By Aimee Bingham Osinski email@example.com
“Generosity is the heart of humanity,” Lailah Gifty Akita
Apple Daze took place last Saturday, on a beautiful crisp day that epitomised fall in Michigan. The event is put on by The Lions Club and is meant to be a fun day for the kids of Dexter and neighboring communities. It featured: music in the gazebo, pumpkin bowling, hay rides, a tent with old fashioned carnival style games, free vision screening for kids, a car show, a scarecrow contest, a bounce house, vendor booths and an apple pie eating contest. More than just a fun Saturday in Monument Park, Apple Daze was a slice of small town life and a study in giving. The Lions organize it but the entire community chipped in to make it a success.
The Lions Club took over the event from The Chamber of Commerce and did so knowing that hosting may result in a loss of revenue. But, as Apple Daze chairperson, Abby Briggs explained, “The goal is not to raise money. The goal is to give back to the community that always supports us.” The focus, of course, is a fun, safe event for the kids. Abby did add that with weather as perfect as Saturday was, it was possible they would raise money. But that is never the goal of Apple Daze.
The Lions Club organizes the event and members take charge of specific aspects, from the car show to the hay rides. But the entire community is involved. Andy Dettling and his dad Dick were responsible for hay rides. Andy explained that Boullion Tractor Sales donated the tractors for the event, the American Legion donated the use of their wagon and the Lions Club provided another wagon. One Lions Club member elaborated that the club just doesn’t have the membership to put on such a big event alone. So, they reach out to the community and Dexter comes through.
The games tent in the center of Monument Park was run by Dexter 7th graders. Amelia Ackerman, who was running the fishing game said her CS&L class at school requires she do 10 hours of community service and this was one opportunity for her to get some hours. The first music in the pavillion came from students of the Hudson Education Center, at no charge. Use of the bounce house was donated and was being run by volunteers as well. A huge list of local businesses donated to support the event and many took part in the scarecrow contest.
Dennis Berry organized the car show and it appeared to have a great turn out. One attendee told me some years they have maybe a dozen or so cars entered. Although Dennis didn’t have the exact count at the time, he guessed there were about 75 cars entered on Saturday. He explained that there is no fee for entry. People are asked to donate instead. He further explained that they’ve found people, when left to their own choice, tend to give more. So, the car show is more successful when The Lions Club doesn’t charge a fee. Judging by the sheer number of cars lining the street, it looked like a very successful year.
The Lions Club, in accordance with one of it's missions throughout the year, provided free vision screening to the children. The Lions Kidsight USA mobile screening trailer was set up. Parents signed their children up and members of The Lions Club quickly and painless provided a screening. If something appears wrong in the screening parents are advised to take their children for further evaluation. Dennis Barry said, “It’s always a good day when we don’t find a problem.” But he also said it’s always good to spot a problem early and make sure children receive the care they need.
The combination of perfect weather and a community invested in the community, made this years Apple Daze a huge success. It was a testament to the charm and comfort of small town living. If you’re interested in being involved with service projects within Dexter, The Lions Club is always looking for new members. You can find more information online at https://www.dexterlions.org/#!