark the Newaygo/Lake county line. We did take a picture and recorded a video at the finish. Watching the video when we got home was hysterical. I mentioned the wrong date and at one point sounded like Elmer Fudd. I should have probably stuck with the still shot.
The 3 miles back to the van went much quicker. I could tell Anna was completely healthy because we ran negative splits for each of the three miles. With a half mile to go, Anna sprinted to the finish while I struggled to keep up 30 yards behind. She greeted me at the finish with “This was one of our best runs ever!” What Anna doesn’t understand is, to me, every run was the best run ever.
We did it! I can’t believe we actually ran the entire Newaygo County portion of the North Country Trail. It was quite an incredible journey. Because I’m a math guy, I feel the need to share our final statistics. We broke up the trail into 13 legs totaling 67.57 miles and our total running time was 12 hours 17 minutes. I need to thank my wife Allison for being willing to sacrifice her time to help us drop a vehicle at the finish and bringing us to the start of each leg. Thanks to my son Ryan for transporting us a few times and joining us on a few runs. Thanks to Near North Now for encouraging me to write about our journey. I was overwhelmed at the number of people who took the time to read each installment. The biggest thanks to my running partner Anna. The time I got to spend with her on each leg was definitely one of my top 5 Dad moments. I wonder what we’ll do next?
The fun won’t end with Halloween night this year because Fremont High School Theatre is bringing The Addams Family Musical to the stage at Dogwood Center for the Performing Arts on November 1, 2, 3.
Wednesday Addams (Lizzy Faulkner), the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family – a man her parents have never met. And if that weren’t upsetting enough, Wednesday confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother. Now, Gomez Addams (Colton Yuhasz) must do something he’s never done before – keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia (Jordyn Doran). Everything will change for the whole family (Alex Tillery as Uncle Fester, Ainsley Jahr as Grandma, Katie Gebhart as Pugsley, and Aidan Petz as Lurch) on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s ‘normal’ boyfriend and his parents (Aiden Ekkel, Mateo Rodriguez and Rebeka Barnes).
Tickets are $12 for adults and $7 for students, and are available through the Dogwood Center Box Office, at ArtsPlace in downtown Fremont, or online at www.dogwoodcenter.com.
Alex Guthrie will perform in the Dogwood Center's Black Box on Friday, November 9 at 7:30 p.m. Guthrie is an Atlanta based "earthy, soul, pop" artist who is turning heads across the states. With the infusion of different genres, Guthrie brings audiences together through brilliant lyrics and an expressive voice.
Most recently, Guthrie performed the National Anthem at SunTrust Park for the Atlanta Braves, voted “Most Popular” Emerging Artist at the 2018 Summerfest in Milwaukee, opened for Smash Mouth at the Coca Cola Roxy for the Arby’s Foundation Dream Big Event, and perhaps, most notably, Guthrie has been noted as “the guy from the Jennifer Hudson commercial.” The now-infamous American Family Insurance commercial that features him playing in Atlanta’s Woodruff Park when the Grammy Award-Winning singer Jennifer Hudson surprises Guthrie and sings along to Bill Wither’s beloved “Lovely Day.” The commercial has played on national television and radio, resulting in new opportunities and heightened awareness for Alex Guthrie, his band and his music. Click here and check it out!
Guthrie and his band have performed events that have included 30A Songwriter’s Festival in Florida, Wire and Wood Songwriter’s Festival in Georgia, Wheeler Opera House in Colorado, Jammin’ Java Listening Room in Virginia, and the Elbo Room in Chicago.
In 2015, Guthrie and his band were awarded the Georgia Americana Artist of the Year, an astounding achievement that brought his music attention and recognition. Within a short span of time, Guthrie was opening up for national touring artists including Kelly Clarkson. A new album is currently being recorded and is expected to be released in spring 2019.
Tickets are $15.00 and are available through the Dogwood Center Box Office, NCCA-Artsplace in downtown Fremont, or on-line at www.dogwoodcenter.com or just click here. For information, phone 231.924.8885. The Dogwood Center is located one mile east of downtown Fremont.
Features and Fun
Concerts, Plays, Happenings, Local Recipes, Gardening, Entertainment, Charities, Fundraisers, upcoming events, Theater, Activities, Tech, and much more.
“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.”
- Eric Qualman