BY CHANA ELIAS |
From a sidewalk bazaar to a two-day, three-night event, Chelsea Sounds and Sites Festival creates a family friendly alternative for summer fun in a quaint, small-town setting. >
This year, it will run from July 25-27. >
The festival includes an art market, kid’s zone, fee-for-admission social tent with live music, food court, pet parade and classic cruisers night. And the inaugural “chalk walk” event will also be held. >
The “chalk walk” is along East Middle Street in Chelsea. Participants will transform the road’s black asphalt into a “community quilt” of chalk art. Professional chalk artists will be present to both contribute to the community quilt, as well as assist the chalk-walk participants by teaching them helpful chalk art techniques. >
While this action-packed weekend is full of fun for Chelsea residents and attracts visitors from all over Michigan, the excitement doesn’t stop there. Due to its enormous success, the festival extends to Thursday nights for several weeks. >
Called Chelsea Sounds and Sites Thursday Nights, 6:30-8:30 p.m. from June 6 to Aug. 15, the evenings include musical guests at various venues spanning downtown Chelsea. >
Musicians include Ann Arbor local gypsy-folk jazz band The Appleseed Collective, and Ann Arbor jazz band The Dorkestra. Children’s entertainment is also available every night, as well as an open mic event and movie. Dance performance can also be found on most of the evenings. >
For more information and musical line-ups on both of the events, visit www.chelseafestivals.com
BY NATALIE WRIGHT
AND CHANA ELIAS |
Arab and Chaldean Festival
Every summer thousands of people flood Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit for the largest Arab and Chaldean festival in the nation.
The festival, which is celebrating its 42nd anniversary this July, provides an array of events and exhibits that immerse participants in Middle Eastern culture.
The free event will be held July 27-28.
Belly dancers, international musicians and a fashion show are just a few ways guests can expect to be entertained over the weekend.
The fashion show, which takes place Sunday night at 8 p.m., is one of the biggest attractions at the festival, said Jacoub Mansour, the festival’s president.
“We buy all of the clothes from Middle Eastern countries. Last year we had 22 countries represented. This year we are adding fashions from Kuwait, Qatar and Oman,” said Mansour.
Clothes and jewelry similar to those worn in the fashion show will be on sale, as well as a variety of Middle-Eastern foods.
The children’s fair on Saturday at 3 p.m. will include arts and crafts, inflatable games and other family-friendly activities, said Mansour.
Calligraphy artist Michael Shamat has been working with the festival since 1996. He displays his work and does demonstrations for attendees, often writing their names for them in Arabic, said Shamat.
The festival also hosts an art gallery that aims to educate attendees about different aspects of Middle Eastern history and culture. One of the exhibits features Arab folklore. Another exhibit, called “1,000 years of Arab Medicine” is new this year, said Mansour.
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Ya’ssoo Greek Festival of Ann Arbor
If it’s Greek to you, then just enjoy the party.
George Kokkels, the director of the Ya’ssoo Greek Festival of Ann Arbor encourages anyone and everyone to take part in their annual celebration of Greek culture at the end of this month.
“You do not have to be Greek to have fun there. A lot of non-Greeks come because we throw a pretty awesome party,” said Kokkels.
In fact, out of the 7,000 attendees at last year’s festival, only about 1,000 were of Greek heritage, he said.
There will be plenty of authentic Greek cuisine to go around, thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who prepare for the festival, said Kokkels.
The Agora Marketplace is one of the most popular features of the festival, he said. There, attendees can purchase clothing, jewelry and other merchandise that reflects Greek culture.
Entertainment for the weekend will include two live bands, one that is made up of several church members, and one that is hired to play. There will also be a dance performance by a group of Greek school students.
Another big draw of the festival is the raffle. Last year almost 3,000 raffle tickets were sold, said Kokkels. Tickets are sold for $5, with at least five winners taking home cash prizes. First prize starts at $2,000.
The festival takes place at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church on Scio Church Road from Friday, May 31 to Sunday, June 2.
Admission is free before 4 p.m. on Friday, before 1 p.m. on Saturday and all day Sunday. There is a $3 fee Friday and Saturday nights, but children 12 and younger still get in for free.
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Saline Celtic Festival
Contrary to the beliefs of many St. Patrick’s Day partiers, there are aspects of Irish culture that have nothing to do with consuming alcohol.
The Saline Celtic Festival is an annual event that celebrates some of the more family friendly sides of the Irish, Scottish and Welsh heritage.
