The Farmington Founders Festival will be held July 18-21 at a new location in Shiawassee Park. Pictured, people enjoy a recent festival.

The Farmington Founders Festival will be held July 18-21 at a new location in Shiawassee Park. Pictured, people enjoy a recent festival.

File photo by Deb Jacques


Founders Festival to open at new location

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published July 16, 2019

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FARMINGTON — Returning for its 55th year, the annual Greater Farmington Area Founders Festival has found a new home base at Shiawassee Park for the weekend-long community celebration.

While about 80% of the festival’s programming was held at Shiawassee Park in 2018 — with the other 20 percent being dispersed between various other downtown areas — all events and activities will be held at Shiawassee Park this year.

The festival will run 5-8 p.m. July 18 with a soft opening of the beer tent, followed by open festival hours 10 a.m.-11 p.m. July 19-20 and noon-5 p.m. July 21.

The event is organized and hosted by the Greater Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce and 360 Event Productions.

The move, according to Greater Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mary Martin, will allow people the leisure of parking once and being where they need to be to enjoy the entire festival experience.

“The one-stop shopping kind of gives everybody the opportunity to actually enjoy the entertainment,” Martin said. “You can walk around. You can listen to music. You can enjoy the food. You can watch the dogs. You could do some shopping. … It really allows people to enjoy a full festival experience.”

This year, the festival will continue to include some annual favorites, including the Fido Festival — featuring a variety of dog shows and activities — the LOC Federal Credit Union 5K color run, the beer and bingo tents, live music throughout the weekend, the parade along Grand River Avenue, the Vintage and Crafters Marketplace, and the food court, which will include vegetarian and vegan options.

Back by popular demand, the festival will also include fireworks put on by the DTE Energy Foundation starting at 9:30 p.m. July 20. A children’s carnival presented by Community Choice Credit Union featuring carnival rides and games primarily for children 12 and younger will make its debut. A pig roast by Ideal Bite Community Kitchen and a hot air balloon activity hosted by Bosch are also planned.

“You’re going to take some time out of your day to go to your community festival, so there needs to be enough there to keep you entertained,” said Julie Law, the founder of the Auburn Hills-based 360 Event Productions. She has been working with the festival for three years. “That’s why we’re really making it to where it’s so inclusive and all together, so everybody can enjoy different elements of the festival.”

With the expansion to Shiawassee Park also brings more available parking and access to shuttles to get festival attendees, especially senior residents, from the parking lots down to the park.

The festival will offer free parking at Farmington High School, next to Our Lady of Sorrows Church, behind the Maxfield Training Center, and at several other locations around town. American House Senior Living Communities and Omega Benefit Strategies have teamed up to provide shuttle services to help handicapped and elderly attendees get around the festival more easily.

“It was hard on the guests to travel from place to place, and it also looked very sparse in some areas,” Law said. “By putting it all together and hosting the event in one space, it’s much easier on people.”

Overall, Martin and Law hope the move to Shiawassee Park will provide a more concentrated space for families to come out, enjoy a weekend together and celebrate their community.

For more information on all of the events the festival has to offer this year, as well as dates and times of those events, visit www.foundersfestival.com or call (248) 957-9585.

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