Weekend events to bring visitors downtown

Grapes on the River had plenty of attendees last year. It will be held again this year on Saturday. (Ashlyn Korienek/News Advocate)

Grapes on the River had plenty of attendees last year. It will be held again this year on Saturday. (Ashlyn Korienek/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — The summer months in Manistee invite tourists and residents to crowd local beaches, shops and enjoy all this region has to offer.

This weekend, those in the Manistee area will have a wide range of activities and events to experience, while supporting local businesses and organizations.

Upcoming is TGIF Manistee on Friday night, sidewalk sales downtown on Friday and Saturday, the first ever Manistee Book Expo on Saturday, Grapes on the River on Saturday, and Catamaran races on Saturday and Sunday.

TGIF Manistee

Starting off the busy weekend is the newly established TGIF Manistee event from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, which features family friendly activities from face painting, live music, food trucks, kids games, farmer’s market vendors and more.

The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) started the event last year, and decided to switch it up

Nothing could be more fun for this little guy than to get a ride on his dad's shoulders and to enjoy some cotton candy at Friday's TGIF Manistee event in June. (News Advocate File Photo)

Nothing could be more fun for this little guy than a ride on his dad’s shoulders and a handful of cotton candy at the TGIF Manistee event in June. (News Advocate File Photo)

this year holding one TGIF event in June and another in August.

Tyler Leppanen, DDA executive director, said the event is a way of offering visitors and local residents an opportunity to enjoy all the downtown area has to offer.

“There’s something for everyone this weekend,” Leppanen said. “You can find a good deal while you’re out shopping, enjoy a free family friendly event in the evening, and some wine tasting and music on Saturday. We’re happy to be able to provide these events for the community and we look forward to a great time.”

Many businesses in the downtown area plan to extend their hours in accordance with the event and sidewalk sales. Leppanen said he is hoping for better weather than the previous event, and noted that more activities are planned, as well.

Sidewalk sales

Coinciding with other weekend events, Manistee downtown merchants are also holding sidewalk sales on Friday and Saturday with businesses open anywhere from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Anything from housewares, antiques, outdoor equipment, jewelry, toys and apparel will be out on the streets, with shops open and ready for visitors. There will be at least 25 downtown merchants participating in sidewalk sales this year.

Book Expo event

The Manistee Writers’ Group is partnering with the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts (RRCA) for an inaugural “Book Expo Manistee” event from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, in the Grand Ballroom at the historic Ramsdell Theater.

Available to the public will be books signed by each author, and given away as door prizes throughout the event. The Ramsdell will also be conducting tours of the historic facility at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. There is a charge for the tours.

Refreshments will also be available for purchase.

“This event is a perfect fit for the Ramsdell and the response from Michigan writers has been terrific, so much so that we’ve moved the event from Hardy Hall to the larger Grand Ballroom in order to accommodate their numbers,” said Xavier Verna, executive director of the RRCA.

Jane Kendall, one of the founders of The Manistee Writers’ Group agreed with Verna.

“Since this is our first attempt at something like this, we thought we might have 12 to 15 authors in attendance. Instead we have 30 participants coming and we are thrilled with anticipation,” Kendall said.

All participating authors or organizations hail from Michigan, most of which are from northwest Michigan.

“This is a great opportunity to meet an author you have read or meet one whose work intrigues you,” said author John Wemlinger, one of the event’s organizers.

Manistee Writers’ Group Founding Members, (front row, left to right) Jane Kendall, Polly Schlaff, and Jim Goodwin, and (left to right top row) John Wemlinger, Denny Blue and Dennis Holmer. (Courtesy Photo)

Manistee Writers’ Group Founding Members, (front row, left to right) Jane Kendall, Polly Schlaff,
and Jim Goodwin, and (left to right top row) John Wemlinger, Denny Blue and Dennis Holmer. (Courtesy Photo)

Grapes on the River

In its seventh year held in Manistee, hosted by the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce and presented by Jeff Reau with Edward Jones, Grapes on the River pairs local cuisine with Michigan wine and beer.

This year it will be held on Saturday at the Manistee Municipal Marina. The event kicks off at 4 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m. Featured will be live entertainment by Younce Guitar Duo, with 11 Michigan artisan wineries and two artisan food pairing vendors.

“Grapes on the River is a great community event to bring area wineries, restaurants and musicians to the downtown and showcase the beauty of our area,” said Kendra Remai, event chair with Douglas Valley Winery.

Partnering with the event, the Catamaran Racing Association of Michigan will also be holding races at First Street Beach on Saturday and Sunday, right on the shores of Lake Michigan.

The first race is expected to take off at 11 a.m. on Saturday, and 10:30 a.m. on Sunday with another at 1 p.m. Other festivities will be held after the races, which were deemed successful last year.

People are also encouraged to go downtown after the races.

“With the event being downtown, patrons can spend the afternoon browsing the shops and restaurants,” said Remai. “A few hundred people gather on the lawn to enjoy tastes from the different wineries throughout the afternoon.”

More information on Grapes on the River can be found at manisteegrapesontheriver.com/. Tickets are still available for purchase.

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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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