Friday, July 31, 2009

St. Francis announces “Summer in the City” festival

Inspired by a letter to a local newspaper, St. Francis de Sales Parish has organized a summer festival next month. Dubbed “Summer in the City”, the festival accents through food, music and dance the church’s diverse membership.

The August 7-8-9 festival will present professional music bands from two stages, ranging from Bluegrass to Mariachi to Tex-Mex and Contemporary sounds.

Food and beverages familiar to the parish’s Anglo-Hispanic-Asian membership will also be available to festival-goers, along with family games and activities.

On Sunday August 9 the festival will feature“Taste of the City” with offerings from some of Holland’s favorite restaurants. Beer and wine will be available during the festival’s entire three day run along with soft drinks, water and other beverages.

“We are excited to share the expression of our many cultures with the residents and visitors of the Holland-Zeeland area,” commented Rev. Fr. Charlie Brown, St. Francis’ Pastor. “During Tulip Time, one newspaper letter writer suggested Holland would benefit from a summertime festival. Our church members decided to take-up the challenge,” he added.

Brown and the festival’s co-chairs, Shawn Byrne and Luis Rebedello, said the intent is for the celebration to be an annual event, but a final decision will be made after this year’s celebration concludes.

“With the state of the economy and the June storm deluge, we all could use a little festival to brighten our summer,” Byrne and Rebedello said. “Our parish, a community of many united in faith, wants to share all of that with our larger Holland-Zeeland area,” they added.

Proceeds of the Sunday “Taste of the City” will be shared with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holland. The proceeds of the other two days will benefit the church which, like other non-profits, has seen a noted decline in donations. Tickets are $5 in advance, $6 at the door; family passes are $20 in advance.

The schedule of events is:

Friday, August 7

4 pm -- Opening Prayer

4-8pm Who Hit John?, a popular Bluegrass band from Kalamazoo, on the outdoor stage. details at

· Foods of St. Francis, including offerings of American, Mexican, Filipino, Vietnamese and Thai cultures.

· Children’s and Family Games

· Entertainment tent opens

· 50-50 Raffle tickets on sale

6-10 pm In the big tent. Mary Rademaker, a dance party featuring Mary and the Rad Pack, with Mark Kahney on the keyboards (

Saturday, August 8

12:00 noon -- Opening Prayer

· Foods of St. Francis, including offerings of Mexican, American, Vietnamese, filipino, and Thai cultures.

· Children’s and Family Games

· Entertainment tent (beer and wine) opens to 10 pm

· “Summer in the City Classic Car Show”, 13th and Maple Streets; through 5 pm. Best in show awards.

2–4:40 pm “Holland’s Got Talent” competition, accompanied by Wally Michaels Duo, Emceed by Diego, 12 finalists will take the outdoor stage, competing for $500 prize. Judging will be based 50/50 on votes of the judges and the audience.

6–10pm Julian Martinez Band – A Tex-Mex dance party with a local Holland favorite – a mix of Mexican and country music.

Sunday, August 9

9:30 am “Taste of the City” opens with Breakfast offered by Margarita’s and Coffee and Donuts with Holland Lions Club.

12 noon Entertainment and beverage tent opens

“Taste of the City” continues with

· Village Inn Pizza

· Thai Palace

· Margarita’s

· Blue House Bistro – Creole

· Frosty’s

2–5 pm Son de Mexico, The best Mariachi music in West Michigan

Comes from our own outstanding Holland Group, performing on the outside stage.

3:30 pm to 6:30 pm Wally Michaels Band – Returns – Look for a few guest artists to join Wally & Company ion afternoon of top 40 and jazz favorites.

5:30 pm 50-50 Raffle Drawing

6:30 pm Closing Prayer

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tall Ship Manitou offers Sweet Sail Focused on Artisan Chocolate and Storytelling

Four uniquely different windjammer cruises are planned for fall of 2009 aboard the Tall Ship Manitou in Traverse City, including the mouth-watering Artisan Chocolate & Story Telling Cruise, September 25-28. If you love world-class chocolate and a great story -- not to mention good company -- this is definitely the trip for you.

