Enjoy the 10th Annual Harvest Stompede Vineyard Weekend on Michigan's Leelanau Peninsula

The annual Harvest Stompede Vineyard Run & Walk and Wine Tour over the weekend of Sept. 10-11 is a great way to experience the wine and beauty of the Leelanau Wine Trail at harvest time. It's considered one of the most scenic running & wine touring events in the Midwest and marks its 10th anniversary in 2011.

The weekend's festivities kick off at 9 AM on Saturday, Sept. 10 at Ciccone Vineyard with the Harvest Stompede race. The race is designed for both serious and recreational runners and walkers, and while it’s not part of your wine tour ticket, it's a great event for spectators with a one-of-a-kind course that meanders through Leelanau vineyards that are heavy with ripe grapes.

The Harvest Stompede Wine Tour starts at 11 AM on Saturday following the race and features a special wine pour and food pairing at each of the 18 Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association member wineries. Nothing goes better with local wine than local food, and each winery will be featuring local items in their food pairings!


"All our wine trail events draw a great crowd, but there's a special energy on the wine trail at harvest time that makes this a must-attend event every year," said Leelanau Wine Trail director Andrew McFarlane. "People are in a great mood, there's a hum of activity in the vineyards and September is prime time for enjoying the beauty of the Leelanau Peninsula. Our wines are perfect with food, and our food pairings will showcase the versatility of our wines and the amazing bounty of Leelanau and Northern Michigan at harvest time!"

Harvest Stompede Food Pairings
  • L. Mawby: Mac & Cheese with local squash and a sage cream sauce paired with their newest bubbly, Green.
  • Silver Leaf : Local bratwurst & sauerkraut paired with 2009 Riesling – it’s an Oktoberfest theme with German Music!
  • Bel Lago: Local Fall Harvest Vegetable Soup with Italian Sausage with Bel Lago Red, a cabernet franc blend with several select red varietals.
  • Ciccone: Has comfort food at its best – classic hardy corn chowder with local corn and 2009 Pinot Grigio.
  • Cherry Republic: Toasted puff pastry wrapped with local cherries, local vegetables and feta cheese paired with the 100% Balaton Cherry wine “Cherry Twist”.
  • Good Neighbor Organic: Grilled pita, local cherry hummus, and naked brats with wine (and beer!).
  • Black Star Farms: Grilled focaccia with Isidor’s Choice Pinot Grigio poached pear, Leelanau fromage blanc and carmelized wild leek paired with the 2010 Arcturos Riesling.
  • Gills Pier: Barbudos en Salsa de Chile Dulce, a baked local green bean omelet with pulled chicken and roasted red pepper sauce paired with 2010 Riesling. A vegetarian option will also be available.
  • Chateau de Leelanau: Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich featuring all local Beef, Peppers, Onions, Mushrooms, Cheese and Bread paired with the Solem Farm Red Wine.
  • Good Harbor: Going local with Carlson’s of Leland fish pate served with grapes and crackers and paired with Fishtown White.
  • Chateau Fontaine: Cincinnati-style chili with local onions (optional) and Big Paw Red .
  • Tandem: Savory buckwheat crepes with Leelanau raclette, Shetler Dairy Milk, local eggs and honey cured ham paired with Ida Gold hard cider.
  • Verterra: Smoked white fish chowder featuring local whitefish & potatoes and paired with Pinot Gris or Pinot Noir.
  • 45 North: Smoked Carlson’s whitefish on crustini with chevre paired with 45 White.
Willow: Local apple carmel crisp and Pinot Gris!

Ticket Information
The event routinely sells out and advance tickets are required. Tickets are $40 and include special food and wine pairings at each tasting room. They are available online at www.lpwines.com. Tasting hours on Saturday are 11am to 6pm; Sunday hours are noon to 5pm. All ticket holders receive a commemorative event wine glass as well.

Camping at Cedar Point

As we have for most of the last few years, we took the kids to Cedar Point at the end of August as kind of a last-hurrah before summer's end and the school year begins. And, like other years, we camped at Cedar Point's Camper Village (more on that later).

This year, our youngest son, Ben, cleared the magical 48-inch height mark. That meant he could get onto many of the roller coasters, including the 310-foot high Millennium Force. He also rode, for the first time, the Mine Ride ("lame") and the Gemini ("too rough"). Our older son, Luke, also rode a few rides for the first time, including the 30-story tall Windseeker and the thrilling Maverick roller coaster. Our oldest kid, Hannah, has ridden everything in the park at least once, and most of the big coasters she's been on many, many times.

So that leaves me and my weak stomach to watch from the safety of the asphalt far, far below. I'll get on most of the coasters and thrill rides, but anything that goes high into the air or spins around really fast - fuhggedaboutit.

But this post isn't to bore you about our trip to Cedar Point. Instead, it's to review our experience camping in Cedar Point's Camper Village.

First and foremost, camping at Cedar Point should not be confused with camping at, say, a state park. If you are expecting a camping experience like you'd enjoy at a state park, then you will be extremely disappointed.

Camping at Cedar Point is more about convenience than it is about camping.

The conveniences are these:

Early Admission into the Park: Resort guests, which includes those staying at Camper Village, can get into park one hour early. Many of the most popular roller coaster, including Top Thrill Dragster and Millennium Force, are open at that time.

Discounted Admission Tickets: Resort guests this summer only had to pay $29 for admission tickets. That's $21 off the full price, and the best deal I've found anywhere.

Sleeping, Not Driving Home: At the end of a very long day inside Cedar Point, after having walked for hours and hours, the last thing I want to have to do is drive home. Camper Village is just a short walk from a little-used side gate entrance, so you can go from amusement park to dreamland in a little more than 15 minutes.

Healthy Lunch/Dinner That Won't Break the Bank*: Cedar Point has many, many restaurants and food vendors scattered throughout the park. All of them offer something deep fried, and most of them offer only something deep fried. And after you're done shelling out $10 for a $5 foot-long (seriously), you'll need to request a government bailout. Oh, the asterisk is because after you've saved money eating healthy food back at your camper, then you can afford to eat the Toft's Ice Cream inside the park ($3.50 for a single scoop of thigh-packing goodness.)

A Tale of Two Cities
A campsite in the Chippewa Circle section of Camper Village
Camper Village is divided into two sections: the Chippewa Circle (sites 1-112) and the Circle B (sites 113-224).

Situated near the very picturesque Ligthouse Point, Chippewa Circle sites are grassy and more spacious, you're closer to the swimming pool and this is where the full-hookup, pull-through sites are located. If you have a big rig, you'll want the Chippewa Circle.


The Circle B section is a parking lot, especially on weekends. The Circle "B" section of Camper Village (the concentric circles on the map, near Soak City water park) is tight and well-used. The bathrooms are probably as clean as they can be, given the amount of use they receive. In some cases, there's barely enough space to roll out your awning before you hit the camper next to you. However, the sites are level and most are shaded by mature trees. We prefer the outer circle sites because you don't have someone behind you, but beware: some sites are close to Soak City water park and the tail end of the Magnum XL 2000 roller coaster. Also, other outer ring sites are alongside the road leading to the Sandcastle Suites hotel, putting you in direct contact with every vehicle's headlights.

For both sections: Dump stations and water are available; Ground fires are not permitted, although a grill (and picnic table) are at each site; Bikes are not allowed.

Our campsite in the Circle B section of Camper Village
The Chippewa Circle is a million times better than the Circle B. However, if you're like us and you only intend on sleeping there because you're going to spend all morning, day and night at either Cedar Point amusement park or Soak City water park, then the Circle B section fits the bill. Chippewa Circle campsites are also considerably more expensive than Circle B, which are pretty steep to begin with.

Bottom line: The Chippewa Circle section is better, but the Circle B section is fine, provided you have the right expectations.

Glidden Lake State Forest Campground (MI) to temporarily close Sept. 6

Campground in Iron County will be closed for three to four weeks

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently announced that the Glidden Lake State Forest Campground, located approximately four miles southeast of Crystal Falls in Iron County, will be temporarily closed starting Sept. 6. The campground will be closed three to four weeks to allow DNR crews to remove over-mature and hazardous trees.

The closure will include the campground, boat launch, hiking trail and swimming beach area.

“The over-mature trees being removed can be hazardous to campers, especially during periods of high winds,” says Rich Ahnen, DNR fire supervisor for the Crystal Falls Management Unit. “The trees will be removed as part of a larger timber harvest operation located adjacent to the campground.”

