A Star Spangled celebration

Forest Festival wraps up with Independence Day events

MANISTEE — Manistee has been a hub of activity all week, as the Manistee National Forest Festival ended with its final Fourth of July centered festivities held on Tuesday and Wednesday.

A highlight of the week, the monumental fireworks display on Tuesday night was the largest in the history of the Forest Festival. The festival is organized by the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce.

Making the night more patriotic than ever before, two DJs were stationed at the beaches and the Mitten Radio (101.5 FM) played music. The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and Little River Casino Resort donated $20,000 to the Forest Festival for the fireworks display.

Stacie Bytwork, Chamber president, said the fireworks display was a success.

“There were many, many people in town this weekend and obviously the weather was hot, but there were people at the beaches and anywhere they could hang out,” she said. “We had over 40 events. It was a great success.”

The traditional flag raising ceremony, which honors veterans and troops, was held on Wednesday morning, with many local veteran groups in attendance.

Directly following, the parade had a strong line up with the theme “Log on Manistee” paying homage to the history of the city, as the logging and forest industry was instrumental in establishing the area.

Many of the entries sported woodland and forestry dedicated themes, with local businesses, organizations, music groups and many others walking through a crowded street.

Another highlight on Wednesday was the annual Duck Race, which drew out a large crowd to watch 1,500 yellow rubber ducks plunge off the Maple Street Bridge, racing to the finish line with the three top winners.

Attendees got raffle tickets, and winners were awarded at the end. The Manistee County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol directed and picked up the ducks at the end of the race.

Bytwork said the raffle for the duck race was sold out.

“People have been texting me and calling me about the festival all day,” said Bytwork. “We are hoping to make it bigger and better next year.”

The last event of the day, the Port City Pet Pageant had plenty of entries from dogs to other small pets. The Parkdale Animal Hospital sponsors the show, and pets in categories like cutest pet, oldest, biggest, smallest, best dressed, most patriotic, best trick and twin (with owner) are awarded.

 

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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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