Chocolatier Mimi Wheeler, owner of The Grocer’s Daughter ( guides passengers through daily tastings of her mouthwatering chocolates, along with enlightening discussions of the many dimensions of chocolate; its history, health benefits, production and her trip to Ecuador to study the journey of the cacao bean from rain forest to market. Mimi is passionate about sustainable agriculture and organic practices and she brings this to her artful chocolate creations.

“My love for rich, dark chocolate and a deep connection to my garden inspired my truffles and other chocolate creations,” says Mimi. “I use fruits, edible flowers and herbs from my summer garden and from the soils and the natural beauty of northern Michigan. Travels and studies of chocolate in France and Scandinavia also helped give birth to this production. I hope you will enjoy these handcrafted, artisan chocolates for their quality and their uniqueness.”

Paired with the chocolate, come amazing stories to be shared. Norm Wheeler, well-known member of the local storytelling and poetry troupe “The Beach Bards” (and also Mimi’s husband) regales the group with a host of enchanting myths, legends and poems under the stars each evening.

The cost for the Artisan Chocolate & Storytelling Cruise s $685 per person and is limited to 22 passengers. Packages include all meals, overnight accommodations in 12 double bunk-style cabins, all educational activities and entertainment, as well as unlimited rest and relaxation.

Captain Dave McGinnis, owner of the Traverse Tall Ship Company LLC, said the extended sailing excursions provide a unique experience for those looking for a different type of Northern Michigan adventure.

“Life aboard the Manitou is fun and informal,” said Captain Dave. “The object here is to slow down and take things as they come. Many folks have told us that this is the best stress reliever they have ever found.”

Manitou is a replica of an 1800s “coasting” cargo schooner and is one of the largest sailing ships on the Great Lakes. A traditional two-masted, gaff rigged, topsail schooner, Manitou measures 114 feet in length with more than 3000 square feet of sail.

“All of the cabins and entries have plenty of headroom and windows which can be opened for ventilation,” said Captain Dave. “Passengers look after their own cabins and keep them ‘shipshape.’”

The wind is your guide during these multi-day excursions, as you travel to the islands, bays and coastal villages of Northern Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse Bay. The four day extended cruise allows guests the time to really get in to the rhythm of life aboard the ship.

“The wind and weather conditions help determine our course,” Captain Dave said. “After a good day of sailing we drop anchor at one of a variety of possible destinations including Beaver Island, the Manitou Islands, Petoskey or in and around Grand Traverse Bay.”

While aboard the Manitou, guests are free to leave the sailing to the experienced crew or lend a hand and learn the arts of the sailor. After the ship tucks into a snug anchorage for the evening, guests can take out the sea kayaks for a little exploration. Beach combing is special fun for those who would like to further enjoy the beauty of many of Northwest Michigan destinations. A wealth of islands, bays and coastal villages are within your reach aboard the Manitou.

An excursion aboard the Manitou allows you to remove yourself from the trappings of modern life: no TV, phone (cell phones are discouraged), beeper, email and definitely no itinerary.

Dining aboard the Manitou is an experience in and of itself. A team of cooks – including those guests who wish to help with the preparation – will delight you with bountiful home cooked meals turned out of the ship’s galley on a wood-fired stove named Cleo. Meals are served family-style in the main cabin or as a buffet on deck.

“Our healthy menus will satisfy the heartiest of seagoing appetites, with emphasis on Manitou specialties, fresh fruits and produce of the region,” said Captain Dave. “With three meals a day, and a variety of snacks, guests do not go hungry on the Manitou.”

To make reservations for one of the 2009 Windjammer cruises, call toll free 800-678-0383. For additional information about the Manitou, including the popular Floating B&B, day sails and charter services, log on to

Step back in time, relax, make new friends and enjoy outstanding food aboard Manitou!


