Made in Michigan Festival returns with race, food trucks and more

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published September 9, 2015 | Updated September 14, 2015 9:17pm

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — With vendors selling Michigan-made products, activities for children, music, food trucks and more, the 2015 Made in Michigan Festival has something for everyone.


The festival kicks off at 1 p.m. Sept. 18, at the Senior Activities Center, 20000 Stephens, with more than 60 vendors of homemade and Michigan-made products, as well as a variety of food trucks and performances throughout the day by local bands. It will be open until 8 p.m. that day.


On Sept. 19, the festival is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with vendors, food trucks, the return of the Hog Wild BBQ contest, and children’s activities.


From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., children can make a wand with visitors from the Michigan Renaissance Festival, learn about Native American culture, and visit stations to complete a Michigan passport.


Of course, the Made in Michigan Festival is synonymous with the Senior Activities Center’s famous apple pies, but senior center Director Sue Fickau said buyers shouldn’t wait for the festival to purchase their desserts.


Volunteers and senior center members will begin slicing apples and preparing pies Sept. 13, which also happens to be Grandparents Day. Fickau said they’re encouraging members to bring along their grandchildren who are able to help with pie making. City Councilwoman Candice Rusie and her grandmother will also be at the center that day to help provide lunch.


“Production will go until we stop making pies,” Fickau said, estimating that they’d probably be done around Sept. 17. She urged customers not to come to the festival expecting to be able to buy a pie, however. “As soon as we’re ready to sell, we’ll blast it on social media. They go fast.”


You can find the Senior Activities Center on Facebook at www.facebook.com/stclairshoressenior.


Pies will be sold for $10 each, and pie packets, which include all the ingredients to make a pie in a freezable container, cost $5. The center is also still looking for “pie partners” to sponsor a case of apples for $25 and help defray the cost of the pies.


“Marti (Marques, the senior center’s chef) spends the first day coming up with the recipe, depending on the apple we get. The labor is done, and you’re getting fresh apples from the orchard,” Fickau said. “We strongly suggest, if you love the pies, you buy a packet.”


The idea for the festival began three years ago because the center was already selling 1,000 or more apple pies as fundraisers each year and, Fickau said, “if we’re already bringing about 1,000 people to the center to buy pies, why not bring other entities?”


“People who have started businesses from their kitchens, from their garages, it’s nice to see them all get together.”


Fickau said apple pie has now become synonymous with the winners of the Roy O’Brien Ford “Miles for Meals” 5K and 1-Mile Fun Walk, so they’ve added a tagline to the race: #SCSrunsforpie. Winners of the race, of course, take home a pie, and the largest group to register and run the race will win a pie party within six months of the race.


The race will be held on the second day of the festival, Sept. 19, with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m. and the race beginning at 9 a.m.


Registration for the race costs $30 for the 5K, and $20 for the 1-mile walk/run. Students can register for $15 anytime. Registration for adults is open the day of the race and may include a T-shirt, if still available. Sizes not guaranteed.


Groups can contact Savannah Olesky at oleskys@scsmi.net for group discount rates of at least 10 participants.


Amy O’Brien-Kravitz, sales manager at Roy O’Brien Ford, said that St. Clair Shores is such a tight-knit community that they like to help whenever they can.


“I just feel like our community does so much for us, keeping us in business — we’re going to hit our 70th anniversary in December — that any opportunity we have to give back to the community, we do,” she said.


This is the second year that the Ford dealership has sponsored the 5K race, which raises money for meals and other programs at the center.


O’Brien-Kravitz said that above all, the race is a really fun time.


“You should come out. Don’t hesitate if you’ve never ran one before, because it’s all for fun and it’s great community involvement,” she said.


This is the festival’s third year, and Fickau said it’s been growing each time.


“It’s important for the center because it brings a tremendous amount of traffic” to the center, Fickau said.


Visitors can also participate in a fundraising raffle with $4,000 worth of prizes, which the SCOTS (Senior Center of the Shores) Board is using to raise money for a new audio visual system at the center. Visitors will also be able to take shuttles from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sept. 19, from Civic Arena to Veterans Memorial Park to be able to take advantage of the festival and the Lac Ste. Claire Fine Art Fair, occurring the same day.


To learn more, visit madeinmichiganmarket.com.

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