Route 23 Arts & Music Festival

By Joyce Ervin

Thursday began with a craft beer walk, where area businesses featured beers and provided live entertainment and food trucks.  One such was hosted by Workhorse Realty serving a variety of beers from Dark Horse Brewery of Marshall, MI along with a snack of cheddar popcorn.
While sipping the brew, Rock N Roll Casey of Ohio entertained.  Sharlene and Tom Griffith were here visiting their children.  Sharlene said she liked dark ale. A hearty laugh fell on Sharlene, who decided her favorite was the pale ale rather than the dark.
 The house served, Crooked Tree, a pale ale, Raspberry ale and Kamikaze-kaleidoscope with orange and lemon peel.
Throughout the weekend, there was an event happening all over town.  The little park on W. Main St. was the site of a short skit titled “Heroes Anonymous”.  Ruth and Cliff Copeland were enjoying the performance on the warm and comfortable evening.  Ruth did mention that the full-length play they attended the previous evening, “Dead Man’s Hand” written by Sean Paraventi was excellent. “It was really good,” she said.
It wasn’t just adults who got to see a play.  On Saturday morning at Aid in Milan, the stage production of “Princess Bee & the Royal Good-Night Story” entertained youngsters.  Across the street at the Dance Xplosion studio a free dance workshop was held for kids and an improvisational dance piece was performed by professional contemporary dancers from Ann Arbor.
Children gathered at 38 E. Main Street to see the mascot of Dr. Suess’, the Cat in the Hat.  An all day reading event of the author, Theodor Seuss Geisel, whose pen name was Dr. Suess, featured many of the 60 children’s books he wrote. The event was sponsored by the Milan Public Library.
Resident’s from all walks of life from Milan were readers, to include Milan Schools Superintendent Bryan Girbach and Paddock Elementary Principal, Sean Desarbo, who did read, “The Cat in the Hat”.
At the writer’s work shop held at Milan’s Historic Fire Barn, Danial Peterson of Temperance, brought his collection of typewriters.  If you thought a typewriter was a typewriter, you would have been pleasantly surprised.  His collection ranged from a 1912 model with only three rows of keys to other eras.  Peterson said he began his hobby and collection of typewriters while in college. 
It seems he ran out of ink and couldn’t afford to buy an ink cartridge for his computer printer.  In desperation, he used his grandmother’s 1933 Underwood typewriter to complete his assignment.  That was the beginning of his interest, he said.
Seth Stephens of Ypsilanti and Nikki Polizzi of Ann Arbor tried out many of the typewriters.  Polizzi recalled she learned to type in school and the keys were painted with red nail polish, she said, so it was impossible to cheat and look at the keys.
Artist’s chalk-painted the side of Mayor Dominic Hamden’s law office, Henna Art tattoos were offered, food from food trucks were scattered around and the finale held Saturday night at Wilson Park provided live music by Sponge, one of Detroit’s rock bands that are gaining notoriety with a debut album.
Executive Director of Milan Main Street, Jill Tewsley, put together the successful event that’s just been touched on in this article, with many volunteers.  The next big event will be the Let’s Chill Winter Fest held on Feb. 1.  Visit Milan Main Street on Facebook at

Joyce Ervin is a freelance writer reporting on Milan.  She can be contacted at:  jlervin42 [at] yahoo [dot] com.

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