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Updated Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 3 PM EST
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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 06/06/12
Art and Orchard Festival
expands for its third year
by CHRIS GRAYNew features and expanded events have drummed up anticipation for one of the area's biggest summer festivals.
Observer Staff Writer
Washington Township's 3rd Annual Art and Orchard Festival rings in the sunny season with volleyball tournaments, barbecues, carnivals and art shows from June 7-10.
The majority of events will take place at the Washington Township Municipal Building on Van Dyke. See the schedule of events in this edition for a full list of times and locations.
The festival is the result of combining "Summer Fest" and "Super Sunday" into one weekend-long event. It is coordinated by Washington Township government officials, the Romeo-Washington-Bruce Parks and Recreation Department and the Washington Lions Club.
Washington Township Supervisor Dan O'Leary said a big portion of the festival is dedicated to bringing in funds and attention to charities and other non-profits in the area.
"It's a great chance for those organizations to get some fundraising done and at the same time provide a great day for families to enjoy themselves," he said.
Clara Russell, director of Parks and Recreation, said a big concern in planning this year's festival was bringing people to the area.
To do so, the department has hung its hat on the 7th Annual Volleyfest, an annual volleyball tournament that doubles as a fundraiser for the Romeo High School volleyball program.
The tournament is for teams of four and is open to players of all ages and skill levels.
"We'll have an established athletic event, so we hope it really helps them out and in turn brings more activity to the festival," Russell said.
Athletic fundraising doesn't stop at the volleyball court. The recipients of this year's 5K and 10K Run are the Moms of Michigan Military and Supporters (MOMMS), formerly the Michigan Military Moms of Macomb.
In honor of supporting a group that volunteers time and money for soldiers, participants will be given camouflage T-shirts and the ribbons awarded to runners will be replaced by dog tags.
In addition, a 21-gun salute along with the presence of military vehicles will add to the ambiance before runners hit the Macomb Orchard Trail the morning of June 9.
Dana Coleman, coordinator for the runs, said she expects this race to be bigger than past events due to registering 79 runners by Thursday of last week. At this time last year, she said only seven participants were signed up.
"I believe this year, because of the charity and the people involved, we'll not only have a great turnout but great support and a donation for (MOMMS)," she said.
Those who want to support MOMMS but don't feel like running can pick up a T-shirt for $10 each.
Registration for both events can be done online at www.rwbparksrec.org, though signing up the day of each event is accepted. Registration for the run is $18 per person.
The Washington Lions Club returns with an array of traditional events for its fundraising efforts, including its chicken barbecue, beer tent and carnival.
Other groups, such as the Octagon House and Washington Historical Society, will hold fundraising events during the weekend to benefit their operations, from antique sales and appraisals to facility tours.
The Washington Township Fire Department will host its 54th Annual Pancake Breakfast from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. Proceeds are given to the local senior centers and Great Lakes Burn Camp.
Supporting the arts
Parks and Recreation has registered at least 50 participants for the new arts and craft show that will run Saturday and Sunday.
Russell said the show is non-juried, meaning the variety of crafts has expanded beyond homemade works. She said the Washington Art Guild is heavily involved in the show this year as well.
"It's not just looking at $1,000 pieces of art," she said.
Those seeking additional visual pleasure can treat themselves to the fireworks display on Saturday night. O'Leary said the display was arguably the best feature last year, and expects it to be just as good this year.
"A lot of people last year gave us positive feedback, so we're predicting more people this year since they know about it," he said.
On the audible side of the arts, the Lions Club has improved its "Music in the Park." Larry Binfet, a board member of the Washington Lions Club, said the weekend-long performances has been upgraded to include higher-quality bands such as Sinjon Smith and 34 Bliss.
"We're showing a lot of interest in terms of the bands," he said. "I'm really looking forward to some of the music."
For more information, visit www.washingtontownship.org.