Food trucks, music, a fair, and tons of activities are on tap in Grass Lake this weekend. Photo credit Joseph DeBoe.
“Everybody should be proud of their community, but we are especially proud of Grass Lake – where we came from and what we’re planning for the future,” said Village President Joe DeBoe. “We’ve got good things coming. It may sound cliché, but ‘Grass Lake is a great place to call home.’”
Grass Lake, founded in 1871, is a community filled with pride and one that likes to celebrate with big events. Heritage Day is an annual special day in which the community celebrates its heritage as a farming community and growing up around a key mode of transportation in the 1800s: the railroad.
Heritage Day evolved from the renovation of the Whistlestop Train Depot in downtown Grass Lake, the original train station of the town from those bygone days when the railroad ruled. One can dig deep into the history of the area’s railroad legacy with a visit to the Lost Railway Museum in downtown Grass Lake.
Once just a small arts and crafts day that started on the grounds of the Depot, Heritage Day is now a major arts and crafts show which closes two blocks of downtown Grass Lake. The downtown area will be bustling with people again this Saturday browsing for that special gift to take home or visiting booths of several nonprofit organizations.
Heritage Day runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Starting at 10 a.m., there will be a flag presentation by the area Boys Scouts and VFW groups with a moment of silence in remembrance of Sept. 11, 2001.
Inside the Depot, there will be raffles and a silent auction with drawings to take place at 3 p.m. In the Depot Gardens area, visitors can watch old-time demonstrations. By the old hotel, there will be cows for milking and ponies for roping, as well as a large rabbit to pet.
Visitors also can also view the Jackson County mobile library and Mr. Zick’s Marvelous Motors display along Drake Street.
There will also be several food vendors along Michigan Avenue that will fill the air with the smell of scrumptious burgers, barbecue, and more.
The day will wrap up in style with a street dance put on by Missy’s Little Grass Shack as patrons will dance to the music of the Chill Billies from 6 to 10 p.m.
Sesquicentennial community fair
The Village of Grass Lake is 150 years old this year and the community is celebrating. A kick-off to a summer celebration was held this past spring on May 5, and now this Saturday, Sept. 11, the community will culminate the celebration with a Sesquicentennial Community Fair.
Saturday’s fair is designed after what was common practice back in 1900: The Grass Lake community came together after a successful fall harvest to celebrate with a fair. Foods, animals, crafts, and more were displayed, and prizes were donated by local citizens and businesses.
As part of Grass Lake’s 150th birthday, this fair is designed so that everyone can take part in old-time competitive events, games and displays of local craftsmanship. Adults and youths are welcome to compete for prizes.
The fair takes place at the Grass Lake Events Park pavilion where fair entries will be open for public viewing from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Entries will be accepted from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. on event day. Prizes and ribbons will be awarded to first, second, and third place entries in each category.
Adult categories include foods, vegetables, homegrown floral displays, home décor, collections, family and community history, and photography.
Youth categories include food, floral displays, photography, and collections.
In addition to the above categories in the fair competition, the fun will also feature a Beard and Mustache Contest. This contest is a rekindling of Grass Lake’s Beard Contest from its centennial celebration held back in 1971. For Saturday’s contest, they are looking for great “yeards” – from “handlebars” to “pencil” mustaches to “lamb chops” and goatees.
Other fun at the Sesquicentennial Community Fair includes an Ice Cream Social put on by the Grass Lake Historical Society and square dancing from 3 to 5 p.m., which will include instruction and a demonstration.