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Tag Archive | "Red Flannel Festival"

Festival donates Red Flannel medallion to city


The Red Flannel Queen and court member presented the Ronny Merlington Memorial Medallion to his wife, Shirley Merlington

The Red Flannel Queen and court member presented the Ronny Merlington Memorial Medallion to his wife, Shirley Merlington

By Judy Reed

The Red Flannel Festival presented the city with a large wooden Red Flannel medallion, called the Ronny Merlington Memorial Medallion, to replace the one originally commissioned by Merlington, a longtime council member and former mayor who has since passed away. They presented the medallion at a special meeting of the City Council last Friday evening.

The original medallion that hung on the city’s wall for many years was destroyed after a cease and desist letter was sent by the Red Flannel Festival to the City.

Resident Kathy Bremmer told the Council that if the threat of a lawsuit still stands, then the council would be in violation of the law if they instruct the City Manager to hang the medallion on the wall.

*N-Red Flannel2Mark Fankhauser, a Keystone Cop and former Mayor of Cedar Springs, commended the Festival for honoring Merlington, and said he was a phenomenal individual.  “But there are concerns that council has to address,” he noted. “Both entities can survive independently. I don’t think we need to blend the logos. Regardless, Cedar Springs will always be known as the Red Flannel Town.”

Councilor Rose Powell said it was not a logo, but a symbol of the community’s culture. “It goes beyond being a sign. Hopefully it will restore our city as the Red Flannel Town,” she said.

Councilor Perry Hopkins said he didn’t know Merlington, but thought it would be honorable to honor him. “If we could have the cease and desist removed, it would be an honorable thing to hang on the wall,” he said.

“I don’t think the division is what Ronny would want for us,” said Councilor Dan Clark. “I hope hanging this would be some type of unification.”

Red Flannel President Michele Tracy and the board was in attendance for the presentation, and so was Shirley Merlington, Ronny’s wife, and this year’s RFF Grand Marshal. Ronny was Grand Marshal in 1994.

The Cedar Springs Red Flannel committee and the Red Flannel Festival will meet Thursday evening, June 4, at 5:30 p.m., at the Creative Technologies lounge to discuss a potential Red Flannel Festival agreement.

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City Council discusses agreement with Red Flannel


 

N-City-logo-webBy Judy Reed

At their regular meeting on Monday, 14, the Cedar Springs City Council discussed their concerns with a potential agreement with the Red Flannel Festival .

Under the two-part agreement, the City would offer in kind services (mainly DPW) to the RFF, and be able to license the various logos owned by the Festival free of charge. No money would change hands.

City Councilor Rose Powell said that she talked to Rockford City Manager Michael Young, and they provide in kind services to 50 festivals held there. She noted that Sparta does the same, with an in-kind cap of $5,000.

City Manager Thad Taylor said that with the way the agreement is written, his concern was that there was no way to determine what the cost would be. “I am also extremely concerned about a unanimous vote to get out of the agreement,” he noted.

Mayor Pro-tem Pam Conley, who is on the committee working on the agreement, said that they didn’t put a number in there (a cap) and that they needed direction from Council.

Councilor Perry Hopkins said that if they do this, they need to be ready to do it for all events, and he felt that they should leave trademarks out of it. “Just use the in kind services. I think it’s taking a step backward (to use the logo),” he said.

Mayor Jerry Hall said he thought they should wait on the trademark and just work on the agreement for services for now.

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City and Red Flannel Festival work on agreement


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N-red-flannel-logoBy Judy Reed

Will Cedar Springs be known once again as the Red Flannel Town? If an agreement between the City and the Red Flannel Festival is approved, the City could once again use that nickname at no charge.

A City committee made up of Mayor Pro Tem Pam Conley, and Councilors Dan Clark and Molly Nixon, met with Red Flannel President Michele Tracy and her committee, to work out an agreement. The RFF lawyer then drew up the agreements that the City Council will discuss Thursday evening, May 14, for the first time.

Under the agreement, the City would trade in-kind services in order to license the various logos owned by the Festival. They would not bill the Festival for any services.

