ROGERS CITY - Starting Thursday, a group aimed at helping foster children and at-risk youths will paint Rogers City purple.
The third annual Purple Martin Mania kicks off with a speech from author and children's advocate Jeanne Fowler, Purple Martin Chairperson Cindy Vezinau said. She'll be talking about her book, "Peter's Lullaby." It chronicles her experiences in foster care, and tells of how her brother Peter died due to the abuse he experienced. The speech is at the Industrial Arts Institute and starts at 6 p.m.
Fowler will be around Rogers City signing books throughout the weekend, Vezinau said.
The celebration aims to help Purple Martin fund its annual camp, Some Place Warm, Vezinau said. Last year's had 17 children and their guardians, and the organization would like to continue its track record of reuniting siblings separated by the foster care system. This year, Purple Martin is reaching out to children being raised by their grandparents, as well as other at-risk youth.
"Rogers City goes purple," Vezinau said. "There will be 23 businesses that have purple specials, everything from pop a purple balloon and get a discount at a gift store to purple tea tasting to purple pancakes."
All through the weekend, Rogers City businesses will continue their specials and local taverns will hold their Purple Martin Drink Competition, Vezinau said. They'll be judged on taste, color, name, presentation and other criteria, and Pinewood Tavern will compete to keep the trophy for another year. Super Scoop also will have an ice cream social throughout the weekend.
What: Purple Martin Mania
Where: Onaway, Rogers City
When: Kicks off Thursday at 6 p.m. in Onaway, several events Saturday and Sunday in Rogers City.
On Saturday, there will be a chalk drawing contest downtown at 2 p.m., Vezinau said. Following at 4 p.m. is a pet parade, and this year Huron Humane Society will bring out some of its pets available for adoption.
"Someone might end up eyeing a nice pet they want to take home with them," she said.
Starting at 8 p.m. there will be a dance in the Mariners Mall parking lot, Vezinau said. The Purple Martin was unable to secure a spot under the traffic light like years past due to the high cost of closing off the intersection. A wish lantern release will follow at 10:30 a.m., with a bonfire at North Shore Park afterward.
Sunday's events include two that are new to the celebration, Vezinau said. One is a nature walk at Thompson's Harbor State Park with naturalist and avid birder Bill Grigg and Presque Isle Conservation District Forester Bethany Lyons. It's at 10 a.m., with a luncheon at the Purple Martin Inn in Rogers City to follow.
That night at 9 p.m., Besser Museum of Northeast Michigan Planetarium Director John Heath will lead a stargazing party at Seagull Point Park, Vezinau said. Bring a beach blanket and listen as he talks about space and the constellations.
Along with helping children, Purple Martin wants to help them learn about the region around them and all it has to offer, Vezinau said. There are more and more opportunities for them to stay in Rogers City.
"Northeast Michigan is not dying, it's only just begun," she said.
For more information and a complete schedule of events visit www.thepurplemartin.org.