Of Festivals, Fall, Fine Art, And Fun
By Ken DeLaat
Fall often means festivals and believe me this month has been an absolute banner year for these celebrations in our parts.
We started September by looking in at the Logging Fest in Newaygo, a fun-filled frolic in celebration of the tremendous impact the industry had in forming our community and this year’s version was a huge hit, topped off by...
...the log-rolling competition that drew a rather enormous and enthusiastic crowd to witness these well balanced athletes perform their magic.
The following weekend Ms. Lil and I made our annual visit to the Wheatland Music Festival for their 43rd gathering. Our first one was number 2 in 1975 and we have missed only a couple in that span which makes us not only avid music aficionados, but also fairly old, I guess. It’s a post-Labor Day ritual (though the first one we attended was in August I believe) that always brings a smile, some enjoyable re-uning with folks we seem to only encounter there and a lot of great listening.
Weekend 3 and it was the Irish Music Festival where Lil’s dance group the Cedar Creek Cloggers took to the stage and wowed their audience as they so often do. This is by a long shot the finest gathering our area has to offer with countless interesting venues to visit, a wonderful array of vendors, superb musical entertainment, good eats and drinks and more guys in skirts (kilts) than I have seen since a mid 1980’s October road trip when my lifetime spousal companion and I stumbled upon the International Starlight Festival (now called the Fantasia Fair) a transgender celebration of diversity that was in full bloom in Provincetown Cape Cod.
But kilts aren’t skirts of course and it was refreshing to see the vast number of men who, whether genetically or vicariously Irish, honored the heritage in costume.
Last weekend Trail Town, a festival still in its infancy at the age of two, proved to be a rousing success as it builds on the rich array of outdoor entertainment and activity we are so fortunate to have around us. The turnout increased markedly from last year, the kayak and trail races were well populated and pleasing to participants and the two days enjoyed some of the finest weather in Mom Nature’s arsenal for this time of year.
And currently in the city to our south is one of the most unique gatherings to be found anywhere, ArtPrize.
There are several local representatives at this rather incredible endeavor that draws tens of thousands to the Furniture City (more recently known as ‘Beer Town’ which you must admit sounds a bit more fun than the former since nobody ever said 'hey since we're in town let's go out and grab a coffee table') and everywhere one goes art is thriving from city street corners and sidewalks to the bars, banks, stores, museums, and other venues who are offering a dazzling array of every form of artistic expression one can imagine.
And speaking of art there is no better canvas than the one brought forth in the coming weeks as this region of richness we enjoy explodes with the natural beauty of autumn in the Mitten. We are just scratching the surface of what promises to be another masterpiece of color from the dramatic autumnal skies to the blazing glory of the trees. Sunrise reaches our bedroom each morning (barring the occasional cloud cover) and this time of year seems to bring out the best ones while sunsets during fall seem to be in a heated competition with the trees in a one-upmanship battle of beauty.
And now we are about to enter October a month that will feature a new Festival in Grant called Harvest Moon, the playoffs for high school sports, Halloween, our 43rd anniversary, and a looming road trip the end of the month to visit three of the four most intelligent, good looking, personable, and downright likeable grandchildren to be found anywhere.
You know those T-shirts with a variety of clever poses that declare with such soft assertion, “Life is Good”?
They’re close but only partly correct.
Life is just utterly and unquestionably outstanding.
“And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.”-Kurt Vonnegut
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