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Tag Archive | "Red Flannel Festival"

Volunteer efforts pay off


CSPS-Drama-Club

The Red Flannel Festival delivered a Community Share check for six hundred dollars to the Cedar Springs High School Drama Club for the volunteer efforts at the 2012 Red Flannel Queen Pageant. The Red Flannel Festival is proud of the annual Community Share Program generated over $5000.00 for area local non-profits last year! The Red Flannel Board of Directors and Chairpersons are working hard to ensure the success of the 74th Red Flannel celebrations.

The Red Flannel Festival’s success and growth has been phenomenal! Our staffing demands will out-number our volunteers and we are turning to you, the non-profit community, for assistance. We are proud and excited we have been able to donate almost $30,000 to non-profits in the area with our Community Share Program!

As a completely volunteer, independent non-profit organization, the Red Flannel Festival is keenly aware of the challenges organizations face in fundraising. Our mission is to encourage collaboration and positive economic growth for ALL of the area’s non-profit organizations.

If your non-profit organization is interested in participating in this exciting Community Share Program please contact the Festival office at 696-2662 or email president@redflannelfestival.org.

 

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City Council clips


Mayor tells city’s side of story

The City Council chamber was packed with spectators at the regular Cedar Springs City Council meeting last week Thursday, many of them there to speak on behalf of the Red Flannel Festival. Post photo by Judy Reed

Cedar Springs Mayor Charlie Watson read a letter at last Thursday’s City Council meeting, saying it was time for the silence to be lifted and for the city to defend itself against false accusations and half truths regarding negotiations with the Red Flannel Festival. (click here to read letter) He offered three solutions to the problem: that the city and RF board agree to the last proposal sent by the city; that the city stop using the RF logos and create their own; or they put it on the ballot and let the voters (who have to pick up the bill) decide.

The City’s proposal to the Festival stated that the city would cease use of all logos except the Red Flannel Town USA and round Red Flannel Town, Cedar Springs, Michigan logos, and that they would use them for identification purposes only. They would agree not to use them for commercial purposes without payment to the Festival. And if the city did profit from the sale of any items bearing the RFF trademark, they would waive city-incurred expenses associated with the Festival in that particular year.

What do you think? Are any of these solutions feasible?

DPW Director resigns

Roger Belknap, DPW Director for the City of Cedar Springs, is resigning as of June 30. Cedar Springs City Manager Christine Burns said he resigned for personal reasons. He’s been a phenomenal DPW Director,” said Burns. “He’s been a great addition to the team and I’m going to miss him.”

Mayor Charlie Watson echoed a similar sentiment. “He’s done a wonderful job, and I hate to see him go.”

Belknap offered to come back on a contracted basis as needed to help with projects until a new director is found. The city is having a going away party for him on June 26. He was hired about a year and a half ago.

Red Flannel Festival

The Cedar Springs City Council approved a motion to waive parade fees for the children’s parade and grand parade, and the application (excluding the beer tent) for holding special events that impair the use of streets and public ways. A special meeting will be held on Friday, June 29 at noon to approve an amendment allowing temporary or seasonal uses in any district on issuance of a permit. The RF beer tent, which is being planned for the American Legion parking lot this year, would fall under this ordinance amendment. The Festival’s lawyer has also sent the city some revisions they would like made in the ordinance before it is adopted.

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Let’s call it a wash


To the Editor,
I’m just wondering…. Why doesn’t the City of Cedar Springs and the Red Flannel Festival just call it “a wash”?  The Festival should contribute to the City by allowing the use of the Red Flannel logo because the City is promoting the Festival. The City should contribute to the Festival by providing the services of the Department of Public works and the Police Department because the Festival is promoting the City.

Instead, both are contributing to the legal system, which, financially, may or may not be comparable to the amount of money in contention.

In the words of Rodney King, “Can’t we all… just…get along?”

Dorothy Bishop
Former Chair of the Red Flannel Festival      

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Festival orders city to stop using logos


By Judy Reed

 

The Red Flannel Festival sent a cease and desist letter to the Cedar Springs City Council last week, which ordered the city to stop using the Festival’s trademarked logos.

