Small Town 4th of July
Beaver Island has a permanent resident population of about 550 people. Certainly in the summer the population grows considerably. Of course, being an island, everything must be brought over from the mainland via the ferries that run multiple times a day from Charlevoix. There are 2 ferries that run – The Emerald Isle and the Beaver Islander.
Today is the Beaver Island 4th of July parade! Right down main street with everyone in attendance. Don’t expect fancy floats or huge animal balloons, everything here came from the creative ingenuity of the locals who use the resources they have at hand to put together a festive event. Otherwise it would have to come over on the ferries.
We scoped out our spot on the curbside of the main street directly across from the community center which had the local radio station, WVBI, broadcasting the commentary of the parade as it progressed down the street.
Here is an indication of the crowd gathered for the parade:
As we waited for the parade to start, the radio station was playing patriotic music, such as God Bless the USA. I went over to grab a hotdog, chips and a soda for Mark and I inside the community center across the street for lunch as we waited for the parade.
The parade kicked off with veteran color guard carrying the American flag. My faith in humanity was restored as we witness a family sitting near us with a mom, dad and 2 pre-teen boys. As the veterans approached the dad said “Stand up boys and take your hats off” I love the respect for our veterans, respect for our flag being taught by this dad to his young sons!
The parade consisted of homemade floats, cars decorated to represent groups, businesses or people, fire trucks, etc. It seemed that everyone who was a permanent resident of the town was represented in the parade. The community center had put together small gift bags with candy, treats and small toys for every kid in town and were handing them out to all the kids. Most of the kids were in the parade with their families so as cars or floats went by the treat bags were handed to the kids.
Here’s a sampling from the parade:
The guy on the top of that RV is none other than Michael Beans! We were shocked, what is Michael Beans doing in Beaver Island? Who is Michael Beans you ask? He is a singer/entertainer/pirate who we have heard several times in our travels to the British Virgin Islands. Most anyone who has sailed in the BVI has likely heard of, or been entertained by Michael Beans. But what the heck is he doing in Beaver Island? Turns out Michael is from Michigan and got his start some 40 years ago playing gigs in Beaver Island for friends around a campfire. Small world.
Later after the parade and into the evening, we headed down to the Shamrock bar and grill to sit on the patio and listen to Michael Beans! It was an awesome evening. It was a pretty windy evening with a front coming through and as we were enjoying the music of Michael Beans, they announced at the bar that a boat was dragging across the anchorage. So, glad it wasn’t us and we decided to bring the boat to the dock!
The fireworks were actually on July 5th, not sure why. But it was an awesome display!