Kaleva Days welcomes community with tradition

Kaleva Norman Dickson Schools cheerleaders walk in the parade on Sunday. (Ashlyn Korienek/ News Advocate)

Kaleva Norman Dickson Schools cheerleaders walk in the parade on Sunday. (Ashlyn Korienek/ News Advocate)

KALEVA — Although Kaleva might be a small town, the community is tied with tradition bringing together hundreds of people for the annual Kaleva Days celebration.

The three day event saw a variety of people from local areas and visitors camping for the weekend, which ran from Friday through Sunday at the Village Roadside Park.

Kaleva Days had a full schedule, with a car show, tractor show, kids activities, live music and even a Barbeque Cooking Contest sponsored by Kaleva Meats on Saturday, among other activities.

Mayor of Kaleva, Kim Somsel, said the event offers the chance for the community to come together for a traditional, family friendly celebration. Somsel said the committee works hard to ensure each year is more fun-filled.

“Kaleva Days has been going on for a long time,” she said. “It’s a fun event. We want to make it a little bit bigger each year, but just the people being here is awesome.”

The committee was staffed by Gary Bowling, Mary Bowling, David Somsel, Mayor Kim Somsel, John Reusch, Barbara Reusch, Karla Kasten and Cheryl Wolfram.

The group, along with other volunteers and organizations, make the Kaleva Days come together.

“It goes very smoothly with the folks we have to help put it on,” Gary Bowling said. “We have done this for a number of years, every year we get better and better and more efficient at it.”

On Friday, the event kicked off with music by Larry Bialik and Ramblin Band and Twice Shy. A Poker Run, beer tent and ‘80s themed night all were part of the fun.

Heading into Saturday, crowd favorites were the Chicken Squat Game, car show, craft show and the pet parade, among many other events. Awesome Distraction, Shenanigans, Flat Broke and a happy hour were all part of the day’s performances.

Nine bands performed this year, and the craft show had more than 30 vendors.

A child dresses up with her dog at the pet parade on Saturday. (Ashlyn Korienek/ News Advocate)

A child dresses up with her dog at the pet parade on Saturday. (Ashlyn Korienek/ News Advocate)

“We do the kids games every year,” said Barbara Reusch. “We have the coin search, and they can stay in there for a minute and search for all kinds of dimes, nickels and quarters.”

At 11 a.m. on Saturday, children, adults and their pets lined up to march around the park for the annual pet parade contest. The winners were given a prize afterward.

“Seven to eight people with dogs showed up this year, but a pet parade can be any pet,” said John Reusch. “We walk around through the snowmobile club, and then down through the car show. The kids have fun.”

Reusch said he took charge of the car show last year. More than 50 cars entered the show this year, which ran from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Kim Somsel ran the Chicken Squat Game, which was brought back this year due to popular demand.

“The chicken squat has been done for years,” Somsel said. “I already had one of the chicken squats go. One of the ladies even donated money back to the fireworks.”

Saturday ended with fireworks over the baseball field near the park.

“The fireworks are to die for. They really compete with the Manistee fireworks,” said Mary Bowling. “You can go out to the baseball diamond, and they are shot above it so people can go put blankets down in the grass and watch the show up close.”

Sunday closed Kaleva Days with a grand parade at 2 p.m., a corn hole tournament and live music by Salt City Dixieland Band, Duke and the Studebakers, and Stephen Macneil and the Bagpipes.

“It’s a really great atmosphere around here,” Mary said. “It’s just great for Kaleva and it brings everybody together.”

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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