Along with removing trees that can be hazardous to campers, the timber harvest will also release younger understory trees for future growth.

Other state forest campgrounds are located nearby and will be open during this time period, including Deer Lake in Iron County, and Carney Lake and Gene’s Pond in nearby Dickinson County. An announcement will be made upon the reopening of the campground after the work is completed. For more information about the temporary closure of Glidden Lake State Forest Campground, contact Rich Ahnen, acting unit manager for the DNR Forest Management Division in Crystal Falls, at 906-563-9042.

For more information about state forest campgrounds in Michigan, go to www.michigan.gov/camping.

Learn About Bicycling and the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail during two Labor Day weekend 'Bicycling 101' clinics

The Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park will be the setting for two events the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has organized during Labor Day Weekend to highlight the state’s rail-trail system. Michigan has the most miles of rail-trails in the country.

The Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park spans 92 miles between Grand Rapids and Cadillac. As a way of introducing both novice and advanced cyclists to the White Pine Trail, the DNR’s Recreation 101 program is offering two Biking 101 clinics taking place simultaneously from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3, at both the north and south ends of the trail. Representatives from the DNR are partnering with local biking experts and vendors to present tips on biking while showcasing the state’s longest rail-to-trail that runs along the former Grand Rapids and Indiana rail bed.

Northern participants in the Cadillac clinic will meet at the Cadillac Staging Area, 7184 E. 44 Road in Cadillac, where Luke Prielipp, an instructor at Mitchell State Park, will offer tips on cycling basics, safety and the different types of biking. Representatives from McLain Cycle and Fitness of Cadillac will provide a variety of bicycles to try out. Following the clinic, the group will take a five-mile ride along the trail. Participants are encouraged to bring their own bikes but loaner bikes will also be available. Directions to the Cadillac Trailhead are to take US-131 north to the M-115 exit and go northwest for one-half mile. Take North 41 Road one mile north to North 44 Road. Go west on North 44 Road approximately one-half mile.

The DNR is joining with the Kent County Parks Department in sponsoring the Biking 101 clinic on the south end of the White Pine Trail. Participants will meet at the Rouge River Park Trailhead in Belmont near Comstock Park where representatives from the Ada Bike Shop, the Grand Rapids Bicycle Company and the Village Bike Shop will be demonstrating a selection of bikes, showing how to make general repairs and presenting tips on helmet sizing and bicycle fitting. The Greater Grand Rapids Bicycling Coalition will be offering maps and sharing information about the White Pine Trail’s connectivity with the greater Grand Rapids area.

Directions to the Rogue River Park Belmont Trailhead are to take US-131 to exit 95 (Post Drive). Take Post Drive east to Belmont Road. Take Belmont Road one-quarter mile south to Rogue River Park entrance

Recreation 101 is a year-round program that recruits top instructors and sports equipment vendors to provide free or inexpensive hands-on lessons. The goal is to provide the novice sportsman with enough skill and knowledge to begin a new activity. For details, visit www.michigan.gov/stateparks.

The bicycling clinics are free. All levels of riders are welcome. An adult should accompany children under 10 years old. In event of rain, the program will be postponed or canceled. For more details, call the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center at 231-779-1321.

Recreation Passport
The Recreation Passport has replaced motor vehicle permits for entry into Michigan state parks, recreation areas and state-administered boating access fee sites. This new way to fund Michigan's outdoor recreation opportunities also helps to preserve state forest campgrounds, trails, and historic and cultural sites in state parks, and provides park development grants to local communities.

Michigan residents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($10 for motor vehicles; $5 for motorcycles) by checking "YES" on their license plate renewal forms, or at any state park or recreation area. Nonresident motor vehicles must still display a valid nonresident Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) to enter a Michigan state park, recreation area or state-administered boating access fee site; these can be purchased at any state park or recreation area, or through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore. To learn more about the Recreation Passport, visit www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport or call 517-241-7275.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Boating & Outdoor Festival hosts BRP’s “Ultimate Playground” at Metro Beach Metropark (Mich.)

The second annual Boating & Outdoor Festival at Metro Beach Metropark has been chosen to host BRP’s Ultimate Playground. BRP will offer test rides to pre-registered attendees on their Sea Doo Personal Watercrafts and Boats, Can-Am Side-by-Side and ATV’s and Can-Am Roadster’s September 23-25, during the festival.

The BRP Ultimate Playground will share the grounds with the Festival at Metro Beach’s South Marina. An off-road course will be created for the Can-Am ATV’s and Side-by-Sides. Sea Doo boats and personal watercraft will be accessible from Docks off of Metro Beach and the Can-Am Roadsters will have a demo area in the main parking lot. A link will soon be available on boatingandoutdoorfest.com for interested individuals to pre-register (required) to participate in the demo rides.

Other areas of interest at the Festival will include outdoor recreation exhibits, waterfront living, fine art, fishing, food & beverages and of course the South Marina basin full of boating exhibits ranging from powerboats to fishing boats, sailboats and more. Special attractions include Duma the waterskiing dog, meet and greet with Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer and a Tiki Bar with live music.

The Boating & Outdoor Recreation Festival is produced by the Michigan Boating Industries Association (MBIA). The festival, located at Metro Beach Metropark, will be held September 22-25, 2011. Hours: Thurs., Fri.: Noon – 8PM, Sat.: 11AM – 8PM and Sun.: 11AM – 6 PM. For more information, current promotions and contest information, visit www.boatingandoutdoorfest.com. Admission: $9 for adults, children 12 and under free with an adult. A Metroparks vehicle entry permit is required to enter any Metropark which is only $25 annually for regular admission, $15 annually for seniors, or $5 daily. General park information can be found at www.metroparks.com or by calling 1-800-47-PARKS.

MBIA is a non-profit Association dedicated to the advancement, protection and promotion of the recreational boating industry in Michigan, representing nearly 400 marine businesses in Michigan. The boating industry in Michigan represents a $3.9 billion industry, with more than 758 marinas, 460 marine dealers and more than 51,000 jobs. For more information go to www.mbia.org.

U.P. Fall Beer Fest Returns to Marquette’s Mattson Lower Harbor Park

Michigan Brewers Guild Hosts 3rd Annual Event – Saturday, September 10

Nearly 30 Michigan craft breweries will gather at Mattson Lower Harbor Park on Saturday, September 10 for the 3rd Annual U.P. Fall Beer Festival where attendees will be able to sample from more than 200 different locally-crafted beers – along with food prepared by area restaurants and live, local entertainment.

This is one of four annual festivals presented by the Michigan Brewers Guild. Festival hours run from 1-6pm; Guild Enthusiast members are admitted one hour early – at Noon.

MBG Enthusiast membership is $35 per person, per year and may be purchased in advance online at www.michiganbrewersguild.businesscatalyst.com/membership.html or on site prior to the opening of the festival. Benefits include discounts at participating member breweries, a free t-shirt proclaiming your enthusiasm for Michigan Beer and VIP status at the four official festivals, with one hour early admission.

The Michigan Brewers Guild festivals are eco-friendly events, with cups, plates, cutlery and napkins all made of biodegradable materials. Festival attendees are asked to aid in the proper disposal of all refuse throughout the festival at one of the many recycling stations placed around the grounds, helping to reduce the overall waste sent to landfills to less than 10%. Volunteers will be on hand to assist at the recycling stations, making sure all the recyclables are properly sorted from the food items.

Tickets for the U.P. Fall Beer Fest are $30 in advance ($35 at the gate, if tickets are still available) and are available online at www.michiganbrewersguild.org, at participating member breweries and at select retail outlets. For a list of ticket outlets and other festival updates visit www.mbgmash.org. Each ticket includes 15 drink tokens, each redeemable for a 3-ounce sample of beer. Additional tokens are available inside the festival grounds, for 50 cents each.

The festival is held, rain or shine. Festival attendees must be 21 years of age or older and have valid ID to enter. Designated Drivers are encouraged and DD tickets will be available on line and at the gate for $5 each. Designated Drivers are not permitted to drink beer.

Michigan’s thriving brewing industry contributes over $24 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $133 million. In terms of overall number breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #5 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”

The Michigan Brewers Guild exists to unify the Michigan brewing community; to increase sales of Michigan-brewed beer through promotions, marketing, public awareness and consumer education; and to monitor and assure a healthy beer industry within the state. For more information, including a list of Michigan microbreweries, log on to www.michiganbrewersguild.org.

