Carnival adds fun to 2014 Stanton Old Fashioned Days

Bob and Velma Witzel pose in front of the playhouse in the yard of their Stanton home. The Witzels, who will be celebrating their 49th anniversary in September, were elected to be this year’s grand marshals for Stanton’s 2014 Old Fashioned Days. — Daily News/Kyle Wilson

STANTON — It just doesn’t feel like summer until you’ve hit at least a couple small town festivals. One of the area’s best, Stanton’s Old Fashioned Days, gets under way Wednesday.

According to Damon Davis, who serves on the Old Fashioned Days planning committee, the four-day event offers most of the favorite activities of previous years along with several new additions.

“We’ve added a carnival this year,” Davis said. “That’s one of the major new things going on. We’ve also added a few more sporting events like the cornhole tourney, which is kind of like a beanbag toss.”

One of the most popular events from last year’s festival, the Air Dogs competition, is back again this summer. The event, in which dogs leap off a platform and into a pool while fetching a stick or other toy, always draws a sizable crowd of both participants and fans.

Live entertainment this year is being organized by Encore Music, which opened in Stanton nearly two years ago. According to Davis, this year’s performances will feature more local artists than previously. The musical acts will be playing through the city’s renovated sound system, designed to cover a much larger area, and with higher fidelity, than the system that was previously used.

With Old Fashioned Days growing each year, Davis said the only real problem is finding space in which to produce the myriad events.

“Estimated turnout for just Saturday’s events (last year) was around 5,000 people,” Davis said. “Last year, my wife and I went down to the car show and you couldn’t see the pavement through all the people. That was really nice, but we’re slowly progressing and always looking for new things to add on, but we find ourselves running out of town; when we add something new we’re always wondering where things are going to go. But we’ll manage; we always do.”

Davis admitted great turnout is a “good problem” to have, however, and expects things to be even busier this year with the addition of the carnival.

Seven board members and about 20 committee volunteers have been working since January to make sure the festival comes off without a hitch. Additionally, the event enlists the aid of many individual event volunteers, Davis added.

One of the board’s most important task is the election of each year’s grand marshal. This year’s honor goes to Bob and Velma Witzel. Bob Witzel has lived in Stanton his entire life and the couple will soon be celebrating their 50th anniversary.

Velma is a Lakeview native, but moved to Stanton when the two married. Now retired, Bob served on the Road Commission for Montcalm County for 12 years; prior to that he was employed by Adams Ford and Gibson’s.

Velma had a career as an aide at the former Stanton Elementary School and also as a mail carrier. The Witzels also owned and operated a snow plowing service for many years.

The couple has always been active in the community and Bob regularly shows custom cars — including a dragster — in the Old Fashioned Days car show, which he once organized.

According to Velma, they wereboth taken completely by surprise by being named grand marshals.

“We didn’t expect it at all,” Velma said. “We haven’t really heard from anyone yet about what we’re supposed to do. I know we’re supposed to be in the parade, but we’re waiting to find out.”

Velma credits the longevity of their marriage to “the grace of God and a lot of hard work.”

With a laugh, she added, “Of course, it helps that we really like each other.”

Despite the hard work of the festival board and many committee leaders and volunteers, Davis stressed that an event of this size truly is a community effort. General committee meetings, such as the one slated for 7 p.m., Aug. 25 at First Congregational Church, are open to the public.

“All members of the community are welcome to attend,” Davis said. “We are currently seeking volunteers to help with … events.”

Community input, Davis added, has been instrumental in expanding Old Fashioned Days into the major event it is today. More details about the festival may be found online at


Stanton Old Fashioned Days Events Schedule



7 to 9 p.m.: Star Quest Talent Show try outs



6 to 9 p.m.: Miss Stanton Scholarship Pageant, Jr. Miss Stanton, Duke and Duchess, Prince & Princess

TBA: Carnival



All Day: Yard Sales

All Day: American Legion Post Open to the Public

Noon to ?: Street Vendors

4  to 11 p.m.: Bingo

4:30 to 6:30 p.m.: American Legion Ribs dinner

6 and 8 p.m.: Ultimate Air Dogs

6 p.m.: Soap Box Derby

7 to 9 p.m.: Star Quest Talent Show

8 p.m. to midnight: Music at American Legion

9:30 to p.m.: Fireman’s Parade

10 p.m. to midnight: “Abbott & Ballard” from “Encore Music” on the Chemical Bank stage

TBA: Carnival



All Day: Yard Sales

All Day: American Legion Post Open to the Public

7 to 10 a.m.: K of C Pancake Breakfast

8 a.m. to noon: Tractor Show featuring Massey Harris.

8 a.m.: The Garden Tractor Show sponsored by Stanton Hardware

8 a.m.: 5K run Sponsored by the Lions Club.

8 a.m. to ?: Food Venders,

8 a.m. to ?: Arts & Crafts, Flea Market/Farm Market

10 a.m.: Coed softball tournament

10 a.m.: Kickball tournament

10 a.m.: Firemen’s Extraction Demonstration

10 a.m. to Noon: Firemen’s Dunk tank

3 to 8 p.m.: Firemen’s Dunk tank

5 p.m.: Firemen’s Extraction Demonstration

11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: MI Chip Child Registration Brought to the Old Fashioned Days by Stanton Star Lodge 250, & The Grand Masonic Lodge of Michigan.

10 a.m.: Kid’s Pedal Tractor Pulls Sponsored by Rolston Hardware and Peddle Car drag races after the Peddle Tractor Pulls in front of the Brickyard,

11 a.m.: Corn Hole on South Court Street

11 3 p.m.: Lion’s Club Chicken BBQ

11 a.m.: Grand Parade Line Up

Noon Kid’s Parade Line up at Zerkas Party Store

Noon to 11 p.m.: Bingo

12:30 p.m.: Kid’s Parade

1 p.m.: Grand Parade

1 to 3 p.m.: Car Show Registration

1:45 p.m.: Trinity Church Ice Cream Giveaway following the Grand Parade

12, 2, 4 & 6 p.m.: Ultimate Air Dogs

11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Wojo Wojotowicz from “Tattoos by Wojo” on the Chemical Bank stage

2 to 3:45  p.m.:  Pete Russell on the Chemical Bank stage

4 to 8 p.m.:  “Abbott & Ballard” and “Split Image Band” on the Chemical Bank stage

6 to 9 p.m.:  Krantz Home Garden Show

3 to 8  p.m.:  Car Show

8 p.m.:  Car Show Winners Announced

9 p.m.:  Car Cruise

8:30 p.m.: Art Cruise winners  announced

8 p.m. to midnight: American Legion Tent with DJ Theresa Good $3 cover

8:45 p.m.: Raffle Winners Drawn

TBA: Carnival



9 to 10:30 a.m.: Community Wide Church Service

10 a.m.: Coed softball tournament

10 a.m.: Mud Volleyball Tournaments (registration starts at 8 a.m.)

11 a.m. to ?: Street Vendors

11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Finals 3 p.m.: Ultimate Air Dogs

TBA: Carnival


All times and events subject to change. Visit for a complete schedule.

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