livonia spree 2016

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The annual festival runs July 21-26



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  • Hey, Livonia: Youre invited to comeout to celebrate Livonias 66thbirthday!

    Spree 66 is our annual six-day flurry offun that marks the birth of Livonia as acity back in 1950. This years event willtake place June 21-26 at Ford Field.

    I hope youll take advantage of thewide number of free events during theweek, such as musical performances byRare Earth (Get Ready and Im LosingYou) Steve King and the Dittilies, KillerFlamingos and much more. Theres alsofamily entertainment like magicians andclowns, pig and hot dog races, Family FunDay, a pie-eating contest and, of course,the grand finale 30-minute Livonia SpreeFireworks spectacular Sunday night.

    Along with the free activities, theresalso a midway of more than 50 rides (anew, taller roller-coaster arrives thisyear); old-fashioned and new-style carni-val games with stuffed animal prizes; anda wide variety of food and drink sure toplease. (I recommend the chocolate clairice cream and elephant ears!)

    This is my first Spree as mayor andIm looking forward to joining my family,friends, co-workers and fellow citizens at



    Madison VanAmburgjumped for joy on thefirst day of Spree lastyear. Spree runs June21-26 this year.

    Get your KICKS at SPREE 66!

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    many of the events of the festival. Ourcitys birthday is definitely worth cele-brating.

    I want to thank the army of volunteersof the Livonia Anniversary Committee,whose spirit helps make this event such afestive occasion. Their hard work comesthrough in the wide number of eventsthat require planning over anentire year. These volunteersdirect traffic, work beverageand food sales, run FamilyDay games and help with theFamily Pizza Night and Tasteof Spree.

    Their work also helpsprovide funding for the city,for Spree scholarships, themany nonprofit groups thatparticipate and pay for thehuge fireworks show.

    Spree 66 is dedicated to the people thatmake it happen that army of volunteers.Know that your efforts are appreciated!

    Happy birthday, Livonia! I look for-ward to seeing you at Spree 66.

    Dennis Wrightmayor of Livonia




    Mayor DennisWright.

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    What goes with pie? Why coffee and icecream, of course!

    Blazos Pie Shoppe in Livonia has itall at its retail store at 34365 Plymouth Road,where it is selling premium coffee and icecream to go with its old-fashioned homemadepies.

    Blazos is a co-sponsor of the Livonia Ob-servers pie-eating contest at Livonia Spree.

    Larry Nygard, president of Blazos, saidthe store helped diversify beyond the compa-nys pies, available in 30 flavors.

    The new retail store also has a new line ofBlazos house jams and fresh European-stylebread. Most of the products are Michigan-made.

    The ice cream an artisan gelato madefresh to order is made by Palazzolos inFennville, the coffee is roasted by CoffeeExpress in Plymouth and ground fresh atBlazos and the bread is from Superior BreadCo., in Livonia.

    Blazos continuespie-eating



    Larry Nygard, president of Blazos Pie Shoppe, saidthe store likes participating in Spree.

    See BLAZOS, Page 32

  • Are you a returning cham-pion, hoping to retainyour bragging rights, or a

    newcomer eager to test yoursweet-eating prowess?

    All kids ages 7-12 are in-vited to compete in the LivoniaObservers annual pie-eatingcontest at 5 p.m. Wednesday,June 22, in the Bright HouseKids Tent.

    Prizes will be awarded tothose who can devour the mostpie in the span of a minutewithout using their hands.

    First- through third-placewinners will be chosen inthree age divisions.

    Co-sponsor is Blazos PieShoppe in Livonia, which isdonating dozens of six-inch,handmade cream pies, in va-nilla and chocolate.

    Registration is 4-5 p.m. Youcan register at the tent.




    Sadie Yesslertook secondplace in herage division atlast yearsSpreepie-eatingcontest.

    Kids, sign up for the contest

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    While most people think of Spree as afun event that happens each yearat the end of June, a special group

    of Livonia residents has a very differenttake on this annual celebration of Livo-nias founding as a city.

    The members of the Spree Board andCommittee (and, in many cases, theirspouses and friends) work year-round toproduce a memorable festival each year.The work involved is similar to running asmall business and each June, rain orshine, the show must go on.

    Board members are Rich Skaggs,president; Dan Spurling, first vice presi-dent; Jeff Nork, second vice president;Dick Nogas, secretary; Linda Grimsby,treasurer; Mayor Jack Kirksey; councilrepresentative Susan Nash; Keith Appel;Bob Biga; Doug Couts; Jeff Danke; BillFried; Karen Kapchonick; Paul Mallie;Linda McCann; Lee Morrow; KeithSchoen; Harry Tatigian; Joe Taylor; andGeorge Trejo.

