The 2011 Mackinac Island Lilac Festival Parade 6/23/2011

Mark Twain said, “So far as I can see, a parade has value in two ways–as a show and as a symbol – its minor function being to delight the eye, its major one to compel thought, exalt the spirit, stir the heart, and inflame the imagination.”

The 62nd annual Lilac Parade filled every one of those conditions on Sunday afternoon, and Ted and I thought it was maybe the best one we’d witnessed yet.  The weather was certainly perfect, and as we rushed down Fort Hill, we could hear the emcee – WKLT’s Terri Kay -warming up the crowd.  We arrived about two minutes before the parade began, and I chose to stand on the wall in front of the bike racks at the Visitors Center.  That way I could lean on the railings for balance.  Everyone in front of me cooperated and remained seated on the curb, so I had a perfect view!

There’s really not a lot of narration I can add to the following photos, besides tell you what or who they are – and sometimes I’m afraid I didn’t get a name as it was announced.  But I’ll do my best.  I also know that I missed an entry or two for one reason or another – someone stopping to say hello or my batteries dying and having to be changed.  I apologize to those I missed.

Trumpet sound . . . . . . . .  here they come!

The crowd stands at attention as Jeri-Lynn Bailey beautifully sings the Star Spangled Banner.


Perfect, perfect, perfect day! Even the seagulls agreed!


Leading the parade - as always - is our favorite Native American, Donald "Duck" Andress, direct descendent of Chief Mackinac and our across-the-street neighbor. Duck won the "Best Equestrian" Award.


The United States Coast Guard


Representatives of American Legion Chapman-St. Onge-Dankowski Post 299, chartered in 2003 and named for three island residents who lost their lives serving their country - Joe Chapman (WWII), John St. Onge (Korea), and James Dankowski (Vietnam).


The Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps from Sault Ste. Marie - Ontario, Canada


The male members of our wonderful Fort Mackinac interpreters - they reenact battles, court martials, close order drills . . . and play instruments!


The lady members of the Fort Mackinac interpreters. These young women, always in period costume and in character at the fort, can knit, tell beautiful stories, play instruments, bake and cook over a wood stove, use a spinning wheel, wash clothes on a scrubbing board . . . . and, as here, play a mean game of Graces.


The beautiful Lilac Queen and her court, traveling in the "Best Carriage" Award winner.


The theme for the parade was Board Games. This first float was the Pine Cottage and Chateau Lorraine entry, constructed in memory of the life and legacy of firefighter Bobby Roach, an island resident lost to the ice in February of this year. His favorite childhood game was Chutes and Ladders. This float won the "Humanitarian" Award.


Troop 327 - Governor's Honor Guard - Girl Scouts of Metro Detriot. These young ladies added a little extra "spirit" to their march!


A view of the crowd, the lilacs, Marquette Park, and the fort.


Grand Traverse Pipe & Drums from Traverse City, MI. and winners of the "Best Marching Band" Award. I love bagpipe music!


Photography by Blair parade entry. Steve is a wonderful wedding and freelance photographer and has a studio on the island.


The Royal Canadian Legion - Sault Ste. Marie, Canada. I so wish you could hear the music - it was wonderful throughout the entire parade. I've loved band music since high school!


The Rescue Greyhounds of Eastern Michigan.


A wonderful band - I missed the name - so sorry.


A group of young gymnists entertained the crowd. This little girl was the smallest in the group, and she was really a star!


The Glen Erin Pipe Band - Lansing, MI. won "Best Musical Group" Award.


Back to the parade theme - Mission Point Resort portrayed it with a game of Scrabble.


The Pink Pony Float - a game of Candyland! The ponies pulling this float won the "Best Horse Hitch" Award. The ponies are from Brugger's Other Farm.


Horn's Bar and the Yankee Rebel Tavern played Jeopardy and won the "Best Float" Award.


Beautiful ladies on beautiful horses - I missed the name of the group.


This float featured children wearing the newly designed Mackinac Island helmets, just introduced on the island as part of the "Brains are Swell, Wear your Shell" campaign. Everyone who rides a bike on the island is urged to wear a bike helmet.


The beautiful OrrKids Bike Rental entry - a Victorian couple on a tandem bike - very romantic.


OK - absolutely the funniest entry in the parade (not just my opinion - they won "Most Humorous" Entry) - the Northern Michigan Beach Queens. These ladies have a blast "strutting their stuff".


You go girl!


Leader Dogs for the Blind


'Nuf said.


Mary Michelle riding the Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island entry (it won "Best Bicycle" Entry).






Representatives of Therapy Dogs International out of Rochester, MI.