The festival is held at Millpond Park in Saline over the weekend of July 12-13.
The weekend will include events like Highland dance competitions, live full-contact jousting, Celtic weaponry and fencing demonstrations, and a limerick poetry contest.
The Highland amateur athletics competition will judge contestants in seven traditional Irish athletic events including a sheaf toss and heavy- and light-weight distance tosses. The competition is open to men and women of all ages.
The Mastadon Mayhem Run is new to the festival this year. At 8 a.m. on Saturday, 300 runners will take off on a course full of obstacles which they will have to jump and dodge.
Celtic music will fill the park all weekend between live music performances, music workshops and the pipe band competition.
Solas, one of the bands performing Saturday night, was named, “Irish America’s most influential band,” by NPR.
The music workshops include Celtic-style fiddling lessons and an Irish step dancing class. The workshops cost $8.
Tickets for the festival are available online for $10. Youth tickets, for ages 13-17 are $5. Children younger than 13 receive free admission.
Admission at the gate is $15 for adults. Tickets are also available at a number of sponsors’ venues around the area. The full list of venues is available on the festival’s website.
Mackinac Island Lilac Festival
Initially designed to celebrate the beautiful and fragrant flower for a one-day event, it has become so successful that” Lilac Sunday” turned in to the 10-day Mackinac Island Lilac Festival. For the past 64 years, attendees have been drawn to the horse-only island to indulge in festivities surrounding a light purple flower.
A Lilac Festival queen is voted on each year by Mackinac Island Public School students to honor someone they feel has given the most back to the community and other students throughout the year. The queen makes her debut during the Coca-Cola sponsored festival parade.
Amongst wine tastings, walking tours, hayrides and Grand Hotel tea time, the festival is family-friendly and has something to offer to everyone. Some events are free while others require reservations or tickets.
For more information, visit: www.mackinacislandlilacfestival.org.
Wheatland Music Festival
The Wheatland Music Festival is an “old-time music” festival held the weekend after Labor Day in Wheatland Township. It is set on the farm of Mark and Gladys Wernette, the local postmaster and his wife.
The first festival, called Wheatland Bluegrass Festival, in 1974 was held on a hard corn-and-pebble dirt farm. The event was successful, but the camping was hard. Wernette offered his 160-acre luscious farmland for the next year’s venue, which also meant there was going to be a next year.
The WMF started when a food co-op in Mt. Pleasant in the early 1970s needed to pay rent, utilities and other essential costs to keep the co-op going. So, a few of the members banded together with local musician to throw free-of-admission concerts and benefits in parks and public halls stretching from Mt. Pleasant to Big Rapids.
From bi-weekly summer concerts to a three-day weekend festival, WMF has drawn attendees to mid-Michigan for 33 years. The festival includes local musicians on the main stage, arts and crafts vendors, a “kid’s hill” and “tot lot” for children, as well as instrument and percussion tents.
The festival will be held Sept. 6-8 this year. Tickets go on sale June 1 to the public.
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Arts, Beats and Eats
Low-cost family entertainment is not only important to offer so families of all social-classes can enjoy, but it is the very the purpose of this food, music and arts festival located in Royal Oak. The event is held on Labor Day weekend, Aug. 30-Sept. 2.
Magic and puppet shows are among the many events at the Kids Zone at the event in addition to the kiddie carnival. Being an event geared towards families, the event coordinators feel strongly about having adequate children’s activities that are fun for all ages.
Also featured is a 5K run to benefit the Michigan Youth Arts Association, which supports art education in schools.
Musical performances have included G Love and Special Sauce, The B-52’s, Wilco and Blues Traveler in previous years. This year’s musical performers are still to be announced.
Admission is $3 before 5 p.m. and $5 afterward, which makes the event affordable to most families. This cost goes toward donations to various non-profit charities.
For more information and line-ups, visit www.artsbeatseats.com.
Ann Arbor Summer Festival
From “Top of the Park” to various indoor film screenings and performance arts events, Ann Arbor Summer Festival is a three-week gala that has grown with the city.
Top of the Park was named for its location – being on top of the Fletcher Street parking structure in downtown Ann Arbor. Now, it has moved to primarily in front of the Rackham building where you can hear music and movies are in the South Ingalls Mall. Dozens of local vendors surround the Rackham stage as visitors grab a bite while listening to their favorite musician.
