All posts by Nicole Vesota

Making Waves: Monroe Boat Club Celebrates 70 Years

Monroe Boat Club 70th Anniversary Logo“Friendliest club in Western Lake Erie.”
“You won’t believe how much fun it is!”
“Grew up going here… this is a big part of my family.”

These are just a few of the Monroe Boat Club’s glowing reviews on social media. Although its founders could hardly have imagined this type of success in 1945, they would surely find it in keeping with the club’s first bylaw–the “promotion, protection and encouragement of boating for pleasure and sport, with emphasis on good fellowship among its members.”

Boating? Check. A down-to-earth, family-oriented community? Check. And as the Monroe Boat Club marks its 70th anniversary this year, it’s showing no signs of slowing down.


The Monroe Boat Club Present Day
The Monroe Boat Club, Present Day

Founded in 1945, 2015 marks the Monroe Boat Club’s 70th Anniversary. The Monroe Boat Club is located in the Bolles Harbor of Refuge on Lake Eerie in Monroe, Michigan, and attracts competitive and hobbyist boaters alike.

The club’s roots date back to the late 1800’s, when the club was known as the Monroe Yacht Club, a social hub in Monroe, Michigan known for it’s Muskrat dinners just after the turn of the century. When the Monroe Yacht Club merged with Bolles Harbor Boat Club, the Monroe Boat Club was born.

All Hands On Deck

In its beginnings, the club hosted monthly meetings in a member’s barn. After several years, the club began to develop into the Monroe Boat Club we see today; a lumber donation and the hard work of club members brought a two-story clubhouse to fruition. By 1979, the club boasted permanent docks, an adequate sea wall, a bar, and a clubhouse addition used for parties and social events.

Monroe Boat Club in 1949
The Monroe Boat Club, in February of 1949

Further expansion came over the following decades, with additional bar space, a stronger protective sea wall, an outdoor shelter, and more docks.

The Monroe Boat Club has 135 docks accommodating boats of 16’ to 60’ in length, more than 400 members, and an enthusiasm for competitive sailing and power yacht cruises. Club events are numerous, including Regattas, Sail Fleet Races, an annual Commodore’s Ball, holiday parties, poker runs, and much more.

The Docks at the Monroe Boat Club
The Docks at the Monroe Boat Club

For its 70th Anniversary, a commemorative 70th Anniversary logo was created. The logo includes the words “Promote,” “Protect,” and “Encourage,” citing the club’s first by-law, which states that “The object of this club shall be the promotion, protection and encouragement of boating for pleasure and sport, with emphasis on good fellowship among its members.”

Congratulations to the Monroe Boat Club for 70 exciting years!

Windmill Island Gardens Celebrates 50 Years

Windmill Island Gardens Attracts Tourists from Around the WorldWindmill Island Gardens is a 36-acre park filled with gardens, canals, dikes, and picnic areas, located in Holland, Michigan. The focal point of the Gardens is the De Zwaan Windmill; this 250-year-old windmill stands 125 feet tall, and is the only authentic, functioning Dutch windmill in the United States. This year, the Windmill Island Gardens is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary, with a variety of events and special edition merchandise.

Windmill Island Gardens was previously known as Hyma Island, and was a vegetable farm owned by the Nelis family. During the Depression, the family decided to switch from growing vegetables to flowers, and began growing Daffodils by request of a cousin in the Netherlands. Over the years, they added Tulips to their farm, which resulted in a burgeoning of tourists who came to Holland for the Tulip Time Festival in the late 1930’s. In the mid 1960’s, the City of Holland purchased the De Zwaan Windmill from a retired miller in the Netherlands. The windmill was shipped to Muskegon and brought by truck to the island. The Windmill Island Gardens opened on April 10, 1965, and the grand opening was overseen by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, the first official visitor to the park.

An Aerial View of Windmill Island in Holland, MI

Since it’s opening in 1965, the Windmill Island Gardens has become a popular tourist attraction in Holland, with around 55,000 people visiting each year between April and October. The park is home to over 115,000 tulips, replicas of buildings from the Netherlands including The Post House, classic Klompen dance exhibitions, an antique Dutch carousel, and more. The gardens are also often used for weddings, and see a large portion of their visitors attending during the annual Tulip Time Festival in the Spring.

