Labor Day parade theme is ‘Who’s Your Hero?’
Amy Pethers is more than proficient at planning parades.
She has been organizing Belding Labor Day parades for four years now.
Pethers and her husband reside in Sheridan, but Pethers grew up in Belding. Every year, the couple packs up and relocates about 20 miles southwest to stay with Pethers’ parents during annual Labor Day festivities in Belding.
“I live in Sheridan, but my heart is in Belding,” Pethers said.
Pethers is organizing the Twilight Parade (firemen’s parade) at 9:30 p.m. Friday and the grand parade at 11 a.m. Monday (Labor Day).
Belding Fire Department firefighter Dennis Paulson is helping arrange fire trucks for the Twilight Parade, but Pethers will be in charge of making sure everyone is lined up correctly and on time Friday night. She said the Twilight Parade has about 30 entries so far.
The Twilight Parade and the grand parade will travel the same route as last year. The parade will begin on the Ashfield Street bridge, head west on Main Street, south on Bridge Street, east on Ann Street and will end on Alderman Street, although people are encouraged to continue toward Hall Street for easy exit access to M-44.
Monday’s grand parade has abut 90 entries so far, according to Pethers.
“This year our theme is ‘Who’s Your Hero?’ and we want people to think outside the box,” Pethers said. “It can be anybody from a dog to a superhero to a firefighter to a police officer or moms and dads.”
Pethers said a group of 10 dedicated volunteers help her organize both the parades. She said organization efforts are demanding and exhausting, but the rewards are worth it.
“I cry at the beginning of every parade,” she said. “I don’t know if it’s stress release or just a matter of seeing everybody who enjoys it. The enjoyment is organizing it from the bottom to the end of it, seeing it all come together and hearing everybody talk about it.
“It’s such an explosion at the end,” she said of both parades. “It’s pretty emotional at the end.”
Belding business hosts inaugural Classic Car Cruise
Mark Rich is a classic car enthusiast.
He owns a burgundy 1973 Pontiac LeMans GT and tries to visit a handful of classic car shows each year.
During last year’s Belding Labor Day festival, Rich noticed many people were setting up up camp early to wait for the Twilight Parade on Friday night. He thought, why not have a classic car show in the meantime?
“I just thought this would be a great opportunity for people to have something to do while they’re waiting for the parade,” Rich said.
Rich, the president of Gerref Industries Inc. in Belding, is sponsoring the inaugural Classic Car Show from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday. The car show will take place in the Ellis Elementary School parking lot and will continue out onto the Twilight Parade route.
The Twilight Parade will begin at 9:30 p.m. Friday on the Ashfield Street bridge, head west on Main Street, south on Bridge Street, east on Ann Street and will end on Alderman Street.
“These Labor Day festivities are kind of Belding’s homecoming each year,” Rich said. “We’re just looking to have a fun event and get some people to come out and show off their cars and enjoy some free entertainment before the parade.”
The Classic Car Cruise is free. Rich is hoping three to four dozen vehicles will participate.
“It sounds like a lot of people are interested,” said Joanne Strobel, who works at Gerref Industries Inc.
Gerref Industries Inc. is located at 206 York St. in Belding. The manufacturing business has been creating industrial ovens, washers, paint-finishing equipment and other items since 1974.
Car show meets swap meet
John LaClear is organizing his first car and motorcycle show in Belding this Labor Day weekend.
However, he’s hosted similar shows before.
LaClear began organizing car and motorcycle shows during the Sheridan Springfest in the early 1980s. He moved from the Edmore-Six Lakes area to Belding several years ago.
This year, he learned the Belding Labor Day Committee needed help with the car and motorcycle show, so he volunteered.
The annual car and motorcycle show will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday on Main Street (relocated from its previous set-up in the park).
Registration is at 10 a.m. A piston toss will take place at 1 p.m. Trophies and plaques will be awarded at 3:30 p.m.
Cost is $10 to enter a motorcycle, car or truck and $10 to sell at the swap meet, which is a new event this year.
“If people have used car or motorcycle parts, they can bring them down, pay $10 for a spot and sell them,” LaClear said.
LaClear is a retired corrections officer and a motorcycle enthusiast. He’s been riding his bike for about 50 years now.
“I like ‘em all,” he said of vehicles in general.
“What I’ve been wishing for Saturday, I’d like to see a minimum of 150 cars and 40 to 50 motorcycles and a whole bunch of people at the swap meet,” he said.
Door prizes and dash plaques will be given out at the show.
A local church youth group will be sponsoring a non-profit food booth at the show as well.
Arts and crafts show hopes to draw people to Belding mall
The Belding Labor Day arts and crafts show has traditionally been organized by the Belding Chamber of Commerce.
When the Chamber moved out of the Covered Village Mall, the future of the arts and crafts show was unknown.
Covered Village Mall Association members met to discuss the issue.
“Our president (Craig Gill) put his foot down and said we need people back in this mall, we need people back in this city,” recalled Caity Ingraham, owner of Artistic Attitudes Salon in the mall.
The Covered Village Mall Association will be hosting an arts and crafts show as part of Belding Labor Day festivities this weekend.
The show will be free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday in the mall.
“We’re expecting a pretty good turnout,” Ingraham said. “I’m very excited.”
About two dozen vendors have signed up to participate so far and Ingraham is still taking calls from additional last-minute vendors.
Displays will include baked goods, candles, soaps, handmade crafts, signs, woodworking and more.
Gill and Levi Herroon co-own Short Stop Motorcycle Parts & Accessories, which opened in July in the Belding mall.
“The mall’s kind of had a black cloud over it for quite some time,” Gill said. “I’d just like to invite the community to come back to the mall and get involved with different events that will take place here this weekend and throughout the rest of the year.
“We’ve opened up the fountain again,” he added. “We’ve got a lot of space here for people to enjoy.”
Belding fireworks show never disappoints
Melrose Pyrotechnics will once again put on a fabulous fireworks display for Belding Labor Day festivities.
Mike Van Loo is the Michigan representative for Melrose Pyrotechnics, located at 7441 Storey Road in Belding.
Van Loo said his family has been putting on Belding fireworks for the past four decades or so.
“It’s in the family,” he said.
Fireworks will be set off from Central Riverside Park in Belding at dusk Sunday night, around 10 p.m. The show will last for at least 20 minutes.
“Everybody can expect the same exciting, fantastic show they’ve had over past years,” Van Loo said. “Belding is known for their fireworks. We’ve never disappointed our audience and we plan to give them another successful show this year.”