GLADWIN – If you were in downtown Gladwin on August 22, you may have witnessed an ORV Parade through main street. Organizers of the 7th Annual ORV Fun Fest, Yvette Keast, Executive Director of the Gladwin County Chamber of Commerce and Bob Balzer, Executive Director the Gladwin County Economic Development Corporation were excited to have 98 ORV units register and 202 participants this year.
The decision to hold the event was made in mid-June after the state opened up for outdoor events and with the ORV Fun Fest being 100 percent outdoors, Keast and Balzer felt it could be accomplished safely with social distancing and individual rides throughout the route.
“There have been so many cancellations of events, we felt it was necessary to hold our event for a sense of normalcy in Gladwin County,” said Balzer.
The parade through town started off the ride as the ORV’s traveled through Richardson’s Chevrolet parking lot then proceeded back to the Gladwin County Fairgrounds to take off for the ride. The ORV route had business “stop sponsors” where a rider from each unit participated in a game or challenge to earn stamps on their score cards. Stevens’ Sports Center, Maverick Ford, Premiere Green Lawns, Secord Township, Secord Lake Marina, Corner House, and Riverwalk Place were these locations and the rest area break for the group midway in the woods.
The stop sponsor businesses made each of their games and stops a fun experience with music, laughter, and fun for all participants. As part of the scoring, there were “turn sponsor” signs placed throughout the route that they had to write the names on the backside of their score card.
At the end of the route back at the Gladwin County Fairgrounds, a delicious Smokin’ Bob-B-Que meal awaited and the Riverwalk sponsored “Mud Run.” This is a highlight to our event where buggies go through the mud pit where the laughs and squeals of delight are abundant.
“We were blessed to have fantastic weather for this event as the participants sat in the grove with their respective groups, social distancing as the prizes were awarded and the team raffle prizes were drawn,” Keast said. “It was a great day of fun in the outdoors as participants experienced the wonder that we enjoy every day in Michigan’s Backyard. Bob and I realized the importance of promoting our area for economic growth for our businesses.”
The Gladwin County Economic Development Corporation and the Chamber of Commerce hope to see new faces next year at the 8th Annual ORV Fun Fest and a huge crowd the morning of at the parade.