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Museum seeks new organizer for festival

Alex Doty • Mar 23, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Tri-Cities Historical Museum officials say future Feast of the Strawberry Moon festivals will need to be carried on by someone else.

The Grand Haven museum’s board of directors and staff took an in-depth look at the June festival to assess its continued relevance to the museum’s mission and priorities, and it was decided that the upcoming event would be the last year to be sponsored by the museum.

“We are hopeful to find a group to take on the event so it can continue, but 2016 will be the last year under the museum’s leadership,” Museum Director Steven Radtke said. “The event will be retired if another party is not identified.”

The museum started the Feast of the Strawberry Moon in 2000 as a way to educate area residents and visitors about the fur trading era. This year’s festival takes place June 11-12 on Harbor Island.

Photos from last year’s Feast of the Strawberry Moon

“As important as this era is to our (local) history, it is a very specific focus, and our mission encompasses the entire breadth of history,” Radtke said. “The museum has dedicated considerable time and resources to re-enacting life on the Grand River during the 1760s for over 15 years. As the museum continues to strive to make the best use of our resources and evolve to best serve the needs of our community, we decided the time has come to turn our attention to the continued creation of new and exciting programs and events.”

New programs include collaborations with local artist groups, the Music at the Museum concert series, the new Community Archives and Research Center, Family Day at the Museum, and expanded school programming and outreach.

“We would like to see the Feast of the Strawberry Moon continue under new management,” Radtke said. “The event is well established in the community.”

The museum would make available the plans, equipment and materials necessary for a new organization to continue the event.

“The Tri-Cities Historical Museum is grateful for all the support the community has shown the Feast of the Strawberry Moon for the past decade and a half,” Radtke said. “We encourage community members to share with us any leads they have on organizations that could manage the festival going forward.”

While the museum doesn’t have any organization in mind, Radtke noted that a few groups were approached but said they are not in a position to take on the event at this time.

“We are opening it up to all in hopes of bringing new life to the Feast of the Strawberry Moon,” he said.

Radtke said the museum is open to discussions with any interested groups, churches, non-profit agencies, volunteer and service groups, or even a new group that forms to take on this event. People or organizations interested in the event are urged to call the museum at 616-842-0700 or visit tri-citiesmuseum.org.

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