Lansing’s biggest event of the year is coming quickly. In less than two weeks, the Fox Pointe and Park Plaza will be bustling with activity as the second annual Lansing Autumn Fest gets underway.
The three-day festival from Oct. 11-13 will be jam-packed with activities for all ages. You can listen to a variety of bands and this year there will be a second stage with family entertainment, which will be a wonderful addition to the Lansing Autumn Fest. There will be a variety of activities for children, from pumpkin decorating to scarecrow making to games to hay rides. And the grown-ups can enjoy the art and craft vendors, historical walk and “I Grew Up In Lansing” reunion spot.
Oct. 11, things will kick off with the Burgers, Brats, Beers and Bands event, which was wildly popular last year — so popular that the brats sold out quicker than expected. This year there will lots more food on hand and St. Ann’s will be having a huge bake sale, so leave room for dessert. I am excited that one of the featured bands will be Eddie Korosa and The Boys From Illinois. My dad and I saw them perform last year at the Lansing Public Library and really enjoyed them. Seriously, how can it not make you happy listening to polka music? How can an accordion not make you smile? Feel free to put on your dancing shoes and show the crowd your polka moves.
Everyone is crossing their fingers that the weather is a bit more cooperative this year. Despite last year’s stormy weekend, it drew a large crowd and there was so much positive feedback following the fest. One of my favorite parts of the weekend was the chili cook-off. I was fortunate to be able to be a judge for the competition last year and it was a very tasty hour spent trying out several chili dishes that were all very different. This year, you’ll have a panel of celebrity judges picking out their favorite and the committee is still looking for contestants. There will be four prizes awarded. First place is $100, a trophy and entry into the ICS Chilly Willie Challenge coming up in Orland Hills. Second place is $50 and third place is $25. One of the chili dishes will also be named as People’s Choice. Cost to participate is $20. And even if you’re not participating as a chili cook or a judge, you’ll have an opportunity to try out some chili. There will be a $5 entrance fee to go in and get a taste. The competition is at 2 p.m. Oct. 13. Entry forms can be found at LANSINGAUTUMNFEST.ORG.
I’m also getting very excited about the vintage base ball game that will take place on Oct. 13 at Winterhoff Park. I’ve been organizing the game with the help of Rich Dust, of the Lansing Historical Society, who is serving as the team manager and umpire. I’ve assembled a group of local guys who will participate in an exhibition game against the Munster Centennials. We’re trying our best to make it feel like the 1800s as the game goes along with Lansing’s 120th anniversary taking place this year. Lansing Sport Shop and Besse Shirt Lettering were kind enough to donate the uniforms that will be worn and Lansing Professional Firefighters Association Local 3709 made a donation for other costs associated with the event.
The chili cook-off and baseball game will follow the morning events, which will include a short multi-denominational church service with representatives of several Lansing churches and a ceremony honoring our military members and veterans with musical entertainment that you won’t want to miss. I’m all for recognizing and honoring our military heroes and I’m a bit excited that my nephew, a lieutenant in the Marines, will be home that weekend from Virginia.
And if you haven’t gotten your car raffle tickets yet, be sure to get one soon. Visit LANSINGAUTUNFEST.ORG to find out where they are available. If any remain, they will be sold at the fest, but only a limited number are being sold. There’s still time to get involved. If you’d like to volunteer, go to LANSINGAUTUMNFEST.ORG. Also be sure to like the fest on Facebook and on Twitter at @LansAutumnFest for updates.