Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Nearly 130 Artists & Crafters At 34th Wild Blueberry Festival in Paradise

Paradise, Michigan - - Friday, August 17, the Wild Blueberry Festival, established in 1984, will begin with its highly attended Blueberry Brunch at 9 AM until noon each day.  Some 130 artisans ranging from Mari-time arts, oil and acrylic paintings, refurbished furniture, herbalist, metal sculptures, fishing lures, fiber artists, chefs, and jewelers will be descending on Paradise at the Whitefish Township Community Center.  94% of the artists hail from Michigan, 31% from the Upper Peninsula.  The art show is open from 9 – 5 Friday, 9 -5 Saturday, and 9 – 4 Sunday. 

Making the Wild Blueberry Festival extraordinary is the broad range of entertainers roaming through the arts and crafts show and performing live on stage within the community center.  This year’s entertainers include the always popular juggler/daredevil/magician from Sault Ste Marie, Chet Mitchell; Jewls the Clown, Doc Pawlaczyk’s Family Medicine Man Show, Papa Crow, Michael Deren as an 1875 Schooner Captain, a  mime, Michael Lee, Carl “Bearfoot” Behrend,  Richard Paul, Ventriloquist,  Soleil Garcia-Johnson, Pianist, and The Blue Water Ramblers.   2018 is the second year that the Buggy Down Carriage Company will be offering a petting zoo and pony-ring rides for children of all ages at the Whitefish Township Community Schools, slightly north of the community center on M-123 from noon until 3PM Friday and Saturday, and from 10 until 1 pm on Sunday.    Details for the weekend’s schedule and entertainers can be found in a Wild Blueberry Festival brochure available at Visitor’s centers in the area or www.WildBlueberryFestival.org.

Don’t forget to stop by the Blueberry Bake Sale inside the community center; open from 9 – 5 PM Friday and Saturday and 9-4 PM on Sunday.  Delectable treats available include handmade Wild Blueberry Pie, muffins, Wild Blueberry Sauce, and buckle.  A popular treat is the Blue Streak made with a piece of Wild Blueberry Pie, topped with vanilla ice cream, wild blueberry sauce, and whipped cream.   Whole pies and jars of Wild Blueberry Sauce will be available as well.  Oh, don’t ask for cherry pie, as this is the Wild Blueberry Festival.  Each year, someone asks for Wild Blueberries.  They are available for the picking along the trails and two tracks of Whitefish Township.

Since its inception the Wild Blueberry Festival has offered Wild Blueberry related competitions. 
This year is no different.  Friday at 2:30 pm and Saturday at 2:30 pm enthusiastic children will be meeting at the Souvenir Tent at the community center to get organized for the Blueberry Pie Eating Contest sponsored by the Berry Patch in Paradise.

Friday and Saturday’s evening Blueberry Jamboree offers free buggy rides from Sawmill Creek at 6 PM until Dusk with the Buggy Down Carriage Company.   Carl “Bearfoot” Behrend will be performing from 6 PM – 7 PM at Sawmill Creek Park, Friday evening, kicking off this year’s Blueberry Jamboree. A locally popular guitarist, Raan McLean is headlining, the Friday evening Blueberry Jamboree at Sawmill Creek located just north of the Paradise Inn at 7:30 PM and will be performing Saturday evening from 6 PM  -7 PM, kicking off Saturday evenings Blueberry Jamboree. Project 906 will be headlining Saturday evening beginning at 7:30 PM.  Bring your favorite lawn chairs and get comfortable for this popular outdoor concert.

The 2018 Wild Blueberry Festival Chairperson, Wendy Skeans extends her sincerest appreciation to the many volunteers that contribute to the success of each year’s festival.  The steering committee of 12 volunteers meets a short time after the festival, to review what worked and didn’t work, and they begin plans for the next year.   This is one major event in the Whitefish Township Community that utilizes residents, seasonal residents, and visitors from downstate.  From pie building done in July, to pie baking and serving it takes many hands to support the entire event.  In appreciation to the community funds raised by the festival a given back to the community; two years ago, the festival contributed equipment to the Whitefish Township Fire Department. This last year the festival contributed to the library, the school’s playground improvement fund, winter decorations and new summer banners for the Paradise community. 

The ever popular Souvenir Tent will be offering popular t-shirts, sweatshirts, and assorted accessories to commemorate the festival throughout the weekend.  The festival chairperson expressed appreciation to the many donations from area businesses for the Fish Bowl activity and the corporate sponsors: Cloverland Electric, the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs, and the Hiawatha Telephone Company. The Fish Bowl , game of chance,  will be available inside the community center from 11 to 4 PM each day.  It is a popular activity for people at all ages.

