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Posted: 06/11/14

Art and Orchard Festival
returns with new events

Observer Staff Writer
      Families are in for a squealin' good time during Washington Township's biggest festival.
       The 5th Annual Art and Orchard Festival returns June 13-15 at the Washington Township Municipal Building on Van Dyke.
       The event combines the forces of local government and non-profits like the Washington Historical Society, Washington Lions Club and Parks and Recreation to plan a weekend-long festival that raises money for local charities.
       Clara Russell, Parks and Recreation director, said it is a little disappointing that a carnival will not return for this year, but its absence provided an opportunity to explore new options for the festival.
       "It seems like this festival needed a new avenue, and maybe just a few more free events," Russell said.
       Coordinators found a unique activity for attendees to enjoy. On Saturday and Sunday, crowds can cheer on their favorite snorting or barking contestants during Hot Dog Pig Races.
       The cute event will feature pigs and dachshunds dressed as hot dogs that race around tracks and clear obstacles. Audience participation and interaction is encouraged.
       There will be two race events with the speedy swines and dashing dogs, both of which are free to enjoy. The first races will be at 7 p.m. on June 14 and 10 a.m. on June 15.
       Anyone interested in sponsoring one of the racers can call Parks and Recreation by June 12 to have their business announced during the races.
       The festival will also feature its traditional events, such as the fireworks show on Saturday evening and the Art and Orchard Fun Run on June 14.
       Kids activities during the festival will include inflatable "pony bop" races, a moonwalk, chalk art and old-fashioned picnic games.
       The Washington Historical Museum will host a Lock, Stock and Barrel Sale featuring arts and crafts, antiques, a flea market and more alongside an orphan plant sale, museum tours and antique appraisals. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 15. For more information, call (248) 652-2458.
       Joining them in sales will be a flea market held by Our Redeemer Lutheran Church on June 14 from 8 a.m. to noon. If that isn't enough bargain hunting, shoppers can explore the local area to catch the Tri-Community Garage Sales held June 12-15.
       The Octagon House will open its doors from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 14 and 15 to provide historical activities focusing on the Underground Railroad and quilting. Admission is $5.
       Joyce Oliver, Parks and Recreation event and trip coordinator, said by offering more free events like the pig races, the coordinators hope the festival will be fun for all families.
       "It's something that is different, and a little more casual and relaxed," Oliver said. "It's such a busy time for everyone, so we're hoping by scaling back a little, people can enjoy the fireworks and spend time as family and not take up too much of their schedules."
Food for thought

       The Washington Lions Club is offering its annual barbecue meal of chicken, pulled pork and hot dogs starting 2 p.m. on Saturday. The club's beer tent will be open Friday and Saturday.
       Larry Binefet, Lions Club secretary, said the funds raised by the food and drink sales will go toward local and Lions Club charities.
       "I know we scaled back a little this year, but there are a couple of things where people can still come out and enjoy the event," he said. "Hopefully the weather cooperates."
       The club is also offering musical entertainment on Friday and Saturday with performances from SideTraks, Mystic Biscuit and Mr. Moody.
       On Father's Day, families can enjoy the 56th annual pancake breakfast, held 7:30 a.m. to noon at the Washington Township Hall. The event is co-coordinated by the Washington Township Fire Department and Romeo-Washington senior centers.
       Becky Hopp, senior center director, said the firefighters and seniors are ready to serve up Winter's Sausage and pancakes. Proceeds from the meals will benefit the senior center and Michigan's Great Lakes Burn Camp.
       "We're excited about it, we enjoy this," she said. "We like to help them and support them, and we're a team together for Father's Day."
       Music and dancing from the Cruisin' USA Line Dancers will entertain during breakfast, and firefighters will bring their vehicles for guests to check out.
       Prices are $7 for adults, $6 for dads and seniors ages 60 and up, $4 for kids ages 6-12 years and free for kids ages 5 years and under.
       For more information, call Parks and Recreation at (586) 752-6543 or visit

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