From left, Gayle Joseph, Advancing Macomb board member; Matt Cullen, Advancing Macomb board member; Julie Cullen, wife of Mark Cullen; Angela Lenda, Advancing Macomb program manager; and Diane Banks, Advancing Macomb executive director.

From left, Gayle Joseph, Advancing Macomb board member; Matt Cullen, Advancing Macomb board member; Julie Cullen, wife of Mark Cullen; Angela Lenda, Advancing Macomb program manager; and Diane Banks, Advancing Macomb executive director.

Advancing Macomb hosting Summer Soirée in Utica

By: Dean Vaglia | C&G Newspapers | Published June 8, 2022

MACOMB COUNTY — Advancing Macomb will host its sixth annual Summer Soirée at 5 p.m. June 14.

“The Summer Soirée is our annual tradition for Advancing Macomb,” said Diane Banks, Advancing Macomb executive director. “This is our sixth annual event coming up on June 14, and it is an opportunity to bring together our stakeholders, our board members, donors and community leaders to talk about our vision for the county, to celebrate our past success and impact, and to support our future work as we look to solve community challenges and enrich lives for Macomb County residents.”

Banks says the event will focus on “connections and relationship building,” allowing people from across Macomb County the option to network with each other.

“It is kind of a laid-back opportunity to network,” Banks said. “We have some great food, the chefs at Jimmy John’s [Field] have a dinner plan, and we will have drinks and a little short presentation about Advancing Macomb and the work that we are doing. But, really, it is just about connecting people in the community with each other and our organization.”

Subtitled “Field of Dreams,” the Summer Soirée will take place at Jimmy John’s Field in Utica. It is the first time the event will be held at the United Shore Professional Baseball League’s (USPBL) stadium. The organization used to use smaller venues for the event, but the need for a larger Summer Soirée location has arisen.

“As the organization has grown and our vision [has] grown, it is really symbolic of our organization and how we have grown over the years,” Banks said.

Dana Schmitt, USPBL president, was excited for Jimmy John’s Field to host the event.

“I have attended [the Summer Soirée] in the past at other venues,” Schmitt said. “It is a great event every year, but I just thought it was a really creative idea to have this event at Jimmy John’s Field. I feel like our ballpark is really a community gathering place and sort of the crown jewel of Macomb County, so it really makes a lot of sense to be having this event at Jimmy John’s Field where you are bringing together all sorts of business, community and government leaders to network, build relationships and talk about solving challenging that are facing everybody and particularly Macomb County.”

The Summer Soirée is the latest among many non-sporting events to take place at Jimmy John’s Field, which has hosted more events like this in recent years.

“We have always done that, but particularly after the pandemic started … the number of our private events like this tripled because people were starting to look for outdoor spaces,” Schmitt said. “And then I think once they saw what we can actually do, the quality of our food and beverage team and the food we are able to execute and put out, and then combining that with our beautiful ballpark and the unique setting, it became something that was a great venue for events like this.”

The USPBL has worked with Advancing Macomb in the past with USPBL representatives attending events held by the Mt. Clemens-based philanthropic organization.

The Summer Soirée is open to the public, and tickets are available for $110. Tickets are available at advancingmacomb.com.