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The Jubilee sings songs of larger beer tent

April 23, 2014 - By Meg Peters

Review Staff Writer

Moving the Lions Club Jubilee back downtown, along with reinstituting the infamous beer tent, could increase the proceeds twofold from past carnivals this June 19 through June 22 when the Jubilee moves back downtown.

"My personal goal is to double what we've been able to make in the past," Joe Hildebrand chairman of the Jubilee committee and Lion's Club member, said. "Based on our projected sales of the beer and wine, we are hoping to bring in around $20,000," he said.

The Jubilee is the Lion's Club largest annual fundraising event. Proceeds help fund community service programs, such as the annual Christmas Basket Program, and providing glasses and hearing aids for community members who cannot afford them.  

After the Lions met with Lake Orion Police Chief Jerry Narsh, the chief concern became the size of the tent, Hildebrand said.

Rethinking their tent and attendees, the Lions proposed an amendment to their original plan at the April 16 Village Council meeting, to increase the size of the beer tent from 40 feet by 80 feet to 80 by 80 feet.

To compare, the beer tent for Dragon on the Lake 2013 was 40x80.

The Jubilee's approved sizing would hold between 500 and 600 people, and help prevent any overflow of people waiting outside to get a cold one.

The tent, located adjacent to Children's Park, would close at 11 p.m.  on Friday and Saturday nights, and 6 p.m. Sunday night, and will not be open Thursday night.

When the beer tent was hoppin' in the 1990s it stayed open until 2 a.m. or even a bit later, Hildebrand said, creating concern for many.

"You had 1,200 people there until 2 a.m. That's when it kind of got crazy, so we said 11 p.m. the carnival is over. The beer tent is over," Hildebrand said.

The carnival hours are Thursday, June 19 from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. (no beer tent); Friday and Saturday from noon until 11 p.m., and Sunday from noon until 6 p.m.

Despite the concerns from the 1990s, Hildebrand said the community response is overwhelmingly supportive.

"People are so excited that we are bringing the beer tent back to the Jubilee. That was one of the other main reasons we decided to expand it," he said. "It's like a homecoming. People who grew up in Lake Orion and moved away came back to socialize at the beer tent. That is what we are looking for to make it successful," he said.

Hubert Distributors of Pontiac will be supplying the brew, and offers Budweiser products.

The Lion's Club is partnering with North Oakland Transportation Authority (NOTA) and other local shuttle services in case anybody needs to hire a ride home after the carnival closes.

The Jubilee was moved to Canterbury Village in 2010 before the streetscape in 2011. As part of the licensing agreement with Canterbury Village—which has its own beer venders— the Lion's Club could not offer a beer tent.

While each Jubilee brought in roughly $10,000 to $13,000 at Canterbury Village the last four years, it was a "significant drop in revenue" compared to the times when the Jubilee was associated with the downtown fireworks. The Lion's Club initially moved away from the July 4 weekend to accommodate the schedule of the carnival company. A new company called Skerbeck Brothers will be providing carnival services this Jubilee.

The 2014 Jubilee will close down streets one block north, south, east and west from the intersection of Flint and Broadway starting the night of Wednesday, June 18, along with segments of the parking lots at Broadway and Shadbolt and the parking lot across the street from the current Village Hall.

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