Published at PO Box 96 124 W. St. Clair Romeo, MI 48065. Phone: (586)752-3524 Fax: (586)752-0548
Updated Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 3 PM EST
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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 05/16/12
returns for seventh run
by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
Although the festival celebrates opulent times, Romeo is inviting one and all as it honors its heritage.
The Romeo Historical Society will host the 7th Annual Victorian Festival from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on May 19 in downtown Romeo.
Sue Kane, president of the Romeo Historical Society, has led the way in coordinating all seven years of the festival. She said the idea is to show off Romeo's roots from the Victorian Era, which lasted from 1837 to 1901. Romeo was established a year after the era began.
"What we're trying to do is keep our heritage alive," she said. "We're trying to keep history alive, to make it alive for people."
The festival also serves as a fundraiser for the Romeo Historical Society. However, a lack of volunteers and businesses struggling through the recession has caused the society to break even in the past couple of years.
"We just haven't been as successful as we want to be," Kane said. "We started out great, we've had a lot of people that can help, but we can only do so much when funds are limited."
Groups like the Romeo Kids Foundation, Greater Romeo-Washington Chamber of Commerce and Romeo Merchants, Restaurants and Professionals Association (MRP) have stepped up to help coordinate the event.
The groups acknowledge there is limited funding, but have offered what help they can. Bob DeLaura, president of the MRP, said the downtown merchants support the festival even if it isn't about shopping.
"It brings people into town and shows what it's all about," he said.
While funds may be limited, the number of events in the festival are not. New this year, both to the festival and to Romeo itself, is the Decker Music Studio.
The studio, located in the Chamber of Commerce building, will treat visitors with period-appropriate music from composers such as Brahms and Schumann from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
More recent tunes will fill the air in the Village Park as the Romeo High School Jazz Band performs from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Those in a celebratory mood can head to the Kezar Library to celebrate Michigan's 175th birthday with cake and a chance for kids to make birthday cards for the Great Lakes State.
If that party isn't enough, a garden party will be held at Connelly's Creations from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with an opportunity to celebrate spring the old-fashioned way with a maypole.
While not a new event, the children's games in the Village Park will receive a face-lift. The Romeo Kids Foundation, a non-profit that aims to build a splash park for the community, will host Victorian games from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Nearby in the park will be a Civil War encampment from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., where re-enactors from the Michigan 21st Union will live out life as they did during the War Between the States.
The Clyde Craig Blacksmith Shop will continue its tradition of holding a hammer-in, where demonstrations will be held in the art of crafting from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Also adding to the antiquated ambiance will be street performers including bagpipers, actors, musicians and artists throughout the day. As always, festival attendees are encouraged to wear their best Victorian clothing to blend in.
Those on Main Street can also keep an eye out for Victorian shillings, which are redeemable at local businesses. In addition, an old-fashioned newsboy will sling special copies of The Romeo Observer from 10 a.m. to noon that list a schedule of the festival's events.
To get around the village, visitors can either take the trolley back and forth at $1 from noon to 3 p.m., while horse-drawn carriage rides will clop down Main Street from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information about the festival, call (586) 752-4111 or visit romeovictorianfestival.com.