Installation by Beverly Fishman on view at Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion

Beverly Fishman views her installation, Pill Spill, from outside the
Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion. Photo by Matthew Biro
Pill Spill, a floor installation by Beverly Fishman, is on view through September within the cavity between the walls of the Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion. Not only do the building’s glass walls make viewing the installation possible, they are integral to the work.

The installation contains more than 120 unique glass capsules, ranging in size from 6 to 15 inches, placed in the glass-enclosed spaces along the Parkwood Avenue entrance to the building. Pill Spill treats the Glass Pavilion as a “body” by releasing capsules into the curved glass hollows between its exterior and interior glass walls, transforming them into an architectural circulatory system.

The installation was created as part of the Museum’s Guest Artist Pavilion Project (GAPP). As 2010 GAPP artist-in-residence, Fishman worked with Glass Pavilion staff to execute her vision. Fishman is currently artist-in-residence and head of painting at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

For more than 20 years, Fishman’s largely abstract work has explored our relationship to science and medicine in a variety of different media. Mixing optical patterns with vibrant colors and representational elements taken from pharmaceutical and scientific imaging systems, her paintings, sculptures and works on paper raise questions about the relationship between technology, our bodies and our minds.

The capsule is used in this installation as an abstract module through which constantly changing color and pattern combinations are created, according to the artist. By their position on the floor, the fragile objects also contest the preciousness of their materials. Their strewn and accumulated configurations help blur the boundaries between interior and exterior spaces.

The artist will talk about her work with Glass Pavilion and curatorial staff during a panel discussion at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 16 in the Museum’s GlasSalon. Free and open to the public, the program is made possible by members of the Toledo Museum of Art and the Ohio Arts Council.

Admission to the Toledo Museum of Art is free.

'Kayaking 101' Aug. 27 at Indian Lake, Michigan

Dip into paddling and learn how to navigate the waters during a "Kayaking 101" program set for 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27 at Indian Lake State Park, 8970W County Road 442 in Manistique (Schoolcraft County). Instructors will go over safety and assist in learning this fun and popular sport. For details, call the park at 906-341-2355.

A Recreation Passport is required of all vehicles entering the park. The Recreation Passport has replaced motor vehicle permits for entry into Michigan state parks, recreation areas and state-administered boating access fee sites. This new way to fund Michigan's outdoor recreation opportunities also helps to preserve state forest campgrounds, trails, and historic and cultural sites in state parks, and provides park development grants to local communities.

Michigan residents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($10 for motor vehicles; $5 for motorcycles) by checking "YES" on their license plate renewal forms, or at any state park or recreation area. Nonresident motor vehicles must still display a valid nonresident Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) to enter a Michigan state park, recreation area or state-administered boating access fee site; these can be purchased at any state park or recreation area, or through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore. To learn more about the Recreation Passport, visit www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport or call 517-241-7275.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Camping at Cedar Point this weekend, just in time for Michigan Days ticket discounts

We're heading to Cedar Point Thursday night, camping two nights in the resort's Camper's Village campground. It's something we try to do every year as one last trip before school starts for the kids.

We also usually try to time it so that we go to Cedar Point on a weekday, and after Ohio schools have already started for the year. You'd be surprised at how well this has worked out for us.

Good news! This year Cedar Point has launched a promotional campaign they're calling Michigan Days, and it's aimed directly at people like us. Michigan residents can save $15 off the admission price through Sept. 2.

Wonderful!

For more about our camping experience at Cedar Point, scroll down to the bottom.

Cedar Point's release on "Michigan Days" follows:

Visit Cedar Point and Save $15 Now Through Sept. 2!
Ohio Students Back in School!


SANDUSKY, Ohio – Reading, writing and arithmetic are now the topics of discussion as schools across Ohio open this week for the start of the school year.

However, just up north in Michigan, students and families have almost another two weeks of summer fun and can take advantage of some great savings!

To celebrate this reprieve from schoolbooks and homework, Cedar Point is offering Michigan residents a special end-of-summer deal where Michiganders can now purchase a one-day ticket to the Sandusky, Ohio, amusement park/resort for only $34.99, a savings of $15, now through Friday, Sept. 2. Plus, with Ohio schools in session, guests from up north will seemingly have the park to themselves.

During Michigan Days, these special end-of-summer tickets are only available online at cedarpoint.com/Michigan. Proof of Michigan residency will be required. In addition to the $15 discount tickets, tickets for Juniors, age 3 and older, under 48 inches tall, and Seniors, age 62 and older, are only $24.99. Children, age 2 and under, are free.

Besides the Michigan Days tickets that offer savings of 30 percent per ticket, the park has a variety of money-saving deals that are only available online at cedarpoint.com. Now through Labor Day, the park is offering Pick-A-Date tickets that allow guests to pick a specific date to visit the park and save $12 per ticket. Tickets can be used on a different date with an upgrade.

There is also the Pay Once Visit Twice discount when guests can purchase admission tickets valid any two days through Oct. 30 for only $69.99, a savings of $14.99 per ticket. (Tickets must be used by the same person and do not have to be used on consecutive days.)

Cedar Fair Platinum Pass and Season Passholders at Cedar Point can also take advantage of Bring-A-Friend Sundays and save $30 on a ticket. Tickets must be purchased at the park on Sundays through Sept. 4.

Even more savings are available to guests who stay at one of the park’s resort properties and can purchase one-day tickets for only $29, a savings of $20.99 per ticket. Resort guests also qualify for Early Entry and can enter the park one hour before it opens to the public.

Cedar Point will be open daily through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 5. (Daily operating schedule will vary.) The park will reopen for a Bonus Weekend and HalloWeekends, Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays, Sept. 9-11 through Oct. 28-30.

For more information about Michigan Days at Cedar Point, please visit cedarpoint.com/michigan or call the park’s General Information Line at 419-627-2350.

RV Camping in Camper Village at Cedar Point.

First off, for us camping at Cedar Point — or any amusement park for that matter — is different than camping most anywhere else. We camp there for convenience, and nothing else. If you are expecting a state parks-like camping experience, you will be extremely disappointed.

Camper Village is divided into two sections: the Chippewa Circle (sites 1-112) and the Circle "B" (sites 113-224).

The Chippewa Circle is a million times better than the Circle "B". The sites are grassy and more spacious, you're closer to the swimming pool and this is where the full-hookup, pull-through sites are located. If you have a big rig, you'll want the Chippewa Circle.


The Circle "B" section is a parking lot, especially on weekends. The Circle "B" section of Camper Village (the concentric circles on the map, near Soak City water park) is tight and well-used. The bathrooms are probably as clean as they can be, given the amount of use they receive. In some cases, there's barely enough space to roll out your awning before you hit the camper next to you. However, the sites are level. We prefer the outer circle sites because you don't have someone behind you.

However, if you're like us and you only intend on sleeping there because you're going to spend all morning, day and night at either Cedar Point amusement park or Soak City water park, then the Circle "B" section fits the bill.

The main benefits to Camper's Village are it's only steps away from the water park and a side gate entrance into the amusement park, you get inside the parks an hour early and you get a $16.99 discount on daily admission (brings it down to $29). It's also nice to eat a healthy lunch at the camper (vs. over-priced fried foods inside the park). And when it rains, like it did for us last year, you can wait it out in the camper rather than fight for cover with thousands of other people.

Two dump stations and water are available. Ground fires are not permitted, although a grill (and picnic table) are at each site. Bikes are not allowed.

Bottom line: The Chippewa Circle section is better, but the Circle "B" section is fine, provided you have the right expectations.

Watch Blacksmiths, Woodcutters and Weavers at Black Iron Days

Come out to Hartwick Pines State Park in Michigan on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 27 and 28, for the Black Iron Days Festival, the largest annual gathering of blacksmiths in Michigan. Over 50 craftsmen and women will be on hand demonstrating their trade. The two-day event, taking place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, also will recreate the sights, sounds and scents of an historic sawmill cutting logs into pine boards. Watch woodworkers, weavers and wool spinners as they demonstrate how their crafts were done in the era before power tools. The park is located at 4216 Ranger Road in Grayling (Crawford County). For details, call the park at 989-348-7068.

A Recreation Passport is required of all vehicles entering the park. The Recreation Passport has replaced motor vehicle permits for entry into Michigan state parks, recreation areas and state-administered boating access fee sites. This new way to fund Michigan's outdoor recreation opportunities also helps to preserve state forest campgrounds, trails, and historic and cultural sites in state parks, and provides park development grants to local communities.

