First Idlewild Summer Festival draws large crowd

IDLEWILD — The Idlewild community is still packing in days of fun and celebration this summer.

From live music and DJ entertainment, to dancing, good food, a wide variety of vendors, and entertainment for youth, the first annual Summer Festival in Idlewild drew a great turnout, Saturday.

Florence Harris, president of the Mid-Michigan Idlewilders who hosted the event, is thrilled with the success of the new festival, located at the Mid-Michigan Idlewilder Event Center.

"Everything turned out wonderful," Harris said. "The community is excited to have something new. The vendor turnout is excellent, and we've had great live performances. Mid-Michigan Idlewilders are very pleased to have received a grant for live entertainment."

Some of the vendors showcased and sold goods such as paintings, homemade bath and personal care items, baked goods, hand-made glass art, clothing and more. Visitors also enjoyed great food provided by Mid-Michigan Idlewilders.

Some of the displays themed on Idlewild's heritage, including a booth set up by Eric Lindsey, creator of the Idlewild flag in June 2021.

"I want to make sure people know the symbolism of the flag as it relates to Idlewild and its history," Lindsey said.

The flag includes homage to the significance of Idlewild as an African-American resort, land "specifically plotted and sold to African Americans so they could have a place they could call their own."

It also symbolizes the beauty of the Manistee National Forest, where the town is located, and the sun that shines on the lakes and rivers and streams, along with other information pertaining to the historic community.

Informational booths were set up as well, such as True North, and people also had an opportunity to receive a COVID vaccine, or sign up for a third booster.

Children also enjoyed many activities such as an obstacle course and other old-fashioned fun field games.

Harris said the event would not have been a success without the chairs of four committees who pulled together their creativity for a fun-filled day.

"I owe all the success to our four exceptional chair-persons," Harris said. "Denise Bellamy chaired the vendors, Vivian Ware chaired the entertainment, Doresa Mack chaired the kids zone, and Lucille Chaffer was in charge of the food committee."

Harris is looking forward to seeing the event grow and flourish year after year.