A new tradition: Manistee Jaycees Beach Bash deemed a success

MANISTEE —  Showcasing all that Manistee has to offer, the inaugural Jaycees Beach Bash had people celebrating all night on Saturday as First Street Beach was transformed into a tropical paradise complete with torches, traditional leis and even a fire show.

With a vibrant sunset as the perfect backdrop for the evening, the Beach Bash had hundreds of attendees stopping by throughout the event with some people even hanging out in the parking lot, the First Street Beach House and around the party perimeter.

Chelsea Miller, Manistee Jaycees president, said the event was a first for the group, and nonetheless, was a success.

“We are (nearly) all new members and there’s maybe a few people who have been with us for awhile now, but we all thought why not do something new this year,” said Miller. “We have the most beautiful location here, and we wanted something different.”

Attendees of the Beach Bash were dancing and singing throughout the event, as it featured live music from the popular local band, Clear Heels, followed by a traditional Polynesian dance and fire show by Aloha Chicago.

Clear Heels played many well-known hits and had people on their feet, while they enjoyed drinks from Iron Fish Distillery of Thompsonville and Manistee North Channel Brewing Co., with food from the popular Taco ‘Bout It food truck.

People were welcome to enjoy yard games and a celebratory photo booth.

“We all love Clear Heels, so of course we wanted to have them at the bash,” said Miller. “We feel pretty confident about the turnout, and around 350 was our goal. People are showing up later for the show, so they can leave and come back.”

Aloha Chicago brought the heat to Manistee with a traditional fire dance, and a variety of traditional performances originating from places like Hawaii, Samoa or even Tahiti. Audience members were also invited to take the stage and try out their moves.

“We wanted something that had an ‘it factor’,” said Miller. “I know people like to go to (local) shows, so we thought why can’t we do something.”

The event also had a cause. Each year the Manistee Jaycees aim to raise funds for an organization that inspires and helps others in the community.

Proceeds from the Beach Bash went toward the Jaycees’ signature project for 2018, which is a joint effort to support the Roots on the River summer concert series and the local Blessings in a Backpack youth program.

Miller said the Jaycees did not profit from the fundraiser, and holding the Beach Bash served a dual purpose allowing tourists and residents to enjoy the beach, music and rally around a cause.

“We wanted to build up more money for the Roots on the River series and donate toward the school kids,” said Miller. “It was kind of hard having the Fourth of July on a Wednesday, so we thought this weekend would work… there’s not much else going on.”

While the evening boasted clear skies and warm weather, Miller said the group hopes to hold a Beach Bash again in the future.

“We are excited, and we had a lot of good feedback,” said Miller. “We wanted all demographics to be involved in this. We are kind of hoping this is going to be our big fundraiser.”

The Jaycees Beach Bash was sponsored by Fab-Lite, Water’s Edge Dentistry, Seng’s Marina, Ferrellgas, Brooks Roofing and Edward Jones-Jeff Reau.

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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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