The outdoor events also feature many kid-based activities, including Tangle, which is an art project that involves children. A large “peg-board” is involved to help weave huge pieces of elastic to make a masterpiece that children can feel proud of making and adults and other passersby can enjoy the beauty of such a chaotic but artistic installation. This event takes place in the South Ingalls Mall.
The Power Center is now the home to paid-events such as the Les 7 Doigts De La Main circus company, stand-up comedians and a few movies.
A2SF runs from June 14-July 7 and is fun for the whole family.
For more information and schedule of events, visit www.a2sf.org.
Blissfest Music Festival
Originally named for the town it was held in, Blissfest is an annual “traditional and roots music festival” in Harbor Springs held on the 120-acre “festival farm.” It’s held the second weekend in July where approximately 4,500 people make an exodus to Northern Michigan for the nationally acclaimed “cultural heritage enrichment event.”
Of course, there’s music at the festival – bluegrass, Celtic, folk and Zydeco to name a few genres – but that’s not the only thing Blissfest is all about. It’s about finding your roots through educational and craft workshops, arts camp and having impromptu musical gatherings.
Ypsilanti’s punk-bluegrass band Black Jake and the Carnies will be featured during the three-day event, as well as Ann Arbor’s blues-rock guitarist Laith al-Saadi and folk band The Ragbirds.
Craft and food vendors are another essential part of Blissfest, in addition to the bike and outdoor gear service booths. Holistic healers also make an appearance at the festival, offering services for the guests.
Tickets are $110 for adult non-members and $85 for adult members. Additional ticketing and festival information can be found at www.blissfest.org.
Concert of Colors
The city that used to foster the growing Civil Rights movement and the notorious Motown Records now is better known for color-run neighborhoods where gang violence runs rampant. New Detroit and ACCESS wanted to find a solution to end the ethnic war in historical Detroit.
These organizations, focusing on bridging the ethnic gap, founded Concert of Colors, an eclectic music festival to celebrate diversity. The festival has been held in midtown Detroit since 1993 and is one of the only remaining local events that have a no-cost admission.
This year, the festival takes place July 4-7 at various venues with a “tune-up” event on June 29 at New Center Park. The headlining events include funk group The Family Stone, and the Don Was Detroit All-star Revue where Was organizes a mash-up of eclectic local talent in an event many say is the highlight of the festival.
Other venues include the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History, the Detroit Institute of Art, Max M. Fisher Music Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.
For line-ups, schedules and venue information, visit www.concertofcolors.com.
Grillin’: Ribs like these will be served up at the annual Manchester Ribs and Blues festival.(MCT CAMPUS COURTESY PHOTO)
BY BENJAMIN KNAUSS |
MANCHESTER – After a few trips to an annual blues event at Grant Park in Chicago, residents in this western Washtenaw community decided to have an event of their own.
The Manchester Men’s Club organized the first event almost 10 years ago, thanks to a friendly neighbor.
“One of our neighbors is a blues man and won the International Blues Competition in Memphis, Tennessee. He also happens to be a chef and owns a restaurant,” said John Stedman, Manchester Men’s Club president.
This year’s event will be on Saturday, May 18 at Carr Park. Area barbecue vendors will be on-hand to serve up the food. Four blues acts are scheduled to appear, including Manchester’s own Chef Chris and The Rump Shakers, who headline the event.
Admission to the park is $5; proceeds will benefit community projects.
“We don’t have overhead, we don’t have paid administrators. That enables us to give a real value for a donated dollar back to the community,” Stedman said. “What we raise goes into a general fund, and we pull it out as we see fit. We try to help things that fall through the cracks.”
Part of this year’s event proceeds will be going to a community-wide project, in conjunction with other Manchester civic groups.
“We are going to pool our monies to improve the Little League baseball fields with new fencing, possibly dugouts and redoing the top of two fields,” Stedman said.
Ribs and Blues is one of several events held throughout the year by the organization.
“The Men’s Club is always in favor of putting on a show or a party,” Stedman said, “so we can serve our community by sharing our profits.”
The beat of the city: Hart Plaza in Detroit during a quiet moment.(DETROIT1701.ORG COURTESY PHOTO)
BY NATALIE WRIGHT |
Detroit’s Hart Plaza is the ideal setting for many of the city’s summer festivals. The season brings hundreds of thousands of people from all over the country to downtown Detroit.
The 14-acre plaza, which opened in 1975, sits on Jefferson Avenue at the foot of Woodward Avenue and is bordered by the Detroit River. The plaza is said to have a capacity of 40,000 people, which is clearly exceeded during some of the most popular summer events, such as Motor City Pride and Movement Electronic Music Festival.
