Pictured is the Red Hawk baseball team with the Red Flannel Queen and Court. The Red Flannel Festival sponsored the event.
Posted on 05 June 2014.
Pictured is the Red Hawk baseball team with the Red Flannel Queen and Court. The Red Flannel Festival sponsored the event.
Posted on 20 March 2014.
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.
Posted on 27 February 2014.
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.
Posted in NewsComments Off on A Royal Salute—Celebrating 75 years of volunteers
Posted on 20 February 2014.
The Red Flannel Festival Board of Directors proudly named Cedar Springs resident John Teusink as the 2014 Grand Marshal for the 75th Diamond Anniversary Annual Celebration, to be held on Saturday, October 4, 2014.
“I consider this a great honor,” remarked Teusink. “It’s the greatest honor I’ve ever had.”
“The Festival is extremely proud and thankful for the many years of John’s outstanding dedication to the Cedar Springs community,” said Michele Tracy-Andres, President of the Festival.
Teusink, 73, has lived in Cedar Springs all his life, and came by his service to the community naturally. He is the son of Dr. James (J.) Harvey Teusink and his wife Dorothy, both deceased. Dr. Teusink was a well-known doctor for many years in Cedar Springs and also served on the school board for many years. Dorothy was the first woman mayor in Cedar Springs back in the 1960s.
Teusink grew up here in town with his older brother Jack, now deceased, and his sister, Nancy Jackson, who still lives on Beech Street. He graduated in 1958 from Cedar Springs High School, which was then at Hilltop. Afterward he attended Hope College and graduated in 1962, and later earned two masters degrees in Biology—one from Central Michigan University, and one from Syracuse University. He then taught in Florida for a time, then returned home and taught at Forest Hills for six years, before moving on to Aquinas, where he taught for 32 years. In January of 1962 he retired after having a heart attack.
John was elected to the Cedar Springs City Council in November 1976, and served for 32 years, with 19 of those years as a mayor. During his time as Mayor, he married 175 couples. “I had the cheapest rate in town,” he said with a chuckle. He recalled that when he asked one couple for their marriage license, the man pulled out a fishing license. “That wouldn’t work,” he remarked. Teusink retired from the Council in 2008.
Teusink also served on the Library Board and was a member of the Cedar Springs Community Players. Mayor Linda Hunt presented him with a framed declaration proclaiming December 11, 2008 as John Teusink Day in Cedar Springs.
Teusink said his family was very good friends with Red Flannel founders Grace Hamilton and Nina Babcock.
“It’s very obvious John loves The Red Flannel Town and especially the Red Flannel Festival,” said Andres. “His connection to Festival Founders, Grace Hamilton and Nina Babcock is very special to us. The Red Flannel Town is a better place because of his involvement.”
Teusink will reign this year, the Festival’s 75th Diamond Anniversary 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.
Posted in NewsComments Off on John Teusink named 2014 Grand Marshal
Posted on 07 February 2014.
By Judy Reed
We received a lot of response to our story last week regarding a cease and desist letter the Red Flannel Festival sent to the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce regarding use of the Red Flannel Town, and Red Flannel Town, U.S.A. service marks.
The Red Flannel Festival trademarked it, but the Chamber also trademarked three taglines that incorporate the words Red Flannel Town in a longer phrase. When the Chamber organized the city’s annual holiday event this year, they named it “A Red Flannel Town Christmas, Come Mingle with Kris Kringle” and registered it in October, along with two other taglines, which were all approved by the state: A Red Flannel Town Christmas, and The Original Red Flannel Town, USA, Cedar Springs, MI.
The Red Flannel Festival shows they registered “The Red Flannel Town” on June 3, 2005, and “Red Flannel Town, U.S.A.” on June 27, 2011.
Chamber president Shawn Kiphart said they used the term because Cedar Springs has always been known as Red Flannel Town. The Red Flannel Festival said it’s a direct violation of their trademark rights, and it is likely to “cause confusion as to the source or sponsorship of Chamber materials and events.”
Kiphart didn’tagree. “Red Flannel Town is part of a larger title we use. We are referencing Cedar Springs. There is no confusion. I don’t think people think, ‘Oh, it’s the Red Flannel Festival,’ we believe they think of Cedar Springs.”
The Chamber sent a letter back asking for clarification and received one back from the Festival. Kiphart also asked the community to tell him what they want—to forget about using the logo and let the Festival use it only for them, or to fight for it. The responses we received, and that he received personally, were overwhelmingly in favor of letting the moniker identify the town itself.
Last Wednesday evening, the Red Flannel Board met to elect officers, and representatives from the Chamber board were there. Unofficial sources from both sides said there was some good discussion.
