We spoke to Chairman of the Grosse Ile Festival Commission, Chad Novak, who shares details about the upcoming 2019 Islandfest.
Q & A
What is Islandfest?
It’s a three-day celebration to showcase our beautiful island community and all that we have to offer. What started as the Azalea Festival in 1984 at Westcroft Gardens, moved to the Grosse Ile Municipal Airport on the south end of the island in the year 2002. Now, it’s become a huge three-day event with over 20,000 visitors.
Is it open to more than Grosse Ile residents?
A: Absolutely, it’s become one of the biggest and most attended festivals in the Southeast Michigan area. We get people from Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and all over Michigan. The Grosse Ile Soccer Association (GISA) is in its fifth year and that brings in thousands of people. GISA also has players that come from the tri-state area who attend the festival.
Do you see growth in Grosse Ile businesses?
We get many nonprofit organizations who come and set up their booth at the festival, which is one of their biggest fundraisers. One annual favorite is the TAILS auction. It also benefits the local restaurants that aren’t at the festival, and the community as a whole. Our marinas and yacht clubs are all filled to capacity with people coming down to hop off and call one of our car companies to get over to the festival. It benefits everybody in the community.
What is the cost to get in?
It’s free. There is no cost to get into the event and parking is free. There is a cost for the carnival rides and helicopter rides.
What other attractions will be there?
We have helicopter rides and 18 carnival rides. We also have a petting zoo, fireworks on Saturday night, a foam party on both Friday and Saturday night, all of which are free.
How is it able to be free?
We’re a small commission doing big things. All of the funds for this event are brought in from private donors, sponsorships, and vendors/crafters. A list of sponsors can be found on our website.
Are there any changes from 2018?
The petting zoo is new this year, we extended the foam party to two nights, and moved the fireworks to Saturday night. We’re also getting a new carnival ride geared towards teens and adults to add to the wonderful lineup. So we’re adding new things, but keeping the classic favorites.
What about the band lineup?
Friday Night we have Atomic Radio, Saturday we have The DR5 opening for Wisteria, and Sundays bands are to be announced.
Where can people find more information?
Our website is grosseileislandfest.com, and it’s updated weekly. They can also follow us on Facebook. Our recreation number is 734-675-2364 for any information they can’t find on the site.
Any other information?
We need volunteers because we start cleaning up the hanger the day after Memorial Day, and we need people all the way through June 2nd. Our site even has a breakdown of the times we need people for and what kind of job it is. •