MONROE - A tractor parade and a festival to draw attention to the area's arts, food, and culture are among the activities planned for the local celebration of Michigan Week.
Started more than 50 years ago to promote the state's resources and accomplishments, Michigan Week begins Saturday.
The Monroe County Arts, Culture, and Foods Expo will promote local talent and treasures.
The expo, which is sponsored by the Monroe County Convention and Tourism Bureau, begins at noon Saturday and runs until 7 p.m. and will be held in the Monroe Bank & Trust Expo Center at the county fairgrounds. The event is free.
The works of local artists, photographers, and sculptors and the talents of musicians, historians, re-enactors, outdoor enthusiasts, and actors will be featured. Area restaurants and organizations will also be included in the expo.
"The plan is to bring together [anyone who] has anything to do with the arts in Monroe County," said John Patterson, president of the convention and tourism bureau. So far more than 50 exhibits have signed up for the one-day event.
Michiganders have been honoring themselves like this since 1954 when Don Weeks, then director of the state Department of Economic Development, created the week to promote the state's resources and accomplishments.
Other planned activities for the week will include a display of tractors and small engines, also on Saturday, at the farm of Jim and Linda Bogedain, 11550 Trost Rd., in Raisinville Township.
"We are crossing our fingers that it doesn't rain," said Mrs. Bogedain, an officer with the Southeast Michigan Antique Tractor and Engine Club.
Some of the equipment that will be on display will travel in a parade from the farm at 6:30 p.m. Saturday to nearby Ida, which is hosting a community day.
The rich history of the area will also be featured.
The Monroe County Historical Museum will open the Navarre-Anderson Trading Post and Country Store, 3775 North Custer Rd., from 1 to 5 p.m.
The trading post, which represents a French pioneer homestead, is usually open by appointment only, but will be staffed by the museum in honor of Michigan Week.
The main building was built in 1789 by Utreau Navarre and is the oldest log structure in the state. It has been restored to what it looked like in 1797. The complex includes an 1810 cook house and replica of a 1790s French-Canadian style barn.
"This is a rare opportunity to visit the trading post," said Dave Ingall, the museum's assistant director.
Dedicated citizens in the county who give their time and talents will be honored at a luncheon at noon Thursday at Laroy's Hall on Telegraph Road.
Up to 40 people will receive Minuteman awards as recognition for taking time to help others in the county.
"These people have made Monroe County a better place to live," said Pearl Albert-Green, awards committee chairman.
Several awards will be given to recognize individuals or groups for community achievement, and the Golden Heart Award will recognize one person for outstanding commitment to the community.
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