“That type of agreement—the trading of in-kind services—seemed to be the most popular way of handling this, according to the West Michigan Municipal League,” commented Clark.

Tracy is pleased with the progress they are making. “The Red Flannel Board is thrilled to have open, honest, sincere dialogue with the City Ad Hoc Committee,” she said. “Our first meeting went smoothly.”

Since the City no longer has their own police department, the Festival would need to contract for their own security, and, according to Michele Andres, they have met with Sgt. Jason Kelley, of the Kent County Sheriff Department’s Cedar Springs unit, and are waiting for an estimate.

The City will discuss the agreement tonight, Thursday, May 14.

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Red Flannel Festival reveals 2015 theme


 

N-Red-Flannel-theme-2015-logoThere’s a new sheriff in town…Red Flannel Country, USA!

The Red Flannel Festival Board announced the theme this week for the 76th annual festival, and not only does it recognize the “wildness” of our town’s beginning, but is also a tip of the hat to the Kent County Sheriff’s Department, who has been providing law enforcement for us since November.

The all-volunteer Red Flannel Festival Board of Directors has been working to provide fresh new events for the 76th “Red Flannel Country USA…There’s a New Sheriff in Town!” Festival celebration. “We’re so grateful to have this beautiful logo designed by local artist Doris Vinton again this year,” said Brynadette Powell, Festival Vice President.

“The board has added many events in the last few years and boasts over 5,000 fans on our Facebook page,” said President Michele Tracy. “This board is extremely dedicated to ensuring the Red Flannel Festival is the biggest and best ever! We want to especially thank Cedar Springs resident, Tim VanWagoner, for his suggestion of a country-western theme for this nationally recognized, quality event, as well as the Kent County Sheriff Department for their approval of this creative theme.”

Tracy said that the Festival continues to expand its advertising portfolio with the addition of billboards to advertise this year’s events. The Festival will partner with 95.7 FM in Grand Rapids, for radio commercials and an expanded number of television commercials will begin on FOX 17 in September. The 32-page full color “Official Red Flannel Press” will be distributed in August, thanks to Festival Business Patron Sponsors and “Friends of the Festival,” a donor program designed exclusively for individuals.

New this year, the Festival will debut a Mechanical Bull, a Western Obstacle Course and Olde Tyme Photographs to complement the country-western theme. The Scottville Clown Band will return in the Grand Parade, with a concert after the Parade in the Grand Lodge. “This is a fantastic, entertaining group to have return again this year,” said Tracy.

A Red Flannel Comedy Revue will also be part of the Grand Lodge entertainment this year, hosted by Festival Board Trustee Liz Thorington, who has performed several years in LaughFest.

Due to last years’ success, The Red Flannel Wine and Microbrew Tasting event, Art Review, Red Flannel Town House Decorating Contest, Trolley to provide transportation, and an AYCE Spaghetti dinner at the Cedar Springs Big Boy Restaurant will also return.

“Of course, the traditional events are still in place,” said Tracy. “The Car and Tractor Shows, Museum Open House, Rotary Chicken BBQ, Lion’s Lumberjack Supper, Queen Scholarship Pageant, Bed Races and Grand Parade are wonderful traditions!” For a full schedule of events, or to download event applications, visit www.redflannelfestival.org.

The Festival was granted 501c3 non-profit status and all donations are tax deductible. The Festival is an independent, all volunteer organization with volunteer openings for individuals, families and groups to be involved. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information on how to donate, volunteer or get involved with the Red Flannel Festival, call 616-696-2662 or visit www.redflannelfestival.org.

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Shirley Merlington named 2015 Grand Marshal 


 

Cedar Springs resident Shirley Merlington has been named the 2015 Grand Marshal for the 76th Annual Celebration

Cedar Springs resident Shirley Merlington has been named the 2015 Grand Marshal for the 76th Annual Celebration

N-GrandMarshal-Merlington2By Judy Reed

The Red Flannel Festival Board of Directors proudly named Cedar Springs resident Shirley Merlington as the 2015 Grand Marshal for the 76th Annual Celebration, to be held on Saturday, October 3, 2015.

