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Lathrup Village

May 1, 2013

Artists, competitors sought for 2013 Summer in the Village festival

By Jessica Strachan
C & G Staff Writer

LATHRUP VILLAGE — Event organizers for the city’s annual Summer in the Village are combing through the community looking for talent to showcase for the 2013 festival, coming up June 15.

Residents with a creative energy, and those with an impressive set of grill skills, are asked to register. Selected participants will be on display for the 10th annual Michigan First Summer in the Village.

The festival is designed to be a day celebrating some of the most-welcomed warm weather merriments: the smells and taste of fresh BBQ, Michigan-made beer, live music and an art fair to stroll through.

For Lathrup Village residents, it marks the best season coming out.

“This event, at this time of year, is a kickoff for all the activities we have here in Lathrup throughout the summer,” explained Renee McClain, who has chaired the event all 10 years now.

The free summer concerts and Farmers Market on Wednesdays are right around the corner, she added.

“It’s also an event that encourages our neighbors to participate. We draw people from Berkley, Huntington Woods, Southfield and Detroit,” she said. “Then, once they come to this event, they get interested in our other festivities. It’s a kickoff for everyone, for the whole summer.”

McClain said they typically get about 35 artists, but aiming high for the 10-year milestone, she’s shooting for a good mix of 50 artists representing all kinds of media. 

To apply, artists can submit five original pieces and a $20 non-refundable application fee to be considered by a committee on the merits of skill, impact, design and originality. There is a $95 booth fee, and selected artists will receive a breakfast to begin the day and set-up assistance.

Art exhibitors will be set up from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.

On the grill front, it’s never a dull time, and Maralee Rosemond, of Lathrup Village’s Parks and Recreation Department, is hoping for the best of the best when it comes to BBQ, and that means good eats and great showmanship along the way.

“Watching the BBQ contestants pull up with their smokers — grills big and small — is something I like to see. I feel like we are on the Food Network’s Bobby Flay’s BBQ ‘Throw Down’,” she said, explaining that Oakland County Parks coordinates the event with the Lathrup Village Community Foundation.

“The structure of the event, the camaraderie of the contestants … each exploring what the other uses as far as a dry rub sauce, no sauce or ‘secret ingredient’ … is really something to see.”

So, what makes a great BBQ’ed meat for this contest? Judges will be looking for slabs of tenderness and tastiness that look too good to pass up.

At the end of the day, five winners will walk away with cash prizes ranging from $100-$500, and of course, bragging rights.

The BBQ battle is limited to 24 teams on a first-come, first-served basis, and there is a $35 application fee. Registration for the BBQ battle begins at 8:30 a.m., with the grills lighting up at 10 a.m. Judging takes place at 3:30 p.m. with an award ceremony set for 5:30 p.m.

For artist submission details, the BBQ contest rules and the downloadable applications, visit www.summerinthevillage.com; the deadline to submit an application for Summer in the Village is May 10.

Other activities at the 2013 Summer in the Village will include a camping experience and DNR 101, face painting, make-and-take projects, a canoe and kayak clinic, and a butterfly garden to explore.

McClain said the biggest accomplishment in the last decade is expanding the event to be an all-encompassing family day to celebrate the season.

“It’s grown in both size and popularity. I have noticed that eight-10 years ago, there were a lot of females in the 35-55 age range, there strictly for shopping,” she said. “Now, we seem to draw a lot of families; there’s a mini-pub for the dads and still shopping for the moms and live music that the younger crowd can enjoy. It’s a day for the whole family.”

Then there are, of course, the activities for the smaller kids, too, which McClain confessed have a way of capturing anyone.

“The butterfly room in tremendous; It’s so neat to see a 3- or 4-year-old go in there and feed the butterflies with their little hands,” she said. “That’s my favorite part.”

Summer in the Village will run 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 15 and is held on the grounds of the Municipal Center, located at 27400 Southfield Road in Lathrup Village. Parking and admission are free.

For more information and the schedule of events, visit www.summerinthevillage.com.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Jessica Strachan at jstrachan@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1108.