Thousands celebrate outdoors | Tri City Times

From wildlife to wigwams, ‘Weekend’ wows visitors

IMLAY CITY — Another Woods-N-Water News outdoor weekend is in the books. Large crowds attended the three-day event at the Eastern Michigan State Fairgrounds.

Sunday marked the first time Marlette residents Darren and Felicia Parke attended the outdoor weekend.

Accompanied by their children Aurora, 4, and Andalyn, 4 months, Darren said the event lived up to its reputation.

“I like to hunt deer and have been hunting bear,” Darren said.

“More recently I’ve gotten into fishing, so this event has all of that.”

Avoca residents Jayne and Dave Force brought their 4-year-old son, Robert, with the intention of teaching him the importance of being outdoors.

“I’ve been coming to this show on and off for at least 20 years,” said Dave.

“I have always loved being outdoors and we wanted to share that experience with Robert.”

Also enjoying the event for the first time were the Hunger sisters: Autumn and Paige, 16, and Chloe, 19, from Almont.

Anna Vachmana, 13, of Rochester meets a bald eagle, courtesy of Michigan Avian Experience.

Chloe said she especially enjoyed a show hosted by Native American Indian Reg Pettibone, who danced and shared some of his personal stories with the attentive audience.

“I’ve always been interested in our Native Americans,” Chloe said.

“I admire the respect and appreciation they have for the environment and for all living things. I liked his message that we should only take what we really need in life and leave the rest for others.”

Michigan Hawking Club member Greg Barnes of Otter Lake proudly displayed his three-year-old red-tailed hawk, Stella, on Saturday. Guests had the opportunity to see Stella and a variety of other large birds up close thanks to the club.

Rabbit and squirrel hunting is Stella’s favorite hobby, Barnes said.

“A lot of people don’t realize that falconry hunting is a highly regulated sport and it really belongs to the state,” Barnes said, noting that you must also meet federal government requirements to care for and work with the falcon.

In addition to all the sights and sounds, there was plenty of great food and drink to enjoy.

On Saturday, showgoers sampled the chili served by the competitors at the Camp Chili Cook-Off with many contenders cleaning their pots before trophies were handed out.

James Jack and Linda Kinsman from Warren took first place in the cooking competition. Lapeer’s Shawn Setzer placed second and Emmett’s Lori Raska placed third. The showmanship trophy went to Gerry Miller of Clinton Twp.

Emma Wright, Brooke Wall, Chloe Capizzo, Rachiele Kelly, Madeline Wyckstandt, Imlay City High School cheerleaders helped the Imlay City Lions Club serve hot dogs, hamburgers and more, said coach Rebecca Wright. In exchange for her help, the Lions Club will make a donation to the team.

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a shift reporter. He later he served as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He likes music, plays the drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit metropolitan area.