“The Festival is extremely proud and thankful for the many years of Shirley’s outstanding dedication to the Cedar Springs community,” said Michele Tracy, President of the Festival.

Shirley was shocked when she found out the board had selected her. “I was really surprised,” she said. “It never entered my mind.”

Shirley was born in Cedar Springs, at a house on Beech Street. She went to Cedar Springs Public Schools until 3rd grade, when her family moved to Sand Lake. She graduated high school there, and met her future husband there, Ronny Merlington. Shirley and Ronny settled in Cedar Springs after he graduated from Michigan State. “I’ve been in the same house in Cedar Springs for 48 years now,” she said.

Shirley served as Executive Director of the Red Flannel Festival from 1990 to 2003. She also served as Director of the Cedar Springs Chamber of Commerce for 12 years, served on the Cedar Springs Board of Education, the Cedar Springs Women’s Club and was 5th District President of American Legion Women’s Auxiliary. “For 25-30 years I’ve been involved in everything in Cedar Springs,” remarked Shirley. Other positions she’s served in include the Board of Review, the DDA, the Elections Commission, and the Selective Service board. At age 77, she is still active in the Legion Auxiliary and has been for 34 years.

“It’s very obvious Shirley loves the Red Flannel Town, and especially the Red Flannel Festival! Her connection to Festival Founders Grace Hamilton and Nina Babcock is very special to us. The Red Flannel Town is a better place because of her involvement and extraordinary volunteerism!” said Tracy.

Shirley said it’s true that she loves Cedar Springs. “I love it! I love the Red Flannel Festival, and look forward to it every year. We usually have company. It’s always been thrilling to me. Ronny and I were both proud to be involved in it all of these years,” she remarked. “We couldn’t ask for a better town to live in.” Ronny was also a Grand Marshal several years ago.

Shirley will reign this year, the Festival’s 76th, over the two weekends of the 15th oldest Festival in the state of Michigan, sharing the Red Flannel warmth of our community with visitors and residents.

 

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RFF president named to state board


Michele Tracy

Michele Tracy

Red Flannel Festival president Michele Tracy is one of three new members elected to serve on the Michigan Festivals & Events board, a networking partner for event planners, volunteers, vendors and their communities.

The other two new members are Debbie Mikula, Greater Lansing Festival Alliance; and Ashley Rop, Chelsea Area Festival & Events. All three will serve on the MFEA Board of Directors for 2015–2017.

This was Tracy’s 13th year as Red Flannel Festival president. “It’s exciting to be able to represent the Red Flannel Festival on a statewide basis!” she said.

MFEA’s mission is to support and promote festivals, fairs, events, attractions, suppliers and tourism through educations, marketing and networking for the success of members.

 

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Red Flannel rocks despite weather


 

This photo was taken by Natalie Kieda as she rode in the helicopter over the town on Red Flannel Day last Saturday.

This photo was taken by Natalie Kieda as she rode in the helicopter over the town on Red Flannel Day last Saturday.

 

 

Natalie Kieda won a complimentary helicopter ride on Red Flannel Day.

Natalie Kieda won a complimentary helicopter ride on Red Flannel Day.

By Judy Reed

 

The weather held true to the spirit of the Red Flannel Festival Saturday, with temperatures in the 40s. The nip in the air and the sporadic sprinkles didn’t put a damper on the festivities, however, as thousands of people lined the streets to celebrate the Red Flannel Festival’s 75th anniversary.

Helicopter rides were one of the highlights of the day, and the helicopter could be seen and heard buzzing over the town all day long. Courtland Township resident Natalie Kieda was one of the people who took advantage of the attraction. Kieda, who works at Cedar Springs Public Schools, said she won the ride as a door prize the school gave away.

“I really enjoyed it,” remarked Kieda. “I had never ridden in a helicopter before. I was a little nervous, but it was an amazing view. It was nice to see the town from the air.” She took some aerial photos, which she shared with us.

