It's an historic site that has represented fun and excitement for decades in Michigan's Great Southwest and tonight, the stage is set for another slice of history -- the counting of the ballots in the 2018 mid-term election cycle which will produce a new governor for the State of Michigan and a whole lot more before the new day dawns tomorrow.
The Shadowland Ballroom at Silver Beach is the setting tonight for the gathering of the GOP party faithful. Even as the final votes were being cast tonight in the long-running election campaign, the red, white and blue balloons, American flags, buttons, campaign signs and more were being peppered across the landscape inside and out at the building that houses the Silver Beach Carousel, the Curious Kids Museum's Discovery Center and the ballroom that is the stage for tonight's speeches yet to be made.
Political strategists for the Republican Party are already clustered around a bank of laptop computers in one corner while a live band is warming up in the opposite corner. In between, long time members of the party and their supporters have been gathering since the doors opened at 7:30 to make way for tonight's countdown event.
Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey and Judge Charlie LaSata were among the first to arrive along with State Senate Candidate Kim LaSata, State House Candidate Pauline Wendzel, and the campaign, publicity, and strategy teams of Congressman Fred Upton among many others.
Media from as far away as Grand Rapids, South Bend, Kalamazoo, and beyond were among the first to jockey for position eager to establish a slice of real estate for video tri-pods, table space for laptop and tablet computers and more.
Fred Upton himself arrived just minutes before the polls were set to close at 8pm and he looked fairly calm as he strolled through the room checking the lay of the land, and undoubtedly eager to get the show on the road.
Kim LaSata readily admitted that she's glad that the whole long campaign is winding down, and said she's pretty sure most everybody else shares that feeling.
Berrien County Clerk Sharon Tyler and her crew are now in the spotlight as they work to gather the numbers, file the returns and get everything posted online with their electronic election tallies.
So, on a blustery night along the shores of Lake Michigan, the question is how much history will be made, written or re-written in a space that has been hosting fun and excitement for decades, but always posed a few chills and thrills as well. The question is, who will walk away relieved and happy and who, if anyone will walk away wondering what might have been. Stay tuned.