Lakeview community celebrates 150 years amid rain and sun

By Meghan Nelson • Last Updated 11:00 am on Monday, June 19, 2017

Blake Holmstead, 9, paddles to shore to win first place in the Pickle Docks boat race’s youth class. Holmstead and five other teams participated in the race as part of Lakeview’s five-day Summerfest Sesquicentennial celebration, which wrapped up on Saturday. — Daily News/Meghan Nelson

LAKEVIEW — The five-day Sesquicentennial Summerfest celebration was met with heat during the week and rain on Saturday, but it didn’t stop Lakeview residents from enjoying the celebration and history of their village.

For Lisa Oliver, the festival was important enough for her to drive up from the Kalamazoo area.

“I’m from here and I grew up here,” Oliver said. “My dad was actually part of the centennial celebration, so I came up here to relive it.”

Andy Padden, dressed in 1867-era clothing, rides a bicycle down Lincoln Avenue as part of Lakeview’s Summerfest grand parade Saturday. Despite the rain, the parade was well-attended and enjoyed.

Oliver watched the grand parade twice — once from her car as she was driving into town and again standing under an umbrella on Lincoln Avenue.

“It was great, except for the rain,” she said, laughing. “We’re planning on just walking around, seeing stuff and meeting people.

Oliver was one of several hundred people to withstand the rain to watch the grand parade go through town.

The rain fell during much of the afternoon, but it held off during morning activities and the Pickle Dock boat race, which was introduced last year, went off without a hitch.

“Around 9:45 a.m., there were only racers and their families here,” said Andy Padden, Lakeview resident and chiropractor. “We waited a little while and people drifted down into the park.”

Miss Lakeview Lily Moorem sits under the safety of her umbrella while she is driven down Lincoln Avenue during Lakeview Summerfest’s grand parade Saturday.

Six teams in three different classes took off from Lakeside Park in homemade boats to see who could paddle to their designated buoy and back first without their boat sinking orfalling apart.

Padden said this year’s participation was similar to last year’s with two competitors in the youth class, three in the standard class and one in the outlaw class.

“We had great audience turnout this year. With the rain and everything, I wasn’t sure if it was even going to happen. But the rain held off,” Padden said.

Blake Olmstead, 9, won the youth class, and the sole competitor of the outlaw class, Jared Johnston, took the title. DeWitt Lumber Team won the standard class for the second year in a row, beating the Pike Chasers and Team Sinker.

As the winners, Team DeWitt Lumber received a 128-ounce jar of pickles. Pike Chasers also received a jar of pickles as the people’s choice winner for the crowd support they received. Olmstead and Torryn Bolton, 8, were selected as the judges’ choice winner and split a jar of pickles.

“The reason the Pickle Dock boat race started was to have something to include the lake in Summerfest,” Padden said. “For a while, we didn’t do anything with the lake. It’s nice to be able to utilize it and have people down here in the park.”

Julie Sullivan, left, and Debby Lake cross Lincoln Avenue in Lakeview dressed in 1867 era attire. During Lakeview’s Summerfest Sesquicentennial, volunteers and attendees were encouraged to wear clothing dated between the 1860s-1960s to commemorated the village’s 150th anniversary.

Padden said the boat race is here to stay and she hopes it continues to grow year after year.

Festivalgoers also had the opportunity to remember the history of the village. The Lakeview Area Museum hosted an old timers craft where people could stop by, use a crosscut saw to cut a wooden disk and have it branded to read “Lakeview 150, 1867-2017.”

Other nods to the history of the village were the 12 homes and two churches marked for a walk-around tour and the several attendees dressed in 1867 attire.

“It’s actually not too hot,” said Debby Lake, who was wearing a long-sleeved, hoop-skirt dress. “The hoop skirt gives it a lot of air flow.”

While much of Lakeview’s Summerfest Sesquicentennial Celebration was about remembering the past, attendees were excited about the future.

“There’s a lot of people downtown, which is great,” Padden said. “We’re always looking to include events that bring people into downtown and keep them here for the day.”

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