June 11, 2014 - Ortonville- CreekFest has gone from nearly being cancelled two years ago to an event that is experiencing a rebirth.
CreekFest began as an educational half-day event 11 years ago, focusing on the importance of water quality and the care of local waterways including Kearsley Creek. While the event still features educational exhibits, a carnival was added in 2012 and a fireworks show in observance of Independence Day is also now part of a celebratory 4-day weekend.
This year's CreekFest will be June 19-22, downtown.
"We are really hoping to build CreekFest up into a big event," said John Nivelt, Ortonville Lions Club member. "We want to get it back to where it used to be Ortonville Days and help the businesses and community. We are trying to make it fun."
The fun will start with the carnival, sponsored by the Lions Club and with a new amusement company, Family Fun Tyme, providing a bigger, more diverse selection of rides, for both adults and children. The carnival opens at 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 19, and thanks to local businesses, all rides that evening will be free to the public from 6-8 p.m. The carnival continues all weekend. Pre-sale all day armbands can be purchased for any day of the carnival for $15 before June 19, or after for $20.
New this year, the Lions Club is also sponsoring a beer tent which can be found next to the fire station on South Street and from noon-11 p.m., June 20 and 21 and featuring at 7 p.m. each night 3B3, a 3-piece band performing classical and new rock, blues, and some soul. The beer tent will also be open from 1-6 p.m. Sunday.
The Lions Club will use profits from both the carnival and beer tent for donations to charitable causes and non-profit organizations in the community. One of the beneficiaries of the Lions Club's generosity will be the Ortonville Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the fireworks show, and which is dependent upon donations from businesses, individuals and organizations in the community.
"This will probably be the biggest fireworks show in Ortonville history," said Fire Chief David Kwapis, coordinator for the COC fireworks fundraising group. "I want to thank each and every sponsor and every person who has donated money, time or services and all of our dedicated volunteers who are making this happen. It's a huge undertaking."
This year, the show will be at dusk on Saturday, June 21, with Wolverine Fireworks setting up in the parking lot of Brandon High School, 1025 S. Ortonville Road. Rain date is Sunday, June 22.
Prior to the fireworks show, however, will be a full day of fun, with the CreekFest Run, including a Minnow Mile, 5K, 10K, and half-marathon, starting at 8 a.m. The vendors, educational exhibits and demonstrations typically associated with CreekFest will carry on from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday with educators from the Oakland County Health Division, Water Resources Commission, MSU Extension, and CreekFest founder Lois Robbins. Check out the fishing demonstrations, learn about monarch butterflies, and more. The traditional motorized parade can be seen at 10 a.m. and performers will include the Greenfire Band and Sherry Lynn's Dance Troupe.
Beets, Beats & Eats also kicks-off 12 weeks of Friday night fun in Crossman Park at 6 p.m., June 20 with "Kids Night" and dinner provided by the Edna Burton Senior Center
A wide variety of food will be available all weekend at CreekFest from vendors including Hogs and Hogs, Artisan Coffee Company, Vi's Polish Cuisine, Motor City Franks (gourmet hot dogs), Order Up (with signature deep-fried Oreos), Ned's Pretzels, Backwoods Mustard Company, and more treats including kettlecorn and roasted nuts.
On Sunday, participate in a BBQ Rib Cook-Off or have the kids enter the Go Green Parade, riding bikes, wagons, and scooters. More Sunday entertainment includes the Tin Penny Band, Redemption Road, river dancers in Kearsley Creek and "Ortonville's Got Talent," talent show (auditions to be in the talent show are 6 p.m., June 16, at the Old Town Hall). Get in on a pie-eating contest at 2:30 p.m. and enter the Kearsley Creek Bed Relay Race at 3 p.m., with your team of five and a twin-sized bed.
"I am excited about all of it," said Molly LaLone, Downtown Development Authority executive director. "It's a huge kick-off to the summer season in downtown Ortonville. Everything starts that weekend. CreekFest has grown into a huge, huge festival... We have something to catch the interest of absolutely everybody. There is such a wide variety of different activities, everyone will find something they are interested in."
For more information on the carnival, contact Dan Barnes at 248-467-6281 or visit ortonvillelionsclub.org. Details on the BBQ Rib Cook-off, call Allison Brauer at 248-978-8265 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on CreekFest, call Molly LaLone at 248-627-8070.
Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville