Old Fashioned Days queen is queen of volunteers

Giving back comes "naturally' to Betty Kinney. "When they ask for volunteers, you just kind of go, ‘No one's raising their hand,'' Kinney said. "You go, ‘OK, I'll do it.' That's what you do.' Kinney, a Fruitport community member for about 30 years, is this year's Old Fashioned Days queen. She was nominated for the title for her involvement with the community through the school board, her church and many community service organizations.
Lydia Coutré
May 27, 2011

“I don’t do what I do to have anyone pat me on the back or anything, so I was very surprised when they called,” Kinney said of being informed she was selected as queen.

Kinney has been attending Old Fashioned Days — a Memorial weekend celebration put on by the Fruitport Lions Club — for as long as she can remember. She and her husband, Gary, who died in 2000 after 37 years of marriage, always took their children — Stacey (Paul) Miller, Lisa (Andy) Pierce and Scott (Danielle)

Kinney — to the festival. Her five grandchildren have now been added to the tradition.

While Kinney participates in the 3-mile-long parade Monday, which wraps up the festival that starts today, her family will be watching from their customary spot outside Edgewood Elementary School.

“I think it just pulls the community together,” Kinney said of Old Fashioned Days. “And it reminds them of what a good place Fruitport is to work and to live.”

The festival has been a tradition since the 1950s, said Old Fashioned Days Chairman Mike Johnson. What started out as a one-day event has been stretched into six days.

“It’s a whole town festival and everybody knows everybody, but everybody’s busy,” Johnson said. “So it kind of brings the whole community together in an event where you kind of renew old relationships ... and have a good time.”

For the first time, Third Street will be closed from Bridge Street to Park Street from Friday through Monday, “so we get more rides and make it a little more user-friendly,” Johnson said.

Wristbands for the festival’s carnival are $17 today and Thursday, and $20 Friday through Monday.

Kinney has been on the Fruitport Community Schools Board of Education for 28 years and is currently president. She has served on numerous committees in addition to her involvement in the schools as a parent.

Kinney said she was “fortunate” to have the choice to stay home while Gary worked as an airline pilot, allowing her to become so involved in the community.

“I just started doing what I could with the children and jumping in where I could help,” Kinney said. “… I jumped in and I enjoy it. I enjoy giving back as I do at school and at church. ... I feel it’s the right thing for me.”

She also sings in a performance group — based on the “Sister Act” — called Singing Sisters, which combines singing and humor.

“By all means, this little singing group’s not professional,” Kinney said. “You don’t have to try out.”

She is also affiliated with the Fruitport Education Foundation, Women’s Division Chamber of Commerce, Mercy Health Partners Community Relations Committee, Mission for Area People and Beta Sigma Phi Sorority. In the free time she has left, Kinney likes to golf and stay up late reading.

Kinney said she is looking forward to one day watching the fireworks with her grandchildren. For now, they’re “a little too young.” All five are under the age 6, and they’re expecting two more this summer.

“We don’t keep them up until 10 at night — the mothers won’t let them yet,” Kinney said. “That disappoints me because I like fireworks.”

While Kinney said she’s honored to be the festival’s queen, she said it is only a “minor part” of the weekend.

“I’m a small part of it because there’s just so much more going on that people need to come out and see and be part of,” Kinney said. “There’s so many people who have worked so hard to make this a success and they do every year.”

Fruitport Old Fashioned Days schedule
(Events marked with a * are new this year)

Today
Carnival Midway: 4-10 p.m. with wristbands available 4-9 p.m. ($17)
Lions Ox Roast: 4-10 p.m.
*Pony rides: 4-10 p.m. ($4)
Wild Animal Zoo: 4-10 p.m. (free)
Petting Zoo: 4-10 p.m. (free)
Diane’s School of Dance, Bari Lee, Kuk Sool Won Demonstration, DJ Music: 7 p.m. at bandshell (free)

Thursday
Carnival Midway: 4-10 p.m. with wristbands available 4-9 p.m. ($17)
Junior/Senior High School Jazz Festival: 2-8 p.m. at bandshell (free)
*Grand Lady Riverboat Cruise Euchre Tournament: board at 6:30 p.m./depart at 7:30 p.m. ($20)
Lions Ox Roast: 4-10 p.m.
*Pony rides: 4-10 p.m. ($4)
Wild Animal Zoo: 4-10 p.m. (free)
Petting Zoo: 4-10 p.m. (free)

