By Sakiya Duncan
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter
Old Town host an assortment of events and festival. These festivals are part of the reason Old Town is staying on the map.
The biggest festivals Old Town host are Scrapfest, Oktoberfest and Festival of the Moon and Sun. Austin Ashley, executive director at the Old Town Commercial Association gave insight on exactly what goes into these festivals.
“We actually work really closely with a lot of the design shops down here to get the initial art work and designs for our festival posters and our interns take that and produce the collateral work from that,” said Ashley.
Everyone plays a part in the festivals from the design shops, volunteers, businesses and artists.
Where did the idea for these festivals stem from?
“Some of the events started as parties, and some of them just started as an idea that people then found other people who liked it. They then formulate a plan and the funding, and that’s how Scrapfest happened,” said Ashley.
“We work with production companies down here to actually put on the festivals, and partner with a lot of businesses as far as volunteers, we try as much as possible to keep everything hyper local and to support our businesses,” said Ashley.
What is Scrapfest?
Scrapfest originated from David Such, the owner of Such video. Such Video located at 111 E. Grand River Ave. Such partnered with Friedland Industries and a festival was born. Scrapfest has been around since 2009 and has been going strong ever since.
“I’ve always liked scrap and junkyards and things that people throw away, and I thought it would be really cool if you could build some sculptures from that stuff and maybe have an auction and make some money for Old Town,” said Such.
There are many pieces from Scrapfest found on display throughout Old Town. Artist or art teams have one hour to go into Friedland Industries scrap yard and pick up to 500 pounds of scrap metal. They then have two weeks to build a sculpture within their studios.
After the two weeks the participants must turn in their sculptures to the Old Town Commercial Association, and they work on marketing the art and getting the word out. Half of the money received is split between the artist and Old Town, said Such.
The sculptures go on display along with music and vendors during the festival.
Mike Bass family owns Friedland Industries; they are a scrap recycling facility. Friedland Industries is located at 405 E. Maple St. They are the middle stage of what happens to commodities such as metal. They will upgrade the commodities to their highest value and prepare them to be re-melted and used again, said Bass.
Bass described Scrapfest as Such’s “brain child.” Such came to Friedland Industries with the idea and they jumped at the chance.
What is Festival of the Moon and Sun?
Festival of the Moon and Sun are among Old Town’s longest-running festivals. These festivals has been around for little over a decade. “These festivals started as a celebration of the solstice, to make the most out of the longest day of the year and the shortest night,” said Ashley.
There is beer provided exclusively through Bell’s Brewery which was once located in Old Town. They serve beer on a Friday night then switch to wine-tasting and beer-tasting on the Saturday and the whole atmosphere as far as music and the entertainment changes said Ashley.
“Festival of the Moon and Sun are major fundraisers for the non-profits, and meant to bring people into the neighborhood,” said Jamie Schriner-Hooper. Schriner-Hooper is the board president of the Old Town Commercial Association.
“I never really knew about the festivals, but since I am 21 now I would love to participate, especially since most of them take place in the summer,” said Lansing resident Brian Dorsey.
What is Oktoberfest?
Old Town has a strong German Heritage. Oktberfest started in 2006 by a group of volunteers. “We have German-style music, food and beer, we are even adding Polka dancing lessons,” said Schriner-Hooper. “These festivals bring resources into our neighborhood to help with the revitalization of Old Town.”
For more information on the festivals visit www.iloveoldtown.org