Michigan residents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($10 for motor vehicles; $5 for motorcycles) by checking "YES" on their license plate renewal forms, or at any state park or recreation area. Nonresident motor vehicles must still display a valid nonresident Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) to enter a Michigan state park, recreation area or state-administered boating access fee site; these can be purchased at any state park or recreation area, or through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore. To learn more about the Recreation Passport, visit www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport or call 517-241-7275.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Illinois DNR hosting 'Becoming an Outdoors Woman" workshop Sept. 23-25

Becoming an Outdoors Woman: There are still a few reservations available for the next Illinois Department of Natural Resources' "Becoming an Outdoors Woman" workshop, Sept. 23-25 at Pere Marquette State Park, Grafton. BOW workshops are designed to provide introductory instruction in many outdoor related activities. The cost is $150 per person, which includes the workshop, meals, lodging and transportation during the event. Workshop and registration materials can be found on the IDNR website at www.dnr.state.il.us/lands/Landmgt/Bow

World Music in the Spotlight at 7th Annual Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park Music Festival Aug. 26-28

The Lake of the Clouds in the Porcupine Mountains.
The 7th Annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, presented by the Friends of the Porkies, will take place Aug. 26 - 28 at the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park Winter Recreation Area (ski hill/chalet) in scenic Ontonagon County in Michigan. This activity is supported by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Twenty-five separate acts will perform on two outdoor stages. Each year the festival solicits audience survey forms asking for feedback. "The feedback has been very positive," said Linda Kermeen, festival director. “One sentiment echoed by many survey respondents when asked about the performers selected is ‘keep surprising us!’ This year’s lineup is no exception, with many surprises in store.”

World music will be represented this year by headlining act, the multi-cultural Guy Mendilow Band. Led by Israeli performer Guy Mendilow, the quintet makes this ancient music relevant to today’s audiences by recasting it through the lens of modern migrations. From Guy Mendilow’s first touring experience as a boy, swapping songs with Ladysmith Black Mambazo as a vocalist with the American Boychoir, to building cross-cultural understanding through facilitating musical workshops with government education ministers from Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon; Mendilow and the Guy Mendilow Band continue to journey beyond musical boundaries.

Other headlining acts are:

Mountain Heart makes a welcome return to the Porkies stage this year. Mountain Heart wowed festival goers in 2008 and has won, or been nominated, for Grammys, ACM, CMA and multiple IBMA Awards. Mountain Heart has appeared on the revered stage of the Grand Ole Opry in excess of 125 times. This presentation is supported by the Performing Arts Fund, a program of Arts Midwest through the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, General Mills Foundation and Land O’Lakes Foundation.

Also performing is Rita Hosking and her band Cousin Jack. Rita was named winner of Best Country Album (Vox Pop) in the 2010 Independent Music Awards. “Come Sunrise,”,Hosking's third album, was recorded in Austin, Texas with producer and guitarist Rich Brotherton (Robert Earl Keen, Caroline Herring). “Come Sunrise” launched Hosking onto the international Americana scene.

Newcomers to the Porcupine Mountains stage include the Ragbirds, Hoots & Hellmouth, Ray Bonneville, The Red Sea Pedestrians, The Pines, D.B. Rielly, Roma di Luna, Alison Scott, KAIVAMA, Canon Ball and The Back Room Boys.

Returning are Sista Otis, Seth Bernard and May Erlewine, Charlie Parr, the Bathtub Mothers, Kevin Bowe + the Okemah Prophets, Conga Se Menne, Black River John, Rory and Dale Miller, Doris and the Daydreams, and Yvonne Blake.

The festival’s third stage– the “Busking Barn” -- will have its welcoming doors open throughout the event. The barn is a cozy structure in which stage coordinator Dale Venema hosts scheduled acoustic performances, along with spontaneous ‘open’ jam sessions.

Always popular with families is the children’s tent area, designed to entertain young festival goers with various colorful activities. Children are the future of music and they conclude their festival experience each year as performers on stage.

The festival made Michigan history in 2005 by becoming the first music festival to be held in a state park. The Friends of the Porkies organization that presents the festival is a nonprofit group that represents the interests of all users of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. The park is a popular tourist attraction, with a breathtaking 60,000 acres of natural beauty located in Ontonagon County. Ontonagon County is largest by acreage and is also one of the least densely populated counties in Michigan. There are more than 40 miles of Lake Superior shoreline, and thousands of acres of state and federal land in the county. There is a community lighthouse and an area rich in mining history and Native American history. Ontonagon County also boasts Michigan's and the Midwest's largest span of virgin hardwood maple/hemlock forest located within the boundaries of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

Tickets are $90 for a three-day pass, $35 for a single day pass, and there is a 20 percent discount available to seniors 60 or older and teens ages 13-17. Tickets for children ages 7-12 are $10 for either a three-day pass or a single day pass, and children 6 and under receive free admission.

For more information regarding the 7th Annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, visit www.porkiesfestival.org or call 800-344-5355. For more information about the park, go to www.michigan.gov/porkies.

The Recreation Passport has replaced motor vehicle permits for entry into Michigan state parks, recreation areas and state-administered boating access fee sites. This new way to fund Michigan outdoor recreation opportunities also helps to preserve state forest campgrounds, trails and historic and cultural sites in state parks, and provides park development grants to local communities.

Michigan residents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($10 for motor vehicles; $5 for motorcycles) by checking "YES" on their license plate renewal forms, or at any state park or recreation area. Nonresident motor vehicles must still display a valid nonresident Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) to enter a Michigan state park, recreation area or state-administered boating access fee site; these can be purchased at any state park or recreation area, or through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore. To learn more about the Recreation Passport, visit www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport or call (517) 241-7275.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Star gazing evening offered at Wisconsin's Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center

People interested in learning more about how to explore the night sky can attend an evening lecture followed by a night of star-gazing – weather permitting – next month at the Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center near Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point lecturer Art Stevenson will present a brief classroom slideshow introduction to this season’s constellations, bright starts and planets, on Saturday, Sept. 24. Participants will learn how to find the Milky Way, star cluster, galaxies, nebulae and other astronomical objects easily seen in the night sky without a telescope, using just binoculars and the naked eye.

Participants should arrive by 7:30 p.m. and expect the session to last until around 9:30 p.m. Dress for the weather, and bring your binoculars, or use ours. The lecture and slideshow will be held rain or shine, with night viewing depending upon conditions.

Registration is limited to 25 people on a first-come, first-served basis and is confirmed by mailing in a registration fee of $10 per person by Sept. 16. Checks should be made out to DNR-Skills Center. Include the name of each participant, and the address and daytime phone number of one person in each party. Send your registration fee to: Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center, PO Box 156, Babcock, WI 54413.

The Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center is located 20 miles west of Wisconsin Rapids on County Highway X, 1 mile north of Highway 80 near Babcock, Wisconsin on the 9,000-acre Department of Natural Resources Sandhill Wildlife Area.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Sandhill Skills Center at: (715) 884-6335

Michigan DNR offers 'Women’s Kayaking and Hiking Workshop' Sept. 17 in Marquette

Registration limited to 6; Deadline Sept. 2

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will host a Becoming an Outdoors-Woman kayaking and hiking workshop at Harlow Lake and Hogback Mountain in Marquette on Saturday, Sept. 17.

This “Beyond BOW” event is designed for women who already have some experience with kayaking and hiking, but who would like to expand upon their skills. Beginning at 8:30 a.m., participants will hike to the top of Hogback Mountain in the morning, an out-and-back hike that will take about three hours and includes some rugged terrain and light scrambling.

A picnic lunch will be provided, followed by several hours of paddling instruction on Harlow Lake, with time to explore the lake and try some technical maneuvers with guidance from an experienced instructor.

The registration fee for this class is $20. Kayaks and necessary equipment can be rented for an additional $35, or participants are welcome to bring their own kayak, along with a paddle, paddle float, bilge pump and PFD.

Enrollment is limited to six and the registration deadline is Friday, Sept. 2. The registration form, maps and other event information can be found online at www.michigan.gov/bow. For more information, contact Sharon Pitz at 906-228-6561.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park Launches New Downloadable Audio Tour

The Porkies offer some of the midwest's most
spectacular autumn colors.
Visitors to Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula can now download an audio driving tour designed for smart phones, MP3 players or other mobile devices.

