Fourth of July Party Raises Fun and Funds

On July 4 more than 100 classic cars and antique tractors in an array of colors, makes, and models filled the parking lot at Graafschap Christian Reformed Church in Holland, Mich. Meanwhile, rock & roll hits from the 1950s wafted under blue skies, setting the mood for some fun in the sun at Graafschap’s Summer Family Celebration.

Julia D., 7, on pony cart ride with Phil Plasman from Laketown Farms.

Now in its sixth year, around 1,000 people attended the event, which included a car show, a tractor pull, a pork barbeque lunch, and a number of free activities for children, from a petting zoo to pony cart rides. “It’s really for the families. We wanted to keep it very inexpensive and family friendly,” said Marilyn Hoek, event organizer and president of the Graafschap Heritage Center, which is housed in the church building.

But it isn’t just for fun. Every year, proceeds are given to someone with a special need. This year’s proceeds, totaling roughly $4,500, will be used to help pay medical expenses for Alex Mayer, 18, a recent heart transplant recipient in Southwest Michigan.

“It gets bigger every year,” said Michelle Porterfield, who lives just across the street. “You could really come and make a half-day of it.” As a veteran of the U.S. Army, she enjoyed viewing all the war memorabilia. This year for the first time, a traveling interactive museum called 20th Century at War set up a large display that included uniforms, weaponry, and a number of chaplaincy items.

The festivities provided a rare chance to step inside the replica of Graafschap’s original log cabin church. Bretton Prins, 15, took advantage of the opportunity. “I like history,” he said. Also open for visitors was the Graafschap Heritage Center, a museum focusing on the history of Dutch immigrants in West Michigan.

About the Author

Susan Vanden Berg is the Banner's regional news correspondent for classes Holland & Zeeland.

X