Sept. 11-14 (4 days, Friday to Monday)

Sept. 18-21 (4 days, Friday to Monday)

Sept. 25-28 (4 days, Friday to Monday)

Oct. 2-5 (4 days, Friday to Monday)

Prices are $685 per person, double occupancy; please add 6% Michigan sales tax

Michigan Brewers Guild Announces Two New Fall Festivals

Coming off a widely successful 12th Annual Michigan Summer Beer Festival in Ypsilanti this past weekend (where attendance sold out at just over 8000 at historic Depot Town’s Riverside Park), the Michigan Brewers Guild (MBG) announces two new fall festivals for craft beer enthusiasts.

The UP Oktoberfest will be held on Saturday, September 12 in Marquette, followed by Harvest Fest -- presented with Metro Times -- on Saturday, October 24 at Eastern Market in Detroit.

“We have been looking to add a few new events to our annual calendar,” says Scott Graham, MBG executive director. “Oktoberfest gives us the opportunity to reach out to craft beer connoisseurs in the Upper Peninsula, while the Harvest Fest brings us to historic Eastern Market in Michigan’s largest city. With both, we hope to draw attendance from our existing beer fan base, as well as introduce a whole new group of people to some of the finest craft beers in the Midwest.”

Further details about these events will be released in the coming weeks and will also be posted online at

Michigan’s thriving brewing industry contributes over $24 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $133 million. In terms of overall number breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #6 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”

The Michigan Brewers Guild exists to unify the Michigan brewing community; to increase sales of Michigan-brewed beer through promotions, marketing, public awareness and consumer education; and to monitor and assure a healthy beer industry within the state. For more information, including a list of Michigan microbreweries, log on to

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Governor Proclaims "Buy Michigan Week" for July 27, 2009

Buy Michigan Now (, a campaign designed to promote and restore Michigan’s economy, requested and received an official proclamation from Governor Jennifer M. Granholm pronouncing the week of July 27th as Buy Michigan Week across the state. The campaign is now urging businesses, residents, and media throughout the state to celebrate by showcasing and supporting Michigan-based companies and Michigan-made products during that week.

According to Buy Michigan Now campaign founder, Lisa Diggs, “While we would like to see every week be Buy Michigan Week, we felt our current economic situation warranted a special spotlight on what is going well in this great state. We have amazing agriculture, terrific beers and wines, numerous independently-owned retailers and restaurants that all deserve some special attention.” Diggs continued, “Michigan is still manufacturing more products than people realize, while simultaneously carving out a leading role in the film, medical, and renewable energy industries. Our citizens need to hear about, celebrate, and support these positive developments.”

To help businesses capitalize on the opportunity, Buy Michigan Now has created flyers, posters, and shelf tags that may be downloaded for free by local communities and businesses to help them highlight Buy Michigan Week. “We recognize that not every business has the budget to create special signage for an event like this,” said Diggs, “so we are offering several designs at no cost to make it more affordable for companies to participate.”

In addition, Buy Michigan Now and Downtown Northville are hosting a festival that runs from Monday, July 27th – Sunday. August 2nd. The event will include several seminars, panel discussions, and entertainment, in addition to active participation by local merchants and numerous vendors/exhibitors that will be on hand from around the state.

The Campaign
Buy Michigan Now is a grassroots effort that was initiated in November of 2007 to help educate people of all ages about the benefits of buying locally and to stimulate positive thinking and actions in support of Michigan.

The Founder
Lisa Diggs is also founder of The Catalyst Company, an eight year old performance consulting agency, and is an alumnus of Michigan State University as well as the University of Michigan-Dearborn. As a nearly lifelong resident of Michigan she feels a deep sense of responsibility to promote, protect, and develop the state for future generations.

The Governor’s Proclamation Reads
Whereas, Buying locally maintains jobs, diversifies the economy and encourages business growth so that citizens can continue to live and work in the state of Michigan; and,

Whereas, Since the goods and merchandise purchased have less distance to travel from production to the consumer, buying locally reduces are carbon footprint thereby reducing the amount of fuel needed to transport items; and,

Whereas, We can “Buy Fresh, Buy Local, Give Local” by contributing Michigan foods to local food banks, which will help our neighbors in need and provide access to fresh, local, healthy food for all Michigan residents; and,

Whereas, Residents of this state can take action and make changes in their buying habits starting today by asking their grocer to label all produce so you know where it’s from, conduct research to discover Michigan products and services, ask your favorite restaurant to carry more Michigan foods, beer, and wine, and buy from local farmers’ markets;

Now, Therefore, be it Resolved, That I, Jennifer M. Granholm, governor of the state of Michigan, do hereby proclaim the week of July 27, 2009, Buy Michigan Week in Michigan. I encourage all residents of this state to take advantage of the many great products and services that the state of Michigan has to offer by buying Michigan first.