She said the helicopter took off from Red Hawk Elementary, went north of town, out over the highway, and circled back to Red Hawk. “It was a nice experience. A pretty smooth ride, too,” she added.

Events and attractions could be found all day, up and down Main Street, on side streets, at the schools, in Morley Park and up on 17 Mile in the Tractor Supply parking lot (the car show was there). People were able to take the trolley to various locations.

As usual, the Grand Parade was a big hit, with Cedar Springs TV production teacher Justin Harnden and crew filming a live lip dub production during the parade, and the Scottville Clown band entertaining at the end of the parade, and in a concert afterward. Activities continued on into the evening, with the Red Flannel Talent show, a movie at the Kent Theatre, a powder puff football game, and live music at the Grand Lodge and at the American Legion.

To see the lip dub, go to youtube.com and type in Red Flannel lip dub.

Many people submitted their Red Flannel photos to the Post Facebook page this week. We couldn’t fit them all in, but download this week’s Red Flannel Post and see if you can find yours!

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Varsity baseball at Fifth-Third ball park


S-Baseball-Fifth-third-with-red-flannel-queen-webThe Cedar Springs Varsity baseball team played a double header against Belding on Wednesday, May 7, at the home of the Whitecaps—5/3 Ball Park in Comstock Park.

Pictured is the Red Hawk baseball team with the Red Flannel Queen and Court. The Red Flannel Festival sponsored the event.

 

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Pollock brothers named honorary grand marshals for festival


Bill (left) and Bob (right) Pollock are honorary grand marshals of this year’s Red Flannel Festival.

Bill (left) and Bob (right) Pollock are honorary grand marshals of this year’s Red Flannel Festival.

If there is a name other than Nina Babcock or Grace Hamilton that is closely associated with the original Red Flannel Day, it would have to be John (Jack) Pollock. He was the owner of the dry goods store that sold red flannels way back in 1936, when the writer at the New York Sun wrote that red flannels couldn’t be found anywhere. And so it would only be fitting that his two sons—William (Bill) and Bob Pollock—have been named honorary grand marshals for the 75th celebration.

Bill and Bob are the surviving sons of Jack and Ann Pollock, and grandsons of Pearl and William Pollock, the founders and operators of Pollock’s, The Original Red Flannel Store. Jack, Ann, and Pearl were all on the board of directors of the first Red Flannel Club, established in 1940. The directors of the club were chosen from those who were actively engaged in business in the community.

“This is such an important, historic year for the Festival, we wanted to honor the first families of the original Red Flannel Festival Board,” said Michele Tracy-Andres, Festival President.

Bill, Bob and their late older brother, John (Mac) grew up in Pollock’s Store.  In their house, Red Flannel Day was second only to Christmas. They helped build and rode on Red Flannel Day floats from the age of four. Bill and Bob have carried on that tradition by entering a Pollock’s float in the 2011 parade. They also recently purchased a license from Life Magazine to the full page color photo of their dad and a hundred school children dressed in red that appeared in Life Magazine on December 19, 1949. A framed copy of the photo was donated by Bill to the Cedar Springs Historical Society Museum in Morley Park where it is on display. Bill also narrated the “Under the Radar” television show for the RFF in 2012 and both are great advocates of the Festival.

Bill told the Post that they are thrilled to have this opportunity.

“The entire Pollock family is extremely grateful to the Red Flannel Festival Board of Directors for designating us as Honorary Grand Marshals. Bob and I humbly accept this honor on behalf of the Red Flannel pioneers that preceded us including our grandparents, William and Pearl, our parents, Jack and Ann, our aunt, June Allchin and her sons, Skip and Mike…not to mention the hundreds of Red Flannel Town residents who worked at Pollock’s Store over its 60 year history such as Don Koster, Lil Meyers, Libby Hanna, Clara Gust, Spud Ensing, and many, many more. We are eagerly looking forward to participating in the 75th Diamond Anniversary Festival.”