For it’s 50th anniversary, the Windmill Island Gardens have a variety of events scheduled throughout the spring and summer, including:

  • A Golden Anniversary Party on Sunday, July 12th – Free activities for kids and their families throughout the day, including wooden shoe races, rolling hoops, rides on the antique Dutch carousel, a children’s garden and playground, Frisian horses, balloons, and refreshments. From 12-4pm, farm animals from the Critter Barn will be visiting for kids to interact with, and there will be a scavenger hunt let by De Graf Nature Center. There will also be Dutch children’s stories read at 1pm and 3pm.
  • A Golden Anniversary Concert on Thursday, August 27th – Bring your own blanket or lawn chair and enjoy the sounds of Orquestra Ritmo, a popular Michigan salsa orchestra. Kids activities will be offered from 6pm-7pm, and the concert begins at 7pm. The event is free, and food and beverages will be available for purchase.
  • A Golden Anniversary Community Day on Saturday, September 5th – This event is held annually, but this year’s Community Day is expected to be one to remember! Tickets are sold by Hope College and include admission to the gardens, a picnic lunch, and an admission to an athletic event at Hope College. For ticket information, contact the DeVos Ticket Office at 222 Fairbanks Avenue, or the Downtown Ticket Office at 100 E. 8th Street – Main Level. You can also call (616) 395-7890 for more information.

In addition to special events, Windmill Island Gardens is also selling commemorative 50th Anniversary Celebration memorabilia, including:

  • A commemorative ornament
  • Lapel pins, mugs, and tote bags
  • A special 50th anniversary cloth bag filled with flour ground at DeZwaan
  • The new book “DeZwaan: The True Story of America’s Authentic Dutch Windmill”

Congratulations to Windmill Island Gardens on 50 years of bringing history, joy, and beauty to the community of Holland, Michigan and all of it’s visitors!

Macatawa Resource Center Celebrates 15 Years with Ribbon Cutting Celebration

The Macatawa Resource Center is a facility thThe Macatawa Resource Center Signat rents space for non-profits to run their organizations in Holland, Michigan. This year, the center celebrated 15 years of helping community organizations, with a ribbon cutting ceremony and anniversary celebration!

In 1999, founder Leroy Hernandez opened the doors to the Macatawa Resource Center with a mission of helping non-profit organizations to succeed, even if they may not have the funds to rent their own office space or facility. The center began with just a few organizations taking advantage of this opportunity. Over time, MRC has expanded its facilities, and is currently home to over 13 non-profit organizations.

Some of these organizations include:

  • The Arc Advocacy and Resource Center – Providing support and resources for children and adults with cognitive and developmental disabilities, and their families.
  • The Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance – Promoting racial equality and the active inclusion of people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds through workshops, seminars, and other advocacy services.
  • The Community Action House – Helps area families and individuals by providing food, clothing, and shelter, as well as education and training to sustain these basic necessities on their own.
  • The Thrift Boutique – A functioning thrift shop with clothing, shoes. books, accessories, and more – the proceeds from which go towards Community Action House Programs.
  • Building Men For Life – A community living program to help men reshape their lives after recovering from alcoholism and drug addiction, by providing support and local housing.

In celebration of the Macatawa Resource Center’s continued growth and service to the community, the center held a West Coast Chamber ribbon cutting event. After an informative and gracious speech from Hernandez, the ribbon cutting kicked off the event, and 15 doves were released as a symbol of 15 years.

The Macatawa Resource Center Ribbon is Cut as 15 Doves are Released into the Air
15 doves were released as the ribbon was cut in celebration of the Macatawa Resource Center’s 15th Anniversary.

After the ribbon cutting, guests were given an extensive tour of the facility. Groups were led through the different non-profit organizations housed in the Center, as well as the common areas of the facility, like conference rooms and kitchens for the organizations to utilize.

The food pantry at the Macatawa Resource Center
The food pantry at the Macatawa Resource Center is just one of the ways the organizations it houses give back to the community.

