MT. CLEMENS, Mich. (WXYZ) - 500,000 people pack into downtown Mt. Clemens every year around this time for one of the county’s biggest parties of the year and they get to do it for free.
“You can’t beat that, that’s the best deal ever,” said Gary Davis a father with nine in his family. “Yep, I like that, I do, a whole lot,” he said.
Not charging admission at the Stars & Stripes Festival is a risk the owners of Funfest Productions, Joe Nieporte and Kevin Cassidy, take every year for Macomb County.
“We just felt that it needed a street festival similar to what happens in Oakland County and some of the ones that happen in Detroit,” said Kevin Cassidy, co-owner of Funfest Productions.
The name for the festival pays homage to Selfridge Air National Guard Base, and nothing says stars and stripes better than, our veterans. We found the Warrior Brotherhood Motorcycle Club’s Michigan Chapter at a tent where their profits kick back to fund projects for war vets.
“We all served because we believe in the country and the Fourth of July is our Independence Day,” said Steve Albert the chapter’s president.
Fighting for what you believe in seemed to be the theme today. First time vendor Holly Fabian started one time hair flips a year and a half ago after she lost her job.
“I started making these in an attempt to make money so that I don’t lose my house,” said Fabian.
She is hoping to bounce back on her feet like Melvin Baggs. After five years of being laid off, his food truck back is back in business.
“We have a large variety of people who will taste our food. And we’re trying to open up a restaurant so they’ll hear the word Trudy’s and say, oh I ate there,” said Baggs, the owner of Trudy’s All American Bar-B-Q.
People come to the festival for all sorts of reasons. It has been running for six years and people are hoping they can continue to enjoy it for many more years.
About 40 corporate sponsors help to keep the event free all weekend, even all the concerts like Saturday night’s Eddie Money concert. Eddie Money helped present a special award tonight at the festival.
As the proud media partner of the Stars & Stripes Festival, Channel 7 helped present this year’s Gardner White Military Family of the Year Award.
Gardner White gave a gift of $2,000 dollars for a “Room full of Furniture” and Funfest Productions gave a gift of $1,000 dollars to the deserving family.
Many military families were entered in the contest featured on WXYZ.com but only one could win. A committee picked the Tennant family from the City of Wayne. 22-year-old Felecia Tennant accepted the award for her and her husband 22-year-old Quentin Tennant. Quentin is a member of the Air National Guard and is on a tour of duty in Afghanistan. He has been serving for three and a half years and will come home in October before being deployed again. The young family has been through a lot. Quentin came home in January for the death of his father. His father died in January from complications to a hip replacement surgery. When Quentin went back to Afghanistan he found out he will be expecting a baby boy in October, just in time for his homecoming.
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