Friday, September 23, 2011

Make Fennville part of your weekend plans

This is going to be a great weekend to get out — and not just to ArtPrize.

Stop in Fennville tomorrow for a couple of cool events:

• Fennville is celebrating the area's agricultural history from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The farmers market at Maple and Main streets starts it all off. At 10 a.m., more than 2 dozen tractors will chug down Main Street for a parade before the new streetscape is dedicated.

A sturgeon at the hatchery.
If you haven't been to Fennville in a while, stop down. You might not recognize the downtown with the new sidewalks, lighting, benches, bike racks and the redone parking area.

• After picking up those vegetables at the farmers market, head north a few miles to New Richmond Bridge Park off Old Allegan Road. Several groups will be releasing sturgeon into the Kalamazoo River at noon, though festivities kick off at 10 a.m.

The hatchery is in a trailer at the park. The eggs were gathered from the Allegan Dam area of the river. Kalamazoo River water is pumped through a tube into the tanks so the fish will retain their unique genetic traits and return to the river to spawn.

I've had the privilege to watch this project grow, from a trip down to the Allegan Dam to get a lesson in gathering sturgeon eggs to watching the fish grow in the hatchery. I can't wait to see more than 80 prehistoric fish let into the wild.

From the celebration last year.
Bridge fun

Then, at 1 p.m., one of the coolest things about this park will happen: The 1879 swing bridge at the park will be turned. You've got to get on the center span and swing it out over the river!

I remember when it was OK to drive over that one-lane bridge. I had to line up the tires on the wooden slats and slowly rattle up the span and hope that nothing was coming the other way on that one-lane bridge. Several times I had to back down to let another car get over.

A storm did some nasty damage to the bridge, forcing it to close. Allegan County rehabilitated it into a pedestrian crossing and expanded the park around it with boardwalks, paths, fishing stations and interpretive signs.

If all goes well, a train will chug across the rail bridge near the pedestrian crossing!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great weekend of events. Everyone who attends is sure to have a blast!