Category Archives: Celebration Ideas

50 Years Fresh: Tim Hortons Celebrates Golden Anniversary

It was a scene straight from the 1960s, with all the trappings: jazz, vintage cars, and a classic donut shop. In fact, if you had been in downtown Toronto last spring, you might be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped back in time:

Tim Hortons, 1964
Tim Hortons, 1964
Tim Hortons 50th Anniversary, Toronto
Tim Hortons 50th Anniversary, Toronto







And that was exactly the intent, as iconic restaurant chain Tim Hortons celebrated 50 years of success (or, more appropriately, “donut domination”). Employees dressed in 60’s era clothing and the original uniforms, handing out complimentary birthday donuts to passerby.

Luck…and Donuts

How did a humble donut shop in Hamilton, Ontario become a household name, with over 4,000 locations across Canada and the U.S.? Well, it helps to have a famous co-founder. Named after Toronto Maple Leafs hockey great Miles Gilbert “Tim” Horton, the restaurant opened  just a few weeks after Horton and the Maple Leafs won the coveted 1964 Stanley Cup.

But an auspicious start was just part of the story. Tim Hortons earned staying power by being the best at the basics. Its coffee, always served within 20 minutes of brewing, has become the stuff of legend. And its signature Timbits (otherwise known as donut holes), became instant crowd pleasers after their mid-1970s debut.

The Taste Test

Clearly, this chain warranted a taste test, and I felt up for the challenge (spoiler alert: Tim Hortons’ passed with flying colors). I visited the Greenville, Michigan location and was pleasantly surprised to discover that beyond just donuts, they offered classic sandwiches and paninis.

I ordered a lunch combo that included a panini sandwich, drink, and choice of chips or fresh bakery item. Rather than getting chips with the combo, I indulged in a pumpkin spice muffin.  And of course, I had to try a small order of assorted Timbits. The verdict? I have to say that Tim Hortons wins my vote for “fast food”, and being able to pair a fresh bakery item with a sandwich (rather than other fast food restaurants’ greasy fries) is brilliant.

Celebrating All Year

In addition to the celebration in Toronto, Tim Hortons extended its birthday celebration to all of its 4,000+ stores. Customers savored free birthday cake donuts, and loyal fans were able to purchase one-of-a-kind 50th anniversary travel mugs and reusable beverage cups. All year long, Tim Hortons beverages were served in cups featuring the 50th anniversary logo, along with the take-out boxes and bags.

Tim Hortons also held a “Dueling Donuts” challenge, encouraging customers to create and enter their own donut into a contest to win $10,000 and have their donut added to the Tim Hortons menu. The winning donut? Love REESE’S® To Pieces, featuring chocolate frosting and pieces of REESE’s candy sprinkled on top.

Please join us in congratulating Tim Hortons on a successful 50 years of donut domination!

Whitetail Woods Regional Park Celebrates Grand Opening

Room to Roam: Whitetail Woods Regional Park Celebrates Grand Opening

Years of planning, strategy and preparation finally came to a head, as Dakota County, MN officials officially unveiled Whitetail Woods Regional Park—the county’s first regional park in three decades—on a sunny September afternoon.

As visitors flew kites, listened to live music, and enjoyed horse-drawn wagon rides, they described their impressions enthusiastically: “Beautiful.” “Great for families.” “Nature-filled.” “Big spaces.”

Emphasis on the “big”—456 acres, to be exact. Whitetail Woods offers over 10 miles of summer hiking trails and over 6 miles of ski trails traversing rolling prairie, pine forest, wetlands, and Empire Lake.

But an even more fitting descriptor for Whitetail Woods might be “one-of-a-kind.” Top of the List’s Audrey Flack attended the park’s grand opening festivities with her family and noted several standout features that make the park, in her words, “worth the drive.” Here are few of her top picks:

Fawn Crossing Nature Play Area

For kids, Fawn Crossing Nature Play Area offers a change of pace from the traditional playground, using the landscape itself to encourage creative play. Hills, hollows, and rock walls become places to build forts, play with sand, pump water, and jump across tree stumps and logs. Flack and her two young sons took full advantage of these opportunities:

And to help ease the wintertime doldrums, the hilly portion of the play area becomes a 915-foot lighted sledding hill. Post-sledding, groups can use a nearby king-size outdoor fireplace to toast smores beneath the stars.

