It was a spectacular day for a ride out to the rich farm country we have here in Muskegon county. Served a dual purpose as well. For a guy who grew up in Sparta, there's a few key times a year that you need to head east to check on a few things. Apple blossoms in the Spring are a must....."Knee high by the 4th of July" is still something that's looked at every single corn filed that's passed and as the summer turns in to fall, the ride down Sternberg road through Ottawa and into Kent County is a kaleidoscope of color.
This particular ride to Ravenna however was mission based and it's to help spread the word about a growing event that comes with everything you hope for in a small town fair. The Ravenna Dog Daze/ Cruise Night is July 22nd this year and we got in touch with the Lions Club to learn a little more about this celebration. The simplicity is the key. This is small business and people coming together with "I can do this", or "I'll sponsor that". This is the Ravenna Bulldog Cheerleaders finding a way to benefit their program or a charity. This is the small town quilter or painter that puts up a booth and hopes you'll come by and see them. This is a good old fashioned beer tent at the end of the night and a chance to get out and see that while so much of the focus seems to be on the Downtown Muskegon Area, the rest of this county is growing, doing remarkable things and while the cameras don't always get out where people like life a little quieter, now that we know where to go... we will when invited.
One of the key parts of the Dog Daze is the car show. It's growing and quickly. It's a $10 spot and the first 125 cars get dash plaques and goody bags. Next up and this is hard to beat. The Lions Club is bringing in their mobile vision testing rig of kids. Kids can have their vision checked for free all day and receive a free gift from the Lions Club. If you are underinsured or don't have vision coverage, this is absolutely a priceless offering and worth the 17 minute drive out to the Linck Insurance parking lot. In the parking lot of Beechnau School is where you'll find all the artisans and crafters with their hand made goods and delectables. A super fun kids area is being set up as well. There will be live music in the beer tent as the car show wraps up at 9:30 or so and when the last call is made, they'll sweep up main street and start planning it all over again for next year.
I met up with Chris Fortier at the Ravenna Pub at lunchtime. It's a jumpin' little joint and you can hear the friendly chatter of neighbors enjoying the best burger in town and a draft to wash them down. Take a listen.
It was a really welcome visit to get out to Ravenna. Like most places in Muskegon County, when you hear something out of Ravenna, like say the church fire a few months back, it's generally because it's not the best news. Ravenna is a great little quiet community that's based on agriculture and small town values. There's an awful lot of good things about open fields, the smell of fresh cut hay...harvests and more. One of our key goals in all we publish at the Muskegon Channel is to help share what's going on in Muskegon County and bring a little more cohesive picture to all of our "neighborhoods" as to what's going on in the neighborhood across town. Ravenna to White River Township, it's the sum of all of us who make up Muskegon County. Save the date for July 22nd and take a spin out to the small town festival that will be sure to surprise you with friendly people in a relaxed atmosphere and keep an eye on the corn fields on the way out there. Won't be long, and there will be more to eat of it than you can possibly imagine.