The Chamber was asked to put in writing to the Festival what they want, and they did so with a letter this week. In a nutshell, they are asking the Red Flannel Festival to let groups and businesses in Cedar Springs use the name “Red Flannel Town” to positively impact the town, without having to ask each time. You can read the letter in its entirety on page 12, along with what comments readers made on last week’s story.
Posted in NewsComments Off on Chamber responds to the Festival
Posted on 30 January 2014.
By Judy Reed
The Red Flannel Festival has sent a “cease and desist” letter to the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, ordering them to stop using the terms “The Red Flannel Town” and “Red Flannel Town, USA” or face legal action.
When the Chamber organized the city’s annual holiday event this year, they named it “A Red Flannel Town Christmas, Come Mingle with Kris Kringle” and registered the name with the State of Michigan on October 8, 2013. “Our position is that Cedar Springs is Red Flannel Town and always has been, and that’s why the holiday event was so titled,” explained Chamber president Shawn Kiphart.
The Red Flannel Festival shows they registered “The Red Flannel Town” on June 3, 2005, and “Red Flannel Town, U.S.A.” on June 27, 2011.
Although the state approved the Chamber’s taglines, the Red Flannel Festival feels it is trademark infringement. “We believe the Chamber’s use of these trademarks constitutes trademark infringement, unfair competition, as well as other common law causes of action,” read the cease and desist letter sent by the Red Flannel Festival’s lawyer, Frank Scutch.
Kiphart responded with a letter asking where they had infringed on the Red Flannel Festival’s property, stating that they would not use their specific phrases without permission. The Festival’s law firm then sent a response that the Chamber insignias specifically incorporate the Festival’s registered marks “The Red Flannel Town” and “Red Flannel Town, U.S.A.” and that their use on their own or as part of a phrase is a direct violation of the Red Flannel Festival’s trademark rights. The letter also said that was likely to “cause confusion as to the source or sponsorship of Chamber materials and events.”
Kiphart doesn’t agree. “Red Flannel Town is part of a larger title we use. We are referencing Cedar Springs. There is no confusion. I don’t think people think, ‘Oh, it’s the Red Flannel Festival,’ we believe they think of Cedar Springs.”
He noted that Cedar Springs was known as the Red Flannel Town long before the Festival trademarked it. On their application, it states that the first time the phrase was used in commerce was October 1, 1950. But there are meeting minutes by the City of Cedar Springs dating back to December of 1941 showing the city was using it on their letterhead at that time.
Kiphart said he would like to know, does the Red Flannel Festival not think Cedar Springs is the Red Flannel Town? That it should only be used in connection with the Festival itself?
The Post asked Festival President Michele Andres that question. “The Festival has owned several state and federal trademarks for many years,” she said. “Red Flannel Town and Red Flannel Town, USA are both owned legally by the Festival regardless of anyone’s personal opinion. The Festival has readily granted permission to several organizations and entities who formally request to use its various trademarks. These marks simply do not belong to the Chamber.”
Kiphart said he doesn’t think they should belong to either entity. “It doesn’t belong to us. It’s the town’s identity,” he said. “If they are asking us to stop referring to Cedar Springs as the Red Flannel Town, we will not. Fear and intimidation tactics will not work on us. They are more than welcome to keep spending money on attorney fees to strip the town of its identity, but we will not play ball.”
Andres remarked that Kiphart needs to schedule some time to professionally and maturely discuss the matter directly with the Red Flannel Festival Board of Directors. “We have asked to meet numerous times and have received no response. It is extremely disappointing that this organization’s leadership does not understand or comprehend basic trademark infringement, especially as business owners.”
Kiphart said they have never declined to meet with them about using the Festival’s logo. “As we have not wanted to use their exact logo, we haven’t met,” he explained. “We didn’t contact them to ask permission to use the town’s identity.”
Kiphart said the Chamber might be open to sitting down with the Festival to discuss the issue, as long as it was open to the public.
“We want to know what the community thinks,” said Kiphart. “We will do what the community wants. If the community wants us to tell them (the RFF) to take their ball and go home, we will.”
According to the most recent letter sent to the Chamber by the Festival, they have until February 4 to discuss with the Festival the steps they will take to “cease infringement of the RFF’s trademarks.” If they do not hear from them, “the RFF will have no choice but to take legal action against the Chamber,” the letter said.
What do you think? Send us a letter to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org (limit 350 words), comment on this post, call the Chamber at 616-773-5126, or the Red Flannel Festival at 616-696-2662.