Despite the decline of the city’s economy, population and infrastructure, many festivals in Detroit continue to grow.
Movement Electronic Music Festival
There is one weekend, at the beginning of every summer, when the sidewalks in downtown Detroit pulsate.
The Movement Electronic Music Festival is an annual event held in Hart Plaza in the city that has been cited as the birthplace of techno music.
The event was named “Best Niche Festival” by Rolling Stone in 2011. And last year, more than 107,000 people were in attendance. This was the highest attendance since the event started charging for admission in 2005.
This year, the festival will feature more than 100 artists on five outdoor stages.
Some big names appear on this year’s lineup. Derrick May and Kevin Saunders, two of “The Belleville Three” who have been credited with the invention of the Detroit techno genre, are both on the list.
Alongside them in the lineup is Carl Craig, a Detroit-based producer who was artistic director for the festival when it was founded in 2000.
Another act that is generating some buzz is Colorado’s “jamtronica” band, Big Gigantic.
The festival will be held May 25-27 from noon to midnight. With dozens of official pre-parties and after-parties taking place around the city.
In addition to the music, the festival features an interactive technology center and art displays.
One-day admission is $49. Three-day passes started at $69 for the “first wave” of buyers, but are now up to $99 on the “fifth wave.”
Motor City Pride
In the 28 years since Michigan’s first Gay and Lesbian march in Detroit, the LGBT community has made significant strides in their fight for equality.
The Federal Marriage Amendment was defeated twice. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” was repealed. And President Barack Obama endorsed marriage equality.
Yet, only 11 states have legalized same-sex marriage, and Michigan is not one of them.
So the march goes on.
Motor City Pride is scheduled every June along with similar rallies across the country to commemorate the Stonewall riots of 1969. The event, which is hosted by Equality Michigan, is the largest LGBT gathering in the state.
This year, Motor City Pride will be held in Hart Plaza on June 8-9.
While a parade Sunday morning will pay homage to that first march in 1985, the gathering has grown to encompass many other events as well.
Live music will be played throughout the weekend. A family picnic, golf outing and beer garden are also planned.
A commitment ceremony will be held on Saturday which gives same-sex couples the opportunity to publicly recognize their relationship, in lieu of a marriage. This ceremony symbolizes how far the marches have brought the community and how much farther there is to go.
Detroit River Days Festival
The Detroit River Front Conservancy was founded 10 years ago with the goal of transforming the riverfront into an area that could be enjoyed by the public.
In June 2007, after a major transformation of the riverfront, the non-profit organization founded the Detroit River Days festival.
“Detroit River Days gives us the opportunity to showcase our riverfront and all its tremendous vibrancy on a much larger scale to the region and to the world,” said Faye Alexander Nelson, president and CEO of the Conservancy.
Last year more than 150,000 people attended the gathering and hundreds volunteered.
The festival, which will be held June 21-23, includes interactive educational exhibits, sand sculptures, jet-ski demonstrations, river-boat tours and carnival rides.
The crowds will be entertained by live concerts featuring more than 50 bands, and street performers including aerialists, living statues, bucket drummers, dance groups and magicians.
The Detroit River ArtScape is a national competition open to all artists and art of any medium. And 15 pieces will be selected for the exhibit, which opens June 14 and runs through the last day of the River Days festival.
The DMC River Days 5k begins Saturday at 9 a.m. Proceeds from the race will benefit the DRFC. Runners will receive free admission to the festival.
The festival will stretch from the GM Renaissance Center to the William G. Milliken State Park between Atwater Street and the Detroit RiverWalk.
It will be open at 11 a.m.-11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on Sunday.
The festival is free on Friday before 5 p.m. After that, there is a $3 admission fee all weekend. Children 3 and younger as well as seniors 65 years and older receive free admission.
MICHIGANBEAUTIFUL COURTESY PHOTO
BY CHANA ELIAS |
Nat Edmunds originally wanted to be a historical tour guide for Ypsilanti, but the request for the grant money to fund this dream was denied by the Michigan Department of Commerce due to insufficient funds.
But Edmunds found a loophole: There was money for emerging festivals.
In 1978, Edmunds took the Michigan Conventions and Visitors Bureau employees who came to Ypsilanti to see what was so historic about it on her infamous tour. By 1979, the funds were in place for the first Ypsilanti Yesteryear Heritage Festival. In 1982, the yesteryear was removed from the name, but the annual summer festival still stood strong in Ypsilanti’s Riverside Park.
