2007-06-16 / Top News

Descendants of Chief Mackinac To Lead Grand Parade

Event To Be Festival's Crowning Touch Sunday
By Eric Fish

Just as the ceremonial queen's coronation marks the beginning of the Mackinac Island Lilac Festival, the traditional Grand Parade on Father's Day afternoon, Sunday, June 17, closes it.

The parade is the single element of the annual Lilac Festival that has been part of the celebration since the beginning. Mackinac Island lay health nurse Stella King organized a parade to welcome summer in 1949, and it is the grand finale of a 10-day festival.

The Grand Parade is one of the only parades in North America where floats are completely powered by horses and it is led by brothers Don and Carl Andress, who are descendants of Chief Mackinac. Dynamite the Clown will be the parade's Grand Marshal in recognition of his 25 years participation.

This year's Lilac Festival theme is stories and fairy tales from the Victorian era, which includes the tales of Peter Pan, Cinderella, and Beauty and the Beast. Downtown shops and parade floats will be decorated with the theme.

The Grand Parade offers several awards, such as best float, best carriage, best horse hitch, best marching band, best parade theme, and the Stella King Memorial Award, which is honored to the parade entry with the highest overall score.

There will be 79 entries in the 2007 installment of the Grand Parade.

The color guard will be provided by members of the U.S. Coast Guard stationed at St. Ignace and the Indian River Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7439. They will be followed by the Mackinac Island State Park 23rd U.S. Infantry Company E Regiment and the Mackinac Island Police and Fire Departments.

Dignitaries hosted by Mayor Margaret Doud for the parade include U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak and Michigan State Senator Jason Allen.

Marching entries include the Governor's Honor Guard Girl Scout Troop #327 and the Lakers Cheerleaders from Mackinac Island Public School.

Bands include the Scottville Clown Band, Alex Graham and the Grand Hotel Orchestra, the Sault Ste Marie Pipe Band, the Glen Erin Pipe Band, the Grand Traverse Pipe Band, the Titawabassee Valley Fife and Drum Corps, the Bandettes Steel Town Band, the Royal Canadian Drum and Trumpet Band, the Blue Notes of Ishpeming, the Newman Navy League and Cadet Corps, the Corunna High School Marching Band, and the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps. The Scottville Clown Band, a favorite, will bring up the rear.

Aside from bands, floats, and horse hitches, the parade will feature the likes of many animals. Cindy's Riding Stable cowgirls and the Seven Oaks Riders will be riding featured horses, and Dan Wallen will be partaking in his first festival parade with featured animals. The Ladd Haflinger horses from Austria, the Mackinac Island Dog and Pony Club, Greyhounds of Eastern Michigan, Leader Dogs, PAWS with a Cause, Therapy Dogs International, and the Great Lakes Mastiff Rescue will all feature their animals.

In addition to the Lilac Queen Kristi Kamphuis and court, the parade route will feature representatives from other communities, including the Gaylord Alpenfest Queen, Miss Elk Rapids, Traverse City National Cherry Festival, Miss Bellaire, Miss Central Michigan Galaxy, Northwest Michigan Fair Queen, St. Andres Queen of the Highland, Tip-up Town Queen and court, Miss Michigan Wheelchair, and Miss Kalkaska and court.

The Grand Parade will begin Sunday, June 17 at 4 p.m. at Mission Point Resort and end at Windermere Point.

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