Saline's Summerfest is many events in one
A long-lived summertime tradition in Washtenaw County, Saline's Summerfest returns to downtown Saline, on the evening of Aug. 9 and all day Aug. 10.
Festival coordinator and Director of the Saline Area Chamber of Commerce Art Trapp spoke with AnnArbor.com about how this year's festival came together and some of its highlights.
The music, art, and community festival is an outgrowth of Picnic in the Park, a smaller event that used to be held at Mill Pond Park. Trapp thinks that the move downtown, when the festival was rebranded "Saline's Summerfest" in 2006, "has proven to be a success."
On a good year, the festival draws upwards of 6,000 visitors to downtown Saline."Some of the biggest draws are always the music acts and performers and the arts and crafts booths. If I had to pick my top three, those would both be in there," Trapp says.
Music headliners are 56 Daze, on Friday night, who will follow various performances by local dance troupes and martial arts schools. It all begins at 6 p.m. Then on Saturday night, The Phoenix Theory will headline the all-day music showcase, which begins at 11 a.m.
Over 40 artists and craftspeople will participate in this year's 4th annual juried Summerfest Craft & Art Show, Aug. 9 from 5 to 9 p.m., and Aug. 10 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Aside from music and art, "there are a wide variety of ancillary activities," Trapp says, "a little something for everyone."
Saline's Summerfest is a big conglomeration of many community events, all thrown on the same day.
This year, there is a new bike tour and a 5K run/walk, a long-lived vintage car show, and a brand new electric car show. Saline's own Haley Williams is Miss Michigan. She will perform with her old group the Saline Twirlettes and M.C. a "Teenage Block Party." Firefighters will do the chicken cookout. Kid-friendly activities at Henne Park include a tricycle race, a bounce course, contests, and games, and there will be a rubber duck race at Curtiss Park for the kids.
There are more activities to find out about on the complete Saline's Summerfest schedule.
Some parts of the festival have been around for years, like the 31st annual Saline Street Machines Car Show, on Aug. 10 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. "Saline Street Machines do a great job of providing a venue for people to get out there and show their cars and support charities," Trapp says of the festival highlight.
Saline Summerfest also changes it up, from year to year, trying out new ideas. A new "Electric Car Show," on August 10 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., includes test drives, sponsored by Michigan Electric Auto Association.
Last year, Trapp noticed people at a previous "Touch a Truck" event were paying most of their attention to the 2 electric cars on display. "We try new things when we think they'll have more crowd appeal," Trapp says, adding, "I think the electric cars are more of a novelty."
Also brand new, the Bike Tour was an idea hatched by Saline High School alumni. Originally, it was planned to be a reunion for local alumni. But they ended up opening it up to everyone, making it a new (potentially annual) festival offering. Bikers can choose to bike different distances, between 12 to 64 miles, on a 12-mile loop and a 25-mile loop. Start time is anytime between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. at Saline Middle School.
Trapp also recommends taking a ride on the Historic Trolley Tour of downtown Saline, by the Saline Historical Society, on Aug. 10. "People not only enjoy learning about the history of Saline, they also simply enjoy taking a ride around downtown," he says.