Thirty-five years later, the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival remains as a free-admission event alongside the Huron River in Ypsilanti. This year, the festival will be held from Aug. 16-18 in Riverside Park.
The Heritage Festival has something that most people can enjoy. Astronomy lovers can attend the Eastern Michigan University planetarium event or the skyviewing in Sherzer Hall, all free and a part of the Heritage Festival. There are also museum, garden and historical home tours available.
But if outer space is something you’d prefer to leave outside your space, the Riverside Beer Tent and Casino will be open for specific hours during the event. A pinball machine will also be placed inside the casino, and all of the proceeds will benefit the Heritage Festival.
Heritage can be well described by food, which the festival will be anything but short on. There will be community vendors on site, as well as a few scheduled community meals.
DIYpsi will be at the festival and selling crafts alongside other local arts and crafts vendors. The marketplace allows community members to show off their crafts and other businesses, in addition to being able to find out more information about different local organizations.
Parades and children’s entertainment is ample at this event that pulls families from across Michigan to attend this annual low-cost event. A Native American pow-wow will also be featured at the festival, as well as live musical entertainment.
While admission is free to the Heritage Festival, many events do have a fee. Visit www.ypsilantiheritagefestival.com for more information and schedule of events.
MICHIGANBEERBLOG.NET COURTESY PHOTO
BY NATALIE WRIGHT |
Michigan may be losing its title as “The World’s Motor Capital,” but the Michigan Brewer’s Guild has proposed a new nickname: “The Great Beer State.”
Michigan is ranked fifth in the nation in the number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, according to the MBG.
Of the 135 brewing licenses issued in Michigan, 105 are members of the MBG – and 74 of these breweries will be present this summer at the MBG’s oldest and largest annual festival, the Michigan Summer Beer Festival in Ypsilanti.
Breweries will set up tables and tents around Riverside Park in Ypsilanti’s historic Depot Town July 26-27, to pour samples of more than 600 beers.
Emma Jurek, 28, a culinary hospitality major at Washtenaw, has been bartending for seven years. She is a resident of Ypsilanti and has attended the festival for the last three years. One of the best parts of the festival, she said, is all of the specialty beers that are available. Bell’s Brewery, for example, does timed releases of specialty beers.
“It’s usually new stuff or single-issue stuff, or stuff that’s only available at their brewery, so you’d never get to taste it anywhere else,” Jurek said. “It’s stuff that I can’t have any other time than at beer fest, and that’s awesome but also kind of sucks because it’s all amazing.”
Grizzly Peak Brewing Company attracts guests by serving beer right from the casks instead of kegs, said head brewer Duncan Williams.
Dragonmead Microbrewery will be sampling four special beers at the festival that it released on St. Patrick’s Day this year, said pub manager Jennifer Locher.
“Three are Scottish-style ales, and one is our Imperial Stout which is a Russian-style ale, and what’s unique is that they’re all aged in bourbon barrels,” Locher said.
Dragonmead also sets up flags and decorations to make its table to look like a castle, she said. And it isn’t the only brewery to use an elaborate set-up to catch the attention of the festival’s patrons.
“Dark Horse sets up a path through an air-conditioned trailer to couches where you sit and wait. Then they take you into this tented area, where it feels like you’re being corralled,” Jurek said. “And you pick one side, dark or light, and then you pick like IPA’s or Ales. The whole experience feels like you’re going through a haunted house.”
But attendees shouldn’t let the elaborate setups of the bigger brewers distract them from the great beer in some of the smaller tents, Jurek warned.
“You can’t just focus on the big ones; go to the smaller breweries because you’re guaranteed to find a few diamonds in the rough.”
E.T. Crowe is part owner and marketing and sales director for Wolverine Brewing Co. Because it doesn’t have as big of a budget as breweries like Bell’s and Dark Horse, it stays away from the gimmicks and focuses on doing what it does best, she said.
“We just keep it simple and bring the lagers that people expect from us,” Crowe said. “Our two most popular summer beers that we’ll definitely bring are the Verano Mexican Lager and the Chrysalis Belgian wheat Lager.”
In addition to creating a fun atmosphere where the public can sample and learn about new beers, the festival also provides an ideal setting for marketing and networking for professionals in the brewing and distribution industries.