“The 8-member, all volunteer board voted unanimously to pursue this as a last resort,” said Festival First Vice President, Nick Andres. “We firmly believe, as the trademarks are the only real asset of the Festival, it is our fiduciary responsibility, as officers of the corporation, to protect the Festival from this infringement.”

The City of Cedar Springs does not agree that they should have to give up the Red Flannel town logos, however, due to the fact that they have used the term “Red Flannel Town” to describe themselves since the late 1930s, early 1940s. It is shown on City letterhead as early as 1941.

Trouble between the Festival and City began about this time last year, when the City told the Festival it could no longer offer $5,000-plus in city services to the Festival for free, due to falling revenues. The Festival asked for an estimate of the fees so they would know what needed to be covered, and the city gave the Festival a final list with an estimated total of $7,716.29. They then waived the parade fees, equipment rentals, and police fees for one year, ($2,491.64), which brought down the number to $5,224.65. The Festival then came to the city with a proposal to pay $5,224.65 in fees, with a “do not exceed” amount of $8,000 between the City and the Festival through 2015. A donor had come forward with the money, and the City accepted the Festival’s proposal.

However, when the final bill was sent to the Festival after this year’s event, it showed an actual cost of $8,064.30, $348 over the original $7,716.29 estimate. Hourly DPW and Police costs were lower than estimated, but fees for Police Reserves and hanging the crosswalk banner were added in. Salaried employees were not included in the fees. After waiving the parade fees and equipment rentals, the bill came down to $6,383.59. The city then waived the overage of $1,158.94, due to the contract between the City and the Festival.

Mayor Pro-tem Christine Fahl said they estimated the costs the best they could. “We never used to keep track,” she explained. “The workers just did it.”

The Festival, however, was surprised at the cost. “We know the agreement was for $8,000, but thought it would go up incrementally over the next few years,” Festival President Michele Andres told the Post.

In a press release issued last week, Andres said those costs threatened the sustainability of the Festival. “This drastic increase in costs from the City at $8,000 threatens the future of the Festival. It simply won’t survive this doubling of the fee structure.”

Then, in December, the Cedar Springs Library Fundraising committee began selling license plates and frames with the Red Flannel Town logo. When Fahl was told by someone on the Festival board that it was infringement because the logos were trademarked, she reacted immediately. “Within 20 minutes we spoke and pulled the license plate announcement off Facebook and stopped selling them,” explained Fahl.

The Festival decided to pay the city for the license plates and frames, then offered them to the library to sell. The library needs to turn over any plates not sold and cost of the plates to the Festival in August, so they can cover their costs.

The two entities decided to meet to discuss the issue of the City using the logos. While previously the City had used them on letterhead, street signs, etc., this new use was different. “The license plates changed the game because now they were trying to sell goods and services,” explained Andres.

When the two ad hoc committees finally met in late January or early February, the City committee, made up of Mayor Charlie Watson, Mayor Pro-Tem Christine Fahl, and Councilor Pat Capek, offered the Festival a proposal that the city would pay $4,000 a year for a license to use the Red Flannel trademarked logos, and told them to write up a proposal.

The Red Flannel Ad hoc committee, made up of Michele Andes, Nick Andres, and at the time, Rand Ruwersma, who has since been replaced by Rose Coonen, took the proposal back to their board of directors. “We wrote up the agreement, but our board said it should be $8,000, because that was the bill,” explained Andres. “To us it was like a first draft. We expected them to make changes, but they didn’t.”

Instead, the City ad hoc committee, who was surprised to get a proposal double of what they had offered, consulted with their attorney, who brought in a trademark attorney. According to Fahl, the attorney advised them not to connect usage of the logos with a fee, because they should be able to use the logos, as they have for years. So on, March 23, the City sent the Festival a letter, outlining their position. They detailed the city’s usage of the logos “Red Flannel Town” and asked that the parties “live and let live” as they have for years, in relation to the usage of the logos. They then offered $4,000 in fees to help offset Festival expenses.

