Avid friends and followers of the new St. Joseph Today Executive Director Whitney Behnke have been treated to an amazing whirlwind of activity since she took the helm of the merchant promotion agency in downtown St. Joseph. From her quirky "SJTSelfieStickTour" on social media, to her proactive role in event planning across the region, the woman is a tremendous ball of energy, matching stride for stride her predecessor Jill Stone.
We've barely cleared the Groundhog celebration and the ensuing Magical Ice Festival, and St. Joseph Today has already laid plans for another "Wow Factor" event at the 2016 BBQ, Blues & Bluegrass Festival unveiled last week. All that is simply prelude to what is slated to be another remarkable summer along the shores of Lake Michigan.
If Monday night's "Consent Agenda" at the St. Joseph City Commission meeting is even an inkling of what's in store, you will do well to strap on your roller skates just to keep up with the line up.
Tomorrow night City Commissioners are being asked to approve a full summer of everything from Antiques on the Bluff to multiple 5k fundraisers, some yachting and farmer's markets and a ton more in between. Here's a brief capsule of what St. Joseph Today and other organizations are seeking the stamp of approval from the City of St. Joseph on tomorrow night at City Hall:
- Antiques on the Bluff — Events the 1st Sunday of each month from 5/1 through 10/2
- Farmer's Markets — Open market on the bluff every Saturday morning from 5/28 through 10/15
- Lake Bluff Craft Fairs — Events slated for both 6/4 and 9/3
- Summer Solstice — St. Joe River Yacht Club event on 6/18
- Tri-State Regatta — St. Joe River Yacht Club event on Labor Day Weekend 9/2 through 9/4
- Queen's Cup Regatta — SJRYC & Milwaukee's South Shore Yacht Club event 7/1 through 7/3
- Lory's Place Run Walk & Rock — 5/21
- Alex's Duck Duck Run — 6/18
- Humane Society 2nd Annual Pup Run at the Carousel — 6/25
- Chemical Bank Run for the YMCA — 7/16
Keep in mind these are just the beginning of many events slated this spring and summer including the return of the Champions Tour for the 2016 Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid on the Memorial Day Weekend, the Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff, Smooth Jazz at Sunset, Summer Jam, the Public Art project for this year downtown, multiple Brown Bag Concerts in the park throughout the summer and plenty more.
Following Consent Agenda items on the docket tomorrow, the city will also address its 2016-2020 Parks & Recreation Master Plan which will look at many of the venues to be used by the busy schedule of events every year.
It's also noteworthy that the St. Joseph Department of Public Safety will also seek authorization to acquire two new 2016 Ford Explorer squad cars for use in patrolling and maintaining the peace at public events and elsewhere in the community tomorrow. The two vehicles will cost just over $58,000 total and the city will trade in two three-year old Explorers in the process.
Yes, Pure Michigan filmmakers were in town this fall to capture the special nature and beauty of the region, but visitors and residents are already scoring lots of opportunities to see the entire region in action all summer long. Better grab your own selfie stick and plot some scrapbook memories like Whitney Behnke, the Southwest Michigan Tourist Council's Millicent Huminsky, and the City of St. Joseph's Marketing Director Susan Solon and their teams continue to amass virtually every day in Michigan's Great Southwest.