By Jason Wesseldyk
The month of September is entering its home stretch.
And that, among other things, means it’s almost time once again for the Creative Arts Festival in downtown Otsego.
This year’s festival is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 30, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Clarrisa McDonald is the chairperson of the Creative Arts Festival.
“As always, this is a free, fun, family-oriented festival with many events and activities taking place for all ages,” she said. “Downtown Otsego is full of activities all along M-89. We have everything from a car show to a bouncy house for kids to a parade to an arts-and-crafts show. It’s just a good time for everyone.”
This marks the 36th year for the festival, which continues to grow in size and attendance.
“The area communities and their residents have made this a family tradition each year,” McDonald said. “The community marks their calendars for the last Saturday of September each year to make sure to attend.”
New to the festival this year is the addition “Animal Magic,” a live show featuring Mark Rosenthal and his exotic animals.
Rosenthal was recently named Entertainer of the Year by Nickelodeon.
“This show is both educational and has magic included,” McDonald said.
Rosenthal will present two shows, one starting at 11 a.m. and the other starting at 1:30 p.m. Both will be located in the Otsego United Methodist Church parking lot under a large tent.
Families should plan to bring their own chairs and/or blankets to sit on.
“As another new feature this year, we have added caricature artists to draw humorous portraits of families or couples,” McDonald said.
The caricature artists will be stationed in the Winkel Funeral Home parking lot.
McDonald stressed that the festival wouldn’t be possible without the contributions of many businesses and individuals.
“If it weren’t for the support and sponsorship generously provided by our local businesses and organizations, this free family festival would not be able to take place,” she said. “Also we have the best event committee heads, local volunteers and high school volunteer.
“Additionally, we receive huge support from our Allegan County and Otsego Police departments, along with the Otsego Department of Public Works, the City of Otsego and the Otsego City Commission to make this whole festival a success each year.”
The festival’s schedule of events is as follows:
9 a.m.—Invocation provided by Pastor Jeremy from First Baptist Church of Otsego/Otsego VFW Post 3030 Honor Guard/National Anthem performed by Otsego High School senior Michaela Sweis (four corners in downtown Otsego)
9 a.m.—Classic Car Show (M-89)
9 a.m.— Motorcycle Show (M-89)
9 a.m.—Antique Tractors Show (S. Farmer Street)
9 a.m.—Art/Craft Vendors (M-89 sidewalks)
9 a.m.—Business Organizations/Vendors (M-89 sidewalks)
10 a.m.—Kids Makers Market (S. Farmer Street)
10 a.m..—Otsego Rotary Turtle Races and Raffle (S. Fair Street)
10 a.m.—Outdoor Food Vendors (throughout downtown Otsego)
10:30 a.m.—Otsego Fire Department Activities (activities pause during parade)
11 a.m.—Friendship Family Festival/kids games, inflatables, free lunch (First Baptist Church)
11 a.m.—Animal Magic Show (Otsego UMC)
11 a.m.—Caricature artists (Winkel Funeral Home)
11 a.m.—Rock Painting/Face Painting (Winkel Funeral Home)
11 a.m.—Home Depot Kids’ Workshop (Winkel Funeral Home)
12 p.m.—Cornhole Tournament (behind Liquid Note)
12:45 p.m.—Parade and Pet Parade (on M-89)
1:30 p.m.—Animal Magic Show (Otsego UMC)
3 p.m.—All Winners Announced, Award and Trophies Presented (for parade winners, motorcycle and car show winners)