Back to the Bricks 2017 Heritage Promo tour in Big Rapids Saturday

CAR SHOW: These cars were on display during a 2016 Back to the Bricks event. The Back to the Bricks 2017 Heritage Promo Tour will visit Big Rapids on Saturday, June 10. (Courtesy photo)

CAR SHOW: These cars were on display during a 2016 Back to the Bricks event. The Back to the Bricks 2017 Heritage Promo Tour will visit Big Rapids on Saturday, June 10. (Courtesy photo)

BIG RAPIDS — As many as 5,000 people are expected to fill downtown Big Rapids on Saturday, June 10, when the Back to the Bricks 2017 Heritage Promo Tour visits the city.

More than just a car show, the day will include music, art, museum tours and a scavenger hunt. The event is one people won’t want to miss, according to Connie Koepke, executive director of the Mecosta County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the tour host for Big Rapids.

To facilitate the Back to the Bricks 2017 Heritage Promo Tour opening ceremony and other events downtown on Saturday afternoon, Michigan Avenue will be closed from 1 to 9 p.m. from East Bellevue Street to Linden Street. Area residents also should be aware traffic delays are expected along the Back to the Bricks Parade of Cars route from 4:30 p.m. to approximately 5:30 p.m.

“I think this is a huge, huge opportunity not only for Big Rapids but for the county as well, to have this many people come in and so we can show off what we’ve got,” Koepke said. “There will be plenty fo family fun, activities, entertainment and, of course, lots of cars!”

At least 250 cars are expected to participate in the Back to the Bricks Parade of Cars, which begins at 4:30 p.m. Escorted by the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety, the tour will begin at the Holiday Inn on Perry Avenue, then head to State Street, next onto Cedar Street and ending on Michigan Avenue at East Bellevue Street.

Once all the cars to be displayed are parked downtown, the offical kick-off ceremony will take place in front of Chemical Bank, including the Call to Colors by the AMVETS, “The Star-Spangled Banner” sung by Allison LeVeque and a welcome from Big Rapids Mayor Mark Warba.

To facilitate the opening ceremony and other events downtown on Saturday afternoon, Michigan Avenue will be closed from 1 to 9 p.m. from East Bellevue Street to Linden Street. Area residents also should be aware traffic delays are expected along the parade route from 4:30 p.m. to approximately 5:30 p.m.

PROMO TOUR: The Back to the Bricks 2017 Heritage Promo Tour will stop in Big Rapids on Saturday, June 10. (Courtesy graphic)

PROMO TOUR: The Back to the Bricks 2017 Heritage Promo Tour will stop in Big Rapids on Saturday, June 10. (Courtesy graphic)

Once downtown, residents and visitors alike will be able to choose from a long list of activities. The Quilters Glory quilt show will take place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Big Rapids Middle School; Big Rapids Department of Public Safety will host a Touch-a-Truck event; there will be a Downtown Scavenger Hunt; Artworks is hosting a Plein Air Art Contest; there will be guided tours of the Old Jail and Bergelin House; a craft beer tent with live music will be located next to Cranker’s Brewery; and a loud car/rev car contest will begin at 7 p.m. next to Bernie’s Place. Additionally, DJs, food, beverages and shopping specials will be found throughout the downtown area.

“The Plein Air Art Contest is when artists sit down and sketch or paint whatever they see in front of them,” Koepke said. “They interpret the scene in front of them — it’s a competition for artists, with Artworks offering a first and second prize.

“The whole day gives us a huge opportunity to show off who we are, what we do and what we have,” she continued. “What better chance do downtown businesses have to have up to 5,000 people literally outside their front door? It’s a great opportunity for many county businesses, too — the hotels are full and the bars and restaurants will see a lot of business, too.”

A closing ceremony will begin at approximately 8:30 p.m., when 30 trophies will be presented to the owners of the best and favorite vehicles in the car show.

The car show officially concludes at 9 p.m., but Koepke expects many people will continue to enjoy the downtown area for several more hours. She noted Dial-A-Ride buses will run that evening until midnight.

“For the car folks, they can go back to their hotel, park their car and then take Dial-A-Ride back downtown, where they can enjoy themselves and still have a safe ride back to the hotel,” she said.

Big Rapids bid against 27 other communities for the opportunity to host the promo tour, Koepke said.

“To get selected is a big deal,” she said. “Planning has gone really well — the River Valley and Canadian Lakes Car Clubs are helping, and the city has been a good help supporting us, as have downtown businesses.”

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Posted by Candy Allan

Candy is the Pioneer's associate editor. She also coordinates the Family & Friends, Religion and Parenting pages. She can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8386 or by e-mail at callan@pioneergroup.com.

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