Sturgis Spring Food & Flower Fest tonight rain or shine

The Sturgis Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is hosting the Spring Food and Flower Fest tonight, an event designed to kickoff the season of outdoor festivities. The brand-new celebration will feature live demonstrations, food samplings, drink specials, and live music in downtown Sturgis from 5:30-9 p.m.

The DDA’s Ryan Conrod told Watershed Voice there will be several woodsheds set up in the downtown area, with each one representing a different Great Lakes state, plus Canada. The sheds will have samples for sale of each state’s official food and dessert item, with participants purchasing those offerings using tickets sold at the DDA booth during the event. “At our ticket booth we sell one dollar tickets, and some items are one ticket and some are two tickets,” Conrod said, adding the highest price for any item will be two tickets. 

The state foods available Friday evening will include coney dogs from Michigan, pork tenderloin sandwiches from Indiana, deep dish pizza from Illinois, Cincinnati chili from Ohio, Swedish meatballs with wild rice from Minnesota, poutine from Canada, and beer cheese soup from Wisconsin. The desserts made by Mark it with a B Cupcakes by Stacy will include bumpy cake from Michigan, Indiana’s sugar pie, Palmer House brownies from Illinois, cream puffs from Wisconsin, Minnesota’s bundt cake, buckeyes from Ohio, and maple cupcakes from Canada.

Along with food samples available at each state’s shed, Wings Etc. will be offering drink specials throughout the night for those wishing to stop by the downtown grill and pub. The drinks were picked to highlight the various Great Lakes states, as well. The specials will feature The Hummer from Michigan, Hoosier Heritage from Indiana, Jameson Irish Whiskey from Illinois, Brandy Old Fashioned for Wisconsin, Bootleg cocktails from Minnesota, Bloody Mary’s from Ohio, and The Caesar from Canada.

Conrod said there will be a stage set up for live presentations on North Street, with performances beginning at 5:30 p.m. Karen Lance will kickoff the event by giving a talk about the importance of honey bees, and life as a beekeeper. The Career Technical Education (CTE) Agriculture program will speak next at 6 p.m. CTE Agriculture instructor Jennifer Troyer told Watershed Voice her students will be talking about different skills they have learned in various fields of agriculture such as agriculture sales, environmental skills, floriculture, and veterinary science. The CTE students will also have baby animals to pet, and will plant seeds with children.

Owner of Designs by Vogt’s Floral and Gifts Doug Bates will speak at 7:45. Bates is a graduate of the American Institute of Floral Designers, and has most recently built a float for the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena. Celebrity columnist Laura Kurella will close out the performances with an “audience-interactive” food presentation featuring treat-tossing and prizes.  Kurella is promoting her brand new culinary memoir, “Midwest Morsels,” which will be available to purchase before and after the show.

The Sturgis Chamber of Commerce will host a cherry blossom tree dedication at 6 p.m. with the Japanese Historical Society of Michigan. “It’s a dedication to Japanese residents who lived in our area during World War II, and right after World War II,” Conrod said. The cherry blossom tree is a representation of Japanese culture, and Conrod said the dedication is important because “it’s recognizing that there are other ethnicities in our city that maybe we overlook, and it’s giving them some recognition.”

Bounce houses will be on site for children, as well as craft and other outdoor vendors on US-12 sidewalks. Festive Faces & Body Art will be at Five Lakes Coffee offering paint and henna designs to choose from or customized art. Trolley car rides will be available for $1 per person, as well as free floral make-and-takes at Open Door Gallery. Live acoustic musicians such as Marjorie Beryl Shelito, Ben Prowett, Bill Johnson, and Heidi Wolfe will also be performing throughout the evening. 

Conrod and the Sturgis DDA hope the public will come out Friday night to support the Sturgis downtown area, celebrate the beginning of outdoor festival season, and enjoy the local creativity the community has to offer.

Beca Welty is a staff writer and columnist for Watershed Voice.