Contact and Sponsorship Information
For the latest updates on the Buy Michigan Now campaign, festival, or sponsorship information, please visit or contact Lisa Diggs at (248) 390.0974 or send email to

To become a vendor/exhibitor at the Buy Michigan Now Festival download and submit the Reservation Form or contact event producer, Ta Dah Productions at 248-548-2324 or

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Homestead Announces Top of the Mountain Concert

Three of Northern Michigan’s most noted musical artists are gathering on Tuesday, July 14 for a “Top of the Mountain Concert” at The Homestead -- America’s Freshwater Resort, in Glen Arbor. Pat Niemesto, Chris Skellenger and Andre Villoch will all perform between 7 and 9pm.

Pat Niemesto - As a member of the New Third Coast -- a trio of musicians who come together to deliver a unique Power Folk, Leelanau County style sound -- Pat Niemesto takes the lead on bass, fiddle, mandolin, guitar and vocals, as well as contributing to the group’s eclectic and refreshing songwriting. The strong three-part harmonies, combined with diverse instrumental musical expression, have created a large following throughout Northwestern Lower Michigan and beyond. (

Chris Skellenger - Long noted as a songwriter/solo performer, singer/guitarist with the original Third Coast band, and now a group called Three Hour Tour, Chris Skellenger’s day job is in landscaping with the North Coast Nursery in Empire, which he owns with his wife, Susan.

Andre Villoch - For years André Villoch has performed in Michigan and Indiana as a musician, actor and comedian. As a singer/songwriter, he delivers a fun performance of original material with a percussive guitar and a lyrical voice. In 2003, André released his first album, Gum Wrapper Roses, which is now heard in 12 countries (including Antarctica). His second album, Roadworthy, was released in June 2007. (

For $10 per person, guests can ride the chairlift to the top of the mountain overlooking the breathtaking Sleeping Bear Bay and enjoy an evening with some of the best music in the Northwest. A cash bar, featuring beer, wine and soda, will be available. Tickets are available by calling 231.334.5378.

The Homestead is Northern Michigan’s largest waterfront resort community located in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – a unit of the National Park Service. Along with its unmatched natural setting and miles of frontage on Lake Michigan and the Crystal River, the resort offers guest pools, tennis and golf in the summer; downhill and cross country skiing in the winter; and shops, restaurants, meeting centers and the luxurious new Spa Amira throughout all four seasons.

For more information, visit or call 231.334.5100.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Forbes Ranks Pure Michigan One of All-Time Best Tourism Campaigns

The award-winning Pure Michigan tourism campaign has received another accolade, this one from Forbes, naming it among the 10 all-time best travel campaigns. On the heels of an incredibly successful national cable television campaign that launched March 30, this recognition is further proof Michigan is making its mark when it comes to travel and tourism.

"The showcasing of Michigan's vast beauty, from our world-class beaches to top-ranked golf courses, creates local business activity and jobs for our workers," Governor Jennifer M. Granholm said. "This campaign is helping travelers choose Michigan while diversifying and growing our economy."

Forbes ranked the Pure Michigan campaign sixth best, saying, "this campaign sells with its simple and universal message: that sometimes we all need to get away from life's stresses and relax a bit." Clearly, the three judges agreed. Ranking the campaigns were Peter Greenberg, travel journalist; Rudy Maxa, contributing editor with National Geographic Traveler magazine; and Tom Parsons, publisher of

"Having the Pure Michigan campaign recognized as one of the best campaigns ever is quite gratifying," said George Zimmermann, vice president of Travel Michigan, a business unit of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. "This award-winning campaign has produced a dramatic increase in the number of travelers seeking Michigan tourism information."