Friday
Carnival Midway: 4 p.m. to midnight with wristbands available 4-10 p.m. ($20)
Lions Ox Roast: 4-10 p.m.
*Pony rides: 4-10 p.m. ($4)
Wild Animal Zoo: 4-10 p.m. (free)
Petting Zoo: 4-10 p.m. (free)
Sensory Safari: 5-9 p.m.
West Side Soul Surfers: 7:30-10:30 p.m. at bandshell (free)
Fireworks: 10:30 p.m. (no rain date); sponsored by Grover Pharmacy, Shelby Concessions and Little River Casino (free)

Saturday
5K/10K Race: check-in 8-9 a.m./starts at 9:30 a.m. with online registration at www.goracego.com
Carnival Midway: noon to midnight, with wristbands available noon to 10 p.m. ($20)
*Pony rides: noon to 10 p.m. ($4)
Wild Animal Zoo: noon to 10 p.m. (free)
Petting Zoo: noon to 10 p.m. (free)
Sensory Safari: noon to 9 p.m.
Ride to Remember 2011: 11 a.m. with advance sign-up at Fruitport Chiropractic ($15 includes lunch at Lion’s Ox Roast)
Fourth annual Regulator Motorcycle Run: 11 a.m. with registration at Pincrest ($10)
Kids Parade judging: 11 a.m. at Ram Electronics
Kids Parade: 11:30 a.m. down Third Street to Park Street
Kids Free Fair: follows parade at bandshell (free)
Fantazia Circus: 2, 4 and 6 p.m. (free)
Lions Ox Roast: noon to 10 p.m.
Fruitport Alumni/Old Timers: 1-4 p.m., meet at Lions Ox Roast tables 
*Medal of Honor Ceremony unveiling bronze plaque: 2 p.m. at Veterans Park
Fruitport School Jazz Band Cruise: 2-3:30 p.m. on Grand Lady Riverboat ($10, proceeds to Fruitport Band)
*Grand Lady Riverboat Vegas Night: Departs 5, 7 and 9 p.m. ($12), ages 18 and up only.
Sub Prime (blues and jazz): 6:30-9:30 p.m. at bandshell (free)
West Michigan Burnerz: 9:30-11 p.m. (free)

Sunday
Community Marketplace: setup at 7:30 a.m./sales 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (middle school lawn)
Car Show/Royal Corvettes: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at middle school parking lot (free)
Horseshoe Tournament: register at 9 a.m./tournament starts at 10 a.m. at Farr Field
Memorial and Veterans Service: 10:30 a.m. to noon at bandshell
*Michigan Veterans Moving Wall: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Pomona Park
Carnival Midway: noon to midnight, with wristbands available noon to 10 p.m. ($20)
Community Pig Roast: noon to 6 p.m. at Pavilion ($7 adults,  $4 for age 12 and under)
*Pony rides: noon to 10 p.m. ($4)
Wild Animal Zoo: noon to 10 p.m. (free)
Petting Zoo: noon to 10 p.m. (free)
Sensory Safari: noon to 9 p.m.
Lions Ox Roast: served noon to 10 p.m.
Fantazia Circus: 2, 4 and 6 p.m. (free)
Grand Lady Riverboat Cruise: 1-4 p.m. ($8)
*Grand Lady Riverboat Vegas Night: Departs 5, 7 and 9 p.m. ($12), ages 18 and up only.
Northbound: 7:30-10:30 p.m. at bandshell (free)
Fireworks: 10:30 p.m. (rain date is Monday) (free)
Monday
Veterans Service: 10 a.m. at cemetery
*Michigan Veterans Moving Wall: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Pomona Park
Carnival Midway: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with wristbands available 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. ($20)
Lions Ox Roast: starts serving at 11 a.m.
*Pony rides: noon to 10 p.m. ($4)
Wild Animal Zoo: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (free)
Petting Zoo: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (free)
Memorial Day Parade: noon (starts at middle school, east on Pontaluna to Third, to Park Street, to Eighth)
Fantazia Circus: 3 and 5 p.m. (free)

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