By Ken DeLaat
It’s a strange year to be sure.
The parade and doings at Croton are always a good time but not this weekend.
The Hesperia Fun Fest bit the dust earlier this spring as well.
Nearly all festivals have been cancelled and that means their fireworks displays will be equally absent.
But we’re bipeninsular peeps who are resilient, particularly when it comes to having a good time and celebrating a big day.
After all it isn't often one gets a chance to celebrate a 244th birthday.
Man, two hundred and forty four.
I remember when it turned 200. Everything was about the bicentennial, and Lil and I, in our third year of marriage, lived up in Manistee. It was our pre-children era when life was a tad looser than it would become once our family began to grow beyond the two of us.There were a lot of parties if I recall. Beach parties, park parties, house and yard parties, pool parties and it lasted for days because the 4th was on a Sunday so serious celebrators of America’s birthday started in earnest about Wednesday and carried on through the following Tuesday it seemed.
And there were fireworks. Lots and lots of fireworks.
There have always been fireworks.
The first year we were wed we sat down in a softball field near where we lived in Ada as an impressive set of ‘works’ went off above us.
The dozens of mid summer holidays spent at a family cottage on Crystal Lake never disappointed when it came to a colorful showing of pyro-patriotism
In our Grand Rapids years we hit the dazzling downtown displays while sitting on the 6th Street bridge.
The past two decades plus we’ve lived on a lake so fireworks are sort of a part of summer.
And well into fall most years.
Something about proximity to water ignites amateur pyrotechnicians and while generally limited to some bottle rockets and loud bangers most of the summer, the 4th brings forth some impressive collections that complement rather than compete from the various locations. It’s generally a stunning show of firepower.
And of course there is the iconic Ring of Fire.
The flares have been purchased as N3 World Headquarters does its part to give old Hess that slice of magic once again this year.
I’m certain there will still be some large gatherings and by dark those gatherings will likely include some boomers, bangers and explosions of light.
But it’s still a little strange this year.
Here’s hoping birthday 245 arrives with far fewer ‘surprises’ pandemically speaking.
And Speaking of Hess Lake…
If you haven’t taken advantage of the steady stream of food trucks that have made cameo appearances at the site of Smugglers Cove, there will be portable eatatoriums pulling in all weekend.
And it’s an appealing schedule with Sweet Rack’s & Smoking Butts (try the loaded Mac & Cheese) on Thursday while Friday and Saturday Silver Star Cafe will be dealing out some upstanding eats and their Colonel Peltier Sub is on my personal radar. Ohana Ice will cool things off with their shaved ice treats both days as well and Ice Box Ice Cream dishing up some faves.
On Sunday local epicureans Rita and Reuben a.k.a Two Hot Tamales arrive with their celebrated Mexican menu and Ice Box will return for a third day
It looks to be a good weekend.
And hot.The weather folks usually don’t get this amped up unless it’s in anticipation of an impending snow storm, but they are visibly excited while calling for an extended scorcher. This predicted stretch steaminess will give those who like to lament about meteorological matters ample fodder to do so.
And of course we will get to hear the predictable refrain “It’s not the heat, you know, it’s the humidity.”
As if somehow that’s supposed to make any difference whatsoever.
And listen folks, go to the Friday Farmer’s Market at Brooks Park in downtown Newaygo (2-6pm). It has been revitalized with a number of vendors plying their wares and if we want to keep the vendors happy we need to support them and thus allow the market to continue to thrive. At N3WH we’ve purchased pork, procured produce, bought from bakeries, secured some sassy soap and acquired a barn quilt thus far and hey, it’s barely July.
And there are food trucks on hand for a quick bite or a cold drink or you can wander up the road where Newaygo Brewing Co. is serving up their bodacious brews with some alluring alley seating.
The Dragon is open!
About 6 miles of the proposed 47 mile trail around Hardy Pond has been made available for bikers and hikers itching to put the new trail through its paces. Check out the story at https://www.nearnorthnow.com/news/igniting-the-dragon
And again it looks to be a hot one so stay cool, be kind to one another and revel, bipeninsularians, revel.
After all, it’s a birthday party.
"The air - moist, sultry, secretive, and far from fresh - felt as if it were being exhaled into one's face. Sometimes it even sounded like heavy breathing.”-Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume
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