LeRoy celebrates family with Razzasque Days

LEROY — This year’s installment of Razzasque Days celebrated friends and family coming together, with hundreds of both former and current residents streaming back into LeRoy for the festival.

“I think it’s going well,” said event organizer Lori Servello on Friday. “It was great to see all the kids participating in the parade. Today, we’re focused on the kids.”

The three-day-long festival featured popular draws such as Friday night’s fireworks and Saturday’s Grand Parade. The weekend was dedicated to bringing families together, featuring a variety of activities most attendees could remember participating in when they were young.

“A lot of people use Razzasque Days as a homecoming weekend,” Servello said. “They meet up with old friends; sometimes alumni classes will meet. It’s a place for people to reconnect with family.”

The weekend also served as a way for families to get involved with their children, demonstrated with Friday’s kids-centered activities. One of the most popular events was the Kid’s Parade, in which participants were tasked with designing a float observing the festival’s theme, “The Wonders of Michigan.”

“I think it’s great the kids this year can get into the spirit of Michigan,” said Jennifer Archer, the kid's parade organizer. “It’s a great theme. Maybe they get to learn a little bit more about Michigan by asking their friends about certain events or looking things up. Their families helped them make the floats.”

Children of all ages participated, sitting atop floats representing everything from the Sleeping Bear Dunes to the Traverse City Cherry Festival.

Awards were given out at the end of the parade. Children won for categories including Best Float, Best Wheeled Motorized Float and Best Representation of the Theme.

“I grew up here and I remember walking in the parade,” said Rozilyn Cool, whose daughter Lane Cool won first place for Best Individual, along with Alorrah Doty.

The girls dressed as Native American princesses. Cool now lives in Kalkaska, but returns to the festival each year with her family.

“The parade is good, old-fashioned fun,” Cool added.

For other children, it was their first time walking in the parade, such as 3-year-old Emmett Bassett and 4-year-old Ellie Peterson. Both children were pulled in a wagon representing the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald shipwreck in Lake Superior.

“They were excited,” Emmett’s mother, Audrey, said. “Wagon rides are always fun. We were going to do a wagon representing the dog man, but we ran out of time. Then we decided we wanted to do something with the Great Lakes.”

The children ended up taking second place in the Best Wheeled Non-Motorized float category.

The prince and princess of the festival were crowned at the end of the parade. Winning this year was Ayden Enstrom and Promise Romig. The children received bikes and sand toys, which were donated by LeRoy Hardware and the Razzasque Days Committee, and also will ride in the town’s Christmas Parade.

“It’s awesome that she won,” Promise’s father, David Romig said. “This is our first time at the festival.”

The day also featured plenty of other activities, including classic kids games such as the penny scramble and the Junior Miss LeRoy competition. This year’s winner was 12-year-old Sydney Duncan, who now has the opportunity to walk in the Christmas in LeRoy parade, Easter egg hunt and several other events.

“I think the competition went very well,” said organizer Kathryn Stroh. “We had more girls compete this year than in previous years. The whole community comes to watch the pageant; they come to support the girls each year.”

Plenty of families came together to celebrate Razzasque Days.

“We pack our lunch and eat in the park during Razzasque Days,” said Audrey Davis, a volunteer with the LeRoy Area Historical Society who attends each year with her family. “This is one of our biggest celebrations of the year.”

While Friday may have been dedicated to the kids, the weekend continued to draw families to the area with the chicken barbecue, Sixth Annual LeRoy Razzasque Days 5K Race, splash tank and carnival games.

“My favorite part is seeing everyone that does come out,” Servello said. “It’s just nice to see the community support what we’ve worked to put together.”