Hops and Props draws large crowds on Saturday

MANISTEE — One thing that most people will agree upon is Manistee knows how to host a festival.

The Third Annual Hops and Props event this weekend was a perfect example of that fact. The weather was unseasonably cool and raindrops fell intermittently throughout the day, but it didn’t stop several thousand people from flocking to the River Street area to enjoy Hops and Props.

Manistee Downtown Development Director Patrick Kay said they were happy with the turnout, and that everyone seemed to be having a great time.

“It is going pretty well and the weather is holding out and turning out pretty good,” Kay said Saturday afternoon. “What I am loving about living up here in Michigan is Michganders know how to bear the storm. They can deal with 12 feet of snow in the winter time and it isn’t going to bother them. It is going great.”

The  Third Annual Hops and Props  By the River drew  large crowds to the downtown area.

The Third Annual Hops and Props By the River drew large crowds to the downtown area.

The mood was festive under the tent by the City of Manistee Marina as people were trying the many craft beers that were being put out there by a variety of distributors. There were 29 breweries offering up over 100 beers for the public to try and in the background was plenty of good music that was being played on the entertainment stage.

What was new to the Hops and Props this year is the fun shifted over to many area restaurants in the evening with the “Take over the Tap” event. What this did was allow breweries the opportunity to exclusively serve the beer from their establishment.

It was something that Kay felt went over well with the public. It also spilled over to the River Street area where merchants benefited from people visiting their shops throughout the day.

At the empty lot where the Coral Gables used to be located people had the chance to view the Art’s Alive Art and Artisian Fair. It was a good opportunity to see and purchase the artistic works of many of this area’s finest artists.

A long time tradition with the Hops and Props Festival and other previous festivals is the popular Century Boat Club Show. This show draws in boat owners from all over the United States to show off the their Century Boats that were built in Manistee for many years.

According to show organizer Tom Holmes, the show had many varieties of Century models among the 30- plus boats including both the classic wooden models and some of the finer fiber glass one.

“We have people from Illinois and Ohio who have never been to a boat show,” he said. “We even have people here from Florida and New Orleans, so Manistee has kind of been like the Mecca for the Century boats to come back home.”

Holmes said one of the nicest boats in this year’s show was a 1938 model that was owned by a Manistee resident. He added that another nice set of boats in the show this year were a pair of twin 1966 boats with one being in wood and the other in fiber glass that were owned by a resident from Shelby. Besides the classic wooden ones, the show featured some vintage fiberglass ones that were also made in Manistee.

Despite the cooler temperatures, a steady flow of people visited the marina to look at the boats.

“It is a hit in miss in Michigan with the weather, but everybody is just happy to be here, and we have the dinner tonight at the country club, so this show is a good thing for Manistee,” he said. “These people love coming to this town. There are probably more people from out-of-state than in-state this year.”

The temperature outside may have been chilly, but inside the Manistee Senior Center there was a different kind of chili being served up. The United Way Chili Cookoff drew a big crowd that left organizers wearing big smiles of happiness.

“I am absolutely astounded that we had people outside waiting for us to open up,” said United Way Administrative Assistant Marti O’Herron. “This is wonderful and all of our chefs have put in a great deal of effort on their chili and some have worked really hard on their presentation. It is great that so many people are coming out to support United Way.”

Chuck Randall has worked tirelessly in organizing the event for many years and he said this year was quite a bit different from the past.

“Usually it lags in the beginning and then picks up, but this is the first time it has been packed right from the start,” he said. “It is a little cool outside today, so it is a perfect day to eat chili. We have always had a good turnout for the chili cookout, so it’s great that the professionals and amateurs came out to serve up their chili.”

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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