“Treehouse”-style camper cabins

Open for just one month, Whitetail Woods’ one-of-a-kind camper cabins have made a big impact. When reservations opened at 10 a.m. December 1, there were 45 requests within the first 60 seconds. The three cabins have sold out completely through April 2015.

The cabins offer soaring views of the surrounding forest, while still remaining ADA compliant. Each cabin houses up to six people on simple full-size and twin day beds and can be used year-round.

Treehouse at Whitetail Woods

Looking ahead: A regional destination

At the Whitetail Woods grand opening, visitors learned of future plans for the park, including a paved trail around Empire Lake, an arbor for weddings, a dog park, disc golf course, visitor center, lighted ski trail, and up to 30 camper cabins. Programming for children and adults began in the fall, which attracts visitors from across the county and beyond.

A nature-lover at heart, Flack is eager to return. “Connecting with nature has been a key form of stress relief throughout my life,” she said. “I can’t wait to share the beauty of Whitetail Woods with my boys as they grow.”

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!

Afton Apple Celebrates 25 Years

A good pick: Afton Apple celebrates 25 years

Welcome to Afton Apple

When September comes around, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more telling sign of the season than the ubiquitous trip to the apple orchard (the Pumpkin Spice Latte might be a close second, but that’s a story for another day …). And as urbanites and suburbanites alike prep for their annual orchard outings, it seems that everyone has a favorite.

Afton Apple is one of the orchards in the Twin Cities Metro that’s gotten it right. Located a few miles north of Hastings, MN, the orchard celebrates its 25th season this year. Owners Frank and Cindy Femling purchased over 190 acres of unmaintained farmland in 1989, steadily transforming the property from a modest pick-your-own apple orchard to a well-known landmark that welcomes over 50,000 visitors during apple season.

You might think that such a large operation would give the orchard an overly commercial feel. Yet the Femlings have carefully maintained the orchard’s rural charm and down-home atmosphere. Top of the List staffer Audrey Flack discovered this firsthand when visiting the orchard with her family on a sunny September weekend. In addition to picking apples, her young sons took full advantage of the unique “retread hill,” petting zoo, and playground:

Afton Apple Kids' Activities

To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Afton Apple held a weekend-long extravaganza in mid-September. The event featured the famous Dock Dogs, music, face painting, and a beer tent, in addition to giveaways and a 25 percent discount on pick-your-own apples. It also designed its 15-acre corn maze to commemorate the event. The design theme, “Ears to 25 Years,” incorporates an anniversary cake and even the faces of the Femlings themselves.

But perhaps the best way for visitors to celebrate Afton Apple’s milestone anniversary is in the traditional way: with delicious goodies freshly made from the orchard’s harvest!

Enjoying a doughnut from Afton Apple

House of Flavors Celebrates 66 Years

House of Flavors HistoryHouse of Flavors Sign

Park Dairy’s House of Flavors is one of Michigan’s original ice cream manufacturers, as well as an ice cream parlor and restaurant. They are independently owned and operated by the Neal family. Bob Neal Sr. purchased 50% of Miller Dairy in Ludington, MI in 1948. Miller Dairy was then renamed Park Dairy.  Today, the company is run by Bob Neal Jr. and his son Barry Neal.

House of Flavors Today

Park Dairy’s House of Flavors is Michigan’s largest ice cream manufacturer under one roof, as well as Michigan’s biggest private label ice cream manufacturer.  House of Flavors produces over 2 million gallons of ice cream per month, and creates over 3400 different ice cream recipes for customers world-wide.

Claim to Fame

House of Flavors’ claim to ice cream fame is creating the Midwest favorite:  Blue Moon ice cream. They began making this signature flavor in 1935, when House of Flavors was then Miller Dairy. Today, the Blue Moon ice cream ingredients remain a secret, but the flavor is deliciously distinct and iconic.