Bill graduated from Cedar Springs High School in 1963, the University of Notre Dame in 1967 and holds an MBA from the George Washington University.  He is a retired U.S Navy Captain and corporate vice president. He and his wife, Gisela, travel full-time in their motor home.

Bob attended Cedar Springs High School until he moved to Kalamazoo in 1966. He is a 1969 graduate of Monsignor Hackett High School where he lettered in football and tennis. Bob graduated from Western Michigan University in 1974. He is retired from a career in human resources and real estate/property management. He lives in Parchment, Michigan.

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A Royal Salute—Celebrating 75 years of volunteers


N-Red-flannel-75-webThe 75th diamond anniversary Red Flannel Festival presents new 2014 events

The Red Flannel Festival Board of Directors recently revealed a slate of new and exciting events to celebrate the 75th Red Flannel Festival, taking place October 4, 2014.

The theme this year is “A Royal Salute! Celebrating 75 Years of Volunteers!” “We’re so grateful to have this beautiful logo designed by local artist, Doris Vinton, winner of last year’s RFF Art Review,” said Brynadette Powell, Festival Trustee.

One thing the board plans to do is have additional events throughout the year.

“The board has added many events in the last few years and boasts over 4,500 fans on our Facebook page,” said President Michele Tracy-Andres. “This board is extremely dedicated to ensuring the Red Flannel Festival is the biggest and best ever! Our goal is to have Red Flannel Town events monthly leading up to Red Flannel Day, Oct. 4, 2014. We’re proud of all of the volunteers over the past 75 years who have made this a nationally recognized, quality event.”

The Festival continues to expand its advertising portfolio with the addition of billboards to advertise this year’s events. Again this year, the Festival has partnered with WLAV, 96.9 FM in Grand Rapids, for radio commercials; and an expanded number of television commercials will begin on FOX 17 in September. The beautiful, 32-page full color “Official Red Flannel Press” will be distributed in August, thanks to Festival Business Patron Sponsors and “Friends of the Festival,” a donor program designed exclusively for individuals.

New this year, the Festival will debut the Scottville Clown Band in the Grand Parade, with a concert after the Parade in the Grand Lodge. “This is a fantastic, entertaining group we’ve been trying for years to have come to the Festival,” said Andres. A large volunteer picnic, to celebrate all Festival volunteers past and present will be held in August.

The Festival is excited and proud to have partnered with Rob Bliss, from Rob Bliss Creative in Grand Rapids, to film a “Red Flannel Town Lip Dub” during the 2014 Grand Parade. “Rob is nationally known for his creativity and we’re thrilled he’s part of the 75th Anniversary celebration,” said Andres.

Bliss did the Grand Rapids Lip Dub a few years ago, which got over five million views on youtube and brought a lot of positive attention to Grand Rapids. He most recently did the homeless veteran time lapse for a non-profit organization, and that received over 16 million views, and raised $60,000 for his client.

A Red Flannel Town House Decorating Contest with cash prizes, is also new for 2014, as well as a Spaghetti dinner. A Princess for a Day event will be held as a fundraiser for the Queen Scholarship Fund.

Back by popular demand are The Lumberjacks! After a 2 year hiatus, The American Lumberjack Show will again make an appearance for an interactive show for the 75th Anniversary!

Due to last years’ success, The Red Flannel Wine and Microbrew Tasting event, Art Review, Firefighter Parade, and Trolley to provide transportation to Festival-goers will also return.

“Of course, the traditional events are still in place,” said Andres. “The Car & Tractor Shows, Museum Open House, Rotary Chicken BBQ, Lion’s Lumberjack Supper, Queen Scholarship Pageant, Bed Races and Grand Parade are wonderful traditions.” For a full schedule of events, or to download event applications, visit www.redflannelfestival.org.

The Festival was granted 501c3 non-profit status and all donations are tax deductible. The Festival is an independent, all volunteer organization with volunteer openings for individuals, families and groups to be involved. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information on how to donate, volunteer or get involved with the Red Flannel Festival, call 616-696-2662 or visit www.redflannelfestival.org.

 

 

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