The Red Flannel Festival will also be having their annual board meeting tonight (Thursday, January 30) at 6:30 p.m. at their office on 21 E. Maple Street, where they will vote on a new grand marshal for this year’s 75th Festival, and elect their officers for the year. Those wishing to volunteer are also welcome.
Posted on 24 January 2014.
The Red Flannel Festival Board of Directors is seeking nominations for a Grand Marshal—or a couple to serve as Grand Marshals—for the 75th annual Red Flannel Festival. Since the 1980’s, board members have chosen Grand Marshals for Cedar Springs’ signature event in October. Citizens are encouraged to write a nomination letter suggesting a person or couple to receive this year’s honor.
If you know someone you would like to see honored this way, please submit their names, address and phone number and include a brief summary of that individual’s or couple’s contribution to the Red Flannel Festival and Cedar Springs area—and specifically volunteerism to the Red Flannel Festival.
Nominations must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Jan. 27 to the RFF Office, P.O. Box 43, Cedar Springs, 49319 or emailed to email@example.com. The Festival Board will choose the 2014 Grand Marshal at its January meeting.
The RFF Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 30 at 6:30 pm at the RFF Office, 21 E. Maple Street. All interested in volunteering are welcome!
Posted in NewsComments Off on Red Flannel Festival seeking nominations for grand marshal
Posted on 12 December 2013.
After reading Kathy Bremmer’s letter in the Cedar Springs Post (11/27/2013), it’s hard to believe we were at the same City Council meeting. I had been wondering if you were ill or moved away since I haven’t seen you at a City Council meeting in several months. You were right—a woman (me) proudly took to the podium on Thursday, November 14, 2013. That’s where your truth ended. You may criticize me and disagree with me; that is your right. Attack me with lies and that is very different. I had to leave early for medical reasons, not as you stated that I wasn’t interested in important city business. I did send my regrets to our new Mayors, for my early departure.
My statements that night: First, I thanked the current and past city council members who voted Bob Truesdale into the Mayor’s seat. I felt it was the best thing they ever did for our city (not a castigation of council members). Second, I thanked the volunteers and Red Flannel Board for their hard work and dedication for our Red Flannel Festival. I thought the 2013 Red Flannel Day Festival was awesome. It was an honor and a privilege to work with the RFF board and volunteers (I said nothing about costs, police or beer tent). Third, I also said I feel the Red Flannel is like a mascot for the Cedar Springs community, like Spartie is for Michigan State, Wolverine is for U. of Michigan, Red Hawk is for Cedar Springs Schools, etc. Some people love it, some hate it, and a few just don’t care. I did say I like the new logo and I hoped that someday it might include our Red Flannel. Fourth, I asked council to table the vote on the new logo and give our residents, voters, and taxpayers a chance to review it. Most people didn’t know about the new logo until it showed up on the front page of the Cedar Springs Post the day of the council meeting. Fifth, I asked what the plans were for the new logo? What kind of costs would be involved in applying it to our city identity? Will we have to replace patches we just purchased for the police department uniforms? We just paid over $700 for them. I asked if we have to destroy or grind off the former tagline “a great place to live, work and play” from our city signs? What was the cost to develop that new logo? As we know, last year the City of Cedar Springs spent thousands of taxpayers’ dollars to destroy and replace our people’s property. How much more will we be spending on logos and taglines? Kathy, as a concerned citizen and former city councilwoman, you should be interested in these additional expenses.
Last, but not least, I addressed a rumor I have heard from several citizens—that our Cedar Springs City Council is planning to remove the Red Flannel from our water tower. I have reassured folks that because of the enormous cost, it could never happen. (I hope not.) Kathy, you have taught me a valuable lesson. If I address City Council again, I will record my every word, put it in writing, and submit it to the City Council correspondence, for the historical record. Kathy, hateful vitriol is all yours. I am a proud Red Flannel Festival volunteer. I haven’t lost friends, our family hasn’t split. The truth is, I made and renewed many wonderful friendships this past year and our family remains united. Our friends and family are looking forward to the 75th (diamond) anniversary of Red Flannel Day, 2014.
Rose Powell, Red Flannel Town, USA
Cedar Springs, Michigan
Posted in Post ScriptsComments Off on Were we at the same meeting?
Posted on 27 November 2013.
For over 70 years there was a cooperative spirit between Red Flannel Festival volunteers and city officials who worked together to promote Cedar Springs for the good of the entire community. That all changed in 2011 when the economy took a serious downturn and the city could no longer justify costs associated with the festival, as taxpayer services and staff were negatively impacted. As a result, the Festival Board threatened a lawsuit if the city didn’t pay for use of the long john logo. After almost two years, facing what would surely be a prolonged court fight and considering the subsequent costs to taxpayers, the Council voted to move forward with a new logo. During last Thursday’s council meeting, members were openly castigated for doing so by those RFF volunteers who refuse to accept the decision and who seemed determined to promote more divisiveness within our community. I found it telling that they left immediately after speaking, not caring about anything else but their own agenda.