Recognizing the culture and heritage of the Wild Blueberry in the Paradise area, the Wild Blueberry Festival Committee with the support of the Paradise Area Chamber of Commerce has developed a great program for 2018. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Working Together In Support of the Michigan Lighthouse Festival

L - R: Joanne Cook, Paradise Area Chamber of Commerce, Nikki Craig, Paradise Area Tourism Council, Marge Ellenberger, Michigan Lighthouse Festival.

Michigan Lighthouse Festival Director, Marge Ellenberger extended sincerest appreciation to the sponsors of the Third Michigan Light Festival, August 3, 4, 5, 2018 in Paradise, Michigan.  Marge gave a plaque of appreciation to Joanne Cook, Paradise Area Chamber of Commerce, President, and Nikki Craig, Paradise Area Tourism Council, Vice- President.  The plaque will be on display in the visitor’s center in Paradise and the Whitefish Township Community Center during the festival.   

The three lighthouses in the 2018 Michigan Lighthouse Festival's beam are the Crisp Point Lighthouse, Point Iroquois Lighthouse, and Whitefish Point's Light Station.  Each lighthouse has its own unique history and group of individuals that are involved in the preservation of the structure and its related stories.  Sincerest appreciation was expressed to Bruce Lynn, Great Lakes Historical Society Director, Rick Brockway, Crisp Point Light Historical Society, President, and Kari Vanderheuel, US Forest Service for their contributions to the success of the festival.  This, the third Michigan Lighthouse Festival, incorporates a kick-off banquet dinner and concert, The Gordon Lightfoot Tribute, held at the Bay Mills Resort & Casinos in Brimley, Michigan.  Special programs will be held at each lighthouse Saturday and Sunday. More specific details about the festival are available at www.MichiganLighthouseFestival.com  At the Whitefish Township Community Center, located south of Paradise on State Route M-123 there will be a Lighthouse Market Place,  various lighthouses will be sharing information about their specific programs. Booths and vendors with arts and crafts of lighthouse related memorabilia will be available.  

Additional sponsors of the 3rd Michigan Lighthouse Festival are the Sault Ste. Marie C.V.B., Newberry Area Chamber of Commerce, Mackinaw Pasties & Cookie Co.  and Eagle Radio. The Sault Ste Marie Convention and Visitor’s Bureau has added these lighthouses built in the late 19th century as a supplement to their year-long schedule of activities celebrating 350 years of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.  Newberry Area Chamber of Commerce President, Roberta Huffman is pleased to see Crisp Point included in the festival activities and encourages festival attendees to make reservations early.  Eagle Radio  has been announcing festival information since March.  Mackinaw Pasties & Cookie Co., located in St. Ignace and Mackinaw City are thrilled to be a Michigan Lighthouse Festival sponsor.  

The great adventure continues as Michigan Pure and Simple Tours has developed a Lighthouse Festival Tour Package that incorporates the Michigan Lighthouse Festival.  This charter motor coach tour offers a pickup in West Branch, Michigan, Friday, August 3 at 8 AM and then a pickup in Gaylord at 9:15 AM.  Details about this tour are available at this link, Michigan Lighthouse Tour 2018.  

Families with children are encouraged to attend the Michigan Lighthouse Festival.  To enhance the children’s experience FREE activity pamphlets, which will be available at each lighthouse and the marketplace, include images of the lighthouses to color, a cross-word puzzle, a word search, and a chart-the-water activity. For those children unable physically visit the lighthouses, an easy printout of the pamphlet is available on the Paradise Area Tourism Council’s web server.   Igniting a flame of intrigue in the lives of young people assures the future of the lighthouse movement.  Join this great adventure and attend the 3rd Michigan Lighthouse Festival in Paradise, August 3 – 5, 2018.

Friday, May 25, 2018

2018 Paradise Spring Showcase

Thursday, May 10, 2018 the Paradise Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a Spring Showcase at the Whitefish Township Community Center in Paradise, Michigan.  The Spring Showcase has been a common practice of the chamber over the past 10 years.  It is an opportunity for area businesses, whether members of the chamber or not and local non-for profit organizations, to meet with area residents and visitors.  Businesses, both new and established, are given a chance to share with residents new ideas and advancements that have been made at their establishments and take applications for employment. Area attraction managers and local non-for-profit organizers have the ability to recruit volunteers for the coming season/event.  During the busy tourist season, it is helpful for businesses and area attractions to have local residents familiar with local amenities with the hopes of passing that information along to area visitors.  
1999 - 2017 Display of Haunted Trail Posters

