Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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Eight Days of Totally Free Fun: Venetian Fest 2014

Kristi Kates - July 14th, 2014  

Venetian festivals, primarily a Midwestern phenomenon, have been lighting up the water for decades … but none longer than Charlevoix’s.

The 84-year-old festival has matured through the years, growing from a single evening’s candlelit boat parade to an eight-day festival of free-to-the-public games, music, and the hugely popular fireworks.

The first boat parade took place in Charlevoix in 1930, at the end of a sailing regatta held by the Chicago Club and the Belvedere Club.

The participants chose to celebrate by placing candlelit Japanese lanterns on their sailboats and circling Round Lake Harbor that evening, festooned by flickering, festive lights.

“The town then embraced the idea of starting a summer festival, similar to the Cherry Festival which had been started in Traverse City just a few years earlier,” said Dan Barron, the festival’s president.

Surrounded by Lake Michigan, Lake Charlevoix, and Round Lake, the festival’s maritime theme is a natural fit, but technology has upped the ante a bit for the themed boat entries, said Barron.

Candles seem to have become passé: Current boat parade entrants now sport amplified music and large screen video monitors.

This year’s theme is Mardi Gras. Through the years, Barron has seen boat owners get wildly creative, and has had many favorites float on by the judges.

“It’s hard to choose [one],” he said. Owners of a powerboat called The Belfry chose “Christmas in July” as their theme last year. They draped the boat in Christmas lights, dancing Santa elves, and a tree, an effort that snagged them the award for best illumination.

The winner of best sailboat last year, the 30- foot Oberon, was decked out in neon, lights, and accessories in a “totally awesome” salute to the 1980s, Barron said.

While the boat parade gets a lot of attention, the music continues to be the other “big” component of the fest, Barron said.

“I’m sometimes a bit ecstatic about our concerts,” he said.

The music mix usually includes original classic rock bands, country, and even a battle of the bands.

Classic rocker drummer Peter Rivera, the original singer/drummer of ‘70s band Rare Earth, is Wednesday’s opening act for ‘60s band Paul Revere and the Raiders.

Thursday night is country night, with Nashville singer Maggie Rose, along with headliners LoCash Cowboys, who bring in a hybrid of country, rock, and hip-hop.

Other performances throughout the festival include local artists Sleeping Gypsies, The Jon Archambault Band, and David Cisco. These acts are sharing stage space with “imported” performers like Louisiana’s Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience and Chicago American singer Prichard Harter.

Throw in the Venetian Games – 14 different athletic tournaments and games – the popular Kid’s Day, Venetian Fest’s famed worldclass fireworks, and you’ve got eight full days and evenings of fun.

“Venetian provides an amazing and unprecedented caliber of events and activities for such a small town. It brings the people of Charlevoix together,” said Barron. “And it has become the grand homecoming celebration when friends and family return to Charlevoix to celebrate their small town, their relationships and their blessings.”

The 84th Annual Charlevoix Venetian Festival will take place July 19-26. For a complete schedule of events, visit venetianfestival.com.

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