Bigger, better festival keeps traditions alive

Friends and family gather every year at the Trenton Mid-Summer Festival to enjoy live music, good food and a reminder of what Hometown USA is all about. This year’s festival festival features a performance Friday by Detroit rock ’n’ roll legend Mitch Ryder.
Photos by Ilene Flanagan

Sunday Times Newspapers

TRENTON — After nearly four decades as a community icon, the Trenton Mid-Summer Festival keeps providing what people expect, and for the 37th annual event added new perks including a Motor City rock ’n’ roll icon.

“We’re really excited about this year,” Trenton Parks and Recreation Director Joann Perna said. “One of the big things is having Mitch Ryder perform on Friday night, a Detroit rock ’n’ roll legend.”

Perna said that bringing Ryder to town — and his iconic 1967 hit “Devil With a Blue Dress On” — was made possible through the joint sponsorship of Jackson DDS, Riverside Ob-Gyn and Roundhouse BBQ. Ryder will take the main stage at West Road and Jefferson at 9:30 p.m. Friday.

The festival has long been a mainstay for high school reunions, family get-togethers and a convenient place for old friends to spend a summer’s weekend. Most of the activity takes place in downtown Trenton along Jefferson between Maple and Harrison, beginning Friday and running through Sunday.

In addition to more than 150 arts and crafts displays, food vendors, sport tournaments and children’s play area, Perna said the focus of the Festival is a “Hometown USA” atmosphere that lets longtime residents feel like tourists in their own city.

“Since its inception it’s grown tremendously,” Perna said. “We bill it as a reunion, an opportunity to come back home for the weekend and meet old friends.”

Along with the headline entertainment, the 2012 festival welcomes new events including the Riverside Kayak Demonstration from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and free kayak tours Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The former “Mayor’s Breakfast” is now the “Breakfast at the Festival” beginning at 8 a.m. Friday; sponsors Jackson, Snider/Parker DDS present the Wet & Wild Turbo Tunell at the intersection of West and West Jefferson; and the Discover Downriver/TJ Monte Acoustic Stage keeps the music going beginning at noon Saturday with a variety of beats and entertainment.

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