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  • Jordan D. Smith

Portland 150 Celebration Weekend Roars to Life on Friday

Friday, Portland kicked of a party 150 years in the making with the unveiling of new brews and a showcase of beautiful classic cars. Every important occasion has a distinctive beverage. Breakfast has coffee. New Year’s Eve has champagne. If you’ve ever wondered what sort of beverage is appropriate for celebrating your town’s 150th birthday, wonder no longer. It’s called Sesquenchtennial and it’s been brewed up for the occasion by Jim Hilligan at Conflux City Brewing in Portland.

According to Hilligan, Sesquenchtennial is an amber ale, which is something Confluxcity has never made before. He chose an amber ale because it’s widely popular and decided to sweeten it with apples and cherries which are Michigan fruits. Hilligan says that some who tried it at Friday’s lunchtime unveiling said it tastes like apple pie or a cross between a cider and a beer. Sesquenchtennial will be available for a limited time at Confluxcity Brewing. If it’s popular, however, Hilligan says they may make it a regular addition at the brewery.

Friday night’s festivities got kicked off with roaring engines and squealing tires on Kent Street as the Portland Cruisers car club brought more than 80 classic cars to downtown. Prior to parking and showing off their wheels, club members cruised through the surrounding streets before making an unforgettable entrance by burning rubber at the corner of Bridge and Kent. The downtown area was full with hundreds of spectators young and old enjoying the artistry and craftsmanship of vehicles from years gone by.

Later, from the announcer’s booth in Scout Park, Portland 150 organizers announced the winners of the Portland Passport photo scavenger hunt contest that had been going on through the summer. Winners were Alyssa Nichols, Jim Nichols, and Jeff Platte. The evening concluded with the awarding of sponsors choice trophies to the contestants. According to Portland Cruisers officials, 41 different local businesses and organizations sponsored trophies for the cruise. Sponsors received the privilege of awarding their trophy to the car of their choice. The names of all trophy winners were not available as of this writing.

Sponsors included: Madaran, Hoort & Associates; S&K Trophies and Plaques, The Cutting Edge, Reed and Hoppes Towing, Badder and Sons Co., Vintage Tanning Parlor, Styles on the Grant, Grand Barber Lounge, B&W Auto Supply, Portland Party Store, Health Source Physical Therapy Center, Sienna Accounting, Cook Brothers Excavating Inc., Home Town Sports, Silk Screen Stuff Plus, Essential Title, The City of Portland, MI Portland Downtown, Farmers Tavern, Fabiano’s River House Grill, Sandborn Real Estate, Beaufores Barber Shop, Simon Insurance, Chocolate Moose, Fabricate Customs, Mary’s Cove, Ward’s Garage, Studio 176, The Blue Mason Jar, The Pizza Shop, Portland C Store, Conflux City Brewing, Keusch Super Service, Frosty Boy, Hot Shots Tavern, and Muffler Man.

The Portland 150 Sesquicentennial festivities continue Saturday and Sunday with a fun filled weekend of events for the whole family starting with a parade at 10 AM Saturday morning. Visit for a full lineup of events.

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