The two committees met on April 4 to try to work out an agreement. “We told them it had to be two separate agreements,” said Fahl. However, as budget time grew closer (the budget meeting was April 14), discretionary funds looked meager. “We didn’t want to respond until after the budget,” explained Fahl. “We then decided it might not be feasible to offer them the $4,000.”

The Red Flannel Festival then responded on April 18 with a letter disputing that the City has any common-law rights to the trademark, since the Festival has trademarked all of them through the state, and several federally. They noted that the City had recently begun promoting its own branding, using the license plates, and then additional logos on Facebook, business cards, and new park benches. The letter said this put the City in direct competition with the Festival, and that it caused more confusion to the public as to whether the Festival is affiliated with the City. They rejected the city’s offer to live and let live, but said they were willing to work with the city to assist in reducing overall Festival service costs to the city. They then directed the city to direct future correspondence to their attorney.

With talks shut down except through their attorneys, things seemed to be at a standstill, until last week. At the same time that the City ad hoc committee was preparing a proposal, the Festival sent the “cease and desist” letter.

The City’s proposal to the Festival last week stated that the city would use the trademarks, logos, etc. for identification purposes only, and they would agree not to use them for commercial purposes without payment to the Festival. They would also cease use of all logos except the Red Flannel Town USA and round Red Flannel Town, Cedar Springs, Michigan logos. They also added an addition to the current agreement with the Festival, that if the city did profit from the sale of any items bearing the RFF trademark, they would waive city-incurred expenses associated with the Festival in that particular year.

Fahl said that the intention is not to sell anything, but that the provision is there in case another City Council or group makes the same mistake they did with the license plates. “We won’t be here forever,” she said.

What was missing from the proposal was the prior $4,000 offer. “Services have been cut, our people aren’t getting raises. We just don’t have any money to contribute,” explained Fahl. “The ironic thing is, if they had jumped on that $4,000 right away, we’d be done with this,” she said.

The Festival did not formally respond to the content of the City’s proposal. “The Festival very much appreciates the City’s proposals. Although some of the terms and conditions are not currently acceptable, the Festival looks forward to further negotiations without the need for legal action,” said Michele Andres.

For Councilor Pat Capek, who spent 20 years on the Red Flannel committee, the disagreement between the two entities has not been easy. “What’s heartbreaking is what it’s done to the city,” said Capek. “There’s no way to separate the city and the festival. To have a breach is a terrible thing. I’m still optimistic that when it’s all over, we will have reached an agreement that has everyone smiling.”

The two committees and their attorneys are scheduled to meet today, Thursday, June 7 to try to come to an agreement.

 

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Red Flannel Festival Facts


*The Red Flannel Festival incorporated in 1978. It has been an independent, non-profit corporation for 34 years.

*The Red Flannel Festival Corporation and the City of Cedar Springs are two completely separate entities.

*The Red Flannel Festival first trademarked its logos in the 1970s. The Festival holds state trademarks on 10 different phrases and logos. There is also Federal protection on a main, generic logo.

*The Festival Board has a duty to protect its logo/trademark from infringement of state and federal law from any entity, as it would with any other Festival asset.

*The Festival and City Ad Hoc Committees met for the first time on Jan. 23, 2012 to discuss the Festival’s trademark and continue to work positively and collaboratively together toward an agreement that will benefit both parties. We consider these negotiations in the very beginning stages, and no final decisions have been made.

*Taxpayers of Cedar Springs have paid $5,400 (as per City budget line item) for Festival services for 71 years.

*In May 2011, Festival paid City $5,224.65 for the 2011 Festival. City Council accepted an agreement that is valid until 2015 for a “not to exceed” amount of $8,000.

*The Festival received a final bill after the 2011 Festival for $8,064.30. Taxpayers covered $2,839.65. A copy of the bill is on the Festival website, www.redflannelfestival.org.

*The City of Cedar Springs (per their website) enjoys a budget of approx. $6.9 million, and $1.9 million in the general fund. The Festival has a budget of approx. $90,000. The proposed $8,000 is a nominal amount in budget comparisons.

*The Festival has spent $393,000 since 2006 at local or state businesses for goods and services. The policy of the Festival Board is to buy locally first in Cedar Springs, then in the immediate surrounding area, unless items are unavailable.

