Pentwater Homecoming – an 84-year tradition

August 12, 2014
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The Sand Sculpture Contest is a popular event during Pentwater Homecoming. It is set for Friday from 8 a.m. to noon at Charles Mears State Park.

By Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

PENTWATER — An 84-year tradition continues as the Homecoming Celebration kicks off Thursday with fun events continuing through Sunday.

“This is the biggest and oldest event that Pentwater offers,” said Pentwater Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Eva Gregwer of the celebration that draws approximately 10,000 people to the small village every year. “The community puts this on. There is great volunteer support, and the businesses are great supporters.”

“I try to go to Homecoming every year,” said Jeff Smith of the Grand Rapids area. He and his family

The Scottville Clown Band is a big attraction during Saturday's Grand Parade, which begins at 4 p.m.

The Scottville Clown Band is a big attraction during Saturday’s Grand Parade, which begins at 4 p.m.

spend a large portion of their summer in Pentwater every year. “We love the beach,” Smith said. “Pentwater is such a beautiful town, and we love to escape the city life to come here. Everyone is so friendly. I think my favorite Homecoming event is the sandcastle contest.” The popular Sand Sculpture Contest, which is set for Friday from 8 a.m. to noon at Charles Mears State Park, is in its 41st year.

“I enjoy the beach and all the cute downtown shops,” said Karen Peterson of Lansing. “Pentwater is one of my favorite ‘Up North’ towns. It’s nice that you can take your dog to the beach here. Most other beaches do not allow that.” Peterson has a black lab that likes to swim, and she enjoys taking the pooch to the beach when she visits Pentwater. “I always enjoy Homecoming. I was unable to go last year, but this year I will be there. I love the parade. It’s one of the nicest parades I have ever been to. The (Scottville) Clown Band is so much fun to watch.”

The Les Bailey Memorial Concert is set for Thursday evening on the Village Green, featuring the Pentwater Civic Band and the Scottville Clown Band.

The Les Bailey Memorial Concert is set for Thursday evening on the Village Green, featuring the Pentwater Civic Band and the Scottville Clown Band.

The Grand Parade, which lasts over an hour with its many entrants, begins at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Entrants can still register to be in the parade until 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Gregwer said.

Another highlight event for Homecoming is the fireworks display Saturday night. Donations are still being sought for the fireworks, and donors can put money in cans at local businesses to help pay for the dazzling display.

This year’s Homecoming features three new events — the Charles Mears State Park Beach Bash Friday from 6-9 p.m. featuring the Mainstays Band; the Michigan State University Marching and Alumni Combined Band concerts Saturday behind the Village Cafe at 1:15 p.m. and after the parade; and the Youth Goby Tournament at the state park Sunday at 5:30 p.m. with prizes for most caught and largest catch.

Homecoming has a theme each year, and this year’s theme is “Sailing the Lakes,” which is in honor of pwt homecoming -5the National Ensign the following week. Ensign Fleet 70, in conjunction with the Pentwater Yacht Club, will have the 2014 Ensign National Championship Regatta to be sailed on Lake Michigan Aug. 17-21.

An event that began last year and returns for 2014 is the Cancer and Critical Care Fund Beach Volleyball Tournament at the state park Friday at 10 a.m. Another new event last year that returns is the Jazz North concert after the parade on the Village Green. Local Bill Fromm comes home to perform with the seven-piece band from Traverse City, playing swing, blues, funk R&B and Latin.

pwt homecoming -2Other popular events include the Strawberry Shortcake Social Thursday at 6 p.m. on the Village Green and the Les Bailey Memorial Concert with the Pentwater Civic Band and the Scottville Clown Band Thursday at 7:30 p.m. on the Village Green; horseshoe tournaments beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Art Audrey Memorial Horseshoe pits by the fire barn; the Big Ten Preseason Tailgate Party behind the Village Cafe beginning at noon Saturday; and the Marine Corps League Pancake Breakfast at the Pentwater VFW Sunday from 8 a.m. to noon.

Each year, the celebration draws in various MSU dignitaries, coaches, players and even mascot Sparty. Zeke the Wonder Dog normally makes an appearance, too. Just who from MSU is going to show up is not usually known until Saturday, Gregwer said. “We don’t know until they get here,” she said. For more information about homecoming, go to facebook-Pentwater-Homecoming or Event brochures are available at downtown businesses and the chamber office.

Photos courtesy of the Pentwater Chamber of Commerce

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