By special permission from Eve Talbert of Cloud 9 Cottages,  Sonny Skeans, 2017 Haunted Trail Chairperson, set up a collection of Haunted Trail posters dated 1999- 2017.  The Haunted Trail has been a favorite, second weekend in October event in the Paradise area since 1999.  It was simply a treat to see the variety of the posters that had been used over the years.  The 2018 Haunted Trail is scheduled for October 12 and 13th.  If you are interested in volunteering to work this event, ask for Sarah at the Paradise Food Pantry.   Thank you, Eve, in sharing that collection with us; your work on the Haunted Trail over the years is greatly appreciated.
2018 Quilt Raffle
Village Fabric’s and Crafts is again submitting a handmade quilt for a raffle to raise additional funds for winter decorations.  This year’s quilt was debuted at the Spring Showcase and tickets made available for sale.  Tickets are $1.00 each or six for $5.00.  The winner does not need to be present at the drawing, September 15 to win the quilt.  The quilt is on display at Village Fabric’s and Crafts where tickets may be purchased.  Tickets will also be available at various events and other businesses throughout the summer.  It is a keeper, ideal for your davenport or guest bed.

Several times throughout the 7 – 9 pm open house, representatives from several area attractions spoke briefly to share with everyone present updates and changes to their programs.  Marge Ellenberger, Michigan Lighthouse Festival Director, shared with the audience information regarding the event scheduled for August 3 -5, 2018 in Paradise showcasing Crisp Point Lighthouse, PointIroquois Lighthouse, and Whitefish Point Light Station.  The Michigan Lighthouse Festival is a traveling event; next year it will be held in the Lower Peninsula.  Bruce Lynn, Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society President updated the audience as to updates completed at the Shipwreck Museum and new concepts on the horizon.  Kevin Dennis, newly appointed Tahquamenon Falls State Park Director, introduced himself to the audience and was available individually at his display table.  During his presentation, Kevin shared with the audience updates over the past year and future plans for the park.  John Texter, North CountryTrail/Hiawatha Shore To Shore Chapter Volunteer shared with the audience information about the Park to Park trail (Muskallonge to Tahquamenon) and other updates in progress.  John encouraged people to take advantage of this incredible trail this summer.  Whitefish Township School Superintendent, Tom McKee greeted the attendees of the open house, thanked the parents and grandparents of the students that worked the table at the show and shared with the audience the intrinsic value of the Green House Program at the school and the value that could be shared with others in the community.   Chelsie Hart with the Eastern Upper Peninsula Early College Program expressed her appreciation to participate in the showcase and summarized their program and its partnership with Lake Superior State University.

Hand Crafted Burl Black Spruce Lamp Donated by North Country Trail

Before the door prize drawing finale, Paradise Area Chamber of Commerce Vice President Wendy Skeans and Secretary, Nikki Craig recognized the 2018 PACC Volunteer of the Year Award recipient.   The PACC Volunteer of the Year Award is a process where each event committee nominates a recipient based on that person’s contributions to the success of the program.  There are many volunteers that contribute to the success of the community beginning with the Whitefish Point Marathon, Music on the Bay, Wild Blueberry Festival, Paradise Tahquamenon Wilderness Canoe Race, and Haunted Trail.  Historically, the chamber has reserved this honor for a member of the community that is not usually associated with the chamber.   But over the last few years there have been those members that have contributed time and energy for each event in the season.  The 2018 PACC Volunteer of the Year has dedicated hours to accomplish tasks, brainstormed problem solving strategies and is Chamber President Joanne Cook.
This year’s event was overshadowed by the generosity of area businesses and organizations in donating many prizes, listed below.  Three grand prizes were offered and all tickets that had been pulled throughout the evening were resubmitted for a chance to win the grand prizes.  Marge Ellenberger with Michigan Lighthouse Festival won the Yard Wheel Barrow donated by the Falls Building Center.  Mary Wozniak of Hiawatha Shore to Shore won a Hand Crafted Lamp made of Burl Black Spruce and donated by North Country Scenic Trails.  Jody Laub of A Piece of Paradise won the picnic table-sized propane gas grill donated by the Paradise Area Chamber of Commerce.  Thank you to each business and community organization that shared an appreciation to area residents and visitors that attended the show.
Moose Print Sewing Basket Donated by Village Fabrics & Crafts

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Wild Blueberry Festival Continues Its Tradition of Supporting the Community

Welcome to Paradise, Wild Blueberry Capital of Michigan
During the 1920's and 30's large numbers of people migrated to a white pine forested area in Whitefish Township, Michigan, to pick blueberries.  At this time, cultivated blueberries were unknown; steamers parked in Lake Superior's Whitefish Bay to transport this "Blue Gold" cargo to Detroit, Chicago, and Buffalo.  Since 1984 during the third full weekend of August, the Paradise area commemorates this history with the Wild Blueberry Festival.  Showcasing informative programs of music, nature, arts, and crafts, large numbers of people continue to migrate to Paradise to indulge in blueberry pies, buckles, muffins, and blue streaks (blueberry pie, ice cream, and blueberry sauce)!