*The Festival does not employ any paid staff. Planning for the Festival begins in January each year and all work is done solely by volunteers.

*The Festival Board implemented the community share program, whereby non-profit organizations provide volunteers and the Festival shares event profits. The Festival has donated $25,748.05 to area non-profits the past few years.

*The Festival donated $2,024.69 to the City of Cedar Springs the past 2 years for Veterans Park for the Timmy Brown Family Fund from the Flapjack Breakfast.

*The Festival has always paid for security at the Grand Lodge. Since 2005, the Festival has paid $3,495.21 to the CS Police Department for security at the Grand Lodge.

*The recent newspaper article makes it appear we made $18,092 in 2010 for the Grand Lodge. This is because expenses of $1,126 in Sales Tax, $3,180 in contract labor and $2,250 in donations associated with the event are reported in other areas of the tax return.

*Net income for the 2010 Grand Lodge was $12,536.29. In 2011, net income for the Grand Lodge was $8,915.08.

*The Festival draws 35,000+ visitors into the City of Cedar Springs annually for the events, which in turn, boosts local businesses.

Red Flannel Board of Directors

 

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Festival proposes city pay to use trademark


By Judy Reed

 

It was 1939, when Cedar Springs Clipper editor Nina Babcock said the businesses decided to tag Cedar Springs as the “Red Flannel Town” and hold a festival. The name stuck, and has been used cooperatively by the city and the festival for many years. The recognizable logo of a pair of long johns hanging on the clothesline and the words “Red Flannel Town” or “Red Flannel Festival” can be seen all over the city—on street signs, city trucks, letterhead, the water tower, and signs welcoming people to Cedar Springs.

That could change, however, if the city decides it cannot afford a licensing agreement recently proposed by the Red Flannel Festival for $8,000—the same amount the city told the Festival last year they would need to start paying to cover services the city provides, such as police protection at the Grand Lodge, DPW work, etc. for Red Flannel weekends.

At budget time last year, the City of Cedar Springs had a deficit of $55,000, and cut services to all community organizations, and also made cuts to city staff. “We had to cut so deep that no one was immune,” City Manager Christine Burns told the Post last year.

They city decided to phase in the cuts to the Festival, and donors came forward to help cover the difference. The two entities completed an agreement for four years with the Festival offering to pay $8,000 each year to the city for services rendered.

According to documents the Post obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the RFF is now proposing a licensing agreement for the city’s use of the Festival’s trademark—for $8,000 per year, through 2015. Festival president Michele Andres said it’s difficult to determine what the trademark is worth. “What is the cost of someone’s identity and brand for 72 years? It’s been a shared responsibility—a quid pro quo. Now that seems to be over. The Red Flannel ad hoc committee thought that $8,000 would be cost neutral to both parties—to put it back where it used to be,” explained Andres.

The first indication that there was a problem with the city using the trademarked logos and text came in December, when the city ordered and began selling Red Flannel license plates and frames for the library fundraising program. According to Mayor Charlie Watson, Mayor Pro-Tem Christine Fahl was notified by the Red Flannel Festival committee that there was an issue of trademark infringement, and he told city staff to pull the plates until they could work through the issue. The Festival was on hiatus from November through January, and the Festival ad hoc committee (with three members from City Council—Watson, Fahl, and Pat Capek) met with the Festival committee.

According to documents and checks and invoices obtained by the Post, the RFF wrote the city a check for the license plates. Burns said the understanding was that the city would reimburse them next August for the plates they sold. The city then decided to write a check back to them right away, assuring them they would sell them all. But it was returned by the Festival, and they are working with the library to sell the plates. You can buy them at City Hall or the library (see story on page 7)

So why did the Festival pick now to enforce trademark rules with the city? “Obviously we support the library. But the board felt like it’s their duty to protect the trademarks,” explained Andres. “It’s created confusion—is it the city or the festival? We only generate revenue through donations or sales of our products, and we need to protect that. Anyone who wants to use trademarked items must get approval first.”

The RFF holds state trademarks on at least 10 different phrases and logos related to Red Flannels and the Festival is working on federal approval.