Ice Cream Parlors / RestaurantsHouse of Flavors Decor

House of Flavors also has 2 ice cream parlor / restaurant locations. The original location is in Ludington, MI, right in front of the ice cream factory; the second location is in Manistee, MI along the Riverwalk.  The parlors have a 50’s diner theme, and the décor includes a jukebox, retro bar stools, and record albums covering the walls and ceiling.  Their goal is to “bring back family style dining the way it was intended, by providing quality meals and desserts, a fun family style environment, and superior service”.  They specialize in roast turkey, specialty sandwiches, and homemade soups, in addition to their delicious ice cream.


House of Flavors is commemorating their 66th anniversary with a banner hanging in their restaurant as well as with staff t-shirts marking this important milestone.  And, starting in mid-October and running for a limited time, they will be giving diners a free scoop of ice cream with a meal purchase as a way to say “thank you”.

Join us in congratulating House of Flavors on a deliciously successful 66 years, and be sure to stop by on your next visit to Ludington or Manistee, Michigan!

Beltline Bar Celebrates 60 Years

Beltline Bar


The original Beltline Bar was founded by George Wilkinson in 1953. In the beginning, the restaurant served popcorn, beverages, and chili dogs, which were the house specialty at the time.  Then, in 1964, Tony Rutkowski acquired the restaurant, and his son Jerry developed many of the secret recipes for today’s Mexican specialties.  As a result, the Beltline Bar became the Beltline Bar Famous Mexican Café.



Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan the Beltline Beltline Bar LunchBar is likely the most well-known Mexican restaurant in all of West Michigan. It has become famous for its wet burritos and margaritas, winning multiple awards throughout the years. In addition to burritos, the Beltline Bar carries an array of delicious appetizers, salads, sizzling fajitas, enchiladas, tacos, chimichangas, house favorites, burgers and wraps, and desserts.


This summer the Beltline Bar is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday you can get a “Famous Wet Burrito” and draft beer for only $7.99.

In addition, the Beltline Bar is participating in the 4GR8 Beltline Bar Drink2014 Passport – Eat Local Challenge. The Passport Challenge features restaurants which are locally based, Michigan owned and operated, and strive to support local suppliers and local food growers. The challenge is simply to dine at the local restaurants and receive a stamp in your passport when you spend at least $10. You can then redeem the stamped passport for gift certificates.

  • $10 gift certificate for redeeming 3 stamps
  • $25 gift certificate for redeeming 6 stamps
  • $50 gift certificate for redeeming 9 stamps.

You can double the value of your gift certificate by redeeming a catering stamp which is earned by having one of the participating restaurants cater your event.

Beltline Bar Chimi Cheesecake DessertLastly, this summer the Beltline Bar is partnering with WOOD Radio for “Burrito Tuesday”; to nominate a friend or co-worker to be a “Beltline Bar Burrito Buddy of the Week”.  Winners are announced every Tuesday morning between 5am-9am, and will receive a $25 gift certificate to the Beltline Bar.

Please join us in congratulating the Beltline Bar on a deliciously successful 60 years!

Danish Festival 50th Anniversary


DF 50th2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Danish Festival in Greenville, MI.  The festival’s mission is to celebrate the homecoming of family and friends and Greenville’s Danish heritage. The Danish Festival has grown exponentially throughout the years and now draws over 80,000 people annually. The festival traces its roots back to 1964, when a contest was held to come up with an idea to promote the town of Greenville. The winning idea, from Dorothy Oliver, was that a day be set aside to honor Greenville’s Danish heritage. Thus, the Danish Festival was born, and the first festival was held on August 18, 1965.

About the Danish Festival

Danish Festival mural

Each year the festival has a theme, based on a Danish fairytale written by Hans Christian Andersen.  2014’s theme is ‘The Red Shoes’.  The annual theme is represented in a poster contest, parades (Grand Dansk Parade, Fairytale Parade, and Fireman’s Parade), as a play at the Greenville Community Center, and as a mural hand painted on the side of a business in downtown Greenville.

