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2010-05-30 / Harbor Beach Times

Maritime Festival wins competition

Harbor Beach City Clerk, Reid Charles, third from left, was all smiles after learning that Harbor beach had been selected as winner of the Excellence Award from the Michigan Minicipal League. Photo courtesy of MML Harbor Beach City Clerk, Reid Charles, third from left, was all smiles after learning that Harbor beach had been selected as winner of the Excellence Award from the Michigan Minicipal League. Photo courtesy of MML A community festival that draws thousands of people to Michigan’s Thumb each summer, has won a nomination for the Michigan Municipal League’s Community Excellence Award. The City won the peer-selected honor for its annual Maritime Festival.

It will now compete for the statewide community excellence award that will be announced during the Michigan Municipal League’s Annual Convention Sept. 21-24, 2010, in Dearborn.

Harbor Beach was selected May 21 during the League’s Region 5 Education Seminar that took place in Marlette, Michigan.

Harbor Beach’s festival was created in 2000 as a celebration for the ownership of the Harbor Beach Lighthouse.

Since that time, the Harbor Beach Maritime Festival has grown into a celebration for the entire Thumb region drawing as many as 12,000 people to the area.

“What the Maritime Festival does for a community is it pulls everybody together,” said Harbor Beach Mayor Pro Tem Al Kleinknecht, a member of the festival committee. “Everybody is talking about the Maritime Festival. It helps the merchants and it gives them something to look forward to because the town is packed. Plus, people come from all over and they get to see how great Harbor Beach is.”

League Board President Jeff Jenks presented the award to Harbor Beach City Manager Reid Charles, Mayor Pro Tem Al Kleinknecht and resident Clark Ramsey.

“I think people sometimes forget how active Michigan is year round, especially during the summer, with community festivals, celebrations, and in Harbor Beach a real lighthouse,” Jenks said. “This Maritime Festival is one of those great family events. You probably don’t have to drive more than an hour anywhere in the state to find a festival or celebration.”

The festival also represents cultural economic development, one of the eight key assets that the League has identified as making strong communities as part of the League’s Center for 21st Century Communities initiative.

The League’s Region 5 encompasses the counties of Huron, Lapeer, Saint Clair, Sanilac and Tuscola. Officials attending Friday’s event were from the areas of: Algonac, Ubly, Brown City, Capac, Lexington, Kingston, Harbor Beach, Caro, Caseville, Croswell, Marlette, Marysville, Port Huron, Sandusky, Vassar and Yale.

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