Glen Arbor Park Commissioners honored as Parade Grand Marshals

From staff reports

Glen Arbor’s popular park is packed all summer long. Tennis courts, basketball, pickle ball—they’re all jammed with people, young and not so young.

This year the Glen Lake Chamber of Commerce is honoring the seven park commissioners who designed the hit attraction by anointing them grand marshals of Thursday’s Fourth of July Parade. Chairman Jim Fowler, treasurer Jim Munson, secretary Celeste Crouch and board members Ron Calsbeek, Kelly Ciolek, Rick Schanhals, and Paul Walters will ride at the head of the parade, which leaves Glen Haven and arrives in downtown Glen Arbor just after noon.

“People realized that the park commissioners spent a lot time, work and energy developing the park today,” said Jim Fowler. “All you have to do is look around. I counted more than 150 people here today.”

On Sunday, June 30, Fowler was busy facilitating the Glen Arbor Open tennis tournament, which he’s done for two decades. This year had 90 entries.

Fowler, 84, says his “good” tennis days are over, but he teaches lessons here at the Glen Arbor courts, at The Leelanau School and at The Homestead resort. He enjoys watching competitive doubles tournaments, or hoopsters sink 3-pointers, or senior citizens stay in shape playing pickleball. Prior to moving to Glen Arbor 30 years ago, Fowler was athletic director at Flint Northern High School, where his wife Barbara was a social worker.

He and Barbara plan to move to North Carolina this fall to be closer to family. He promises he won’t be a stranger to Glen Arbor.

As for the parade, Fowler is no stranger to it. A proud Michigan Wolverine, he usually decks out his trailer in Maize and Blue. “It’s a great thing,” he said. “A mile of cars and tractors.”

And a porta-potty on wheels. “I got stuck behind him once,” Fowler laughed. “I don’t ever want to do that again.”

Not to worry. This year, he and the park commissioners will be sitting in the convertible at the front of the parade.