Martin Mania Article In the Rogers City Advance by Peter Jakey Managing Editor
Purple Martin Mania will be part of Memorial Day weekend activities in Rogers City for the sixth consecutive year.
The centerpiece of the event again will be a dance Saturday night at the Lakeside Park pavilion.
For the first couple of years, the dance was conducted under the downtown traffic control light, but later was moved to the nearby Mariners’ Mall parking lot.
It’s now at the pavilion, where weather conditions are not as threatening. Plus, electric outlets are not hard to find.
One of the main purposes of Purple Martin Mania is to raise money and send kids to camp. It could be a foster child, a boy or girl raised by grandparents, or a youngster who has never been to camp.
“It is to give kids opportunities in this area, that they don’t have,” said founder/organizer Cindy Vezinau.
It all starts with an art contest.
That was won by Rogers City Middle School student Brady Myers, who sketched a young woman holding out her hand, inviting a purple martin to land on it. It’s a drawing that is being used on flyers to promote the event.
However, it’s symbolic as well because purple martins needs help to keep its population afloat. They are dependent of artificial houses, but the bird also needs protection from nature’s predators. Many proponents believe the bird would vanish without human intervention.
Examples of artificial purple martin housing can be seen from the Huron Sunrise Trail at the Purple Martin Inn on Friedrich/Depot Street in Rogers City.
The purple martin needs help, just as much as some kids in the world.
Vezinau spearheaded the nonprofit organization to bring joy into the lives of young people by bringing them to northern Michigan where nature and nurturing are being promoted to provide a better future to those in need.
Local community-minded businesses are being encouraged, as they have in the past, to participate in the mania, with renamed products, or something new, all with the purple theme.
When the organization decided to give away gift cards to the art contest winners, it made a conscious effort to patronize local businesses. Myers and third-place winner Kylee Brege both selected Mr. Mustache and Company. Second-place winner Aliyah Page had not decided.
Vezinau said she is trying to promote local businesses by having the winners choose a gift card from a business in the community. “So we buy things locally, that we support the people who support us,” said Vezinau.
The gift cards will be awarded during the dance.
“We need more art in the community, and also, kids need a place to just come out and dance with good, clean, fun – multigenerational, good, clean, fun,” said Vezinau.
Domaci Gallery kicks off the event with sidewalk art along North Third Street at 2 p.m. the dance is from 8 to 11 p.m.
“We get many, many children who are up here for the weekend and need something to do,” she added. “I would say it is a 50/50 split.”
St. John Lutheran School of Rogers City decided to get involved and will be giving away popcorn at the dance. There also will be purple milkshakes, face painting and a bonfire at North Shore Park (near the Driftwood Motel).
“We bring in a ton of candy to get the kids out on the dance floor, but once we get them out there, we cannot get them off,” said Vezinau. “The thing that brings the biggest joy to me is to see the kids dancing with their parents; dancing with their friends; meeting new friends; or dancing with their grandparents.”
There also will be raffle tickets sold for prizes, including a 55-inch Westinghouse smart television, a two night stay at the Purple Martin Inn or lottery tickets. Proceeds will benefit the kids’ camp.
Application for the camp can be found at thepurplemartin.org.
Other community partners include Presque Isle District Library, Domaci Gallery, Huron Shores Humanities Council and Carmeuse Lime & Stone.