The audio tour guides drivers from the park’s Wilderness Visitor Center to Lake of the Clouds, one of the park’s most popular attractions. The narration covers a variety of topics, from geology and old-growth forest, to the park’s cabins, hiking trails, winter recreation area and more.

“The new audio tour offers information that will be interesting to both first-time visitors and people who have been here multiple times,” said DNR Park Interpreter Bob Wild. “We are trying out some news ways to share information with our customers, and this audio tour is an example of technology and nature converging in one convenient package.”
Lake of the Clouds

The audio tour can be downloaded in advance, or by using the visitor center’s WiFi connection, at www.michigan.gov/dnrvisitorcenters. Click on “Wilderness Visitor Center” and go to the “Things to Do” section to find the audio files and a printable map, depicting the tour’s route.

Once on the tour, signs along the road will prompt motorists to begin listening to the corresponding track. The first sign is found on the entrance road to the visitor center and nine more are located along Highway 107, with the last sign located at Lake of the Clouds.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is located at 33303 Headquarters Rd., Ontonagon, in the western Upper Peninsula. For more information, contact the park at 906-885-5206 or go online to www.michigan.gov/porkies.

September 2011 Toledo Museum of Art Program Highlights


The Toledo Museum of Art is a nonprofit arts institution funded through individual donations, foundation grants, corporate sponsorships, and investments. The Ohio Arts Council helps fund programs at the Toledo Museum of Art through a sustainable grant program that encourages economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.

Admission to the Museum is free. The Museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, Noon to 6 p.m.; closed Mondays and major holidays. Friday evening hours are made possible by Fifth Third Bank.

The Museum is located at 2445 Monroe Street at Scottwood Avenue, just west of the downtown business district and one block off I-75 with exit designations posted. For general information, visitors can call 419-255-8000 or 800-644-6862, or visit www.toledomuseum.org




Exhibitions 

Focus Exhibition: King James Bible First Edition 
Sept. 16–Dec. 31, 2011, Gallery 15 
To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, the Toledo Museum of Art will display rare first edition copies of the book that are part of its collection. Still one of the most familiar and widely read translations of the book worldwide, the King James Bible is both a religious and a literary classic. Only a few first edition copies still exist. This focus exhibition will feature two first editions—one of them complete—along with interpretive material that addresses the book’s importance from differing viewpoints, including those of a book collector, an historian and a theologian.

93rd Annual Toledo Area Artists Exhibition 
Through Sept. 25, 2011, Canaday Gallery 
For more than nine decades the Toledo Area Artists Exhibition has celebrated northwest Ohio’s vibrant artistic community. Made possible by members of the Toledo Museum of Art and supported in part by Huntington Bank, the exhibition features an eclectic mix of 66 works by 65 talented artists. Toledo Museum of Art Director Brian Kennedy and Associate Director Amy Gilman juried this year’s exhibition.

The Egypt Experience: Secrets of the Tomb 
Through Jan. 8, 2012, Lower Level Egyptian Gallery, Main Museum 
More than 150 objects spanning 3,000 years of history are on display, including objects from the Museum’s antiquities collection and from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Field Museum, Indiana University Art Museum and the Oriental Museum Institute of the University of Chicago. Admission is free for TMA members and children under 6 years of age; admission for nonmembers is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors over 65, and $5 for students ages 6 to 22. The exhibition is made possible by the generosity of TMA members and with support in part from Taylor Cadillac, Buckeye CableSystem and the sustainable grant program of the Ohio Arts Council.

Community Galleries
PRIZM Creative Community Exhibition 
Through Oct. 2, 2011, Community Galleries 
PRIZM Creative Community is a nonprofit organization that inspires artistic expression of its members. For this exhibition, the artist selected a word from an alphabetical list (e.g. “A” for “abstract” or “architecture”) and identified objects in the Toledo Museum of Art collection that related to that word. They then created their own works of art inspired by those objects.

Facebook “Pride of Toledo” Photo Exhibition 
Sept. 9–Nov. 13, 2011, Community Galleries 
Toledo Museum of Art Facebook fans submitted photographs of what they consider to be the Pride of Toledo. The public voted on the entries and the 30 most popular photos were printed and framed for this exhibition.

Special Events & Presentations
Meet Me at TMA: The Egypt Experience 
Sept. 10: 1:30 p.m. 
Visit tomb artifacts of ancient Egyptians and learn how they prepared for the afterlife during this month’s special tour for those with mild memory loss and their companions. There is a discounted exhibition cost of $5 per attendee. Museum members are admitted free. Reservations are recommended but not required. Call the Alzheimer’s Association, Northwest Ohio Chapter at 419-537-1999 or 1-800-272-3900.

FREE Presentation: First Edition Bible: How Do We Know? 
Sept. 16: 7 p.m., Gallery 15 
Ed Hill, works of art on paper assistant at the Toledo Museum of Art, discusses one of the highlights of the Museum’s George W. Stevens Book Collection: a rare first edition of the King James Bible, and clues in this version that confirm its authenticity.

FREE Panel Discussion: GAPP Artist in Residence: Beverly Fishman
Sept. 16: 7:30 p.m., GlasSalon
The fifth and most recent participant in the Guest Artist Pavilion Project (GAPP) at the Toledo Museum of Art, Beverly Fishman talks with Glass Pavilion® and curatorial staff about her working process, her residency at TMA, and its contribution to her oeuvre as a whole. Pill Spill, a floor installation of more than 120 unique glass capsules she created during her GAPP visits, is on view through September in the Glass Pavilion.

FREE Presentation: Artist Residencies
Sept. 23: 6 p.m., Little Theater
Caitlin Strokosch, executive director of the Alliance of Artist Communities (AAC), discusses ways to foster connections between art institutions and local artists. Strokosch received her bachelor’s degree in music performance from Columbia College Chicago and her master’s degree in musicology from Roosevelt University. The AAC is an international association of artists’ communities and residencies whose mission is to advocate for and support artists' communities and endeavors.

FREE Workshop: Artist Residencies 
Sept. 24: 3:30–5:30 p.m. 
During this workshop visual artists, writers, composers, performance artists and others, learn about the hundreds of artists’ residency opportunities for artists of all kinds and career stages, in your own backyard and across the globe. Workshop director Caitlin Strokosch, executive director of the Alliance for Artist Communities, will explain what distinguishes various residency programs, the best way to apply and how to maximize your experience. The workshop is free but space is limited to 50 participants. Call 419-255-8000 ext. 7432 to reserve a spot. The workshop is presented by the Toledo Museum of Art in partnership with the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo.

FREE Poetry in the Gallery: Inspired by Hieroglyphics 
Sept. 30: 7:30 p.m., Classic Court 
The Toledo Poetry Museum presents ekphrastic translytics, or original poems inspired by the hieroglyphics in the Museum’s Egyptian collection.

Free Guest Glass Artist Lectures/Demonstrations 
Featured Local Glass Artist Demonstration: Kelly Sheehan
  • Sept. 2: 7–10 p.m., Glass Pavilion 
  • Sept. 3 and 4: 1–5 p.m., Glass Pavilion

Free Performances
Club Friday Music: Kentucky Chrome (rockabilly) 
Sept. 2: 6:30–9:30 p.m, Peristyle Terrace/Lobby 
Enjoy music by some of Toledo’s celebrated performers. Cash bar available.

Great Performances in the Great Gallery  
3 p.m., Great Gallery
  • Sept. 11: Michael Boyd & Students - Michael Boyd and students of the University of Toledo perform a concert of piano music in four hands. 
  • Sept. 18: Halida Dinova, piano - Pianist Halida Dinova has performed and recorded with Europe's finest orchestras, and appeared in many international music festivals. She completed her masters degree in music with special distinction and her DMA from the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia. She will perform works by Bach, Chopin, Rachmaninoff and others. 
  • Sept. 25: Westhuizen Duo, piano - Pierre van der Westhuizen and SophiĆ© Grobler perform a selection of piano music in four hands including Brahms’ Hungarian Dances, Ravel’s Rhapsodie Espagnole, and Rachmaninoff’s Six Pieces, op. 11. The duo has presented concerts in major concert halls and music festivals in South Africa and throughout the United States.

