Saturday, December 15, 2018

Snow, Sun, and Sandhill Cranes

Compliments AZGFD

This winter Paradise residents located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan can have it all.  Snow and sun are understandable at this time of year but what about the ever popular Sandhill Cranes?  These birds migrate to southeastern Arizona in the winter time.  Now Paradise residents can watch their favorite friends through a live feed stream viewed at  Michigan’s Sandhill Cranes migrate to the Whitewater Draw in late October through March according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department.  They join other Sandhill Cranes from as far away as Siberia to winter in southeastern Arizona.

The best time to see the birds is a half hour before sunrise until up to a half hour afterwards, just before they leave the roost to feed for the morning.  They return to Whitewater Draw sometime before noon (about 2 PM Michigan Time) and typically remains at the wildlife area the reminder of the day as reported in the Economic Development Journal of Mohave County, December 2018 issue, p. 14. 

The live feed cameras are supported in part by public donations.  To view the live-streaming cameras or to find information on wildlife viewing, visit and click on “Wildlife Viewing.”  So while waiting for the snow to get deep enough and the temperatures to get cold enough for the perfect snowmobile ride, get a feel for Sandhill Cranes' winter home watching this video on youtube.

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

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  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