Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the summer season, even if June 21st hasn’t arrived yet on the calendar. Memorial Day has another, more serious aspect. It recognizes members of our military who fell in service. At Clark Lake, Michigan’s Biggest Little Parade, you’ll witness both–salute to the fallen and celebration of the new season.
The parade starts at 8:30 am Monday, May 30th. It passes north to south on Hyde Road with Clark Lakers lining both sides. The JROTC color guard and Columbia Central Marching Band will lead with others following. Others could include golf carts, kids on their bikes, and Raft-O-Rama on a raft (of course). They will be pitching beach balls to the onlookers. In this photo, Raft-O-Rama’s Kenny Eitel shows what to expect. The beach ball spotlights this year’s Raft-O-Rama theme, Landmarks and Amazing Places.
The parade will turn around in Doyle’s parking lot and head north. (Doyle’s won’t open until after the parade; thanks to owner Judi Kelly for simplifying the turnabout). The parade will pause in front of the Clark Lake Cemetery to honor our fallen heroes. A Lions Club member will place a wreath on one of the graves, symbolically representing all who fell. Prayers will be said, and taps, played. The parade then moves north to the lawn of the church. At that point, Dave Hill, past district governor of the Lions Club and retired Army, will speak to the crowd, followed by the Columbia Central Band performing our National Anthem.
Here are some of the people who came to the parade last year.
Last year’s Raft-O-Rama theme was The 1960s. That inspired a number classic car enthusiasts to participate.
The Lions Club handed out $2 bills to the kids at the conclusion of the event.
This annual event is sponsored each year by the Clark Lake Lions Club.
This video, also from last year, will give you an idea of what to expect.