Downtown Midland\'s Summer Solstice Extravaganza!

Celebrating the Longest Day of the Year with Australian Acrobats, L.A. Singer/Songwriter Jay Nash, and Entertainment Galore

Posted In: News, Local,   From Issue 639   By: Robert E Martin

14th June, 2007     0

Everybody knows that Summer Solstice, which comes up this year on Thursday, June 21st is the longest day of the summer; and given those brutal winters we endure each year in Michigan, is definitely a day people seek to make the most of.

Solidifying a new 'tradition' that began a few short years ago, The Midland Downtown Business Association in conjunction with Midland Cogeneration Venture is sponsoring their annual Summer Solstice Celebration with a feast of activities and artists designed to draw people onto Main Street in downtown Midland for a 'summer stroll' unlike any other. This year's event consists of a veritable Beach Bash of bargains, unique food, and wide ranging entertainment, including varied activities for the entire family, fishing fun, a treasure hunt, artist demonstrations, massages, and incredible aerial performances by Strange Fruit Australian Aerialists.        

Starting at 5:00 PM and running until 9:00 PM, a dynamic 'After Party' picks up the pace into the evening hours with a special performance by L.A. Singer/Songwriter Jay Nash, whom the L.A. Times dubbed "One of the strongest voices in the Los Angeles singer songwriter scene", and featured performances by Midland native Jon Rajewski and L.A. singers Meiko and Sally Jaye.

Additionally, patrons can register for grand prizes worth over $1,000 dollars, enjoy Tunes by the Tridge performances, and wander the 'artist market.

The genesis for this celebratory event began back in 2005, when the 'Creating Cool Committee' of the Downtown Development Authority devised the concept of a celebration of summer, according to Christin O'Callaghan, Executive Director of the Midland DDA.  

"The event focused on providing an evening of relaxed shopping, dining and entertainment, and all three years have been a great success.

"We've added more on-street activities, but the retail focus has remained our top priority. Last year the 'after party' was added and this year we are adding an' adult beverage tent' on Main Street," she adds.

When asked about the most challenging components involved with pulling an event of this nature together, Denise Hufford, Downtown Event Coordinator for the Midland DDA points to the task of managing all of the input from enthusiastic supporters.

"It can be challenging to work with different retailers, restaurants, non-profit organizations, entertainment groups, volunteers, and committee members," she notes. "Everyone has great ideas and enthusiasm, so we just had to stay focused and organized to make the event successful and fun."

And as Midland Downtown Business Association President Joe Garrison views it, " To my mind the biggest challenge involves the logistics of this event. With the large number of different activities, we still continue to grow the event each year to enhance the experience and provide activities that can appeal to everyone attending. Special thanks definitely go out to the event committee and all of our volunteers for their hard work in our area."

With so many festivals and celebrations staged in the summer months, how is this Solstice
Celebration distinguished from the field of activities sprouting up like healthy cornstalks in the mid-Michigan area?

"We've tried to keep it focused on highlighting our great retail businesses downtown," reflects Denise. "We encourage the community and visitors to rediscover the great shopping available, while also enjoying food, family fun, and the wonderful atmosphere of downtown Midland."

"This event is also unique because people are ready to kick off Summer and this provides a great opportunity and means to do so," interjects Joe.

"Each year it keeps growing, affirms Christin, "and we actually hear some people say they ensure their vacation plans don't take them away from Midland during Solstice." In terms of key highlights patrons and visitors can expect at this year's Solstice Celebration, the choice is divergent. "Our theme this year is Beach Bash," notes Denise, "so we'll have a treasure hunt in a huge pile of sand, a money vault, a bounce house, lots of arts & crafts projects for the kids, fishing fun, putt-putt golf, great music, lots of door prizes and store specials, and three performances of Strange Fruit, the Australian Aerial Performance group. They will perform on Main Street at 5 PM, 6:30 PM, and 8:15 PM."

"One thing I'm really proud of is all the high quality live music performances we will have throughout the evening on Main Street, featuring Midland native Jon Rajewski, talented female musicians from L.A. Meiko & Sally Jaye, as well as capping off the evening with an after party from 9-11 PM that will feature the amazingly talented L.A. singer/songwriter Jay Nash," emphasizes Joe.

"Last summer I went down to Lansing to watch Jon Rajewski play a set during a show at The Temple Club," continues Joe. "Multiple musicians were on the bill, including Jay Nash and Chris Pierce from L.A.

"Chris was stuck out of state with plane issues, so Jon had a longer set, and then I was so lucky to get to hear the amazing sound that is Jay Nash. He played an extended set to cover the extra time and captivated the entire crowd. I met Jay afterwards and have stayed in contact ever since. Having this opportunity to book him at Solstice was a perfect fit."

"There wasn't one weak song in Jay's set, each tune was solid and he nailed them all. I hadn't seen someone that polished on stage in some time."

"We are excited to bring such talented artists to the Tri-City area and hope to draw music fans from throughout the area, as this is a rare opportunity to experience these incredible artists," concludes Joe.

"It's going to be a busy night with our Tunes by the Tridge concert series down the street at the Tridge from 7-9 pm," adds Denise, "with will feature Sons of Beaches Island Music, a Great Lakes Loons game at 7:05 pm, and all the fun of the MCV Summer Solstice starting at 5 PM, so people should come early and stay all evening!"

This year's celebration is sponsored by the Midland Cogeneration Venture and Tunes by the Tridge, along with the Strange Fruit performances in partnership with Matrix: Midland.  Red Road Media is sponsoring the after party featuring Jay Nash.

For more information visit or call 989-839-8433.


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