Jurek said it was a great place to make connections when she was in charge of alcohol purchases at BD’s Mongolian Grill.
“It was beneficial for me to be there because I could make contact with breweries and find out who they were distributing through,” she said. “And I could ask breweries what they’re selling the most of and what’s new and what they’re excited about so that I can be the first on our strip to carry that name.”
The event also provides a great marketing opportunity for the breweries.
“The whole reason for the festival is to bring everyone from around the state into one tent, so people who live in different parts of Michigan, or another state, can get exposure to breweries and beers that they wouldn’t get to try otherwise,” Williams said.
“It’s almost a necessity to be there. I would never miss one (of the festivals). They’re invaluable to us,” said Crowe.
The Summer Beer Festival has been instrumental in getting the Wolverine Brewing name out there, she said.
“We used to have a lot of people come up to us saying that they didn’t know about us or our beer,” said Crowe. “But I’ve found that over the years participating in the festival, I’m getting less and less people who haven’t heard of us.”
Tickets for the festival are sold at MiBeer.com. They went on sale May 1, and organizers expect them to sell out quickly. Admission for Friday is $30 in advance or $35 at the gate – if tickets do not sell out. Saturday is $35 in advance or $40 at the gate.
Admission includes 15 drink tokens. Each token is redeemable for a three-ounce sample, though some rare, vintage, and higher-cost beers may require two or three tokens for a sample. Additional tokens are sold inside the festival for 50 cents.
Designated-driver tickets are just $5, but designated drivers will not be granted any tokens, or allowed to purchase them inside.
The do’s and don’ts of successful festival fun
BY CHANA ELIAS |
When Carissa Wilkie had to sit in the emergency room and tell her friend’s mother that she wasn’t sure if her son was going to live, she decided then and there that she was going to help educate others about drugs.
“We didn’t know anything about drugs,” Wilkie said. “I thought he was going to die in my house. It was really traumatic.”
Wilkie now works with DanceSafe as a National Outreach Coordinator, helping others realize the risk involved in using recreational substances, as well as educating them on how to party safely.
Many summer music festivals get a bad reputation for being drug parties, for being unsafe and not enjoyable because of these situations
Fortunately, there are ways people can still enjoy festivals and other music events where they choose to take recreational drugs. Additionally, these same rules apply to those who choose to attend these events sober.
Hydrate your soul, or at least your body
The heat of summer makes these mostly outdoor events potentially dangerous, and water is the last thing on people’s minds when they are running to the next stage to see their favorite artist.
“People will often be dehydrated, and they don’t know it,” Wilkie said.
She said that DanceSafe recommends people who are consuming recreational drugs to chug 100 milliliters of water an hour.
Even when sober, dehydration is a huge risk.
Camelbaks are water bottles in a backpack with a unique spout that comes to your mouth without ever taking off the pack. Carrying a water bottle around like these may make it easier to drink as much water as you need, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Being thirsty is a sign of dehydration, so the CDC recommends drinking water before feeling thirsty.
There are a few steps to take to keep that Camelbak filled.
“If you’re at an outdoor event, make sure you know where to get water,” Wilkie said.
At indoor events, sometimes they will charge for water and make it less accessible. Bathroom sinks are always viable and free options. There may also be booths of health promoting organizations or water companies that may be handing out free water.
“Drink water. It causes less problems later,” Wilkie said.
We’ve all had the incessant ear-ringing after leaving a concert, which happens to muffle the sounds of the rest of the evening. If you’re lucky, you can hear normally again in the morning.
This is a sign of hearing loss, Wilkie said.
“I worked at a club for nine years and people make fun of me because I need a hearing aid,” Wilkie said. “I talk really loud because I’m deaf, I can’t hear myself.”
Hearing damage is possible after long or repeated exposure to sounds of 85 decibels or higher, according to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. An average rock concert is 121 decibels.
“It takes seven seconds for you to be exposed to hearing damage,” Wilkie said.
Wilkie recommends wearing noise reducing ear plugs. Many companies sell reusable ear plugs, including Etymotics. Ear plugs such as these can reduce sounds up to 20 decibels.
While many people complain about the music sounding distorted while wearing ear plugs, the benefit is to be able to hear the music longer into your life. Wilkie also says that ear plugs have come a long way, and now some are made specifically to not distort the sound of music.
“Once you lose your hearing, it doesn’t come back,” Wilkie said. “It’s not something you can regain.”
