Following your family’s Thanksgiving turkey feast, visit Glen Arbor for weekend festivities, including the Pajama Party from 7-9 am on Friday, Nov. 24. The PJ Party is an annual tradition in the Glen Arbor business district, where you are invited to wear your pajamas and come out for special sales and offers with participating local merchants for a “Better than Black Friday” shopping experience. Among other holiday traditions in Glen Arbor, the fun and quirky Bed Parade returns on Friday from 9-9:30 am. On Friday evening, from 6:15-8 pm, celebrate the season with a community tree lighting and caroling at the Glen Arbor Township Hall, followed by shopping the opening of the Holiday Artisan Marketplace. Then on Saturday, Nov. 25, from 10 am-4 pm, shop a curated variety of local artisan goods during the 2023 Glen Arbor Holiday Marketplace. Santa Claus will visit on Saturday between 11 am and 1 pm.

Mike Sheldon, the longtime CEO of Deutsch advertising agency in Los Angeles and a Lake Leelanau resident since 2017, has broken ground on an 18-hole putting and dining destination at the former River at Crystal Bend in Glen Arbor—where the Crystal River turns and heads northeast toward The Homestead and Sleeping Bear Bay. He received a conditional Land Use Permit last night from the Glen Arbor Township Planning Commission and hopes to open the venue to the public next spring. The destination will bring even more action to the east side of town, where Crystal River Outfitters, the Cyclery, the M22 Store and Coastal already draw crowds. Less than a mile away, the renovated Mill has generated buzz since it opened this spring.

Glen Arbor’s celebrated Fourth of July parade—proudly an “anything goes” fete for 60 years—has a few rules and structure now. But not too much will change. In late founder Stan Brubaker’s absence, the Glen Arbor Township will manage the parade, which lines up in Glen Haven and leaves for Glen Arbor at noon. Water guns, cannons and water balloons won’t be allowed this year. “People have complained in the past, and we’re getting rid of things that can hurt little kids or make older people wet. Getting creamed in the head by a water balloon you weren’t expecting is no fun, especially when you’re 75 years old.” Glen Arbor’s iconic citizen kazoo corps returns to the Fourth of July parade this year, following a three-year hiatus prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Glen Lake Woman’s Club’s annual flag raising ceremony begins at 10 am on July 4 at the Old Settlers Picnic Grounds, located on the southeastern shore of Glen Lake near the corner of Dunn’s Farm Rd. (CR 675) and Burdickville Rd (CR 616). Please bring your own lawn chairs. Captain Kevin M. Quarderer, U. S. Naval Attache to the United States Embassy in Australia, will be the featured speaker.

The historical and human significance of the presence of the Johnsons and other African-American families in the Empire and Glen Lake area cannot be overestimated. To be there they would have had to deal with all the exigencies of frontier life, mainly the constant hard work and the ability to maintain good cheer and endure isolation. In addition, to get there in the first place, they would’ve had to have survived slavery, including the physical brutality and the trauma of family members being sold. They would have needed to be diplomatic enough to circumvent the laws that made it illegal for slaves to learn to read, write or own property in order to acquire the skills and the goods they’d need if they were later to escape.

It’s hard for anyone to pinpoint exactly when a town changes. Most of the time we’re too busy with our daily life to notice the subtle transformations, writes Julie Zapoli, co-owner of Glen Arbor’s Inn and Trail Gourmet. Living in one place prohibits noticing much beyond our typical path, but we adjust: a clothing shop becomes a food market, the old school house becomes a vacation rental, a bed and breakfast changes hands after 23 years. The Glen Arbor Bed and Breakfast, which was purchased earlier this year by Michael Aragon, was originally built as a boarding house 150 years ago for the loggers who came to northern Michigan to cut timber. Some of that Michigan timber helped to rebuild Chicago after the Great Fire of 1871 ravaged the city when Mrs. O’Leary’s cow (supposedly) kicked over a lantern … it’s that kind of history that makes you appreciate a place.

The hard-working international staff at Anderson’s Market in Glen Arbor paused on Aug. 19 to pose for a team photo. Standing in the back row are (l-r) Britnie and Annalisa (Jamaica) and Sabina (Kazakhstan); in the middle (l-r), Clint (U.S.), Kerem (Turkey), Francis (Dominican Repubic), and Rahma (Tanzania), and in the front (l- r), Filiz and Yeşim (Turkey), owner Brad Anderson, and Karina (Kazakhstan). Photo by Jamie Cline

It doesn’t get any better than seeing all those cute kids ready to run their first race in the Running Bear Run’s ½ Mile Kids’ Run. They are so excited and can’t wait to start the race and beat the BEAR. Then there are the best runners from all over the area warming up and ready to hit the pavement in the 5K Run. But best of all is seeing the Grandmas and Grandpas walking or running with their families and the mom’s with their strollers pushing little ones along the race route. It is just fantastic to see everyone enjoying Glen Arbor’s annual Running Bear Run on Tuesday, July 26.

So, if you are Katie Dunn, and you have been coming to Glen Arbor every summer since 1976, and you have worked all over town, and you know everybody, are you still a ‘Fudgie,’ or ‘Permafudge,” or now a ‘Local?’ Katie declares, “I feel like I’m ‘Local-ish.’ When I bought a car to keep up my 1927 log cabin I own on Big Glen Lake, I got a Michigan license plate. Doesn’t that give credence to me being a local?” she asks with a smile.

The Homestead resort north of Glen Arbor opens today for lodging and short-term rentals. “America’s fresh water resort”, which celebrates its 50th birthday in 2020, will also open Whiskers indoor/outdoor bar and grill and Cavanaugh’s deli and general store. Both will serve customers at 50 percent capacity and also offer takeout. Whiskers will offer outdoor live music on weekends later this summer.