As groups toured the facility, refreshments provided by Boar’s Head could be enjoyed. There was also live music, and even free chair massages.  The event was a true celebration, and everyone in attendance seemed to enjoy themselves and learn a lot about the various organizations housed at the facility.

Live music at the anniversary celebration
Live music set the tone for a true celebration of community spirit.

Congratulations to the Macatawa Resource Center for 15 years of serving the Holland community!

Batman Celebrates 75 Years

The logo is instantly recognizable. The name is unforgettable. Kids and adults alike look up to the Dark Knight, the Caped Crusader, the legendary Batman. Batman is one of the most popular and successful superheroes in the history of comic books, film, and video games. And he’s 75 years old this year.

Originally called Bat-Man by his artistic creator Kane, Batman first appeared in a comic book in 1939, in the May issue of Detective Comics #27. The storyline of that issue was written by Bill Finger. The character became so popular that he got his own comic book, Batman #1, one year later.

Fast forward 75 years, and Batman has grown to be even more popular than ever before, and DC Comics has a full year of celebrations planned. Highlights of the celebration include:

    • July 23rd: Batman Day – Comic book retailers and book stores nationwide will celebrate the first ever official Batman Day. Fans will receive a free special edition of the Detective Comics #27 issue, in which Bat-Man first appeared, by visiting participating retailers. New collectibles will also be released to retailers, including Batman graphic novels, a 75th Anniversary cape, and four specially designed masks portraying the different looks Batman has had over the years. Batman Day will also be celebrated at select participating libraries on July 26th,  thanks to a partnership with Random House and DC Comics. You can learn more about all of the Batman Day activities in this press release.
    • Gotham TV Series – Warner Bros.Television is currently in production of the new TV series, Gotham. The drama explores the origin of the city of Gotham, and how its super-villain, Commissioner Gordon, rose to be Police Commissioner of one of the most corrupt and evil cities conceivable. The highly anticipated series from Executive Producers Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon, stars Ben McKenzie as Jim Gordon, and will premiere this fall on FOX.
    • Special Product Releases – The list is extensive, so let’s just say, there will be plenty of new Batman products released this year. This includes a plethora of re-releases of films, comic books, and tv series, as well as brand new animation shorts, collectibles, toy, t-shirts, and much more.
    • New Logo – The commemorative 75th Anniversary Logo features the Dark Knight in black with white numbering highlighting “75” for 75 years.
    • Batman 75 Sweepstakes – DC Comics offered a Sweepstakes running from March 27 through May 7, which awarded one winner with Batman-themed action figures, comics, toys, and more, valued at $2,747.79.

DC Comics will continue to celebrate Batman’s 75th Anniversary throughout the year. You can view the latest celebration details on Batman’s Facebook Page, or

Chicken of the Sea Celebrates 100 Years of Good

Chicken of the Sea Celebrates 100 Years of GoodChicken of the Sea began as Van Camp Seafood in 1914, a fish canning company located in California. In the 1930’s, World War I was happening overseas. During the war and in the following years there were food shortages across the US. As a result, canned tuna fish quickly gained popularity as an affordable source of protein in the American home.

Chicken of the Sea gained it’s iconic brand name in the 1930’s; fisherman often called the white albacore tuna “Chicken of the Sea” because of it’s light color and mild flavor. The name quickly appeared on packaging and in marketing in newspapers.

In the 1950’s, branding became increasingly important as more and more packaged products were making their way into American households. Thus, the Chicken of the Sea Mermaid became the mascot for the company, giving an appealing look to the brand’s products. The blonde mermaid was inspired by Grace Lee Whitney, actress in the popular Star Trek series of that time. Chicken of the Sea even used their mascot to sponsor Disneyland’s Fantasyland pirate ship and restaurant in 1955. The following decade, Chicken of the Sea debuted their commercial jingle, “Ask Any Mermaid You Happen to See, What’s the Best Tuna? Chicken of the Sea!”

In 1990. Chicken of the Sea initiated “The Mermaid Cares: Dolphin Safe Policy”, which made them the first seafood company to require their seafood to be dolphin safe.