During the years that H.H. Cutler owned the main trademarks, only the Chamber of Commerce had rights to the marks, for $1 a year. That did not extend to the Festival or the city, according to a letter written to City Manager Frank Walsh in 1996 by lawyers for the children’s clothing manufacturer. Cutler later closed down.

The Post asked Burns what it would cost to remove the trademarked insignia from city property, if council decided to reject the Festival’s proposal. She wasn’t sure. “It would depend on whether it had to happen all at once or in phases,” she said.

Mayor Watson feels both sides want to work diligently to come to a compromise. “I feel both sides recognize we should work together for the betterment of the community,” he said.

“Working closely together benefits both the city and the Festival, and the community, with the economic impact the Festival brings,” noted Andres. “It’s critical that both organizations have open, honest, communication. We can’t do it without each other.”

The city will meet with the city’s lawyer on Thursday to discuss the proposal. According to Watson, they could come back with a counter offer, recommend council accept it, or that they deny it. He didn’t know yet what they would decide.

What do you think? Do you think the Festival should charge the city to use the logos? Do city taxpayers want the city to pay to use the trademark? Or is it time to develop something new? Send us a letter to the editor with your thoughts to news@cedarspringspost.com, and be sure to include your name, phone number and city or township.

 

By the numbers

Red Flannel Festival President Michele Andres told the Post last year that the 2011 budget for the Festival was about $90,000. To show how much the Red Flannel Festival has grown, total gross assets on the Festival’s 2010 tax return (the latest year available) were shown as $233,902. In 2004, the total gross assets were $4,625.

The 2010 return showed net total revenue of $57,346, with net expenses of $33,016. Net assets, including cash and savings, was listed at $130,250.

Schedule O showed gross expenses of Festival events at $45,161; and other expenses (including building and other expenses) at $16,489, for a total of $61,650. The largest single expense on Schedule O is advertising/printing, at a cost of $16,381. Gross income from fundraisers and events is listed at $65,940. The event that brought in the most money was the Grand Lodge, at $25,607 and the cost was $7,515.

 

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Local show filming at Red Flannel Festival


Attend the Red Flannel Festival next Saturday and you could be on TV.
“We’re excited to share the news that the PBS Television Show, “Under the Radar Michigan” will be here on Saturday, Oct. 1, to film the Red Flannel Festival as one of the six coolest Festivals in the State of Michigan!” said festival president Michele Andres.
According to a news release, “the true mission of the program is to discover and uncover the thousands of incredible ‘under the radar’ people, places and things we may not know about in Michigan. Through this discovery, we hope to develop a deeper dimension of pride in our state.”
According to a note from the show’s host, Tom Daldin, they are broadcast on every PBS TV station across Michigan, and also have millions of viewers across Canada, Ohio and Wisconsin, and will be moving into the Chicago market this season. “Our fans are loyal and very engaged in the program. When we talk about a place, people travel long distances in great numbers for the experience… so it’s good for everyone. We often have people tell us that we literally  ‘doubled their business’… it’s a nice feeling to be able to do that!” he wrote.
In each episode, the UTR crew travels from city to city uncovering the people, places and things that make Michigan a great place to be. To learn more about Under The Radar Michigan, visit utrmichigan.com.  To become a fan of the program, visit the Under The Radar Michigan Facebook page and send in suggestions for future shows.
“Please help us spread the news to put our best red foot forward this year,” said Andres. “It’s phenomenal exposure for the festival, sponsors and supporters, business community, citizens and the entire community!”

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Don’t miss out on Red Flannel fun!


The weather is getting cooler, the leaves just starting to fall and glimpses of red can be seen throughout the town. It can only mean one thing—the Red Flannel Festival is just around the corner!
All the fun starts this weekend with a smorgasbord of activities: a firefighter’s parade this Friday after the football game (about 9:30 p.m.); and on Saturday there is a 5K run/walk, basketball shootout, the bed races, chili cookoff, children’s parade, lumberjack dinner, queen pageant and more! Click here for a complete schedule of this weekend and next weekend’s events!

