Community prepares for summer festival

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 By Beau Hayhoe
Holt Journal staff writer

 August is about five months away, but preparations have already started for the Holt Hometown Festival, a two-day event expected to draw in thousands of residents and to feature family activities and local businesses.

The 14th year of the festival is set to kick off Friday, Aug. 24, and end with fireworks Saturday.

Last year’s festival featured a downtown parade, a skateboard competition and food and craft vendors, among other attractions, spread across 14 acres behind Holt Junior High School, 1784 Aurelius Road.

Children enjoy last year’s Holt Hometown Festival. Photo courtesy: Holt Hometown Festival

Nighttime racing events were also held at Spartan Speedway, 779 N. College Road, in Mason, and children’s events — such as games and inflatable structures — were included.

The festival board is securing sponsors, finalizing Saturday’s parade and fireworks and planning a “Business Fun Day,” festival president Chuck Grinnell wrote in an email.

The board has secured 12 sponsors, with more than 20 additional sponsors expected to join this summer.

The “Business Fun Day” on Aug. 24 will introduce residents to more businesses than in past years, he wrote in the email.

Festival planners are introducing new events ranging from a bingo tent to a Mexican salsa competition and chili cook-off, he said.

“This year the festival has renewed its commitment to focus on promoting Delhi Township as a whole, business and community (included),” Grinnell said.

Sponsors who contributed more than $500 last year include Celebration Cinema!, 200 E. Edgewood Blvd., in Lansing, and Holt Lutheran Schools, 2418 Aurelius Road, according to the festival’s website.

Celebration Cinema! has not committed to sponsoring the event yet this year, but is expected to finalize sponsorship soon, assistant manager Matthew Rick said.

“Holt is one of the communities that supports our business,” he said. “Being a company that stays primarily in Michigan, these are our communities — it allows us to get our name out there.”

Rick said the theater is planning to distribute company brochures and give prizes to kids at the festival.

Other establishments are also gearing up to support the festival, including Holt Lutheran Schools.

The school was a platinum-level sponsor last year.

“It is community involvement,” principal Daniel Burk said. “We will at least be (a platinum-level sponsor) again this year.

Grinnell said along with support from businesses, he’s excited for residents to see the festival’s revamp.

About 3,000 residents attended last year’s festival, a number he said should increase due to the festival’s refocusing.

The festival will be largely driven  by volunteers, with about 25 residents expected.

That figure is up by more than double from last year, Grinnell said.

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