Shepler employees played Battleship on their float, which won the "Best Parade Theme" Award.


A wagon full of Chess pieces and children made up the Seabiscuit Cafe float.


Leanne Brodeur and Maryanke Alexander, representing the Mackinac Horsesmen's Association.


"Best Walking" Entry - Ste. Anne's Church


The Wings of Mackinac "Barrel of Monkey Butterflies" entry - winner of "Most Creative" Award.


Cindy's Riding Stable - winners of the "Best Equestrian Group" Award.


The Miss Bellaire Realty entry - carriage driven by island friend Molly Green.


The 7th Heaven Beauty Salon & Spa ladies and gent played Clue and won the "Stella King" Award. Stella King was one of the founders of the Lilac Festival parade.


The Arnold Ferry float, representing the vintage board game - "Don't Miss the Boat".


Here come the Clydesdales!


Representing Lake View Hotel, these beauties are from Resting Spirit Stables in Ontario.


Trick riders from Mackinac Wheels won the "Stunt Junkies" Award.


Always the last entry - the fantastic Scottville Clown Band. They were the "Grand Award" winners!


These guys sure know how to have fun!

Like I said, I sure wish I could have had some band music playing in the background on this one – it would have added a lot, as would the sound of the crowd chatting, children squealing and laughing, dogs barking, the jingle of the horses’ harnesses, and the squawk of the gulls.  Maybe you can go back and scroll through the photos one more time and imagine all that added in!
Hope you enjoyed the parade . . I certainly enjoyed being there and being able to share it with you!  See you tomorrow!


15 thoughts on “The 2011 Mackinac Island Lilac Festival Parade 6/23/2011

  1. I could imagine all the sounds of the parade in my head, Brenda. It looks like it definitely was a wonderful time. I loved the float designs, they were all great.

  2. What a treat!! Thank you so very much! This only proves what I’ve always thought – a definite rival for the Pasadena Rose Parade!!

  3. Thanks again Bree. I was thinking of the logistics of getting all of those bands, floats, people etc over to the island! The ferry docks and ferries must have been quite packed for a couple days! Goodness.

  4. Oh what fun! I could hear the bands playing as I watched each float go by. The weather did look perfect that day. Looks like the seagulls even did a fly-by to signal the start of the parade. 🙂 Love those Clydesdale horses!

  5. Saw this poem and thought of you, Brenda!
    Lilacs Bloom by Josh George
    Lilacs bloom
    The birds flew back
    Another spring comes
    With the sky’s blue and grasses green
    And I find comfort in knowing
    That my heart and soul will be the key
    So I may pass through Peters Gate
    Wondering what it will be like to match your every step
    As I look forward to reunions of people I’ve yet to meet
    And when I meet the shepherd of this lamb
    I will be in awe of His amazing grace
    For He has made our last goodbye the time before hello
    So the birds fly over head
    As the lilacs bloom

    • What a wonderful poem, Marianne. I love the imagery – especially “For He made our last goodbye the time before hello”. Beautiful.

  6. Brenda,

    The chill of excitement went right up my spine. Music and other sounds or not, I was right there. Thank you so much for being so kind as to share the Lilac Festival Parade with me and everyone. You have made my day.

    PS: I was actually privileged to be in the parade in 1954. Now, that’s a long time ago! Isn’t it?

  7. Thank you for “taking me away to Mackinac” again this summer. I absolutely love it. What a unique and special place. Because of your co-writers, Maddie and Bear, I got puppy fever and now have my first in-home puppy. She is a cute maltese named Tessa. When she gets old enough, I want her to go through the training that you put Bear through. When you get a chance, I will greatly appreciate your sending me the name of the training center again.

  8. Thanks for all the great photos. I love the ones from the Leader Dogs. I lived in Rochester for I’m going to say 15 years and always got goosebumps watching those beautiful dogs working downtown.

  9. Sure looks like it was a great parade! Thanks so much for sharing all of the photos, I can sure see that they put alot of effort in there parades! beautiful!

  10. Brenda, I can’t believe we didn’t see you. Jordan, Julie and I were sitting on the curb right below you. Well… a little to the right of you. You can see the back of Julie’s head in one of your pics. Hey, you didn’t take a pic of Jimmy with Bella and Chloe in the cart did you? I don’t have a good one of them.

    • I saw you at the very end of the parade when Jimmy came by with the dogs, and I guess you stepped out further. I have a couple of pics of them, none very good. But I’ll send them to you.

  11. we were sitting in front of Alford’s…my dad(the chief of police)helped out Duck get his horse to get going after the cannon was fired

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