Fun with the family: Onekama Block Party draws in tourists, residents

ONEKAMA — While the Fourth of July holiday ended for many, a local village in Manistee County brought even more fun to the area on Thursday evening.

This is the second year a block party was held in Onekama, and the event is only growing.

When it first started, local businesses rallied together to bring a family-friendly atmosphere to the village, and welcome others to check out what Onekama has to offer to the community.

“Everything is bigger and better this year across the board,” said Al Taylor, who works on the event committee. Last year, Taylor said the event had a large turnout, and this year it was expected to be more expansive.

The beautiful route known as M-22 winds through Onekama, and while it’s a small area, residents and many who visit each year know the treasures it holds, from shops to restaurants and even scenic stops along Portage Lake.

While the event invites others to enjoy the village, Taylor said it also welcomes new businesses to open up in the area.

“It is a good way to expose the businesses, and what they have to offer to folks,” he said. “We would like to see more businesses come into the area.”

The block party is held near the Fourth of July to attract tourists to the event.

Taylor said not only are the six to eight committee members instrumental to the event’s organization, the businesses all come together to do their own thing for the party.

“We always try to schedule it around the July 4th holiday because of the summer visitors,” he said. “There’s music up and down the (street), and a lot of kids events because it was geared to be a family event. We extended it one more hour than last year.”

On Thursday, the event boasted children’s activities, food trucks and live music. Visitors were also welcome to check out local shops for sales or grab a bite to eat downtown.

The evening saw clear skies and temperatures were above 80 degrees, while hundreds of attendees stopped by the event, which started roughly around 5 p.m.

Punch cards listing the local businesses were handed out to guests, encouraging them explore Main Street. Cards were marked at each destination, and went into a drawing for giveaways at the end of the event.

“We do have a nice community, and it’s a great place to live, stay and play,” said Taylor. “We try to share our resources to seasonal visitors and attract people to the area.”

For the event on Thursday, more than 40 businesses and organizations participated. If the event continues to be successful, Taylor said the area businesses and organizers will continue to hold it annually and hope it becomes a growing tradition.

“This year there’s actually businesses from Manistee, so it is not just Onekama businesses,” Taylor said. “Any business outside of Onekama that wants to be more well-known are welcome to come. The businesses all kind of do their own thing.”

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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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