Drop safely, not dead
Truth be told, people are going to take drugs at these events, regardless of whether they are addicts or occasional recreational users. If you are either one of those, safety is still important, even if the substance isn’t above the law.
“Test it before you take it,” Wilkie said.
There are many drug adulterator kits that work by the substance changing color. This is good to be able to know what is in the pill or powder before consumption. However, testing is not the only thing you need to be cautious about when taking drugs.
Everything around you when you take drugs needs to be considered, according to Wilkie.
“Drug use isn’t going to be safe; everything is risky,” Wilkie said.
However, she does have a few guidelines to make sure that the experience is as positive as possible.
Who are you with? What’s going on in the environment around you? What’s your mental status like? These are all important questions she tells people to consider.
“It might not be the best time to take things if you have other issues going on in your life,” Wilkie said.
Often forgotten, yet still important
While these topics are very essential to making sure that you and your friends have the best experience at festivals this summer, not remembering to pack a tent, warm and cold- weather clothing, bug spray and sunscreen can also ruin a weekend-long event. Furthermore, campfires are only safe when proper fire safety precautions are taken.
Having an unexpected child or unexpected, life-altering sexually-transmitted disease can also dampen a fun summer event. DanceSafe recommends that everyone is knowledgeable about contraception and sexual barriers. If participants plan to have sex, bring enough sexual barriers – such as condoms – with them to the festivals.
Whether you’re taking recreational substances or putting on a fire conclave, remember to be safe. “It’s all fun and games,” Wilkie said, “until somebody gets hurt.”
Here at The Washtenaw Voice, we’ve been fortunate to have a number of staffers in recent years who had already earned their bachelor’s degrees.
Several page designers had fine arts degrees from universities like Michigan. One of our editors had a psychology degree from Kalamazoo College. A photo editor-turned award-winning reporter was a former scientist at Pfizer who enrolled at Washtenaw to study photography, then photojournalism, then journalism – and now he has a second, very different career.
It got us thinking. If we’re seeing so many students in our own newsroom with college degrees, how many others are there in other programs at Washtenaw, and why are they here? Turns out, there are a lot. Nearly 13 percent of the 12,476 students in the Fall 2012 semester held college degrees. (Another 17.5 percent transferred here from a four-year institution.)
Those enrolled with bachelor’s degrees or higher all have unique and interesting reasons for being here, but there is also a common theme: They’re here to acquire the knowledge and skills to help them redefine their careers.
Here are their stories:
BY ERIC WADE |
A young entrepreneur at heart, Susan Kennedy thought she was on the right path when pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Michigan.
At first, a business degree seemed like the natural choice for Kennedy, 24, of Ann Arbor. Her extended family is heavily involved in local business as owners and co-owners that include Trenton Corporation, Ann Arbor Smiles Dental Group, The Bar (in Braun Court), Kennedy Associates and Midwest Accounting Systems.
When Kennedy was a child, she had her own “business,” too, opening Honey Springs Spa and Oyster Outhouse restaurant, using her little sister as an employee and mother, aunt and grandmother as patrons. The two young children would charge their relatives $2 for spa treatments, and make menus and signs advertising meals for their restaurant – meals that often consisted of chopped carrots.
Kennedy’s mother, Nancy Kennedy, was amazed at what her children were able to create at such a young age.
“(I was) blown away by how developed her operation was,” Nancy said.
Susan had detailed invoices for services and progress charts for Allison Kennedy, her younger sister and only employee. She even had survey cards asking customers how services were in hopes of identifying areas for improvement.
“Looking back on it, my favorite thing was making the menus and signs (for the businesses),” said Kennedy, acknowledging that this should have been a hint about where her future lay.
Kennedy admits she should have seen herself working more towards some type of major in art, but having three sisters who were comparatively more talented, she was discouraged to pursue a degree in a more creative field. So she pursued a bachelor’s degree in business at the University of Michigan with a minor in art history.
While at U-M, Kennedy challenged herself often by starting a sales club and working in sales for a summer. She anticipated a career in business and worked hard in school to assure that she would succeed.
After college, Kennedy worked as a technical writer. While grateful of the experience of writing and the early wealth of experience in the business world, she yearned for more. She realized when formatting and creating info-graphics that time moved at an incredible speed. She loved what she was doing when designing and wanted it to be a measurable part of her life. In discovering this hibernating passion, Kennedy felt it was time to develop it.
Not wanting to spend a lot of money exploring a new degree, Kennedy chose to explore graphic design at Washtenaw Community College. What she found at WCC was diversity, not only by race, but also by age and life experience, unlike like her previous experience with college.