The Pure Michigan tourism campaign went national for the first time this year and ran through June on 15 cable channels: Golf Channel, Travel Channel, A&E, Bravo, Style, Fine Living, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, E!, DIY Network, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and Fox News.

"There are millions of Americans who know little or nothing about the vibrancy, heritage, culture, arts and entertainment in our great cities, our sandy beaches and stunning overlooks along America's longest fresh-water coastline, or the majesty and recreation in our 19 million acres of magnificent forests," Zimmermann said. "The Pure Michigan campaign is designed to introduce to the nation the attributes that make Michigan such a popular and unique destination."

For each dollar Michigan spent on out-of-state advertising from 2004 through 2008, new visits to Michigan stimulated by that advertising created more than $40 of spending at Michigan businesses and generated $2.86 in new state tax collections.

Created by the Birmingham, Michigan, office of McCann Erickson, the Pure Michigan campaign is accomplishing exactly what it was designed to do, showcasing Michigan's greatest assets, activities and attractions. McCann's Chief Strategy Officer Mark Lantz explains their approach: "The campaign is intended to entice out-of-state travelers from neighboring states about one place that still feels magic, mythic, authentic, untamed, unspoiled, uncompromised, timeless and true. It's pure Michigan. We wanted to communicate to consumers what makes Michigan special and identify experiences you get here that you can't get anywhere else."

To view the Pure Michigan campaign go to and click on "View our Ads" at the top of the page.

Travel Michigan, a division of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, is the state of Michigan's official agency for the promotion of tourism. Travel Michigan markets the state's tourism industry and provides valuable visitor information services. For Michigan travel and golf news, go to

Friday, July 3, 2009

Traverse City’s Blue Tractor Plows Ahead with Michigan Only Beers at “The Shed”

Owners of the Blue Tractor are plowing ahead with their newest endeavor called The Shed. Housed in Traverse City’s Olde Towne, between the Blue Tractor and Café Habana, The Shed will proudly serve exclusively Michigan microbrews when it opens up at 4pm on Friday, July 3 – just in time for Michigan Craft Beer Month.

“We are so proud to live in a state where there is such an impressive number of microbreweries producing amazing craft beers,” says Jon Carlson, who along with Greg Lobdell, operate 2Mission Development and Design, owners of these and other restaurants throughout the state. “Without a doubt, we believe Michigan makes the best microbrews and we’re excited to be able to offer a beer list at The Shed that features the best of the best, made right here in our home state.”

At the onset, some 22 bottled beers from 10 Michigan microbreweries will be featured at The Shed, including:

Jolly Pumpkin – Oro de Calabaza
Jolly Pumpkin – La Roja
Jolly Pumpkin – Calabaza Blanca
Jolly Pumpkin – Bam Biere
Short’s – Bellaire Brown
Short’s – Huma Lupa Licious
Arcadia – IPA
Arcadia – Porter
Bell’s – Amber Ale
Bell’s – Two Hearted Ale
Michigan Brewing Co. – Big Mac
Michigan Brewing Co. – Nut Brown
Michigan Brewing Co. – Celis White
Founders – Red’s Rye
Founders – Dirty Bastard
Founders – Pale Ale
Atwater Brewing – Vanilla Java Porter
Atwater Brewing – Cherry Stout
New Holland – Full Circle
New Holland – Mad Hatter
Keweenaw – Blonde
Detroit Dwarf

A draft tower will eventually be added and the number of brews served will increase, with one common element – they’ll be hand-crafted in Michigan.

“Across the state, we have seen an increased demand from the consumer looking for and even seeking out high-quality, locally made beers,” Lobdell says. “We wanted to provide a comfortable environment for people to enjoy these crafted brews. We believe The Shed is that place.”

Opened in 2007, the Blue Tractor Cook Shop (423 S. Union St.) building itself has a long-standing history as a local watering hole, opening first in 1886 as Novotny’s Saloon. Prohibition put a halt to business in the early 1900s, but by 1938 the building was purchased and opened as Dill’s. Over the years, the building changed hands frequently but always remained a place for people to relax and enjoy fine food and cold beer. The Blue Tractor proudly smokes all its own meats, purchases its produce locally, mixes up its own sauces, dressings and soups from scratch, and supports not only the Michigan breweries, but the Grand Traverse region’s award-winning wineries as well.

