MICHIGAN CENTER, MI – Lioness Pat Crane remembers years it rained so hard at the Carp Carnival, her fellow Michigan Center Lions and Lionesses bought straw from Howard’s Feed Store to cover the mud.
Now in its 60th year, the rain came down once again as the Carp Carnival, presented by the clubs, kicked off Thursday at Leoni Township Park.
Rain fell hard for nearly 10 minutes, but that didn’t dampen the moods of carnival patrons.
“It’s just a little rain,” yelled one patron, adorned in a Confederate flag cape.
The Carp Carnival began June 22 with amusement-park rides, food and live music by the “Powder Keg Boys.” The band played classics like Neil Young’s “Old Man.”
The Michigan Center Lions and Lioness clubs began their raffles for a hand-knitted Carp-Carnival themed quilt and a Krupa’s Boat Mart fishing boat. The raffle drawing will take place Sunday afternoon.
In addition to food options like Randy’s Original Roadside Bar-B-Que, Lion’s Club chicken dinners, burrito bowls and Zemer’s Homemade Rootbeer — elephant toes are a Carp Carnival favorite
The nugget-sized version of elephant ears, they first appeared at the Carp Carnival five years ago. Darcey King, a Lioness Club member who created the toes, said the Lioness Club sells more than 20,000 elephant toes during the carnival.
For Darcey’s husband, Pat King, the carnival is about putting on an event that gives back to the community. King is a former Michigan Center Lions Club president.
“It’s wonderful to see the public come out and support it because the more they support, the more money we’re allowed to put back into the community,” he said. “Come out and check it out. We have the beer tent, chicken tent, a lot of food vendors here. If you never been here, you might run into someone you know. It’s like a big class reunion.”
King said the Lions and Lioness clubs give more than $25,000 back to the community from money made at the Carp Carnival.
The festival continues Friday and ends Sunday. The beer tent opens at 4 p.m. Friday. It opens at noon Saturday and Sunday.
The Lioness Parade begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Arnold Elementary School and ends at Leoni Township Hall on Fifth Street.
The children’s carp fishing competition and adult hook-and-line competition begins at noon on Friday and ends at 9 p.m., Saturday. The spear and bow competition begins at 3 p.m., Friday and ends at noon on Sunday.
For more information, click here for the Carp Carnival Facebook page.