Free Glassblowing Demonstrations 
  • Sept. 1: 2 p.m., Glass Pavilion Hot Shop 
  • Sept. 2: 2 p.m., Glass Pavilion Hot Shop 
  • Sept. 6: 2 p.m., Glass Pavilion Hot Shop 
  • Sept. 7: 2 p.m., Glass Pavilion Hot Shop 
  • Sept. 8: 2 p.m., Glass Pavilion Hot Shop 
  • Sept. 9: 2, 7, 8 and 9 p.m., Glass Pavilion Hot Shop 
  • Sept. 10: 1, 2 and 3 p.m., Glass Pavilion Hot Shop 
  • Sept. 11: 1, 2 and 3 p.m., Glass Pavilion Hot Shop 
  • Sept. 13: 2 p.m., Glass Pavilion Hot Shop 
  • Sept. 14: 2 p.m., Glass Pavilion Hot Shop 
  • Sept. 15: 2 p.m., Glass Pavilion Hot Shop 
  • Sept. 16: 2, 7, 8 and 9 p.m., Glass Pavilion Hot Shop 
  • Sept. 17: 1, 2 and 3 p.m., Glass Pavilion Hot Shop 
  • Sept. 18: 1, 2 and 3 p.m., Glass Pavilion Hot Shop 
  • Sept. 20: 2 p.m., Glass Pavilion Hot Shop 
  • Sept. 21: 2 p.m., Glass Pavilion Hot Shop 
  • Sept. 22: 2 p.m., Glass Pavilion Hot Shop 
  • Sept. 23: 2, 7, 8 and 9 p.m., Glass Pavilion Hot Shop 
  • Sept. 24: 1, 2 and 3 p.m., Glass Pavilion Hot Shop 
  • Sept. 25: 1, 2 and 3 p.m., Glass Pavilion Hot Shop 
  • Sept. 27: 2 p.m., Glass Pavilion Hot Shop 
  • Sept. 28: 2 p.m., Glass Pavilion Hot Shop 
  • Sept. 29: 2 p.m., Glass Pavilion Hot Shop 
  • Sept. 30: 2, 7, 8 and 9 p.m., Glass Pavilion Hot Shop

Art Hours 
Create your own glass objects during a one-hour session at the Glass Pavilion. Buy tickets ($15 TMA members/$25 nonmembers; no refunds) in person or by phone during Museum hours starting the Tuesday before each session. Adults and children 14 and older accompanied by an adult are welcome. Call 419-254-5771 ext. 7448.

Flamework a Glass Pendant
Sept. 9: 6, 7 and 8 p.m., Glass Pavilion

Create a Mini Pumpkin
  • Sept. 9: 6, 7 and 8 p.m., Glass Pavilion 
  • Sept. 10: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 p.m., Glass Pavilion 
  • Sept. 11: 4 and 5 p.m., Glass Pavilion 
  • Sept. 16: 6, 7 and 8 p.m., Glass Pavilion 
  • Sept. 17: 4 and 5 p.m., Glass Pavilion 
  • Sept. 18: 4 and 5 p.m., Glass Pavilion 
  • Sept. 23: 6, 7 and 8 p.m., Glass Pavilion 
  • Sept. 24: 4 and 5 p.m., Glass Pavilion 
  • Sept. 25: 4 and 5 p.m., Glass Pavilion 
  • Sept. 30: 6, 7 and 8 p.m., Glass Pavilion

FREE Public Tours
Inside Stories: Museum Masterpieces 
  • Sept 2: 6:30 and 7 p.m., Libbey Court 
  • Sept. 3: 2 p.m., Libbey Court 
  • Sept. 4: 3 p.m., Libbey Court 
  • Sept. 9: 6:30 and 7 p.m., Libbey Court 
  • Sept. 10: 2 p.m., Libbey Court 
  • Sept. 11: 3 p.m., Libbey Court 
  • Sept: 16: 6:30 and 7 p.m., Libbey Court 
  • Sept. 17: 2 p.m., Libbey Court 
  • Sept. 18: 3 p.m., Libbey Court 
  • Sept. 23: 6:30 and 7 p.m., Libbey Court 
  • Sept. 24: 2 p.m., Libbey Court 
  • Sept. 25: 3 p.m., Libbey Court 
  • Sept. 30: 6:30 and 7 p.m., Libbey Court

Family Time Tours
  • Sept. 4: 2 p.m., meet in Family Center or Libbey Court 
  • Sept. 11: 2 p.m., meet in Family Center or Libbey Court 
  • Sept. 18: 2 p.m., meet in Family Center or Libbey Court 
  • Sept. 25: 2 p.m., meet in Family Center or Libbey Court

FREE Family Center Activities
For children 10 years of age and younger accompanied by an adult, art activities in the Family Center are made possible in part with support from The Andersons.

FREE Family Center Activities: Textures!
Sept. 4: Noon to 5:30 p.m.
Sept. 6 and 8: 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Explore this element of art using many textural materials such as fabric, felt, yarn and cardboard.

FREE Family Center Activities: Pattern People and Paper Pets! 
Inspired by Copley’s Young Lady with a Bird and a Dog in our collection, create your own people and pets using a variety of patterned paper.
  • Sept. 11: Noon to 5:30 p.m. 
  • Sept. 13 and 15: 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
FREE Family Center Activities: Found Object Art! 
In honor of Louise Nevelson's birthday, create a work of art inspired by her Sky Presence seen in Gallery 1.
  • Sept. 18: Noon to 5:30 p.m. 
  • Sept. 20 and 22: 10 a.m.–3 p.m. 
FREE Family Center Activities: Celebrate Parents Week! 
Search the galleries for images of families and create something special for mom or dad. 

  • Sept. 25: Noon to 5:30 p.m. 
  • Sept. 27 and 29: 10 a.m.–3 p.m. 

Note: Events are subject to change. Check the Museum’s online calendar at www.toledomuseum.org for the latest information.

Wet & Wild Weekend in Caseville

These two certainly were dressed right for the occasion.
Last weekend we camped at Albert E. Sleeper State Park, which is just a stone's throw north of Caseville, Michigan. Caseville, located on the Saginaw Bay side of Michigan's thumb, is a wonderful little small town of about 850 people. Dotted with cottages and small retail shops and family-owned restaurants, it's wonderfully devoid of strip malls, big box stores and chain restaurants.

Last weekend also was the start of the 10-day Cheeseburger in Caseville Festival. Now in its 13th year, the festival is devoted to all things Jimmy Buffett and the laid-back tropical lifestyle he represents. The festival is known for its live music, delicious cheeseburgers and a ton of family activities like sand castle competitions, crazy hat contests and the ridiculously wonderful Parade of Fools.

And last weekend was also the worst rainstorm we've ever endured while camping.

This was our fourth year going to Cheeseburger in Caseville and it just keeps getting better and better.
And bigger and bigger.
And wetter and wetter, too.

Bigger, Better, Wetter
How big is it?
  • For 10 days each August, Caseville's population of about 850 swells to the tens of thousands. And if you believe Frank Bama of Air Margaritaville, a Buffett tribute band of highest regard, Cheeseburger in Caseville is now the second biggest festival in Michigan. (What's the biggest festival? I dunno.)
  • Caseville civic groups sell cheeseburgers, among other things, as fundraisers and they crank out about 500,000 cheeseburgers each year which they sell for $4-$5 each. 
  • At the 2010 Parade of Fools, over 1,200 people were in the parade, and another 80,000 lined the streets to watch them in their crazy colorful get-ups, strutting down Main Street. 
  • The County Park, which has the outdoor amphitheater and the public beach, also has an enormous modern 125-site campground. They have to hold a lottery each year because so many people want to camp there. That's one reason why we stay at Sleeper State Park, but that, too, is always full by the time Cheeseburger rolls around.

The first year, we camped with my buddy Steve and his kids. The second year, Steve was able to get a spot in the county park, but my Aunt and Uncle joined us at Sleeper State Park. It rained that year so hard both of our campsites were under water. My uncle and I grilled inside-out cheeseburgers while standing in ankle deep water. The rain let up for that night's concert with Air Margaritaville. Last year my parents and my aunt's sister and her family came along, and this year two more families joined us. If you're keeping track, we're up to six campsites.

After what happened this year, next year, we might want to find want to buy some flood insurance.

It all started well enough. We arrived on Friday afternoon, set up camp and headed into town for some cheeseburgers and that night's classic rock concert by The Music Doctors. The cheeseburgers, from the Caseville Schools booth setup, were awesome. In fact, Superintendent Ken Ewald was our chef. He said they raise a "good chunk of change" at the festival, but not quite enough to cover the athletic department's budget, as was rumored.

