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  • James Townsend

Red Mill Community Day Set for August 24th

Mark your calendars for August 24th to plan on coming to the Red Mill Community Day. The Portland FRIENDS group will soon host their fourth year of promoting COMMUNITY through a celebration of our HISTORY, our PRESENT and our potential for the FUTURE! The festival is located at The Old Red Mill and The Red Mill Pavilion park - 450 Water St, Portland from 9am – 8pm on Saturday August 24th. Each year more involvement from local community organizations, businesses and residents alike join the FRIENDS planning a full day and evening of FUN for everyone regardless their age.

This year is SPECIAL; its Portland’s 150th Birthday…Sesquicentennial! Historical activities, vendors, and olde time demonstrations every hour have been added to give a glimpse of “how it once was done, back in the day”. Come see what a Sawyer makes from a 20’ tree trunk with a sawmill, watch the Blacksmith bend metal using fire, and the Wood Carvers bring wood to life are just a few things offered. Or sit back and relax on a Covered Wagon ride around downtown Portland and along the riverbanks of the Grand River. Another featured historical attraction: Portland’s Sesquicentennial Museum hosted by Portland Area Historical Society. The collection is on loan from various Portland community members, displayed inside the over 100-year-old Red Mill. The Mill’s covered porch will a

lso host historical demonstration by a Tin-Type Photographer, a Spinner, a Weaver and corn shucker.

5K Run/Walk – “Drama Run/Walk” hosted by Portland Civic Players. Cost $25 includes shirt and medal. Special pricing for kids/students and families of 3 or more ($3/pp discount). Under 18 only $20. The race will be professionally timed by the Michigan Running Foundation. Results posted during race at Find more details by signing up online through “” Website, Facebook: Portland Civic Players or text/call Laurie Reeves at 517.526.3423 .

Giving back to Community through a “Community Celebrity Dunk Tank” is great entertainment and full of laughs. This is an opportunity for community members to raise money for a non-profit at no cost to them. All are welcome to sign up for a 20 minute time slot placing their Celebrity in the dunk tank keeping all money raised during that time frame. Last year the City of Portland Fire Department pitched this idea to Friends group which formed a great partnership, neither could wait to get their feet wet. Celebrities were from local Fire Dept, Police Dept, PPS Band Director, Ionia County Animal Shelter, and a group as far away as Carson City participated. It was a hit for sure. There was a challenge between a few Celebrities - Portland Public School Superintendent Will Health, Portland City Manager Tutt Gorman, and Portland Chief of Police Starr Thomas with all of their proceeds being donated to the local Portland Community Fund Association raising over $600! Time slots are filling up with a few still available, call/text Noreen Logel 517.743.1830 to reserve your slot.

There will be much going on with an Art and Craft show (limited to 75 vendors) and an outdoor concert featuring Matt King as Roy Orbison and Elvis! This is sponsored by the Portland Area Chamber of Commerce. Bring your chairs and blankets and come on down!

Adding to the excitement of the festival will be ---- Family Horse event held at Bogue Flats / Rodeo Grounds within walking distance of Red Mill Community Day. Due to the growth of the festival Water St is closed between Morse Dr and Plant Dr to through traffic making it available for people of all ages to roam the festival activities all day and evening.

Here is a preview of the schedule for the day:

8am-1pm - Farmer’s Market in the Red Mill Pavilion with Live Olde Time Music

9am - 5K – “Drama Run/Walk” hosted by Portland Civic Players

9am-5pm - Art and Craft Show (limited to 75 Vendors)

11am-5pm – Covered Wagon Rides (for a donation)

4pm – Kids tractor pulls in the Red Mill Pavilion – ages 3-15 girls and boys (cost $5/child) Pre-registration encouraged on Friends Facebook page or text/call Lisa Balderson 517.930.1651

Grandma GG Pony Rides (cost $5/child)

Petting Zoo hosted by local Future Farmers of America

Kids Zone hosted by Epic Church – with additional events: 10am Frog Race, 11am Checker Tournament, Noon Sack Race, 1pm Family Bingo, 2pm Watermelon Eating Contest, 3pm Hoop and Stick Race

Lion’s Club Vision Screening - Free

Masons Child ID Program – Free

Ionia County Human Society – pet adoptions

Live Music and instrument Petting Zoo hosted by Portland Public School Band

Antique tractors and farm equipment display

Food trucks – Wilson Farm Fresh Meats; Maria's tacos catering and Portland Cree Mee

Corn Roast (Fox Farms and VFW Post 4090), hotdogs, and rootbeer floats (Peppermint Twist) are available for a donation

6pm – 8pm - Live Entertainment by Roy Orbison & Elvis (Matt King) sponsored by Portland Area Chamber of Commerce.

PPS Drumline and Jazz Band will open the evening and preform at intermission. Everyone is welcome, bring a lawn chair to enjoy this big show! Friends concessions popcorn and water available for a donation

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