TRUFANT — For Sonny and Donna McNees, the annual Trufant Jubilee is more than a festival, it is a family reunion.
Though the couple now resides in Sand Lake, Sonny grew up in Trufant and the entire family — five generations this year — all returned to the three-day festival over the weekend.
“We have been in the parades with the kids and the grandkids, but mostly we come to play ball,” said Sonny, who, with his children and grandchildren playing in different age groups, had several games to attend on Saturday.
“Some years we have hooked a wagon up to the tractor, set a picnic table in the center of the wagon and set up a canopy over it. We pack a cooler and travel back and forth every day to watch the ball games,” Donna said.
The family also had plans to take five-generation photographs at the ball field this year.
The 34th Trufant Jubilee was well-attended at all events, including the ball games, according to Trufant Area Chamber of Commerce President Ralph Krantz.
“It was good weather all weekend, everything went OK without any incidents and everyone had a good time and all stayed safe,” said Krantz.
Some of the new events this year, such as the pig chasing contest, and the 5K run, which was re-introduced from past years, had good attendance, as well as old favorites, such as the kids inflatables, the water ball, the pedal tractor pull, the Trufant firefighters chicken dinner and the car show.
“The car show had 158 entries this year, and keeps growing,” Krantz noted.
Many local residents, such as Irvin and Denise Smith, enjoyed the activities, including watching the grand parade and the pedal tractor pull, but most of all enjoy the camaraderie of the weekend.
“We just walk around and see friends, and visit. A lot of people who have left come back home for the weekend and we catch up with as many as we can,” said Denise Smith
Other visitors had to travel to get to the festivities.
Jerry Meyer of Grand Rapids brought two of his grandsons, Kelly Murray, 10, and Sean Murray, 5, of East Grand Rapids.
“We come up to my cottage on the lake nearly every weekend, but this is the first time I have brought the grandkids over here,” said Meyer, “I have really enjoyed the small town atmosphere where everyone seems to know everyone. They have done a nice job on the kids games and parade (on Friday night).”
Friday was also the first pig-catching contest, where children were divided into two age groups (6-10 and 11-14) and given the opportunity to catch an 8-week old piglet. Organized by Steve and Cassandra Davis, the event had more participants than expected.
Austin Nelson, 10, of Howard City, won the younger age category while Zach Schwandt, 13, of Trufant, wrestled the piglet down for the older youths. Both were given eye-catching trophies.
“I had never done it before, but wanted to win the trophy, so I signed up,” said Schwandt.
Correspondent Lori Hansen is a Greenville-area resident.