In the present day, the company strives to maintain sustainable practices. Chicken of the Sea co-founded the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund. They also take pride in investing in charitable organizations and local communities, including their partnership with Feeding America.

This year marks “100 Years of Good” for Chicken of the Sea. The company is celebrating in many ways. Beginning in March is “The Great American Gratitude Tour,” during which the company will travel to various communities. When the tour stops in your area, you can try samples, win prizes, meet the mermaid, and more.

Another way Chicken of the Sea is celebrating 100 years is by creating the Great American Gratitude Awards. Anyone can go to the Chicken of the Sea website, and nominate an individual, cause, or organization that they believe deserves an award. The company will then select 10 of those individuals, causes, or organizations, and award them with $10,000.

For the more creative types, the Name the Mermaid Contest is another way Chicken of the Sea is celebrating. Enter the contest with the name you think would best fit the Chicken of the Sea mermaid, and the person who comes up with the winning name will with $10,000.

The website also shares a variety of “favorite centennial recipes” using various types of seafood, including Chicken of the Sea Tuna, of course!

Congratulations to Chicken of the Sea on their “100 Years of Good!” We look forward to taking part in your fun celebratory festivities.

Klingman’s Furniture Celebrates 117 Years

Klingman's 117th Anniversary SaleThis year, West Michigan furniture company Klingman’s celebrates it’s 117th year in business. Founded in 1896 by Philip J. Klingman, the retailer’s name is widely recognized in Grand Rapids and the the greater West Michigan Area.

In celebration of it’s 117th anniversary, Klingman’s Furniture is hosting an Anniversary Sale featuring record-low prices on many fine furnishings. Some of the savings found at the year-long savings event include:

  • Half off dining room tables with the purchase of four chairs
  • Half off all beds with the purchase of two case pieces
  • A bonus coupon for an additional 20% off any one item
  • A Stearns and Fosters pick two program that allows you to pick any two of the following options with purchase: Free Delivery, Free Bed Frame, Free Mattress Pad, Free Removal & Disposal, or Free Financing
  • And much more!

The rich history of the company and it’s struggles over the past few years have made this anniversary even more reason to celebrate.

What started out as a man selling furniture samples at the Grand Rapids Market turned into what would soon become West Michigan’s largest privately owned fine furnishing company. However, the company faced a huge threat back in 2010, when the company was forced into bankruptcy.

The store was forced to close it’s doors at  Roger’s Plaza, after being moved two years earlier from it’s original location at Centerpointe Mall, and quickly liquidated its assets  But the Klingman’s brand has re-emerged after being revived by new owners. The Klingman’s showroom that Grand Rapids knows and loves is now located at 2984 28th Street SE in Kentwood.

Congratulations to Klingman’s Furniture for holding strong in West Michigan since 1896 – your 117th anniversary is one to celebrate!

Regina Medical Center’s 60th Anniversary Celebration!

Regina Medical Center 60th Anniversary CelebrationLocated in Hastings, Minnesota, Regina Medical Center is a leader in compassionate patient care. The center offers a wide range of medical services, from Hospital services with a full surgical staff and emergency services, to senior living services, as well as more common patient services like physical therapy, medical imaging, and lab work.

This year marks Regina Medical Center’s 60th Anniversary, and the center was happy to celebrate this momentous occasion with members of the community. The center hosted a 60th Anniversary Community Celebration, which took place on the Regina Medical Center campus in Hastings on August 17, 2013.

The Anniversary Celebration welcomed all members of the community with a free picnic dinner, including burgers, chips, cookies, and fruit. Lemonade was also served, which was a big hit with the temperatures soaring on the hot summer day.

There was plenty to do for the kids at the event, with a variety of children’s games, a dunk tank, a bouncing castle, a giant inflatable slide, and an obstacle course. In addition to fun and games for the kids, adults could take part in hip hop dancing and other healthy activities in the exercise tent.

The event featured a live band, The Castaways, playing classic music from the 50’s and 60’s. There were also several community booths, demonstrating different programs available at Regina Medical Center, as well as highlighting additional sponsors of the event.

Congratulations to Regina Medical Center on 60 years of dedication to patient care and community outreach!