Father Rexroat performs the Blessing of the Blossoms on the Old Mission Peninsula | Jane Boursaw Photo
Father Rexroat performs the Blessing of the Blossoms on the Old Mission Peninsula | Jane Boursaw Photo

Here’s a roundup of upcoming events on the Old Mission Peninsula. If you have an event you’d like listed in Old Mission Gazette, email me any time, [email protected].

Blessing of the Blossoms – Sunday, May 15

The Annual Blessing of the Blossoms, a mainstay on the Old Mission Peninsula since the mid 1920s, will be done both in-person and virtually this Sunday, May 15, at 2 p.m. This year’s ceremony will take place at St. Joseph Catholic Church with three OMP pastors – Pastor Andrea Johnson of OMP United Methodist Church, Rev. Peter Shumar of Old Mission Congregational Church, and Father Ben Rexroat of St. Joe’s presiding.

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Following the ceremony, there will be an ice cream and apple pie reception at the church provided by Sara Lee and served by the St. Joseph’s Women’s Guild. Local wines have also been donated for the event. As the reception winds down, Father Rexroat will head to orchards and wineries on the Peninsula and perform a blessing of the crops and vineyards.

To sign up your orchard or vineyard for a blessing, contact Nicole Harmeson, (231) 421-7310, or email [email protected]. See photos of last year’s Blessing of the Blossoms here, including this one of Father Rexroat and Karen Buchan of Buchan’s Blueberry Hill…

Father Rexroat with Karen Buchan at Buchan's Blueberry Hill; Blessing of the Blossoms on the Old Mission Peninsula | Jane Boursaw Photo
Father Rexroat with Karen Buchan at Buchan’s Blueberry Hill; Blessing of the Blossoms on the Old Mission Peninsula | Jane Boursaw Photo

Local History Talk with Tim Carroll – Tuesday, May 17

Tim Carroll once again resumes his local history talks at Peninsula Community Library (“Tea With Tim at 2 on Tuesday”). This talk will feature special guests Georgia Holman and Laurie Holman, who will chat about the Holman Farm, its long history on the Peninsula, and the seven generations who’ve farmed the land. You may have picked up a pumpkin or two there in the fall. Read more about the farm here.

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Alexander Holman Peach Tree Nursery, 1906; Left to Right, Mathew Zoulek, Harry Christopher, Tom Valley, Bernard Holman, Ed Hastey, Alexander Holman

Pickleball Fundraiser – Thursday, May 19

The Township has given the go-ahead for a local pickleball group led by Dawn Hemming to build six courts at Bowers Harbor Park. Stay tuned for more details on the project. The group is in the process of raising funds, and will host a fundraising barbeque sponsored by the Boathouse Restaurant on Thursday, May 19, at 5:30 p.m. at Bowers Harbor Park. Enjoy an outdoor evening of food, friends, and a silent auction to raise money for the new courts. All donations accepted. Their ultimate goal is $360,000 by June 1, and they’re a good portion of the way there already. RSVP by May 12 at [email protected].

Women’s Club Barn Sale – Friday, May 20 & Saturday, May 21

The Old Mission Women’s Club is hosting a Barn Sale Extravaganza on Friday, May 20, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Saturday, May 21, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. The event will take place at the historic Fowler Barn, 6782 Center Road. If you’re coming out Center Road from town, it’s the big white barn on the right side of the road just as you pass the first curve, before you get to Pelizzari Natural Area. The club has been organizing this event for months and has plenty of amazing treasures for all ages, including small furniture pieces, toys, tools, lamps, linens, kitchenware, jewelry, accessories, pictures and home decor, sporting equipment and much more.

Profits from the sale provide financial grants to nonprofit 501(c) (3) organizations that operate in the Grand Traverse area. All major credit cards are accepted.

