‘Celebrating who we are’

Brethren Days celebrates area’s past and present

BRETHREN — For the fourth year in a row, Brian Mcleod, of Wellston, watched his children and grandchildren participate in the Brethren Days tradition of the cardboard boat race Saturday.

“(Brethren Days) is a family tradition,” Mcleod said. “It’s just part of everyday life.”

He built a boat for his children, MacKenna and Mya, with cardboard, duct tape and paint in the shape of a chicken to race, naming it the “Funky Chicken”.

“Our inspiration came from the head,” Mcleod said. “We found a piece of cardboard that had the tubes for the eyes, and when we folded it up, it made the shape of a head so from there we decided to make a chicken.”

They ended up getting second place in their race.

Funds from the boat race and a 5K that also took place will go to the Brethren Boosters, which puts on Brethren Days, and to the Brethren community.

Participating in Brethren Days during Labor Day weekend has been a tradition in his family for about 13 years and, for his wife’s family, about 40 years, he said.

“(It’s important) because of the sense of family and community,” Mcleod said. “It definitely helps to pull the community in closer together and gives us all a time to reflect and catch up on things. Sometimes you lose touch with people and this is a good way to get people back together.”

Along with the boat race, Mcleod plays in the cornhole tournament and helps cook food as well.

Other activities during Brethren Days included live music from bands such as Awesome Distraction and The Nephews, a softball tournament, horseshoe pitching, the Rolling Thunder Poker Run, the “Heritage Lane” exhibit at the Dickson Township Hall and the Grand Parade.

Katie McVean, of Cadillac, spent her weekend at Brethren Days in the arts and crafts section selling her handcrafted soaps, and bath and body items through The Coconut Tree.

“I was here last year and I did well enough. It was very pleasant to be here and the music’s really nice, so I wanted to come back again,” McVean said. “I am very comfortable. The people seem to be very nice.”

The Brethren Heritage Association hosted its annual “Heritage Lane” exhibit at the Dickson Township Hall, showcasing the buildings of early Brethren through pictures and displays.

Brethren was founded in 1900 by Samuel S. Thorpe as a colony of the German Baptist Brethren Church.

Janet Stroup, one of the founders of the Brethren Heritage Association, said the theme was chosen because it’s important to show what the first buildings were and why they were built.

“Many of these people who live here now came up to visit their grandparents as kids, and now they’ve moved up so they see things from an adult perspective that they weren’t thinking of when they were little kids,” Stroup said.

The exhibit showed the town’s early grocery stores, all of the area school houses in the township, the churches and other dwellings.

“It’s an opportunity to get together and, for many people, to touch their roots and get in touch with people maybe they went to school with or relatives maybe they had never taken time to get in touch with,” Stroup said. “It’s a community getting together, celebrating who we are.”

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Posted by Sean Bradley

Sean is the city and cops and courts reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the entertainment and Reasons to Celebrate pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3109 or sbradley@pioneergroup.com.

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