Blessing of the Blossoms 2023; Father Rexroat of St. Joseph Catholic Church with Bob Begin of Chateau Chantal | Jane Boursaw Photo
Blessing of the Blossoms 2023; Father Rexroat of St. Joseph Catholic Church with Bob Begin of Chateau Chantal | Jane Boursaw Photo
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Here’s a roundup of upcoming events on the Old Mission Peninsula. If you have an event not listed here – or if I’ve forgotten to include it! – feel free to leave it in the comments at the bottom of the story or send it to me, [email protected].

SCOUTS BSA MULCH SALE – MAY 4 & MAY 11

The Scouts BSA Annual Mulch Sale is coming right up! This year’s sale will once again be held at the First Congregational Church, 6105 Center Road on Saturday, May 4 and Saturday, May 11, 8:30 a.m. – 12 noon. The mulch is premium hardwood tree mulch, priced at $3.75 per 2 cubic foot bag, or $35 per cubic yard.

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Delivery is available with tiered pricing based on distance; must order a minimum of 3 cubic yards, with a 6 cubic yard maximum. Pre-orders available and recommended – contact Brian Brooks, [email protected]. Here’s a photo of the crew at last year’s mulch sale.

Boy Scout Troop 34 selling mulch at the First Congregational Church on the Old Mission Peninsula; Upcoming Events | Jane Boursaw Photo
Boy Scout Troop 34 selling mulch at the First Congregational Church on the Old Mission Peninsula | Jane Boursaw Photo

DONATION DAY AT BENJAMIN TWIGGS – MAY 11

Here’s a chance to help out the Old Mission Women’s Club and their charities, as well as Benjamin Twiggs, who’s going through a challenging time with all the road construction keeping customers away. On May 11, 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., the store will donate 15 percent of sales to the Old Mission Women’s Club. No coupon is needed; just stop in and make a purchase (excluding alcohol, but gift cards count towards sales).

If you can’t make it into the store, credit card orders may be called in on that day, (231) 947-0208, and online orders received that day will also count towards sales. To ensure that enough pies are available, pre-orders will be taken up to Tuesday, May 7, by phone or in person. Benjamin Twiggs is located at 1213 E. Front Street, near the The Omelette Shoppe.

Benjamin Twiggs Goodies
Benjamin Twiggs Goodies | Jane Boursaw Photo

BLESSING OF THE BLOSSOMS – MAY 11

The Annual Blessing of the Blossoms, a mainstay on the Old Mission Peninsula since the mid 1920s, is scheduled for Saturday, May 11, 11 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 12675 Center Road. The Blessing ceremony will feature representatives from four churches on the Old Mission Peninsula, including:

Following the ceremony, there will be a Pie and Wine Social, provided by Sara Lee and local wineries. 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. (And as in previous years, I will tag along and take photos! Father Rexroat and I have a great time roaming around the OMP.)

To sign up your orchard or vineyard for a blessing, contact Nicole Harmeson, (231) 421-7310, or email [email protected].

This yearly tradition dates back to 1910, when residents of the Old Mission Peninsula created the “Blessing of the Blossoms” ceremony to pray for good crops (as farm families continue to do!). Over the years, more orchards were planted, and the ceremony grew as cherries became more important to the region’s economy. In 1925, the cherry growers partnered with Traverse City merchants to create the “Blessing of the Blossoms Festival” to promote the region and the cherry business. In 1928, the Blessing of the Blossoms was renamed the Michigan Cherry Festival, which evolved into the National Cherry Festival.

For a number of years, the Freidrich Tower (across from what is now Chateau Grand Traverse) was the ceremony site. Mr. Freidrich built the observation tower, dressed it with garlands, and sought to wed tourism and faith in the Blessing ceremony. The location moved to various locations around the Peninsula, including Bowers Harbor Park.

See photos of last year’s Blessing of the Blossoms here, including this one of Father Rexroat Bob Begin of Chateau Chantal.

Blessing of the Blossoms 2023; Father Rexroat of St. Joseph Catholic Church with Bob Begin of Chateau Chantal | Jane Boursaw Photo
Blessing of the Blossoms 2023; Father Rexroat of St. Joseph Catholic Church with Bob Begin of Chateau Chantal | Jane Boursaw Photo

WOMEN’S CLUB BARN SALE – MAY 17 & 18

The Old Mission Women’s Club is hosting their annual Barn Sale Extravaganza on Friday, May 17, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Saturday, May 18, 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, Christmas decor 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 this about the barn:

“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 – MAY 18

The Old Mission Peninsula United Methodist Church is hosting their annual treasure sale on Saturday, May 18, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., at the church, 16426 Center Road. There are always lots of great treasures to be found — including toys, home decor, antiques and electronics — at this annual fundraiser for the church. And you will likely see these two there — Helen Mumford and Dave Tuttle.

Helen Mumford and Dave Tuttle at the 2022 Treasure Sale; Old Mission Peninsula United Methodist Church | Jane Boursaw Photo
Helen Mumford and Dave Tuttle at the 2022 Treasure Sale; Old Mission Peninsula United Methodist Church | Jane Boursaw Photo

BAYSHORE MARATHON – MAY 25

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 25, 6:15 a.m. to approximately 11:15 a.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.

At a recent meeting, the Peninsula Township Board voted to approve the permit for the race, but also raised the participants’ fee from $1 to $5, noting that the fee hadn’t been raised in decades and that it helps to cover the costs and impacts incurred by thousands of runners and volunteers on the OMP. For more on this, read Beth Milligan’s story over at The Ticker.

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Bayshore Marathon 2018 | Jane Boursaw Photo

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

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