Founders Festival does it big at 50

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published July 23, 2014

 The North Farmington High School cheer teams participate in the Founders Festival parade July 19.

The North Farmington High School cheer teams participate in the Founders Festival parade July 19.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

FARMINGTON — The full-circle moment came for Laura Myers during the city’s 50th annual Founders Festival, July 18-20, as she marched in the parade as a Warnerettes Parasol Drill Team member.

Dressed to the historical nines with a black parasol, a long black skirt, a long-sleeved white blouse, a sash and a straw boater-style hat, she strutted down Grand River with other Warnerettes from the Governor Warner Mansion like many who marched decades earlier.

After the parade, the city’s Historical Commission chairperson said on a bench near City Hall that the experience was reminiscent of when she rode her horse from Novi to Farmington in the late ’60s to participate in the parade.

“I’ve been in the parade pretty much since the beginning,” the Farmington resident, who grew up in Southfield, said. “I used to keep a horse out in Novi, and we used to ride the horses down to go to the parade in ’68 or ’69.”

Myers said the Founders Festival really cherishes its past while catering to the present.

“It has always had a historical component, and I think we managed to keep that alive for 50 years,” she said. “It gives us a chance to kind of pat ourselves on the back for all that Farmington has accomplished. We are still here, we are still a thriving community, and we’ll be here another 50 years and then some.”

From historical tours throughout the city to petting zoos at the Governor Warner Mansion, 33805 Grand River Ave., the festival featured many activities and vendors to keep the eyes busy and taste buds happy.

Mansion docent Jean Schornick said the Founders Festival draws people down to the Governor Warner Mansion.

“We are always trying to get people interested in the Governor Warner Mansion because it is so much a part of the Farmington history,” she said.

Farmington resident Carrie Richards attended the festival with her children, Gwen, 7, and Chad, 9.

“We just went and saw that parade; that was really fun,” Richards said. “We got lots of candy, and we got to see the marching band. That was my favorite.”

Since moving to the city three years ago, attending the festival has become a tradition in their household.

“I grew up in Indiana, but my dad grew up in Farmington, so it has some history for me,” she said. “It is kind of interesting for me to be raising my kids in the same place my dad grew up.”

Gwen said her favorite part of the festival was the marching band, because she wants to play the trumpet when she attends high school.

Chad said he liked the festival because of the numerical significance.

“I thought it was cool that it is in its 50th year,” he said near the Governor Warner Mansion. “Fifty is a cool number. It is even.”

Other features included balloon animals, face painting and identification tags.