What you don't see is the cheeseburger, with a bite
taken out of it, that our landshark was chasing.
The next day was the sand castle competition. Our entry was "Landshark Eating a Cheeseburger." It was only the most awesome sand sculpture ever. How'd we do? We were robbed. We didn't even get an honorable mention. Sure, there were some really good ones we were up against. But one of the winners, "Beer Pong," was ... dumb. A bunch of college kids dug a three foot trench in the shape of a rectangle. And there you have it. A table. Whoopee.

Rain, Rain Go Away...
That night was the Air Margaritaville concert, but before that we enjoyed a wonderful dinner with my buddy, Steve, and his new bride, Debbie. They cooked up pulled pork, hot dogs and brats and served them up with plenty of sides for all their friends and family who couldn't make it to Jamaica for their wedding. Great time, great food, great friends!

And then it was Air Margaritaville's turn to entertain us. Which they did for one set. Their second set never got off the tarmac (get it? Air Margaritaville? Tarmac?) because the skies opened up and the rain started coming down in buckets. The wind whipped it around pretty good, too. It would seem to let up, but never enough for the band to take the stage again, so the rest of the concert was a washout.

The rest of the night, and early the next morning was also a washout. We got back to our camper, tried in vain to enjoy ourselves. But the rain ... never ... let ... up. And right about after we went to bed, the thunder and lightning kicked in. Everyone was under water. Mud covered everything on the ground. Flip flops and welcome mats and plastic pink flamingos floated around the campground. Anything not nailed down was doing the backstroke.

The next morning was an exercise in cleaning. The Merry Maids would've quit on the spot. It was like a Dumpster threw up. Mud and dirt and ... well, just stuff ... was everywhere. One people in our party found his welcome mat six campsites down. My uncle never did find his shower shoes. At one point, we praised that same uncle, thinking he was smart enough to fold up his patio mat before the rains came. It turns out the mat was there all along, it was just covered in mud so bad we couldn't even see it.

It's now Monday night and the camper is clean again and put back in its super secret storage location (aka the Back 40). So, as I reflect on another Wet & Wild Cheeseburger in Caseville, only one thing comes to mind: Can't wait till next year!

Traveling with pets in August? Follow these safety tips

August is the most travelled month of the summer and vacations aren’t just for two-legged travelers anymore. Traveling with pets has become increasingly common, as 18 percent of U.S. adult leisure travelers usually take their pets with them on trips, according to the U.S. Travel Association. But excursions on planes, trains and automobiles with our four-legged friends can take some planning and preparation. Petplan, a pet insurance company, has developed the following tips to ensure both pets and pet parents enjoy their travels:
  • Ask your regular veterinary hospital to make a copy of your pet’s recent medical history to take with you – some facilities may even be able to provide them electronically, on a CD or a USB device.
  • If driving, it is important to acclimate your pets to the car so they view it as a reward instead of the typical and possibly painful trip to the veterinarian. Taking short trips to parks or other pet-friendly destinations will help get your pet comfortable for the longer drive.
  • To help prevent carsickness, feed your pet a light meal four to six hours before departing.
  • For airline travel, remember to plan ahead as travelling with an animal requires additional check-in time. Airlines accept a limited amount of pets for each flight, so it is critical to reserve space ahead of time. Also, make sure to exercise your pet prior to the flight.
  • Most pets travel in the hold as checked baggage and it is important in the summer to travel in the early morning or late evenings when temperatures are cooler. Cats, snub-nosed dogs (pugs, boxers, etc.) and long-nosed dogs (shelties, collies) have respiratory issues and should never travel in the poorly ventilated hold.
  • If your pet needs any medications, take extra care to ensure you have enough to last a few days beyond your anticipated stay. If you think you may run out before you are due to return home, make time to get your pet’s meds refilled before you leave.
  • Use the vet finder at www.gopetplan.com/find-a-vet to scope out local veterinarians ahead of time, including emergency clinics. The site is also an outstanding resource to identify local pet health providers in the unfortunate event your pet suffers a health issue while traveling.
Dr. Jules Benson, Vice President of Veterinary Services at Petplan, is an expert resource on the topic of safe travel with pets.

Stinging Insects Put a Damper on Summer Fun

The National Pest Management Association discusses health risks posed by hornets, wasps and bees

Summer is here and people across the country are enjoying backyard barbeques and days by the pool. But the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) cautions that anyone spending time outdoors this season should be aware of the health threats posed by stinging insects like hornets, yellowjackets, wasps and Africanized “killer” bees. These and other stinging insects send more than half a million people to the emergency room every year, the NPMA reports.

“Everyone knows that insect stings can be unpleasant, but few people stop to think about the serious health threats posed by these pests during the summer months,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. “If a hive is provoked or threatened, they can swarm and sting en masse, which can be life-threatening, especially for anyone who has an allergic reaction. For this reason, we strongly discourage homeowners from attempting to handle a stinging insect infestation on their own and instead recommend they contact a pest professional.”

When outdoors, be aware that stinging insects can build nests underground, in trees, shrubs, overhangs, eaves, utility poles, tires, houses, sheds and other structures, depending on the species.

The NPMA offers these tips to avoid stinging insects this summer:
  • Wear shoes, especially in grassy areas
  • Overseed grassy areas to get better coverage, as this will deter ground-nesting insects
  • Paint/stain untreated wood
  • Remove garbage frequently and keep trashcans covered
  • Do not swat at a stinging insect as it increases the likelihood of an aggressive reaction
  • Avoid wearing sweet-smelling perfumes
  • Ensure all doors and windows in your home have screens that are in good condition
  • Seek immediate medical attention if stung, as reactions can be severe
  • Do not attempt to remove a nest on your own. If you have an infestation, contact a qualified pest professional
The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property.

Watch 'Winnebego Man' movie for free on hulu.com

The outrageously funny, critically-acclaimed documentary "Winnebago Man"is available to view for free on www.hulu.com for a limited time. Here's the link to watch it now. WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE.
  
"Winnebago Man" (2010)
Directed by Ben Steinbauer
Type "The Angriest Man in the World" into any search engine, and one name appears — Jack Rebney, a.k.a. "The Winnebago Man" — an '80s RV salesman, whose hilarious, profanity-strewn, on-the-job meltdown was captured on video and passed around on VHS tapes, before exploding into an Internet phenomenon seen by millions. When a young filmmaker sets out on the seemingly impossible task of tracking down Rebney, who disappeared 20 years before, he finds Rebney living alone on a mountain top, as sharp-tongued as ever, but more intelligent and lovable than anyone could have imagined. WINNEBAGO MAN is an outrageously funny look at viral culture and an unexpectedly redemptive tale of one man's response to unwanted celebrity.

About the original 1988 viral video that inspired the documentary
Following a two-week video shoot in August 1988, a 4-minute outtakes reel mysteriously surfaced, and came to be known as the "Winnebago Man." While the completed sales video was sent to Winnebago dealers to promote their 1989 Itasca Sunflyer motorhome, copies of outtakes began circulating amongst the crew and their friends on VHS tape and eventually spread amongst tape traders to become an underground phenomenon. In 2005, when the online video revolution took off, Jack Rebney became one of the first internet folk heroes. Today, the "Winnebago Man" clip has been seen by more than 20 million people, and has attracted a cult following in Hollywood. The "Winnebago Man" has been quoted in movies and on TV by everyone from Ben Affleck to Alec Baldwin to SpongeBob SquarePants, and earlier this year, Conan O'Brien named "Winnebago Man" as one of his all-time favorite videos on YouTube. There's even a painting of Jack Rebney — as Shrek — that hangs in offices of Dreamworks Animation.

Jack Rebney Today
After traveling to New York, LA and San Francisco for the theatrical openings of "Winnebago Man", the 80-year-old Rebney has returned to his mountaintop cabin, where he continues to live alone with his beloved pit bull, "Buddha." He would like audiences to know that he's very pleased with how the film turned out. "It's not War and Peace. It's not Doctor Zhivago," Rebney says, "But, it says something, that after seeing it, people come up to me and throw their arms around me and they're still laughing. People come up to me with tears in their eyes. It's not surprising, then, that I like the film. And I haven't liked anything in about 20 years." Rebney and the film's director, Ben Steinbauer, have become good friends and they speak on the phone almost every day.

"Winnebego Man"is also available on DVD.

Jellystone Parks give some families their best memories

Four generations of Stella Fox’s family have been camping at the Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Amherstburg

For many Ontario families, the Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Amherstburg is much more than a weekend getaway or place to enjoy family time during the summer.

It is literally a place that fosters some of the best memories they have.

