PETUNIA PARADE PLANTED: Onekama community comes together for 26th year

ONEKAMA — Despite the rain Wednesday morning, about 100 volunteers turned out plant around 3,500 petunias on the north side of Main Street in Onekama.

Many hands make quick work, and a little preparation the day before didn’t hurt either.

“There were people who came out (Tuesday) … a few volunteers went out ahead to do the drilling of the holes. That makes it pretty easy to do,” said Bonnie Garbrecht, committee member.

On Wednesday, volunteers from all over the community turned out, including fifth grade students from Onekama Middle School, to put the plants in the soil from the big curve on the east side of Onekama to the west end of town near the Glenwood.

“We are always seeking new volunteers,” explained Mary Jo McElroy Petunia Parade committee co-chair. “Whether it’s students from Onekama Consolidated Schools, new people moving into the community, or summer residents, we welcome one and all to join in the fun.”

Preparation for the actual planting of the Petunia Parade — now in its 26th year — is overseen by a 12-member committee under the auspices of the Portage Lake Association.

“Pleasanton Valley Greenhouses (long-standing vendor for the parade) takes great care in providing us with healthy plants that will prosper in this location,” said committee member Debby Major. “And, Larsen Landscaping’s in-kind donation of rototilling, raking, soil analysis and weed control makes planting much easier.”

Many of the volunteers who helped plant agree to weed throughout the summer, however, volunteers are still needed.

“We do need help all summer long because we do weeding. Even though we put Preen down today, the weeds sprout. They’re always looking for help with weeding,” said Garbrecht. “In the fall we do a roll up. We have a day when all the volunteers go out and literally roll up the soil and the petunias.”

Planters also will be placed on the opposite side of the street and petunias will be planted around the fountain at Onekama Village Park.

“We’re hoping these younger people will come down and assist us. We’re always trying to recruit younger people because we have people who love doing it, but they reach an age where they can’t be on their knees anymore. It’s a challenge,” said Garbrecht.

Anyone who would like to volunteer should contact McElroy at (614) 325-1717.

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Posted by Michelle Graves

Michelle is the managing editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3106 or mgraves@pioneergroup.com.

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