Ludington to celebrate sesquicentennial

    Love Ludington Weekend scheduled for June 9-11
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    A child eats ice cream at Stearns Park Beach. Photo by Brad Reed.

    The City of Ludington is honoring its 150th anniversary in 2023 with a lot of celebrating. While March 22 marked the official anniversary that Ludington was incorporated 150 years ago in 1873 and was commemorated with a kickoff for the local community, the Love Ludington Weekend is a public event designed for for visitors and locals alike to celebrate Ludington’s history.

    “This is an exciting year of celebration as we commemorate Ludington’s sesquicentennial,” said Ludington Mayor Mark Barnett. “We have a full schedule of events designed for everyone to enjoy, whether you love Ludington as a resident or a visitor. We encourage you to learn more about our history and how it has created who we are today as a city.”

    The Love Ludington Weekend, kicks off Friday, June 9 with a street party featuring live music, free ice cream, fireworks and a bevy of other activities throughout the weekend.

    “The Love Ludington Weekend is Ludington’s official birthday party,” said Brandy Miller, executive director of the Ludington Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “There are exciting anniversary-related activities all year long, but this (Love Ludington Weekend) is the capstone for the year when it comes to celebrating our city. We hope all will come out and celebrate.”

    Friday Evening Street Party

    Ludington Avenue is packed for its Friday Night Live street festival on May 25, 2023. City of Ludington courtesy photo

    5-7 p.m., Budweiser Clydesdales on parade: an eight-horse Clydesdale hitch will parade through downtown for ceremonial beer deliveries. At 6 p.m., the horses will stop at the main stage to kick off the street party. The hitch will be stationed for the public to view and photograph until 7 p.m.

    • 6 p.m., ice cream giveaway: House of Flavors will give out free scoops of birthday cake- flavored ice cream on Ludington Avenue near Robert Street to celebrate its 75th anniversary.
    • 6-10 p.m., live music: The main stage at Ludington Ave. and James Street, headlined by Southern California dance band, Pop Vinyl.
    • 6 – 6:30 p.m., Ludington High School Band will perform.
    • 6:30 – 7:30 p.m., the Whiskey Rebels live band takes the stage.
    • 7:30 – 8 p.m., a D.J. will play house music. 
    • 8 – 10 p.m.,  Pop Vinyl live band performs.
    • 10 p.m. – D.J. house music until fireworks

    Fireworks at approximately 10:15 p.m. will end the day’s celebration.  

    Other Love Ludington activities throughout the weekend include:

    Budweiser Clydesdales, with Ludington’s North Breakwater Light in the distance. Courtesy photo.

    Putt-Putt Celebration, daily June 9 – 11, noon-10 p.m.
    Ludington Area Jaycees Mini Golf Course.  Golfing is $1.50 per-person all weekend, and each family receives a commemorative golf ball.

    Ludington Lakestride Races, June 10, 8 a.m., starting at Stearns Park.
    The 43rd annual race series features a half marathon, 10K and 5K.

    Historic Homes Walking Tours, June 10 & 11 at 1 and 2 p.m.
    Details and tickets available here

    Clydesdales on parade/display, June 10 & 11.
    On June 10 from 5-7 p.m. at Loomis Street Boat Launch, the eight-horse hitch will parade north along Lakeshore Drive and through Stearns Park Beach, returning to the lot for the public to view/photograph. The Clydesdales make a final appearance June 11, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Mason County Fairgrounds for photographs. 

    Additional events during Love Ludington Weekend & beyond

    “Love Ludington” and “Celebrating the S.S. Badger” Art Exhibits: Through June 30, Ludington Area Center for the Arts. Concurrent art exhibits celebrate two Ludington anniversaries – the “Love Ludington” exhibit depicts scenes of Ludington’s past and present through original artwork across all mediums in honor of its 150th anniversary, and the “Celebrating the S.S. Badger” exhibit features photographs and original artwork of the S.S. Badger for its 70th anniversary.

    House of Flavors Diamond Giveaway: Through July 3. In celebration of its diamond (75th) anniversary and in partnership with Victoria’s Jewelry and WMOM-FM, House of Flavors is giving away a one-carat diamond. Entry forms can be picked up and submitted at Ludington’s House of Flavors and Victoria’s Jewelry, and one winner will be drawn and announced during the July 4 Freedom Festival parade at WMOM. Weekly winners also will be drawn on Tuesdays with prizes like ice cream, sundaes and  t-shirts. The diamond winner must be 18 years or older; no purchase necessary. Watch the Facebook page for weekly winners and other contest updates.

    Lakestride half marathon. Photo courtesy of City of Ludington.

    #RunLudington Sesquicentennial 150 Mile Challenge: Through Nov. 1, the Ludington Run Club is challenging runners and walkers to log 150 miles through a virtual challenge. Registration is $25 and includes a 3.5” custom finishers medal featuring the sesquicentennial logo. T-shirts are also available for purchase. Proceeds from the event and merchandise sales benefit the Ludington track program. Register and log miles at runreg.com/runludington-150milechallenge.

    Anniversary-related events, activities & other marquee events in 2023 include:
    A sesquicentennial concert featuring the Scottville Clown Band, June 14, Waterfront Park.
    Maritime Heritage Day on  Aug. 12 at the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum.
    Cemetery walks on Aug. 26, at Lakeview and Pere Marquette Cemeteries.
    The “Trial of the Century: Mason County-Style” on Sept. 23 at Historic White Pine Village.
    A Sesquicentennial Ball on Oct. 7 at Stearns Hotel.

    More information can be found at Ludington150.com.

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