Consider Stella Fox, who has been coming to the park with her family every summer since 1978. She started the tradition in 1978, when her son, Jim Fox, was 10 years old.

“That was our summer thing,” she said. “I worked for the school board and had the summer off and wanted something fun to do with him. So I got a little popup trailer and would go up there for a couple of weeks. And later on we got a larger trailer, and the tradition continued.”

Jim Fox, in fact, wound up meeting his future wife at the campground, and they raised their three kids – Kristina, Amanda and Jessica – spending their summers there.

“The kids actually grew up in the campground,” Stella Fox said. “They would come out at the end of June and be there until Labor Day, and then we’d go on the weekends after that.”

Jessica even met her future husband at the park, too, when she was about 15. Now 23, she’s married and has a little girl, Sidney, who also now joins four generations of the Fox family at the Jellystone Park.

Park manager Bonnie Jackson said she has many families who have been coming to Jellystone for generations, adding that it’s a phenomenon that happens with Jellystone Parks across Canada and the U.S. “Families find a park they like and they come back year after year to the point where it becomes a family
tradition,” she said.

Many families become deeply attached to Jellystone Parks and wind up spending the bulk of their vacation time there, said Michele Wisher, director of marketing for Milford, Ohio-based Leisure Systems Inc., which franchises the Jellystone Park chain.

Frequent campers often wind up renting campsites for the entire summer – often at discounted rates – and leave their RVs there for the whole season. “Seasonal camping works out well for them,” Wisher said, “because they can camp as often as they want and have their RV set up on site.”

As a single mother, Stella Fox said she also enjoyed the safety and security Jellystone Park in Amherstburg provided to her family, as well as the numerous activities to keep kids and their families busy throughout the day.

“My best memories are at that park,” Stella Fox said. “The families that were there all seemed to have the same interests. And the family atmosphere was always maintained. The kids would get up in the morning and ride their bikes. And there was always an activity at 10 a.m. and then they’d go swimming. All of my children and grandchildren learned to swim there. Then they had a hayride in the afternoon and at sunset a walk with Yogi.”

The park also has frequent dances and talent competitions.

“The kids love going to the dances. They had a Yogi Idol competition one year. These kids were able to learn how to express themselves and interact and they had so many friends,” Stella Fox said.

Jim Fox has similarly intense memories about his experiences camping at the park.

“It just brings you together,” he said. “You do different things when you’re camping and it brings families closer, even if it’s only for a weekend. You get away from TV, radio and video games. It seems like when you’re camping, you put all that behind and nobody complains about the absence of it.”

This summer’s activities at the Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Amherstburg include a pirate themed weekend Aug. 5th to 7th; a Halloween themed weekend with a campsite decorating contest, a glowstick hayride and trick or treating on Aug. 12th to 14th; and an oldies weekend Aug. 26th to 28th with a sock hop, an Elvis
look-alike contest and a classic car show with proceeds being donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Ontario. For a complete schedule of summer activities at the park, visit www.campybear.com.

About Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts
Launched in 1969, the Jellystone Park system now boasts 75 campgrounds with more than 15,000 campsites in 30 states and three Canadian provinces. Ontario features three Jellystone Parks, with campgrounds in Amherstburg, Niagara Falls and Toronto.

Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts are among the best campgrounds in the industry with a quality reputation for being fun, friendly, clean and customer service-oriented parks. Additionally, each Jellystone Park is themed with Yogi Bear elements providing instant recognition and consumer appeal. It is truly a
place “Where You Camp With Friends.”

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts are franchised through Leisure Systems, Inc. (LSI), a wholly owned subsidiary of The Park River Corporation, Cincinnati, Ohio. For more information, visit www.campjellystone.com.

Taylor’s Beach Campground Offers Affordable, Fun Vacations

With gas prices still a dollar more per gallon than last year, families continue to seek affordable ways to enjoy a summer vacation. Camping has long been an economical choice for vacations, but the stigma of “roughing it” in the wilderness often leads families toward hotels that boast free amenities and activities.

Taylor’s Beach Campground offers families the best of both worlds with a modern-style campground filled with amenities and activities at affordable prices.

Like many hotel resorts, Taylor’s Beach Campground provides everything you could possibly imagine—a soft sandy swimming beach, clean bathrooms and showers, fun-filled game rooms, water playgrounds, laundry facilities, free wireless Wi-Fi service, sports and play areas, planned activities and much more.

“Camping has become more than pitching a tent in an isolated wooded area,” said Alan Taylor, owner of Taylor’s Beach Campground. “You get modern amenities, plus activities to keep kids from getting bored, for a fraction of the cost of a hotel. Our camping starts as low as $25 per night—you can’t even stay at the simplest hotel for that price.”

Don’t own a tent or a camper? Taylor’s Beach Campground has you covered with rental campers starting at $79 per night plus a refundable security deposit. The campers sleep 4-5 depending on size, and are fully equipped with heating/air conditioning, stove, refrigerator/freezer, microwave, kitchen, bathroom and shower.

For those who worry about rainy weather while camping, there are plenty of indoor activities to keep kids busy. Taylor’s Beach Campground has an arcade game room, a Wi-Fi lounge, indoor movies, crafts and card games, and nearby outlet mall shopping.

“With potlucks, community fire pits, themed parties and planned activities, modern camping is much more social than traditional camping,” said Taylor. “Overall, there’s more entertainment for families to enjoy.”

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and several Michigan legislators have recently declared August “Michigan Camping and Recreation Vehicle Month,” to honor the generations of campers and RVers who come to Michigan’s campgrounds.

To help celebrate Michigan Camping and RV Month, Taylor’s Beach Campground is offering special camping discounts. Consumers can visit www.taylorsbeachcampground.com to download money saving coupons.

Taylor’s Beach Campground offers affordable family camping with seasonal, overnight, weekly and monthly campsite rentals; planned activities and amenities to make your stay comfortable. Taylor’s Beach Campground, 6197 N. Burkhart Road, Howell, Mich. 48855; 517.546.2679.

Local Artitsts, Chefs and Growers to Celebrate Gourds at 2nd Annual Festival of Gourds

Local gourd artists, Ron and Debbie Stallings are hosting the 2nd Annual Festival of Gourds at the Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds Aug. 26-28 (10-6 Fri & Sat, 10-5 Sun) in Imlay City, Michigan.

The festival is a family-friendly event celebrating gourds, art, food, music and community. Admission is $5. Children ages 12 years and under are free. Proceeds from the Festival will benefit the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation.

“Last year, the turnout was better than expected. The joint effort raised $8,000 towards the charity,”  said event co-chair Debbie Stallings, adding that they are expecting more than 2,000 visitors at this year's event.

The Festival of Gourds is a chance to gather growers, artists, enthusiasts and the general public to share their knowledge and interest of gourds. Educational classes will also be offered such as: wood burning, carving, coiling and embroidering on gourds as well as the ‘basics’ in Gourding 101. Children’s activities include a ‘Nasgourd Derby’ race and ‘make and take’ gourd crafts. For a full schedule of events, classes and registration, you can visit the festival website (michiganfestivalofgourds.com).

Other events and activities that feature gourds include: A special program by musician Guy Louis, dance performances by the Tropical Wahines, “Porch Stories” with Alfreda Harris and a gourd-art competition judged by the local Michigourders Gourd Guild.

A new addition to the festival this year is a local foods showcase called Grow Michigan. Sponsored by the Lapeer County Master Gardeners, ‘Grow Michigan’ will feature a number of local food growers and producers. Visitors to the festival will be able to buy locally produced foods they can enjoy during their visit or take with them. Included in the selection will be hot sandwiches, artisan breads, intriguing desserts, home-grown produce, herbal mixes and more. This is also a great opportunity for those who have a local food product produced under the Michigan Cottage Industry Law or who have locally grown fruits and vegetables to sell their product. Vending booths spaces are available for a fee. Interested vendors can download an application by following the Grow Michigan link on the festival website homepage.

As a special tribute to the community, farmers and region, Chef Michael Romine is hosting a Harvest Dinner on Saturday, August 27 at 6:30 pm using as many local ingredients as he can forage. Tickets are $15 per person and available by calling 810-724-6135.

Stallings admits that this may be the only gourd-related festival that also raises funds for a Children’s Hospital. It’s become a special focus in their life and she and Ron enjoy seeing their work benefit others. Proceeds for the event go towards research and programs at the pediatric cystic fibrosis center at Children’s Hospital of Michigan.