After all the Festival’s demands for taxpayer dollars, I found it ironic that a woman took to the podium to quite proudly proclaim the Festival Board’s success in taking care of everything (costs) themselves this year, except for police support at the beer tent. (She explained that an outside security would have been used but the City charged less.) You just can’t beat that good old American can-do spirit, the concept of pulling one’s own weight! Had that been done in the first place, it would have been a win-win situation for everyone. The city vehicles, stationary, street signs, etc. would have continued to be free advertising for the yearly festival and the citizens would have their red flannels. I found it odd that the Festival recently offered a new business free use of the Red Flannel logo when it is being held for ransom from the city.
The whole issue surrounding the logo boiled down to nothing more than pride, arrogance, and unwillingness to do what was best for Cedar Springs. There is plenty of blame to go around for all involved but, the Council, having no other viable option, has voted, with heavy hearts, to move on. That can only happen if people will stop the rumors, gossip, and hateful vitriol that is taking place throughout the community and on social media and embrace the future. Friendships have been lost, families divided and enough is enough! Take a step back and work to restore good relationships within our city for the good of all.
Cedar Springs will always be known as the “Red Flannel Capital Of The World”. Google that title and you can find as many as seven websites where our city’s name shows up as just that. That isn’t going to change. It’s time to support the Chamber of Commerce, an entity that is trying to bring back a spirit of cohesiveness and community to our town. Business owners are joining in and Shawn Kiphart has worked tirelessly, and at great cost to himself personally, to improve community relations. Let’s all do our part to make that happen. We can’t change yesterday, tomorrow is a new day, let’s make it good.
Kathy Bremmer, Cedar Springs
Posted in Post ScriptsComments Off on Time to move on
Posted on 21 November 2013.
by Judy Reed
The City of Cedar Springs voted Thursday evening, November 14, to approve a new logo and tagline for the city.
“Cedar Springs—Est. 1871 Cherishing our heritage, embracing our future” will now be the city’s official slogan that will appear on city-related items.
It replaces the tagline “A great place to live, work, and play” and the Red Flannel logo, which the city stopped using in August of last year after receiving a letter from the Red Flannel Festival of intent to file suit for copyright infringement. Subsequent meetings between the city manager and festival have yielded no results on an agreement.
A committee made up of members of the community took submissions from the public for a new logo, but only nine entries were submitted.
While there was no official public comment time on the new logo, several people commented on it during the public forum part of the meeting. Rose Powell said that “Red Flannel is the cement that holds us together” and asked if they couldn’t use what they already had,” and not spend more money to get new logos put on police patches and other items.
Steve McBride, a Red Flannel Festival board member, warned that, if the new logo went through, “SEV’s would go down and taxes would go up. It would be a corporate nail in the head.” He said he would go out and sell his plasma to help them raise money to license the Red Flannel logo.
Mark Laws, Red Flannel board member and former City Council candidate, also urged the city to provide police protection for one day in exchange for using the Red Flannel logo.
Calling it one of the hardest things she’s had to decide, Councilmember Patricia Troost was emotional while speaking on how she felt about the matter. She compiled pages of articles, meeting minutes, emails, etc. while researching the history on the Red Flannel logo. “A lot of time and money was spent on this (issue), and friendships ended over it,” she remarked. “I finally decided that I had to put this to rest, that we needed to move on. We will always be the Red Flannel town. Why didn’t we get the submissions? I don’t know. But we can’t give our services away to everyone. Other groups, like the Chamber of Commerce, are bringing events into town also. It’s not just about Red Flannel and the City. It’s time for the city to heal and move forward.”
New Councilmember Dan Clark said that he didn’t think the community was going to be happy if they approved the new logo. “They want Red Flannel back. If we do this we’ll be a pariah because we gave up,” he said.
Councilmember Ken Benham said it would be great if something did work out to put the Red Flannel logo in the circle where it says “Est. 1871” but in the mean time, he’d like to put something there. “We’ve went too long without something on our trucks,” he noted. He also reminded everyone that the public voted down a special community events tax put to the voters last year, which could have been used to fund those services for the Red Flannel Festival and other community events. “We’ve had cutbacks in staff, we no longer do a community cleanup, etc. We need to be fiscally responsible,” he said.
The Council voted 4 to 3 to approve the new logo, with Bob Truesdale and new members Jerry Hall and Dan Clark voting no.
No time line has been given yet for implementation of the logo.