VESTABURG — The Vestaburg Community Days festival continues to grow as it returns for a third year of celebrating the town’s history.
Larry Koutz initiated the creation of the festival three years ago while he was working on a patriotic musical for community members.
“We used to have Old Timers Day that celebrated Vestaburg years and years ago,” he said. “We had been missing that for years. We want to celebrate Vestaburg and honor our pioneers.”
This year, the festival will honor local pioneers Barb Bradley and Albert Christensen, Irvin Hillard, Rex and Jean Throop, and Frank and Bethel Walker. The pioneers will be recognized at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the town hall parking lot before the start of the street dance, which will take place from 8 to 10 p.m. The pioneers will also be featured in the community parade at 11 a.m. Saturday down Main Street.
Bonnie Walker, who is one of the volunteers behind the success of the festival, is excited about several new events this year. The 5K run, which has typically taken place on Saturday morning, has been moved to 9:30 p.m. Friday and turned into a 5K glow run/walk in the hope of making it more fun and family-friendly. The 5K will begin at the Vestaburg Community School track and will travel throughout town.
“We want people to dress their kids up and carry glow sticks and have everybody participate,” Walker said.
Free horse and buggy carriage rides are another new feature this year, provided by The Common Gentry Carriage Co. of Grand Rapids. Rides will be available after the parade Saturday at Richland Township Library.
Good eats will be readily available throughout Saturday, including a community breakfast at Vestaburg Church of Christ Fellowship Hall for $5 starting at 7:30 a.m., a pig roast hosted by the Richland Township Fire Department at the fire hall starting at 12:30 p.m. until the food is gone (the event was a sell-out last year) and a free community picnic of hot dogs, chips, watermelon and homemade ice cream between the library and the post office at 6 p.m.
Laps Against Cancer, a fundraising event, will take place at 9 p.m. Saturday at the school track, featuring lanterns in memory of those who have or are currently fighting cancer. After the walk, community members are encouraged to sit in the school bleachers or nearby and enjoy a fireworks show starting around 10 p.m.
Walker noted the majority of this weekend’s events are free, thanks to donations from local businesses
“The festival is a great thing to bring everybody together and have so many things available for free,” she said. “It’s getting better and better every year.”
Search “Vestaburg Community Days” on Facebook for a complete schedule of events and updates about the festival.