Sesquicentennial recap – part 2
Continuing from our Part 1 article last week on the Sesquicentennial events held July 29 through August 7, we pick up with the Friday, August 4 happenings….
Friday, August 4, 2017 – Agri-Tour, Parade, Street Dance, Fire Department Open House
The day’s events began with the Manchester Agri-Tour, a six-hour bus tour to five Manchester-area farms and related sites highlighting Manchester’s agricultural heritage:
- We started with a visit at United Producers – Farm Supply/Livestock Auction, where Doug and Kathy Brooks operate a feed supply store and organize livestock auctions that take place in the “sale ring” twice a week. A most interesting talk on the sale of livestock in today’s markets.
- We then moved onto the Gary Bross Farm, a crop/livestock operation his family started in 1869, two years after the founding of Manchester Village. Currently he raises a variety of grain crops, and keeps a flock of ewes that produce lambs and wool. Visitors also learned about different farming equipment including a combine and planter.
- Our third stop was Hand Sown Farm, where Megan DeLeeuw operates a certified organic farm producing vegetables, flowers, fruit and herbs. Megan sells the farm’s fresh produce during weekly trips to Farmers’ Markets in the local region, and explained all that is involved in operating a certified organic farm. Our third stop also included a delicious farm-to-table lunch prepared and served at the farm by Megan DeLeeuw and chef Joe Christensen and family. Guests delighted in a menu composed of all locally grown foods.
- Our fourth stop was Horning Dairy Farm, a sixth-generation Centennial Farm in Freedom Township. Katelyn Packard led a tour of her family’s milking parlor and dairy cattle operation. Horning Dairy is a well-known and respected producer in our area. They supply milk to Kroger stores, and you may see them in Kroger TV commercials.
- The fifth stop was the Mottice Heritage Farm on Pleasant Lake Road. For over 40 years, Bob and Sandy Mottice have been patiently assembling a collection of historic buildings from the Manchester area at their property. Their labor of love has brought a miniature historic village to our neighborhood. Visitors walked through their fully restored 1800s log cabin and the operating blacksmith shop.
Our thanks to all our hosts, to Joe Christensen and Karen Berg for their help in organizing this event, to John Schiel for the onboard bus commentary, and Manchester Community Schools and Karen Lorincz for the bus transportation!
On Friday night, we celebrated with the Sesquicentennial Parade from Alumni Field through downtown to the Emanuel Church. Our parade highlighted our heritage through a variety of float themes, community groups, antique tractors, and cars, fire trucks. It also included Queen Vicky Wurster from the 1967 Centennial, and our Sesquicentennial Grand Marshals Reno and Nancy Feldkamp. We were pleased to have three marching bands in this parade – our own Manchester High School Marching Band (current students and alumni), the 19th Century Dodworth-Saxhorn Band from Ann Arbor, and the Napoleon Lions Marching Band.
Our thanks to John Schmitt and Jeff Mann, and the many volunteers who helped out along the route, to make this a successful event.
Sesquicentennial Street Dance
Immediately after the parade, Main Street was closed at the M-52 intersection to begin the activities downtown. We began with a planned “street dance” at the intersection, and music started with Luke Schaible calling a set of square dances, instructing local residents on dancing steps, with Beverly Feldkamp Smith accompanying. This activity was to be followed with music from a regional band covering several decades, but a scheduling mix-up on their part resulted in a no-show. The activity would likely have had diminished attendance as rain and cool breezes began coming in, so we closed out the street activities at that point until Saturday morning. Thanks to Teresa Benedict-Miller for her work on the dance.
Manchester Fire Department Open House/Tractor Display
Following the parade, the fire department trucks and several antique tractors moved to the Manchester Township Fire Department on Macomb Street, where an open house was held. Visitors could see the antique and modern fire equipment up close, see the inner workings of the fire station, and look at some of the tractors who had just driven in the parade. Our thanks to Jeff Mann and John Schiel for organizing this event.
Saturday, August 5, 2017 – A Very Full Day!
Saturday morning’s events began with the Run Manchester and Manchester Street Festival, organized by Manchester Area Friends. The Manchester Men’s Club also put on their annual Classic Car Show along Main Street west of downtown.
Manchester Area Historical Society Activities
Sesquicentennial activities resumed Saturday morning with the MAHS Antiques Roadshow and Silent Auction, held at the Kingsley-Jenter House at 302 E. Main. The Antiques Roadshow was conducted by Jay and Zack Schmidt from Schmidt’s Antiques in Pittsfield Township. Residents brought their antiques for expert appraisal. The event was totally booked with all available time slots taken by curious parties wanting to know if they had something really valuable and unique!
Concurrent with the Antiques Roadshow, the Historical Society conducted an Open House of the Kingsley-Jenter House, to show the renovations and upgrades being made to the former funeral home building to convert it into the Society’s headquarters and museum, and also its growing use as a Community Meeting Place.
At the Open House, a very successful Silent Auction was conducted of miscellaneous historic and curious artifacts, creating operating funds for the Society’s work in historic preservation in Manchester.
We particularly thank Cindy Dresch and Sue LaRocque for their excellent help in organizing these events!
And just down the street at the John Schneider Blacksmith Shop (324 E. Main), the Society conducted blacksmithing demonstrations over a four-hour period for interested persons to drop in, observe and ask questions. Carl Curtis of the Historical Society served as docent and noted over 130 persons signed in our guest register! Our thanks to Tim Armentrout, Joe Vigilanti and Alex Gleason for demonstrating these historic crafts to a large audience.
Sesquicentennial Heritage Arts Event
Back on Main Street in the former Black Sheep Tavern building, Heather Bartell organized an excellent display of heritage crafts and manufacturing technologies used in Manchester businesses in the 19th century. The displays covered many techniques, and also provided QR Code links to view videos of these technologies in operation. Local crafting of quilts was also on display. The event was also highlighted in the Studio and Garden Art Walk event discussed below. Thanks, Heather, for setting this up!
Studio and Garden Art Walk
This self-guided tour took visitors on a walking loop around the east side of town, covering four stops with an emphasis on local art and historic crafts/technologies:
- Margaret Shaw, Folk Artist – Margaret’s home and studio at 610 City Road highlighted her unique folk art, as well as showing visitors her lovely garden.
- David W. Nelson Pottery – Visitors toured David’s studio at 319 Morgan and viewed his pottery craft works.
- Manchester District Library/Village Hall Turbine Room – The Library hosted a quilting display as an example of heritage arts, as well as showing on a continuous loop the somewhat “infamous” locally made movie from 1986, “The Carrier,” another example of “historic arts” made in Manchester. In the Village Hall lobby, a display was set up describing the historic turbine room equipment still in place from the building’s use as a Ford manufacturing plant.
- The MAHS Blacksmith Shop open house, described above, was also a part of this tour route.
These only describe a part of Saturday’s activities! Read more in Part 3 of this Sesquicentennial Recap series next week in The Manchester Mirror….