Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.

FESTIVAL OF THE FORKS 40th ANNIVERSARY

Albion Recorder, September 14, 2006, pg. 4

We begin with an important announcement. As most of us found out eventually, the binding glue on my new book Growing Up in Albion was weak. Either the covers, or the pages (or both) became detached, including the personal annotated copy of yours truly. Because of this defect, the printer is now installing a spiral-wire binding to all of the remaining books. This problem was an embarrassment to all parties concerned, and we feel this is the best solution. If you have had problems with your copy and wish to return it, just bring it to the Albion Chamber of Commerce later this week where it will be cheerfully exchanged for a spiral-wire replacement one. I will also gladly exchange them at my booth at the Festival of the Forks. Those copies returned will also be spiral-wired and recycled later. You will like the way the new binding allows the pages to fully open.

I am looking forward to meeting you at my Albion History booth at the Festival of the Forks on Saturday, September 16 in front of Citizens Bank. Be sure to come. I will have all my books and materials available, including my latest book Growing Up in Albion. Now is your chance to get a signed copy and birthday/Christmas gifts for your friends and relatives. The Albion High School alumni in town would also be very much interested in this book. Be sure and let them know about it while they are here.

This is the 40th anniversary of the Festival of the Forks. Wow! My memories go back to that first Festival as I wasGrowing Up in Albion as the book title states. I remember downtown Albion packed with various ethnic food booths from countries from around the world: Russia, Poland, Greece, England, Italy, African-American, and others. Someones Grandma would make golumpkies in her cooker and bring it down for the Festival. There were homemade pies, baklava, sauerkraut soup and wieners--all homemade with a loving kiss.

The food booths along both sides of downtown Superior St. attracted many persons and, oh yes, the bees too. I also remember the Festival of the Rain as it should have been called for some of those early years as the Committee was trying to come up with a statistically-probable rain free weekend. After some unsuccessful drenchings in October, the date was standardized to a more stable and dry third Saturday in September.

Ethnic was in and even the various country flags which flew on the street poles downtown gave us a sense of pride of our heritage which made us stand out among our neighboring communities. The 1967 Festival of the Forks was a welcome replacement to the ill-fated Frontier Days held in the spring for two seasons previous to that time. The theme of cowboys, lassoes and the old West it featured just did not fit our community.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph from that very first Festival of the Forks, 40 years ago, September 1967, found on page 48 of my book. Here we see (L-R) L.J. Rutz, and Charles Williams holding up a sign painted by Alex Chopper at the actual Forks of the Kalamazoo River. It states, The Kalamazoo River Forks at This Point. It was this location that gave Albion the name of The Forks when the first settlers came in 1833. Do you know where The Forks is today?


The very first Festival of the Forks, September 1967

This is the most recent article in our Albion Recorder collection.


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