    Committee members are MaryBaeske, Jason Claypoole, Jessie Clay-poole, Chris DiPonio, Brian Duggan, JohnGrzebik , Sue Hand, Jim Keller, KathyLegowsky, Andy Mehelich, Mike Reiser,Todd Rogman, Carrie Spurling, ChrisSkaggs and Sue Skaggs.

    The Spree Board and Committee pub-licly thanks and acknowledges the hun-dreds of volunteers who drive the shuttlevans, sell and serve the beer, help withset-up and take-down, assist in the Spreeoffice, flip the pancakes, corral the kid-dies and do a zillion other things that areso very necessary.



    Board members are RichSkaggs, president; DanSpurling, first vicepresident; Jeff Nork,second vice president; DickNogas, secretary; LindaGrimsby, treasurer; MayorJack Kirksey; councilrepresentative SusanNash; Keith Appel; BobBiga; Doug Couts; JeffDanke; Bill Fried; KarenKapchonick; Paul Mallie;Linda McCann; LeeMorrow; Keith Schoen;Harry Tatigian; Joe Taylor;and George Trejo.Committee members areMary Baeske, JasonClaypoole, JessieClaypoole, Chris DiPonio,Brian Duggan, JohnGrzebik , Sue Hand, JimKeller, Kathy Legowsky,Andy Mehelich, MikeReiser, Todd Rogman,Carrie Spurling, ChrisSkaggs and Sue Skaggs.


    ensure theshow


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    West Bloomfield resident and RareEarth band member Gil Bridgesloves doing shows in Michigan. He

    said playing the Livonia Spree this yearwill be a treat for not only the band, butfor their families, who plan to be at theshow.

    Were just happy to do concerts. Itsreally to me, a blessing to still be doingthis, Bridges, who plays saxophone, toldthe Observer. This is what we love to do.

    For the second year, Rare Earth is thebig headliner at the Spree, scheduled toperform Saturday night at the south stageat the event. The repeat booking comesafter the band was rained out of its ap-pearance last year.

    The group is the first national act toplay the Spree in decades, said Joe Perai-no with Lorio-Ross Sterling Entertain-ment and a Livonia resident. Perainoworked at Motown when Rare Earthsigned on and worked with the groupclosely in the early 1970s.

    Its the only national act theyve had in20-some years, Peraino said. Its a pret-ty good show; theyve got a couple of bighits.

    Rare Earth, which signed to DetroitsMotown Records in 1969, had several hits,including I Just Want to Celebrate, GetReady and Hey, Big Brother. Theycontinue to play several shows a year,

    Rare Earth back for second shot

    David VeselenakStaff Writer



    Karin Elizabeth andthe Remedy Band

    had them updancing last year.

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    including two in Michigan this year. Theband members continue to live in Michi-gan, both in metro Detroit and near Lan-sing.

    Admission is free.Their families are expected to be in

    attendance for the show at the Spree,something that is always a treat, Bridgessaid. He plans on bringing his grandson,who is 7, onto the stage with him to helpsing Celebrate.

    The same grandson went on stage afew years ago in metro Detroit to helpsing the hit with Bridges, but hes hadsome time now to prepare for the Livoniacrowd, he said.

    Hes been practicing the song with hiskaraoke machine, Bridges said. Imlooking forward to it. Its going to be a funfamily thing for us.

    Other groups Several other acts are performing on

    the Spree stage this year, including BigRay and the Motor City Kings, Remedyand Simone Vitale.

    Other local favorites will make theirreturn to Spree this year, including SteveKing & the Dittilies (Sunday on the balldiamond stage), Major Woody (Friday onthe Main Stage), Parallel Fifth (Saturdayand Sunday), and Remedy (Tuesday onthe Main Stage).


    Its not Spree fireworks night without Steve King and theDittilies.


    Big Ray and the Motor City Kings, a group that performsblues, Motown and classic rock, will play Thursday night.

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    The warm weather and looming highschool graduations mean one thing:Livonia Spree is here.

    This years event, Spree 66, is sched-uled to take place June 21-26 at Livonias FordField, near Farmington and Lyndon. The an-nual celebration of the citys incorporationwill be bringing back many of the favorites,such as pig races, rides, tasty concessions

    and, of course, thefireworks.

    Spree chairmanRich Skaggs saidtheres not a lot newthis year, though hesbeen