Christmas in July, garage sales this weekend at Grand Lake

News Photo by Darby Hinkley Christmas in July is happening this weekend in Grand Lake, sponsored by Birch Hill Grocery and The Homestead Gift Shop, pictured here with a small Christmas tree set up in the store adorned with handmade ornaments for sale.

PRESQUE ISLE — Ho, ho, ho, who wouldn’t go … to Grand Lake this weekend for Christmas in July?

The second annual festive event coincides with the Grand Lake Community Garage Sales. Both events start Friday. The garage sales are Friday and Saturday, while Christmas in July runs Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The garage sales are sponsored by Grand Lake Association, and Christmas in July is sponsored by Birch Hill Grocery and The Homestead Gift Shop, both located near Grand Lake Chapel on E. Grand Lake Road. The Homestead Gift Shop is located at 8015 E. Grand Lake Road, and Birch Hill Grocery is located at 8121 E. Grand Lake Road.

Garage sales run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The Grand Lake Association has been hosting garage sale days for 30 years. Maps will be available after 5 p.m. today at Birch Hill Grocery, the Portage Store, the Grand Lake branch of Presque Isle District Library, Woody’s Grand Lake, and the Presque Isle Harbor Association Clubhouse. For more information, visit grandlakemi.org.

Christmas in July will include holiday cookies, cakes, sweets, Christmas carols, ornaments for sale, stocking stuffers, and gifts of all kinds at both the Homestead Gift Shop and Birch Hill Grocery.

“There’s a lot happening in downtown Presque Isle,” said Ilona Stroupe, manager of the Homestead Gift Shop. She is from Wadsworth, Ohio, but grew up in Grand Lake and summers up here.

“It’s a very eclectic shop,” Stroupe said. “Mostly, it’s local people who are very, very talented, and it gives them a little outlet for their craft.”

The gift shop sells unique handcrafted items on consignment, including paintings, glass work, jewelry, pottery, soaps, wood and metal crafts, hand-sewn and knit and crocheted items, books by local authors, cross-stitch kits, T-shirts, candles, notecards, and much more.

The Homestead Gift Shop is the historical John H. Kauffman homestead, with a variety of resources and antiques upstairs. The gift shop is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Other workers/artists at the gift shop include Janet Straley, who runs the Facebook page with Betty Smolinski. Corky Gates, Patti McNeil, Nancy Stevens, Pam McFalda, Bob Stroupe, and Kim Kendziorski also volunteer at the gift shop.

Straley grew up in Grand Lake and now lives in Alpena. Her dad was William Hainstock. Straley paints in watercolor and acrylic, and her paintings are for sale at the gift shop.

Mike Bugenske is president of the Grand Lake Association.

“This was the Kauffman homestead,” Bugenske said. “It was built in 1880. John Kauffman passed away in 1913, and they turned it over to the Grand Lake Association in 1950.”

He said before it was a gift shop, it was a community center.

“We just did a total restoration,” he added. “Mike Kendziorski and his son, Spence, of Legacy Builders, he built new stairs and opened it up up there. New windows, replacing the bad boards.”

He said Legacy Builders donated their time to get the project done, and generous community members and Grand Lake lovers contributed to make the project happen.

“He’s just done some wonderful stuff,” Bugenske said of Kendziorski, who also constructed the covered bridge and water tower at Duck Park. “It’s amazing the outpouring of support for this restoration.”

Just down the street is Birch Hill Grocery, recently restored by owner Kris Fairey, from the John Gund family. She and her daughter, Heather, and son, Christopher, along with help from others, have turned the store into a welcoming place people enjoy gathering.

Fairey lives on Crescent Island, which her great-grandfather John Jacob Gund bought in September of 1925, along with Round Island, which was sold in the 1940s. Crescent remains in the family. She stays there from May to November, boating in each morning to open the store. She has been coming to Grand Lake since she was a newborn.

Birch Hill summer hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. On Friday, wine tasting will be from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. The store sells many unique items. It also has a popular bakery, cafe, and pizzeria. It is fast becoming a community hub in Grand Lake. For more information, call 989-595-0595 or visit www.birchhillgrocery.com.


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