Para-Dice Motorcycle Club donates club flag

BALDWIN — Despite the recent resurgence of cold weather and snow, warmer temperatures are on their way signaling that spring has truly arrived. And rolling in with those spring days is Baldwin’s most iconic event: The Blessing of the Bikes.

While the blessing still is a month away, members of the Grand Rapids-based Para-Dice Motorcycle Club, which organizes the event, visited Baldwin on Tuesday to donate a piece of the club’s history to the Lake County Historical Society.

Former club President Bruce Schantz presented society President Bruce Micinski with the club’s former flag. The flag had been flown during the blessing at Baldwin Municipal Airport for the past 40 years, Schantz said.

“This is the home of the original Blessing of the Bikes, and we figured it would be nice to put the flag in for everybody to see,” Schantz said. “It’s part of the history of Baldwin.”

Last year was the first blessing that the club’s new flag was flown. The flags are used to help clubs identify each other, Schantz said.

Two years ago, the club notified Micinski that it would like to donate the flag once it was retired. That was the last time Micinski heard from the club about it until April 10 when he received a call from Schantz saying they had framed the flag and would like to donate it to the society.

“(The Blessing of the Bikes) is one of those things that has become part of the history; it wasn’t just a one year event,” Micinski said.

The flag will be on display during special exhibits, and could be displayed more permanently when the society moves to its new museum location. During the weekend of the blessing, the flag will be on display at the society’s museum — located at 830 N. Michigan Ave. in Baldwin — Friday afternoon and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.