Allegan County News & Union Enterprise

Island City Festival returns

Festival-goers wait in line for some treats on the final day of the Island City Festival. (Photo by Jason Wesseldyk)

By Jason Wesseldyk
Sports Editor

For the first time in four years, the Island City Festival returned to Plainwell as a multi-day event, running from Thursday, June 8, through Saturday, June 10.
The 2020 festival was cancelled due to COVID, while the previous two years featured one-day events.
Festival organizer Larry Gonzalez referred to this year’s version of the festival as a “soft reboot.”
We went in with the intention of getting a carnival back and trying to get more foot traffic into our local community,” Gonzalez said. “In that sense, it was good.
“But there are definitely plenty of things we took notes on and either made tweaks as we went or plans to change elements for next year.”
Among the elements of the festival—which included carnival rides, a hot wing contest, a powerlifting contest, a car show and free movies—that will be tweaked is the vendor portion, including location, setup and teardown.
“We definitely need to work on the vendor situation,” Gonzalez said. “And we had plenty of suggestions from (the vendors) directly that we plan to utilize when working layout next year.
“Also, the parking lot was a new feature that we tweaked as we went, but still have some improvements to make on that. And the car show was tough because of the dates and all of the great shows going on in the area. So, a bit more calendar work, a bit of layout and some more volunteers will get us a leg up next year.”
All proceeds collected from the parking-lot fees went directly to non-profit organizations and Plainwell High School student groups that volunteered at the lot during the festival. Preliminary estimates indicate that approximately $5,000 was raised for these groups.
Gonzalez was quick to thank several entities, including the City of Plainwell officials as well as sponsors such as JBS, ACCF, Majestic Financial and Advia.
And, of course, he thanked the event’s many volunteers.
“We had a small group of volunteers—they know who they are—who gave 40 to 50 hours or more over the course of those three days to help make this event possible for the community. This event would not have been possible without them, and they deserve some thanks for being absolute rock stars.
“We will enter into 2024 with a wealth of new knowledge and experience, ready to take another step in the right direction.”
Speaking of next year, anyone who wants to get involved can sign-up for the festival’s newsletter at in order to stay informed regarding when planning will start taking place.
“We would love to have folks come in and give constructive feedback and suggestions—keyword being constructive—especially if they want to volunteer.”

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