Let the Lilac Festival Begin! 6/13/2011

This past Friday (June 10) marked the beginning of the 62nd Annual Mackinac Island Lilac Festival, which runs through June 19.  Practically every minute is filled with some kind of activity for the 10 days of the festival, which began in 1949 as a conversation between Evangeline “Ling” Horn, Nurse Stella King and Carriage Tours veterinarian Dr. Bill Chambers.  The three long-time island residents wanted to bring people to the island to enjoy a great horse drawn parade amidst the lilacs that fragrance the island each June.  The parade idea has expanded over the years into the signature event of the island season.

There was a BBQ and hayride at the Cannonball Restaurant Friday evening, but Ted and I missed that (hayrides going on all summer so we can catch another one) to go the opening ceremony for the Mackinac Island Community Stable.  Oh my gosh – it is awesome.  No, it isn’t fully finished, but the 4-H horses are in residence, and I just know they think they have died and gone to horsey Heaven.  The facility is truly, truly beautiful, and I’ve never seen anything go up so fast in my life. 

Where last fall there was an open field, now a stable stands.


There's a bit of work still to be done on the outside of the caretakers' cottage, but inside it's ready to go. The Mackinac Island Horsemen's Association is accepting donations of furniture and household goods to complete the house, which was brought to British Landing on the freight boat - in two pieces


The caretakers will be college students working on internships in equestrian science. There will be someone at the stable facility around the clock to ensure the care and safety of the horses.


The consruction crew had been working hard to have part of the stable ready in time for Friday's "First Look" party.


So while half of the stable is unfinished . . . .


. . . . all of the materials are in place, and soon the unfinished half . . .


. . . will look like this . . .


. . . . and this. Amazing!


There are long porches that run the length of both the front and back of the stable. From the back porch, you can see down to the turn-outs and the arena. As funds are available, the temporary turn-out enclosures will become wood fences . . .


. . . like the one surrounding the arena, where Candy Bar was hanging out.


Yes, there is much left to do, but hardy congratulations are in order for the dedicated and loyal members of the Mackinac Island Horsemen's Association and for the island supporters who have helped this vision become a reality.


On Saturday, it rained. But on Mackinac Island, the carriages roll whether the weather cooperates or not. Visitors still want to see the island (and the Carriage Museum), and the covered comfort of the Carriage Tour wagons make that a lot easier.


Another thing a little rain doesn't stop on the island is a yard sale. We had two going on simultaneously in our condo complex on Saturday. Word spread through the grapevine, and soon members of the Horsemen's Association showed up to select items for the caretaker's cottage. It was taken piece by piece out to the end of the boardwalk . . .


. . . the services of a dray were arranged . . .


. . . and soon the furniture was on the way up to the community stable. By the way, that's our black TV stand being loaded on the dray. We bought a great entertainment center at one of the sales and could add our old one to the items for the caretakers.

Sunday has been a beautiful, beautiful day!  We attended Little Stone Church this morning, then went to the Gate House for lunch.  We walked into town after lunch, picked up Ted’s Sunday newspaper and a couple of sweet treats at Martha’s Sweet Shop, then hiked up Fort Hill on what Ted likes to call “the short cut home”. 

One of Bree's Blog readers requested some pics of Metivier Inn, so when we walked into town today after lunch, I stopped to take a couple of photos.


Hope these help with your planting project!


Before we turned up Fort Hill, we ran into the Visitor's Center, and I took this photo of Fort Mackinac standing sentry over Marquette Park.


There were a LOT of people visiting today. Bike racks were full all over town as people parked and walked the streets, sunbathed in Marquette Park, and sat on benches at the marina - just enjoying being here.


Starting up the hill gave me a chance to photograph the lilacs of Marquette Park once again. If you walk into that stand of trees at the top right of this photo and wander a ways back toward the East Bluff, you will find one of the most peaceful spots on the island - Anne's Tablet.


A bed of bleeding heart flowers near Trinity Church.

After a restful afternoon, we “dressed up” and walked back downtown to attend a reception for Richard Wolfgang at the Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Island Art Museum.  It was great to see Helen and Richard, and the reception was packed with friends of the couple and island art lovers. 

The island seems to be teeming with more bunnies than usual this year, and a lot of them seem almost tame. This little guy was sitting in the grass near the bottom of Turkey Hill as we walked into town, and I was actually this close to him when I took the photo. No zoom lens here.


The art museum is directly across from the marina, and as we were leaving the reception, a freighter was easing through the cut. What a sight!


After pizza at Goodfellows for dinner, we took the lazy way and called for a taxi home.

