4th of July Festivities

The 4th festivities for 2017 will be held on Tuesday, July 4, 2017. Keep an eye out for a change in starting times. A tradition that starts with a pancake breakfast and continues with the parade, chicken broil in the park and cardboard boat races, check the 4th festivities link by clicking on this link to the Chamber website at www.grasslakechamber.org.

History

The 4th of July festivities in Grass Lake has been a staple and tradition in the community for as long as anyone can remember, with the festivities always taking place on the 4th, regardless of what day the 4th may fall on. Starting with a pancake breakfast at the Federated Church, the day long program runs through a parade, normally starting around 10:00 a.m., and flowing to the Grass Lake County Park by around noon.

parade1The parade draws thousands of participants as well as visitors as horses and wagons turn out for the day along with, classic antique and domestic tractors, politicians, fire departments, business establishments, clowns, entrepreneurs, churches, bands, and a host of floats all decked out in red, white and blue to celebrate Independence Day like every other community around the country. The parade typically hosts 125 to 175 entries each year and became a feature photo of the Grass Lake Area Chamber of Commerce’s “Welcome Magazine” with a taste of Americana on its front page; the picture provided by the Michigan Center for the Photographic Arts.

The parade follows a route from East Avenue in the village, west along Michigan Avenue to Lake Street in downtown Grass Lake, and flows north from there to Grass Lake County Park on the shores of Grass Lake. There, participants and visitors are greeted with a chicken broil sponsored by the Grass Lake Sportsman’s Club with a host of additional activities in the park including a flag raising ceremony and assorted music activities throughout the afternoon.

Ultimately, those interested in a leisurely afternoon at the lake, stay around to soak up the sun and music for a relaxing afternoon of socializing, swimming or simply napping after the great chicken dinner. At dusk, the community typically remained, or returned, for the fireworks show. Packing the park and lining every nearby open street with people on blankets, either on the ground or on the hood of the car, the fireworks show went off with patriotic music in the background as those in attendance oooh’ed and ahhhh’ed with the colorful displays, some even singing to the music.

parade2While the festivities continue to take place every year, a couple of adjustments sometimes have to be made. First, if the 4th falls on a Sunday, the parade start time is typically adjusted to noon rather than the normal 10:00 a.m. start time giving church goers time to attend services and get home to change clothes before the parade starts, and second, there has been no fireworks for the last several years. Indeed, the cost of the fireworks themselves exceeding $7,000 began burning into the chicken broil fundraising effort. Subsequently, cost and safety have become serious concerns for the community in these tough economic times, and until those issues can be addressed appropriately, there will be no fireworks.

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