The 'too-much-to-do' season begins in Muskegon


By Cynthia Price

Summer is the season in the Muskegon area when no one can say there is nothing to do. This past weekend, it was hard to keep up.

The newest entry was Muskegon Summer Wine Up, sponsored by Cumulus Radio/Muskegon. Starting at 2 p.m. and running until 8, the new festival, for a $15 entry fee, offered entertainment, access to food trucks, and tickets for samples of four of the 100 wines supplied by local wineriess including Tabor Hill and Lemon Creek – with additional sample tickets available for purchase. There was a reasonably large crowd even at mid-afternoon, and organizers say the event will be the first of many in coming years.

Downtown also hosted the ticket release party for the Burning Foot Beer Festival, held on the small sand lot bethind the Western Market chalet shops, which was not nearly as hot as Pere Marquette Beach will be when the full festival is held there August 24; the Muskegon Museum of Art’s 107th Anniversary Gala, set up in the MMA’s parking lot; and another interesting new event, The Hackley Attic Escape Room, which requires advance registration; as well as other events, including a run/walk and cheese tasting.

For the Escape Room, the attic of the Historic Hackley House, which has rarely been open to the public, invites guests (for a fee) to solve puzzles and mysteries in order to get out. (Escape rooms have been increasingly popular since they started in 2007 or so, and don’t worry, they do let you out regardless.) The escape room will return on Sept. 13 and 14, Oct. 11 and 12, and Nov. 8 and 9. To book tickets, visit

The Lakeside-Wide Yard Sale, which appeared to have fewer participants than in the past, was joined by Sweet Saturdays at the Lakeside Emporium, a recurring event that includes food, entertainment, and a mini-vendor-show.

Vintage/history buffs could enjoy the annual Antique Tractor and Engine Show at the Muskegon County Fairgrounds (featured in The Examiner in past years) or the Vintage Camper Show/Gathering at P.J. Hoffmaster Park campgrounds.

There were old-fashioned cars driving around in the Muskegon area all weekend, and some of them showed up at the Camper Show’s car parade as well.
Muskegon CareAffaire, a fund-raiser for Wings of Mercy, took place out at the airport.

And in addition to the Community Safety Day detailed on page 1, Muskegon Heights had the South Heights Photovoice Initiative Exhibition, designed to spark discussion and community spirit, at the MATS Louis MacMurray Center.

Classical lovers could see pianist Natasha Paremski at The Block, and comedy-lovers enjoyed Joe Derosa at the Back Alley Comedy Club on Sherman.

It will come as no surprise that next weekend the whole thing starts over again. Watch in particular for the Taste of Muskegon, starting Friday, and Ride United fundraiser for the United Way, both taking place at Third and Clay in downtown Muskegon.


CareAffaire for Wings of Mercy keeps growing

The Wings of Mercy CareAffaire fund-raiser, held at the Muskegon County Airport, has been around for many years, but lately it has added something new each year.

Last year was the inaugural for the Chris Boes Memorial Run, honoring Jim Boes’s son who died very young of a brain tumor; this year a motorcycle judging contest was added.

The delicious pancake breakfast is nothing new, nor are the $50 rides in a helicopter given by Gary from Whirlybirds.

But this year, the event also attracted something very interesting: a visit from a couple of F-18  fighter planes – even though they were not here in any official affiliation with the event.

John Hesling, son of David Hesling and nephew of well-known Mona Shores teacher Don Hesling, joined the Navy after high school at Shores and one year at University of Michigan. “I got interested in flying after going to the Air Show that Muskegon used to have,” Hesling says, “and because my dad was a private pilot flying out of Executive Air.

“We basically just came in for commuity outreach,” he says.

When he is at Virginia Beach, Hesling says he does training, but adds, “On deployment we do mostly close air support missions. I’ve been deployed in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.