Café Habana (421 S. Union St.) blends the classic Cuban feel with menu items from Central and South America in an updated version and unique twist on the timeless Cuban or Latin café. The 1930s retro-style of Habana brings up imagery of the pre-Castro Cuba with art deco décor set in a rustic environment. The blend of exciting Latin drink paired with the authentic flavors and spices of the food.

The Shed will offer its own unique entertainment and relaxation atmosphere to Traverse City, a community that is garnering national attention for its unparalleled culinary offerings and spectacular locale along Grand Traverse Bay.

In May, Lobdell and Carlson were honored with the 2009 Citizen Award by the Michigan Historic Preservation Network. They were recognized for their historic preservation and restoration efforts at several properties in Michigan. 2Mission was founded with the purpose of acquiring and developing underutilized real estate with the intent of developing vibrant mixed use properties. It is the latest in a series of historic preservation awards the team has been honored with.

2Mission projects include Bowers Harbor Inn and The Bowery on Old Mission Peninsula, North Peak Brewing Co., Kilkenny’s Irish Public House, Café Habana and the Blue Tractor – all in Traverse City; Bastone Brewery, Café Habana and Vinotecca – all in Royal Oak; and Grizzly Peak Brewing Co., Blue Tractor BBQ, and Café Habana – all in Ann Arbor.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Summer Beer Festival Highlights Michigan Craft Beer Month

The Michigan Brewers Guild once again encourages residents and visitors to the Great Beer State to celebrate Michigan Craft Beer Month (July) by visiting area brewpubs and microbreweries, purchasing Michigan craft beer at retail outlets and restaurants and attending regional celebrations* like the 12th Annual Michigan Summer Beer Festival (July 24-25) at Riverside Park in Ypsilanti’s historic Depot Town. Michigan House Resolution 117, introduced by Rep. Rebekah Warren (D – Ann Arbor / 53rd District), designates July 2009 as Michigan Craft Beer Month. The complete resolution is available online.

More than 50 Michigan microbreweries and brewpubs will showcase 300-plus craft beers at the 12th Annual Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival. The festival is open from 5-9pm on Friday (7/24) and 1-6pm on Saturday (7/25) and is the highlight of Michigan Craft Beer Month.

Admission tickets for the 2009 Summer Beer Festival, (including12 drink tokens) are:

Friday (7/24) - $25 in advance ($30 at the gate if available)

Saturday (7/25) - $30 in advance ($35 at the gate if available)

Last year, the Guild made aggressive and successful efforts to turn this highly popular festival – which expects to draw more than 8000 individuals over the course of two days – into an event with a lower environmental footprint. Local organizations, such as Recycle Ann Arbor and The Sierra Club, will once again assist in a series of initiatives, which last year brought down the total post-festival waste to less than 15%.

Such efforts include:

*Placing recycling bins throughout the festival grounds, allowing for the separation of food products from recyclable products.
*Using plates, bowls, cups, hand-towels and eating utensils made from biodegradable products, which will be disposed of at a local composting station instead of a landfill.
*Hauling food scraps to a local pig farmer, to be used as feed.
*Setting up bulk water stations, instead of plastic bottles of water.
*Utilizing volunteers from the Sierra Club to assist at recycling stations, making sure all the recyclables are properly sorted from the food items.

Advanced tickets for the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival may be purchased online at, at participating member breweries and select retail locations around the state or by calling 877-772-5425. Attendees must be 21 or older to attend. Designated driver tickets are available online and at the gate for $5 each. Additional drink tokens are available for 50 cents each.

Michigan’s thriving brewing industry contributes over $24 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $133 million. In terms of overall number breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #6 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”

The Michigan Brewers Guild exists to unify the Michigan brewing community; to increase sales of Michigan-brewed beer through promotions, marketing, public awareness and consumer education; and to monitor and assure a healthy beer industry within the state. For more information, including a list of Michigan microbreweries, log on to