Fest returns in full ‘Force’ to downtown

Photo by Ilene Flanagan. Braylee (left), Shane and Ragan Zavista get into the spirit of children’s activities at the Trenton Summer Festival. A Children’s Playmarket joins an assortment of games and contests for all ages this weekend along West Jefferson from Harrison to Maple streets.

Photo by Ilene Flanagan. Braylee (left), Shane and Ragan Zavista get into the spirit of children’s activities at the Trenton Summer Festival. A Children’s Playmarket joins an assortment of games and contests for all ages this weekend along West Jefferson from Harrison to Maple streets.

By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers

TRENTON – More than 100,000 friends, neighbors and visitors are expected to stroll downtown Trenton this weekend as the city’s 41st annual Summer Festival brings a “Star Wars” theme to town under the collective banner of “Reaching for the Stars.”

Parks and Recreation Director Joann Gonyea said the weekend’s activities will kick off at 6 p.m. June 23 with a “Nibble a Little Stroll and Roll” preview. Dozens of local restaurants will offer tasty treats for a $20 admission that includes a “Healthy Trenton” pedometer, food samplings, contests and more courtesy of Healthy Trenton and co-sponsor Riverside Kayak Connection.

Festival activities begin in earnest at 10 a.m. June 24 with an estimated 130 artists and craftsmen and vendors offering a galaxy’s worth of events along West Jefferson from Maple to Harrison. Gonyea said the festival – now among the earliest of the summer season in Downriver following its change from July – regularly attracts visitors from throughout southeast Michigan.

Festival attendance and participation have held strong over the years, Gonyea said, and increased slightly after moving from its mid-summer time slot to an earlier start. The festival has long served as an unofficial “reunion” weekend for both former classmates and families looking to reconnect with their home town and each other.

“It’s always been a community reunion kind of event,” Gonyea said.
The festival welcomes crafters and artisans along with local non-profit organizations looking for fundraising opportunities.

“Star power” continues with this year’s lineup of live entertainment, including a 9:30 p.m. June 25 performance by festival headliner John Waite on the main stage at West Jefferson and Maple. Also scheduled to appear are noted cover band The Phoenix Theory, at 6 p.m. June 24, and Bon Jovi tribute band Crush at 9 p.m. The country-rock sounds of the Two-Timin’ Band will perform at 4 p.m. Sunday on the Main Stage.

Live music for all tastes also will be available throughout the weekend on the North Stage at the corner of Cherry Street and West Jefferson.

Elsewhere along West Jefferson and in Elizabeth Park will be a variety of children’s activities and sports tournaments including the traditional Sports Fest Volleyball Classic sponsored by Shore to Shore, along with a new addition this year of a corn hole tournament for all ages.

The three-day festival runs from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

For a complete list of activities and show times call 734-675-7300 or go to www.trentonsummerfestival.org.

(James Mitchell can be reached at james.a.mitchell37@gmail.com.)

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