In addition, she describes the atmosphere of WCC as much different, with instructors committed to helping students and programs geared toward teaching what’s needed for a job.
“That’s what Washtenaw does. There’s no bullshit, no fluffy liberal arts,” she said, “It gets right to the point and gives you what you need to get a job.”
Today Kennedy finds herself using what she’s learned in her first two semesters at WCC in her budding professional life. She works with her family’s businesses, creating signs, calendars and business cards, and she’s starting to create other small business relationships to assure a successful future.
Furthermore, she brings her knowledge to the newsroom of The Washtenaw Voice as a page designer.
“The Voice, I think, is the best kept secret on campus,” said Kennedy, who first walked through the doors of the newsroom about midway through the Winter semester. “They’re already giving me this experience. I mean, where else could I go to get this?”
With many children, there are signs that point to who they are going to be as adults. With Kennedy, the signs pointed in more than one direction. She chose one path, but found herself not regretting it.
Rather she used it to further a true passion. She knew somewhere inside that she enjoyed designing the menu of a childhood restaurant, and being in charge of the operations.
With a degree in business, first-hand knowledge of entrepreneurship and a solid background in design she is getting in the classrooms and the newsroom at WCC, Kennedy is confident that it’s just a matter of time before she owns her own business
“I think that is organically happening for me now,” she said when discussing her dreams of owning a business. “I’m slowly building up business and clients.”
Parents are often the first to see the signs.
“We could see her entrepreneurial spirit at a young age,” Nancy said, “We are not surprised that she is interested in starting her own business.”
BY MOHAMED MAIZA |
Fresh out of Eastern Michigan University with a brand-new bachelor’s degree in marketing, John Kruzel, a 25-year-old Ann Arbor resident, felt unsure about a career in the field of his studies. When he started working towards his B.A., he had yet to put much thought into his future.
“At that point I was just thinking about what would get me the widest variety of jobs,” Kruzel said. “I think I was just making the safe choice. It’s an interesting feeling when you graduate. You finish, and it’s like ‘what now?’”
His previous work experience in the Audio Visual Department at EMU did not appeal to him, and in fact turned him off to the jobs in his field of study.
“I wanted to do something I enjoyed,” Kruzel said. “I didn’t care about the money.”
Despite job opportunities that might result after an advertising internship that one of his college professors wanted to recommend him for, Kruzel had another career in mind.
In the final semester at Eastern, Kruzel purchased his first motorcycle, a used Honda Shadow VT600. Promptly after purchasing it, he fell in love with riding. A career opportunity would arise to him as practicality: Kruzel needed to learn how to maintain and repair his bike.
“I got good at riding, but as far as repair goes I had no idea what I was doing,” Kruzel said.
So he enrolled in Washtenaw Community College’s renowned motorcycle repair program.
Kruzel had learned to ride at young age taught on a dirt bike by his father, Robert, an avid motorcycle rider. The elder Kruzel, 58, a retired tool and die-maker who used to teach machine shop and auto repair, tried to teach his son a little about repairing bikes, but John was not interested at the time.
“He was not overly interested because I had him learn on dirt bikes before they could get a bike of their own,” Robert Kruzel said. “I didn’t have a bike at the time, just a four wheeler.”
Now Robert Kruzel is happy that his son found something to kindle his passion.
“I’ve had motorcycles all my life,” Robert said. “I just wanted him to be old enough to realize what he was getting into. I think you’ve got to find something that you really love to do and it’s definitely worth a try to see if you really like it or not.”
At Washtenaw, Kruzel had finally found something he loved, something he could spend the rest of his life doing. This became obvious to him in his new classes.
“When you find something you want to do, you go to learn, as opposed to going to school to get a piece of paper,” he said.
Kruzel sold his first bike, that Honda that inspired him to learn to repair motorcycles, to his friend, James Williams, 25, a cook from Ypsilanti.
“He didn’t sell it to me because he was trying to flip or dump it,” Williams said. “I got a good deal, probably like $500 under value. John thinks that motorcycles are an important part of culture, or counter-culture, and he thinks they should be affordable by anyone who wants one.”
Now working toward finishing his second semester in the motorcycle repair program, Kruzel has begun putting thought into his future again.
“I want to get my two degrees working together,” Kruzel said. “I don’t know if I want to repair or sell, but the end goal is to be an entrepreneur.”