What a weekend, and what a week to come!  On Tuesday our first guests of the season arrive, and we’re so excited to be seeing someone from home.  A daughter, son-in-law, and grandson of one of our Georgia neighbors at the lake are stopping off here for two nights before going on to their summer home in Canada.  Lots of Lilac Festival events to attend this week, so come Friday, I should have lots more to report. 
Oh – the article that was written from the interview last week has been posted, and if you’d like to read it, you can click here: http://www.mackinac-island-insider-tips.com/brees-blog.html.  Please make sure you surf around this website once you’re there.  SO MUCH Mackinac Island info – you will love it!
Have a wonderful week, and God bless.

19 thoughts on “Let the Lilac Festival Begin! 6/13/2011

  1. Wow, you certainly had a very busy week end. Thanks so much for sharing, and as usual, thanks for the lovely photos. The stables look great. So happy they have been able to get so much of it done. Candy looks so sweet and content. I bet she loves the smell of the new lumber.

  2. Great pictures of the new stable! (well, all the pics are great, but ya know…) I’m still amazed how quickly it actually went up (after years of discussion!) The weather sure looks gorgeous. Some day . . . .

  3. The stables look awesome! Even thought it’s not completed it certainly has come a long way. What a great job they’ve done. It sure sounds like you have been busy and it doesn’t look like its going to slow down anytime soon. Make sure you take a few minutes to smell those gorgeous lilacs. Love the interview! 🙂

  4. Bree,

    I just read your interview on the other website. Mackinac Island gives us that magical feel every summer when we arrive also. There is a song called “Magic”, by Kenny Chesney, that seems so fitting for the island. I made a slideshow with pics from a vacation once, and put it to this music, and it was perfect. Although the song was written about Key West, it still works for Mackinac.

    We’re coming to the island in August for five days, can’t wait!!!

  5. Bree,

    I was on the Island June 8 – 10th and missed you. I was on the look out for you and ran into one of your friends and we had a nice chat. As usual it was wonderful and I cannot wait for my visit in Sept. – staying at the Jacob Wendall house with 5 couples!

    While sitting on the porch at the Windermere I made sure and inform everyone of your blog! I told them how wonderful you are! Keep up the great work, I can hardley wait for each post.


    • Ahhh . . . I bet it was Frankie you met. She told me she had talked with one of the blog readers and how nice you were!

  6. Holy Toledo! You were everywhere!!!! Thanks for the reports of all the activity, especially the new stables. Looks like a beautiful facility and I’m glad it all came together so quickly. Lovd the interview too. Hope your week is starting out better than mine. Got to work and my laptop wouldn’t start and then discovered that many of the users at the hospital couldn’t access one of our very important applications. Yay Monday!

    • Oh no, Annie! Nothing worse than technology that doesn’t work!!! Hope you will have everything resolved soon, and things are back as normal as they can be in the “real world”. Thanks for writing!

  7. Brenda, thank you for the Metivier pictures! I can’t wait to be on the Island in two weeks. Here around Detroit we have a whole different set of perennials blooming, I hope there will be some good ones still when I am there in two weeks. What’s blooming here now will probably be blooming in two weeks there. Weird how much a difference 300 miles makes!

    • In two weeks, I think there will be more flowers than you can possibly photograph during your stay. They have yet to pull the Grand’s tulips, but I figure it is going to happen this week. Within days, they’ll have the soil prepared, and the annuals in the ground. Can’t wait to see what they have planned for this year!

  8. Hi, I have just discovered your blog. I am planning a trip for August to try and discover my family history. My gg-grandfather lived on the island. From what I understand, the original house is still there, however, it has been added on to. I am trying to find out what house that is. I read one of your blog’s , and someone said their wife’s grandfather lived in that house, so there is a family connection there somewhere, however, I can’t find out how to contact them. Do you know what house they may have been talking about, it was a house that had a firetruck parked in fornt of it in the picture. The man’s name was David kallin, I believe.

    Thanks, and can’t wait to arrive on the island.
    Emily Moran

  9. All the photos are wonderful as usual! I love reading and seeing all the pictures of the Island…the only bad things is …I wish I was there! Thanks for keeping us updated on everything on the Island.

  10. Shhhhh, I thought Anne’s Tablet was a Scout and local secret?!! Yes, it is peaceful there. If you walk past Anne’s to the West you can hear the Cannon demonstration from the Fort. On a hot day the breezes up there are amazingly strong.
    Can hardly wait for our week there in August!

    Pat Steele
    Vernon, MI

  11. We throughly enjoyed our anniversary weekend on the island! We passed your condo several times. I kept my eyes peeled but didn’t see you. Just Bear sunning himself on the porch Sunday afternoon. We stayed in a relative’s cabin just behind you. Thanks for the insights and news. I kept my husband abreast of your writings as we passed several areas on the island. We’re thinking about bringing our boys (ages 6 and 10) up to Mackinac Island for their first visit in August (you know, before they are too “cool” to hang with their parents?!). They love looking at our pictures but really don’t have any idea what fun and beauty the island beholds. It’s magical!

    • Awww – sorry I missed seeing you, Sara. We were all over the island all weekend, so catching us at the condo would have been a real feat. Try again in August!

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