Each year, whenever possible, the festival has donated profits back into the local community as a dedication to all the volunteers that participate in this three day event.  On April 25, 2018, Wendy Skeans, Wild Blueberry Festival Chairperson, presented Tom McKee,  Whitefish Township Community Schools Superintendent, a check for $1,000 to the school's playground renovation project.  The Whitefish Township Community Library Director, Jody Halsey accepted funds to purchase a refrigerator to provide chilled snacks for children's programs and classic movie nights.  The Wild Blueberry Festival donated to the Paradise Area Chamber of Commerce's Winter Decorations Project  used in the business district of Paradise, along M-123.

(Left)Tom McKee, Whitefish Township Community Schools Superintendent, (Center) Wendy Skeans, Wild Blueberry Festival Chairperson, Jody Halsey,Whitefish Township Community Library Director
Continuing their efforts to enhance the community and given the success of the winter decorations,  the Wild Blueberry Festival committee at their April meeting agreed to purchase and display new banners celebrating, Paradise's designation as the Wild Blueberry Festival Capital of Michigan.   The new banners were purchased through Bronner's Commercial Display Division of Frankenmuth Michigan and installed with the support of Bob Youker Construction, LLC of Paradise, and local volunteers.

Wild Blueberry Festival Donates Banners Celebrating Paradise, the Wild Blueberry Festival Capital of Michigan

 The 2018 Wild Blueberry Festival is scheduled for August 17, 18, and 19. Information about the 2018 Wild Blueberry Festival is available on their website at www.WildBlueberryFestival.org.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

2018 Paradise Vintage Snowmobile Show

The 2018 Paradise Vintage Snowmobile Show held Saturday, January 27 had comfortable weather conditions, although it appeared that the 2018 January thaw would impact the show's participation; it was clear vintage snow mobiles have different trail condition mandates then today's newer models.  This year's event was held in conjunction with the Winter Carnival organized by the Paradise Area Chamber of Commerce.

This year, the show organizers added several new features:  a 50/50 drawing, Best of Show winner, and a show ride.  The 50/50 drawing was held at the community center (the location of the show).  The pot would be split evenly between the winning drawn ticket and the Best of Show sled owner selected by a team of judges. The show ride was led by the Paradise Vintage Jamboree Club to the Paradise Area Night Rider’s barn.
Best of Show, Kevin Campbell, (left) Vicksburg, splits 50/50 with Brian Wachter, (to his immediate right) Paradise

The judges selected a 1975 Mercury sled owned by Kevin Campbell of Vicksburg, Michigan.

1975 Mercury, Best of Show owned by Kevin Campbell, Vicksburg, MI
 Troy Miley of Oakland City, Indiana traveled the furthest to the show to display and ride his 1982 Ski-Doo.

1975 Mercury Sled owned by Troy Miley, Oakland City, Ind, came the greatest distance, 689 Miles

The Oldest Sled in this show was a 1971 Sno Jet driven by Noah Jordan of Coloma Michigan.

Oldest Sled, 1971 Sno Jet Driven by Hoah Jordan of Coloma MI
The club with the greatest number of participants was the Paradise Vintage Jamboree Club.  Club President, Ross Heavener, Paradise driving a 1982 Kawaski to the show.

Paradise Vintage Jamboree Club
Shown in the image below, Best of Show winner, Kevin Campbell with his 1975 Mercury Sled was delighted to learn of his pending prize and encouraged everyone to buy more tickets.

Best of Show Splits 50/50 Pot with Winning Ticket Holder
The winning ticket was drawn by Paradise resident, Don Bitnar; the ticket was purchased by Brian Wachter who entered a 1974 Evnrude in the show.

A special treat this year was an entry by William Zeeman, Eckerman, a 1973 800 Hirth Engine Ice Sled.  This entry created a lot of stops to the show and conversation as to the unique character of this rig. 

1973 800  Hirth Engine Ice Sled
Prizes for this year's Vintage Snowmobile Show were provided by the Paradise Area Night Riders, Silver Creek Grill & Pub, Paradise Foods, and Gene's Tahquamenon General Store.  The only cash prize offered was the 50/50 drawing share of the pot.  There were no registration fees to participate in the show.  Plans for the 2019 show are scheduled for the last Saturday in January, the 26th, 2019.  Make plans today to bring your machine to Paradise!