Rich Egger's guests are author and historian John Hallwas and former Macomb Mayor Bob Anstine. They talk about the city's annual Heritage Days celebration, which takes place Thursday, June 21 - Sunday, June 24.
Heritage Days began during Anstine's administration. He thinks the first one was held in 1981.
“We were looking for an annual activity. We came up with this concept - the city city council, the Chamber of Commerce, and others - and that's when it started,” Anstine said.
Hallwas said the theme, which changes every year, is designed to emphasize aspects of the heritage of Macomb, which he said dates back to 1831. He said this year's theme pays tribute to the community's tradition of female social activism.
“That theme gives attention to women for the first time. A number of our themes have necessarily focused on men over the years, but this one focuses on often forgotten women,” Hallwas said.
He said organizers have received “a huge, positive public response” to the theme.
This year is the first time organizers sold the naming rights for Heritage Days. Anstine said the Woodrum Auto group agreed to sponsor the entire event. He said last year's Heritage Days brought in less money because it rained during portions of the weekend.
“So we were forced to look at another producer and that was what was decided,” Anstine said of the decision to sell the naming rights.
Many Heritage Days activities take place in or near Chandler Park. There are also events on the courthouse square and the Sunday morning fly-in & pancake breakfast takes place at the airport.
Anstine said concerts will be moved to Fellheimer Auditorium at Macomb High School if it rains this year.
Hallwas said towns - especially smaller ones - are losing a sense of community these days. He said one way to combat that is by emphasizing heritage.
“That binds people together and creates a sense of belonging. That's really the key for me of Heritage Days,” Hallwas said.
“Believe me, if you live in a town without much sense of community, you'll regret it.”