As a side note, the Fowler Barn is featured in Evelyn Johnson’s book, “Barns of Old Mission Peninsula.” During World War II, a Peninsula newsletter full of folksy news was published by David Murray (read a little of it here) and sent to all the servicemen. In the Sept/Oct 1944 newsletter, his wife, Carol Murray, wrote, “The first thing that strikes our eyes as we leave the fork in the road and dodge Mrs. Trimmer’s guinea hens is Frank Mathison’s new barn. Frank thought he was going to join you all but the Army said no, so he is going to raise some good beef for you. His dad-in-law, Ben Konig, is helping him build just the latest thing in barns, and it is up to about the third story now, and it sure looks like a dilly.”

Church Treasure Sale – Saturday, May 21

The annual Treasure Sale at Old Mission Peninsula United Methodist Church will take place on Saturday, May 21, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. There’s always lots of great treasures, including wicker items, antiques and electronics – and at great prices – at this annual fundraiser for the church, located at 16425 Center Road. Don’t forget – if you’re coming from the south, be aware that there is road work being done on Center Road. A good option is to take the scenic drive out Peninsula Drive, turn right on Kroupa Road, left onto Center, and the church is located at the top of the hill on the right. You can’t miss it!

Bayshore Marathon – Saturday, May 28

The annual Bayshore Marathon, Half Marathon, and 10K will take place along East Shore Drive, Center Road and Bluff Road on the morning of May 28, 7: 15 a.m. to approximately 1:15 p.m. Up to 8,000 runners will be on the roads, and as in previous years, the roads will be closed to traffic. If you have special transportation needs during the event, email [email protected].

Because of the road closure on the north end of Bluff Road, runners will turn around at the Mission Hills subdivision and head back south, rather than going to Boursaw Road as in previous years. For more info about the race and course, visit their website here.

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Bayshore Marathon 2018 | Jane Boursaw Photo

Log Cabin Day – Sunday, June 26

Hosted by the Old Mission Peninsula Historical Society, the annual Log Cabin Day is scheduled for Sunday, June 26. The event is free and celebrates the historic Hessler Log Cabin located at Lighthouse Park at the end of Center Road (M37), as well as the restored Dougherty House, now open to the public as a museum, located at 18459 Mission Road. Festivities take place at the Hessler Log Cabin and Mission Point Lighthouse from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the Dougherty House from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In the mid-1990s, the Hessler Log Cabin was moved from the north end of the Underwood Farms development (across from the boat launch on Center Road) and carefully restored by a team of OMP residents, including my parents, Walter and Mary Johnson.

As in previous years, this year’s Log Cabin Day will include tours of the Hessler Log Cabin, Mission Point Lighthouse and Dougherty House. The event will also feature historic music, crafts and demonstrations such as quilting, needlework, blacksmithing and more. I believe the folks from the Maritime Heritage Alliance will also be on hand with their replica of a voyageur canoe.

The OMP Historical Society also has another mystery event coming up in September. Stay tuned to the Gazette for more info on that, and see pics from the 2019 Log Cabin Day here and last year’s Harvesting History event here.

Meijer Festival of Races – Saturday, July 9

The annual Meijer Festival of Races – part of the National Cherry Festival – will take place on Saturday, July 9. The race consists of a 5K, 10K, 15K and Half Marathon, and the course covers a variety of Old Mission Peninsula roads, including McKinley Road, Center Road, East Shore Road, Peninsula Drive and Island View Road. None of the roads will be officially closed, so proceed with caution if you need to be on these roads on race day. The various races begin between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. For more information about the race and courses, visit their website here.

Traverse City Triathlon – Sunday, August 21

This running-biking-swimming race is scheduled for Sunday, August 21; however, no course is listed on their website at this writing. In previous years, the event began with a looped swim in Bowers Harbor, biking past orchards and vineyards towards the north end of the OMP, and running along Neahtawanta Road to the Bill Carls Pyatt Lake Nature Preserve. We’ll keep you posted on the course as it becomes available.

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A lifelong resident of the Old Mission Peninsula, Jane grew up on a cherry farm (Johnson Farms), married the boy next door (Tim Boursaw), and raised two kids there (Will and Marissa). Her 35-year career as a photojournalist includes bylines with the New York Times and Ladies' Home Journal, and interviews with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. But she loves writing about the OMP most of all.

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