Hundreds gather for potato fest

Festivities bring celebrations and parade campaigning

News Photo by Crystal Nelson Rob Cortis of Livonia drives the Trump Unity Bridge down M-65 in Posen as part of the Posen Potato Festival’s annual parade on Sunday.

POSEN – Hundreds of people attended the 68th annual Posen Potato Festival this weekend. The annual festival celebrates the people who grow potatoes near the village as well as the community’s Polish Heritage.

The festival kicked off with an opening ceremony on Friday at the Polka Pavilion and ended with a polka dance featuring the music of the Bay City-based Steve Drzewicki Band and the Chicago-based Tony Blazonczyk’s New Phase. Saturday’s festivities kicked off with a Spud 5K run/walk and wrapped up with a performance of Gunnar and the Grizzly Boys.

Angela O’Brien of Waterford, who grew up in Posen and served as Miss Posen in 1983, returned to the village to participate in the celebration. O’Brien said she likes to dance the polka during the festival because it’s part of her heritage.

“I learned to dance from my Dziadzia,” she said of her grandfather.

On Sunday, hundreds of people lined up along M-65 to watch the festival’s parade. Members of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars, this year’s Miss Posen, Brooke Rocco and her court, student organizations for area schools and floats from area businesses all walked in the parade.

News Photo by Crystal Nelson Members of local Veterans of Foreign Wars walk down M-65 at the opening of the Posen Potato Festival’s parade on Sunday.

There were also a number of political organizations, representing both the Republican and Democratic parties, in the parade campaigning for the upcoming 2020 election. Of those campaigning, the Trump Unity Bridge was one of the most noticeable entries.

Livonia resident Rob Cortis, who drives the unity bridge around the country, said he was invited to this year’s Posen Potato Festival as part of his tour where he is campaigning for the 2020 presidential election. The message on the unity bridge reads “Build the Wall.” Cortis says he is trying to unite America around a positive message.

“I’m trying to unite America on a positive message, on things that will benefit Americans across America – all of America,” he said. “That’s my mission and that’s what I’m here for.”

The parade was followed by a bump and run and a demolition derby. This year’s festivities concluded with a tribute to armed service personnel.

Crystal Nelson can be reached at 989-358-5687 or cnelson@thealpenanews.com.

News Photo by Crystal Nelson Brooke Rocco, Miss Posen 2019, and her court participate in the Posen Potato Festival’s annual parade on Sunday.