Old Fashioned Days return today

Samantha Lewakowski • May 25, 2016 at 10:00 AM

FRUITPORT — Fruitport Old Fashioned Days is back this holiday weekend for what organizers say is about its 70th year.

What once started as a block party — with no definitive starting year — has evolved into Fruitport’s largest annual celebration.

The carnival rolled into town Monday and will be open for thrill-seeking customers today through Memorial Day.

The Fruitport Lions Club puts on the festival every year, with a special committee spearheading the planning process. Heidi Tice, who serves as the second vice president of the club, has helped plan Old Fashioned Days for six years. Tice said that she and the rest of her Lions family do this because “that’s what they do” —  give back and stay active in their community.

“We started planning and fundraising back in January,” Tice said.

Fundraising is the main focus for the club, as well as keeping the festival fresh and interesting each year.

“We are funded mainly by local business donations,” Tice said. “This year, we raised more money than ever before — about $30,000. The event itself costs much more, but we make money from the carnival itself, (with) any proceeds going toward other events that we put on throughout the year.”

Tice said the festival committee likes to bring in new things every year.

“This year, the new additions are the talent show, which is being put on by the Leo’s Club,” she said. “This was started two years ago. Also, the free events we have for kids change yearly. Brian’s Balloons, the magician and including the local exchange students in the parade are also new.”

There’s also a firework show on Sunday night and the Memorial Day Parade on Monday afternoon.

For the complete schedule, visit fruitportlions.com.

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