July 16, 2014 - Not many small-town celebrations can boast the popularity and longevity of Leonard's annual Strawberry Festival.
On Saturday, July 19, the festival returns for the 62nd time and it promises to offer plenty of fun for the entire family.
The day begins with a pancake breakfast at Leonard United Methodist Church (254 E. Elmwood St.) from 8-10:30 a.m.
From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., members of the Addison Township Firefighters Association will be dishing out vanilla ice cream sundaes, topped with strawberries and/or chocolate sauce, in the old fire hall next door to Rowland Hall.
Folks who purchase advance tickets for their sundaes will pay $3 each. On the day of the festival, sundaes cost $3.50 each. Advance sundae tickets are available at Addison Fire Station #1, located at 4026 Forest St. in Leonard.
The Addison Township Public Library is conducting its Born to Read 5K/10K run/walk and a Speed Readers' Fun Run for children age 12 and under. Registration for both events starts at 8 a.m. at Leonard Elementary. For more information, please call (248) 628-7180 or visit www.addisontwp.michlibrary.org
The classic car show in the Cooper Standard Automotive parking lot on E. Elmwood will run from 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. Exhibitors can begin setting up and registering at 9 a.m.
At 10:45 a.m., there will be a ceremony recognizing all those organizations and individuals who made possible Leonard's acquisition of the historic mill/grain elevator, built in the late 19th century.
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson is scheduled to attend and serve as keynote speaker.
Head to the old mill at 12:30 p.m. to pose in front the building as part of a group photo that will be sent to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Judging for the kids' bicycle decorating contest will take place at Leonard Elementary School at 11:30 a.m.
The Strawberry Bake-off will return to Rowland Hall. All entries must arrive between 9:30 and 10 a.m. Dishes must contain strawberries. Alcohol, preserves and beverage recipes are prohibited. Recipes must be included with entries, which will be judged based on taste and presentation.
The festival parade along E. Elmwood St. will begin at 12 noon sharp. This year's Grand Marshals are Joe and Pat Schnur.
Children's activities will be open from 1-5 p.m. They include free train rides and inflatables, $3 pony rides by the Polly Ann Trail and an opportunity to meet Sheepshank Sam.
Portrayed by Ben Thompson, Sheepshank Sam is an old-time shanty boy lumberjack who mixes history and tall tales to transport listeners back to a lumberjack camp in northern Michigan during the late 1800s. Audience members learn all about old lumbering practices and are given the opportunity to use authentic lumberjack tools such as saws, cant hooks and skidding tongs.
There will be entertainment galore as members of Amber's Dance Academy will take the stage at 1:30 p.m. followed by Shania Twain and Neil Diamond impersonators at 4 p.m.
The annual street dance, featuring the Vibro Kings Band, will run from 7-10 p.m.
For those folks who can't wait for festival day, there's a special Friday night (July 18) kickoff in downtown Leonard from 5-8 p.m. It will feature a potluck dinner at 6 p.m. and music courtesy of DJ Mike.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.