Annual Onekama Days festival a success

The Onekama Township Fire Department hands out hats to potential future volunteers during the Onekama Days Parade on Sunday. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

The Onekama Township Fire Department hands out hats to potential future volunteers during the Onekama Days Parade on Sunday. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

ONEKAMA — She’s the self proclaimed “Crazy Bubble Lady” and believes gigantic bubbles can make a heart sing.

According to the awe and applause along M-22 through the Village of Onekama on Sunday afternoon, the Crazy Bubble Lady may not be so crazy.

In fact, she was right: Her lovable bubbles were one of many popular entries in the Onekama Days Parade, and the weekend’s 45th annual Onekama Days festival offered plenty of reasons for a heart to sing.

This year’s installment of Onekama Days — which began Thursday — had the perfect blend of familiar favorites and new wrinkles for families from the village and beyond.

“We try to put together something that the whole community can enjoy: from music to food and events,” said Dave Bowers of the Onekama Lions, organizers of the event. “We wanted to make sure there’s plenty there for the kids, as well as the adults.”

Among the new events to this year’s schedule was the Onekama Farm & Flea, a new local marketplace — which was launched this summer — that provides a platform for local growers, makers, artisans and junkers to sell their goods or crafts.

Children of all ages also had the opportunity to spread some happiness, one rock at a time, through a new event entitled “1, Rocks.” The free rock painting event, sponsored by Snyder’s Shoes, gave kids the chance to decorate rocks with positive messages and place them around the village for others to find.

Summer travelers and Onekama Days attendees were sure to notice the petunias lining Main Street (M-22) in the village. The planting of these flowers has been a 25-year tradition of the Portage Lake Garden Club and countless volunteers from the community. The silver anniversary of the “Petunia Parade” was celebrated during Onekama Days at the Manistee County Fairgrounds.

“A lot of people are involved in putting this together,” Bowers said, “it’s not a Lions function only. It takes the whole community. The Portage Lake Association does a lot of work with us to put this together.”

Music is another staple of the festival and there was plenty to hear over the weekend.

From the Feral Cats to the 3Ds, The Ones and John Pomeroy, entertaintaiment wasn’t hard to find, either in the Onekama Village Park or the fairgrounds. That will continue tonight as the Benzie Playboys will be the featured artist for Onekama’s Monday Night Concerts in the Park series at 7 p.m.

Onekama Days also featured Lions Bingo, Craft Beer Tasting, “Pig Out for Onekama School” Pig Roast, The Portage Lake Fireworks Show, a 5K Run/Walk, Onekama Lions breakfast and grilled steak dinner, a car show, the Road Rally & Scavenger Hunt and the Bump n’ Run & Demolition Derby and much more.


Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or

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