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Pat’s Bits & Pieces- Festivals all over the area

Pat Maurer, Review Correspondent

It sure was a wet weekend for Clare’s annual Summerfest.

Kudos to all of the dedicated people who put on the Clare Summerfest activities at Shamrock Park last Friday evening.
In covering the activities, I discovered once again how hard it is to manage both an umbrella and a camera at the same time.
Despite frequent heavy rain showers, this group of dedicated people performed, cooked and served and organized the fun for the youngsters and had fun doing it.

And lots of people showed up in spite of the wet weather. Several gospel groups entertained, the line was long for Witbeck’s annual picnic, rain didn’t stop the kids from competing in the Teddy Bear Races and the Gateway Community Band even attracted a standing room only crowd for their concert. Even the fireworks went off over the lake as they have every year for the past 27.

It’s hard to believe that celebration has been going on so long. It seems like just a few years ago when we were working hard to put it together every year. Guess that shows how old I am getting!

I was a part of the development of this particular festival in Clare back then. It came from the Pioneer Days event originally organized by a group led by Neal Erickson. For Summerfest back then we had entertainment in the beer tent, blackjack, a parade, even a “rooster pull” and numerous other unique activities including the picnic in the park and of course fireworks. Our committee, led by Al Iacco, spent most of a year planning and put in some hard work but we had a lot of fun doing it too!

We sponsored some pretty impressive entertainment with the most popular one probably being the Platters, who wowed a standing room crowd in the tent next to the Doherty Hotel many years ago.

Clare has always been a city that loves festivals.

My first real memory of the city was in 1982 when we were coming up to look for a home in the area. Jack had been transferred to the main business in Mt. Pleasant, so we drew a 30 mile radius around that city and started looking for a new home.

Our first look at Clare was interesting. Getting through town turned out to be quite an experience because it was Sidewalk Sales and the streets were packed with shoppers. That is pretty unique in a small town, but not Clare.

The community, the schools, the events all contributed to our decision to make this our home.

I’ve never been sorry. There’s always something special going on here. And if there isn’t something here, you can travel pretty quickly to Farwell or Harrison and there’s usually something special going on there too. It’s a pretty unique part of the state.

Meanwhile in Clare, the Irish Festival has been an ongoing event in the Clare community for more than 38 years now and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

Clare’s retailers and the Chamber of Commerce have always been active in planning special events, sponsoring events not only in the summer months but all year long. Remember the snow sculptures in February?…the Christmas Open House in November?…the fun at Moonlight Madness in October. My favorite memory of that one of the live mannequins in the store windows.

Keeping up the “City of Festivals” tradition has been important to the community. These days it incorporates the Irish Fest of course and Summerfest, but now includes Sidewalk Sales, the Old 27 Classic Motor Car Tour, Crafts and fun of the Clare sidewalks with the new summer event “Friday nights on Historic US 27”with music, foot and relaxing fun, the Summer Concert Series in the park every Thursday through the Summer months, Clare Pride Day when the high school chips in to brighten the city, the Clare Brewfest for grownups, the Clare Pumpkin Run and Spook-Tacular in October topped off with the Fall Doughnut Festival, and more.

Each year brings new fun events to the community, so there’s never a need for the comment…

“There’s nothing to do around here…”

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