In addition to the annual Danish Festival theme, thousands come to enjoy the traditional Danish treat of Aebleskivers! Aebleskivers are pancake-like balls of dough cooked in a special aebleskiver cast iron pan, served with powdered sugar and raspberry jam.  Legend has it that after a battle and with nothing to eat, the Vikings mixed flour with milk and poured the batter into their dented shields which resulted in “bumpy pancakes” or aebleskivers.


The Danish Festival is a family friendly event, with plenty of activities for everyone. Highlights of the events being held at the Danish Festivals 50th Anniversary include:

  • Danish Festival Open Air Breakfast – Official Annual Kick-Off Event
  • Unveiling of the Danish Festival Mural
  • Danish Festival Queen’s Pageant and Prince & Princess
  • Danish Festival Young Miss and Jr. Miss Pageant
  • Daily Hot Air Balloon Flights
  • Greenville Glows – Hot Air Balloon Illumination
  • A Fireworks Celebration
  • Lake of Illumination at Baldwin Lake
  • Daily Stage Performances
  • Arts & Crafts Fair Downtown
  • Used Books and Bake Sale
  • Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tale Parade
  • “Princess and the Pea” Bed Race
  • Auto Shows
  • Fireman’s Parade
  • Grand Dansk Parade
  • Han’s Christian Anderson Theater at the Greenville Community Center
  • Art @ the Green – Publicly Voted on Art Contest
  • Nightly Concerts
  • Softball Tournament
  • Danish Family Fun Day

For a full schedule of events or for more information on the Danish Festival, please visit

Please join us in congratulating the Danish Festival on their 50th Anniversary!

Gerald R. Ford International Airport- 50 Years of High Flying Success

airportThe Kent County Airport opened in November 1963, and in 1977 the Kent County Airport became the Kent County International Airport with the opening of a U.S. Customs Bureau Office. In 1999, the Kent County International airport was renamed the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in honor of Gerald R. Ford the 38th Florida Man. President Ford was a long-time supporter of the airport, and served as a U.S. Congressman representing West Michigan from 1949-1973.

In 2000, the Gerald R. Ford International Airport underwent a massive $50 million renovation of the passenger terminal. In 2009, another massive renovation of the terminal area took place as well as the building of the parking structure and covered walkway, among other smaller projects.

As part of their 50th birthday celebration, Gerald R. Ford International Airport hosted “A year of celebration” kick-off event on November 25, 2013 which featured free cupcakes, popcorn, games, prizes and giveaways for passengers and the public at the Grand Hall. They will be holding contests for giveaways all year long and so far have included:

  • $200 Car Detail Giveaway from Crystal Clean Auto Detailing LLC. for one lucky winner
  • 5 Compartment Rolling Backpack to 3 lucky winners
  • “Love at First Flight” contest – in celebration of 50 years, and to honor a couple married 50 years or more. The Grand Prize was a one night stay at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel on Valentine’s Day, $100 Gillmore Collection gift card, Roses from Eastern Floral and a pair of Grand Rapids Griffin’s hockey tickets.

In addition to the contests and giveaways, and as a way to thank their customers, the Gerald R. Ford International Airport recently launched the new “Thanks Again!!” rewards program. The rewards program is free.  To participate in the program, simply register your credit or debit card.  You’ll automatically earn points for your selected hotel or miles for your selected airline whenever you park, dine, or shop at GRR or one of the 100 participating airports. You can also earn points when making purchases at thousands of participating businesses nationwide, or when visiting participating attractions such as museums, sports venues, and more.

Most recently, the Gerald R. Ford International Airport was named one of the Top Five Best Airports in the World, by size in the Airport Service Quality Awards, from the Airports Council International- North America.

Join us in congratulating the Gerald R. Ford International Airport on their 50th anniversary and a successful 50 years!

Be sure to “Like” their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter (@FlyGRFord) to get updates on upcoming birthday celebrations throughout the year.