Great American Crossroads Celebration draws a large crowd

REED CITY — The Great American Crossroads Celebration event drew to a close Saturday night after a successful weekend of family fun events.

The celebration included a parade, softball tournament, fun run, cornhole tournament, children's carnival, and live music.

President of the board of the event, Jesse Kailing, worked over the past several months in preparation for the event, dealing with booking a carnival company, and planning the entire weekend with limited staff.

"Overall I think it was a success," Kailing said.

The children's carnival is a main attraction that Kailing said was very important to keep intact during the planning process, and was one of the most successful elements of the entire weekend.

"That was definitely a success. We had several hundred kids come through the carnival. I don't know the final number of kids but I know it was over 300," Kailing said.

There were bumper cars, slides, bouncy houses and plenty of fair food for kids to enjoy at the children's carnival, while adults were enjoying some day-drinking, music and cornhole directly adjacent in the beverage tent.

"We had over 40 teams in that," Kailing said about the cornhole tournament.

Kailing himself was born and raised in the Reed City area and has assumed the responsibility of keeping what has always been his favorite weekend out of the year alive as a fun, family-oriented time for people to enjoy Reed City and reconnect with old friends.

"It was nice, we had almost like an all-class reunion, where you get to see some people you only see once a year," Kailing said.

"Every year you’re just hoping that the people show up and enjoy the festivities, and they did. Despite the rain, everything else went really well," he said.

Kailing wanted to specifically thank everyone who contributed their time and effort into making the weekend a success, saying there are "endless" people he wants to thank.

"The real advantage of living in a small community is they all come together to support the community. They did that really well this weekend. We’ll definitely be doing a thank you out to everybody," Kailing said.

Kailing and the other members of the GACC board are always looking for volunteers who have a love for the Reed City area to join the organization team for next year's celebration.

“We can’t do it forever, so we’re always looking for new faces to be on the board and help out," Kailing said.

"Usually what happens with events like this is people get burned out and there’s no one to fill their place. No question about it, we need more help, good people to add to our board so this continues for the next 50 years," Kailing said, not wanting the historic weekend of fun to suffer the same fate as many annual community events like it.

"You get a great satisfaction, because people thank you for helping them reconnect with their old classmates. Our city is doing an unbelievable job bringing entertainment and family-oriented events to Reed City and I think this just adds to it.”

Kailing was very satisfied with the overall outcome of the parade, the live music event, car show, and all the other hard work that was put in to make the weekend enjoyable for everyone, and despite some scattered rain, the weekend was still a resounding success.

"We got a lot of positive feedback. You hear things throughout the weekend, and there are always concerns also, but for every concern there were 100 ‘atta-boys’ during the course of the weekend," Kailing said.