LAKEVIEW — There’s something about a small town festival; it’s more than the corn dogs, fireworks and live music. Those things are all a part of it, sure, but summertime festivals are greater than the sum of their parts. They are quintessentially American, and as much a part of our national zeitgeist as are mom and apple pie.
And Lakeview’s Summerfest, slated for this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, is one of the best. Organizers this year have packed the event with activities to appeal to a diverse audience, from kids to seniors.
According to Summerfest Committee member Chad Lincoln, the committee began planning for Summerfest 2014 as early as this past February. This year’s festival marks the first time planning was handled by the recently formed Lakeview Festivals Committee, a group of area residents tasked with coordinating most all the festivals, car and snowmobile shows and other village events throughout the year.
“This year should be one of the best yet,” Lincoln said. “The committee has done a great job coming up with, and staffing, different events, so there should be something for everyone.
“There are lots of kids’ activities in the park, and lots of food and music, too.”
Though the lion’s share of activities are slated for Saturday, the fun starts on Thursday at 8 a.m. with Lakeview’s village-wide yard sales. Typically, several area churches and service groups also join in this event so there’s generally a glut of “garage deals” available for those who enjoy a bargain.
The Tamarack District Library also will hold a used book sale on Thursday and downtown businesses The Healing Center and The Peddler’s Patch will be hosting special events.
Thursday’s activities wrap with an evening of praise at Lakeside Park from 7 to 9 p.m.
On Friday, downtown businesses Indulge Boutique & Gift Shop and VJ’s Materials-n-More join in with sidewalk sales and special events. Also, from 5 to 7 p.m., Spectrum Health hosts a Free Summerfest Community Health Fair in the hospital parking lot featuring several wellness exibits, safety awareness booths, “family fun” activities and health screenings.
Spectrum also will be hosting a blood drive from 3 to 7 p.m. and for every individual who donates blood, $10 will be donated to the Lakeview Youth Clinic.
Friday evening the always popular Unity Tent in Lakeside Park will feature a community choir, free giveaways and more. The fun starts there at 7 p.m.
At 5 p.m., the Summerfest Beer Tent will open its doors (or flaps) in the Bollinger’s parking lot. Presented by the Lakeview Jaycees, the event features live music by The Guinness Brothers Band, who will be taking a break with the rest of the town to watch the Fireman’s Parade at dusk.
Saturday kicks off at 7 a.m. with the popular Fly-in (or drive-in) pancake breakfast at Griffith Airport, followed by a 5-K walk/run at the Lakeview Wellness Center, tractor shows, a Lakeview Youth Football car wash, a 3 on 3 basketball tournament, a Hospital Guild Vendor Fair at Lakeview Middle School and — new this year — a vintage snowmobile show.
According Aaron Besemer, one of the show’s organizers, participants may register either with a monetary donation or canned goods, all of which will go toward the Lakeview Ministerial Association’s Food Pantry. Prizes will be awarded in several categories. Besemer also encourages participants to trailer their sleds in the Summerfest Parade at 2 p.m.
No Summefest is complete without food and this year’s festival offers plenty. From the always sold-out Lakeview Lion’s Club Chicken Barbecue (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) at Lakeside Park to the Strawberry Shortcake Sale in front of Kelsey Hospital, there’s something for everyone. A free ice cream social at Lakeview Elevator and a Pork Barbecue Diner at the Unity Tent at Lakeside Park round out the local offerings.
Inflatable rides are available for kids, along with pony rides and horse-drawn wagon shuttles throughout the day at various locations around town.
A beer and wine tasting is set for 3 to 7 p.m. at the beer tent, sponsored by Brewgadgeteers brewing club.
A car and motorcycle show also are set for 3:30 p.m. downtown, as is a fireman’s water battle sponsored by Lakeview District Fire Department.
At 4 p.m., the Unity Tent will again commence activities at Lakeside Park.
The beer tent again gets rolling at 5 p.m. featuring live music until 1 p.m. The band will again break at dusk, this time for a fireworks show over Tamarack Lake.
“The Jaycees will continue the Summerfest tradition of one of the area’s best fireworks displays,” Lincoln noted. “(It’s) all thanks to our generous sponsors.”
For more information about this year’s festival, go to www.thelakeviewsummerfest.com online.