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New event: Firefighter parade


The Red Flannel Festival will be holding a brand new event on September 23—a nighttime firefighter parade—honoring those amazing heroes who put their lives on the line for us each and every day! The parade, consisting of firefighters, police, and other emergency vehicles, will begin about 9:30 p.m., after the Cedar Springs High School Varsity football game.
Staging will take place at the middle school off Northland Drive and 16 Mile. Vehicles will then travel to Red Hawk Elementary (off E. Muskegon) near the tennis courts, proceed north on First St, west on Elm, south on Main Street and west on E. Muskegon, and back to the school driveway by the tennis courts.
The vehicles will travel that route twice, once with sirens and lights flashing, and the second time in silence.
Free, small American flags will be distributed downtown by the Festival Board of Directors.
At least eight departments have confirmed they will be in the parade (including Cedar Springs), and Red Flannel Treasurer Heather Zenker is expecting more to register by the parade date.
“This is an exciting way to honor our local firefighters, the many outstanding volunteers who keep us safe,” said Zenker. “The Red Flannel Festival Board is proud to host the first event in downtown Cedar Springs and hope to make it an annual event.”

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Knight & Day red flannels are here to stay!


The 72nd Red Flannel Festival presents new events

The Red Flannel Festival Board of Directors has been working diligently to provide fresh new events for the 72nd “Knight & Day Red Flannels Are Here To Stay!” Festival celebration. “The board has added over 20 new events in the last few years and boasts over 2,700 fans on our Facebook page,” said President Michele Tracy-Andres. “This board is extremely dedicated to ensuring the Red Flannel Festival the biggest and best ever! We’re already working on plans for new events for the 73rd celebration in 2012!”

There is definitely a historical connection with the theme and the Original 1939 Order of Knights of the Red Flannel Drawers. According to the authors of the Cedar Springs Story, Sue Harrison and Donna DeJonge, the history of the Order of the Knights of the Red Flannel Drawers is as follows:

The first Red Flannel Day was held Nov. 11, 1939 and Carleton Cady wrote in that issue of the Grand Rapids Press: “Lurid lingerie adorned the limbs of nearly every citizen. Scarlet certificates of knighthood were issued to members of the Order of Knights of the Red Flannel Drawers, who proudly wore the badge, which, in miniature, reproduced the article that on winter Mondays flies from Cedar Springs’ clotheslines.”

Their password was “itch.” Dr. C. W. Brayman, James H. Cook and Jack Pollock were some of the first members in good standing, crowing the first Red Flannel Queen, Maxine Smith. We believe the miniature badges referred to are the small, red flannel cut-outs you see on lapels today.

The Festival continues to expand its advertising portfolio with the addition of several 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 the 730 television commercials will begin on various Charter cable channels in September. The beautiful, 36-page full color “Official Red Flannel Press” is also out, thanks to Festival Patron Sponsors. New this year is “Friends of the Festival,” a donor program designed exclusively for individuals.

New this year, the Festival will debut the first ever Celtic Highlander Games hosted in Kent County on Saturday, October 1, 2011. Six different ancient Celtic events will be performed all day!

Another new event is the Cornhole (bean bag toss) Tournament to be held Saturday, October 1 in the Grand Lodge.

The new Firefighter Parade debuts on Friday, September 23 at 9:30 p.m. to kick off the festivities! There are two weekends full of fun!

The Red Flannel Grand Lodge has expanded and will feature entertainment from a local favorite, the Main Street Band. New this year, international renowned Irish folk singer, Mossy Moran will perform, as well as other entertainment. Be sure to visit www.mossymoran.com for CDs and samples of his music.

In keeping with the theme, the Festival is proud to host the Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree patriotic marching unit from Belmont, Michigan in the Grand Parade this year.

The Festival is pleased to announce the Queen Scholarship Pageant and Lion’s Lumberjack Supper is moving back to Cedar Springs High School this year.  “We’re proud of the strong, collaborative relationship with the School Board and Superintendent Ron McDermod,” said Curt Tackmann, Festival Secretary.

“Of course, all of the traditional events are still in place,” said Andres. “The Car & Tractor Shows, Museum Open House, Chili Cook Off, 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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