By Chris Hagan
Review Staff Writer – The Lake Orion Review
Eighteen years ago the City of Caseville rallied around an idea for a 10-day festival centered around unique ideas.
They melded cheeseburgers, local restaurants, the feel of Caribbean living all set to the sounds of Jimmy Buffet and the city called it Cheeseburger in Caseville.
Now shortened by attendees to simply “Cheeseburger,” it’s developed into an event drawing thousands of people each summer.
It’s this sort of festival and the community’s support of it that inspired Orion Chamber of Commerce President Brian Birney to begin working on an event called Lake Orion’s American Summer.
The proposed 12-day event would create a bridge to gap between the Lion’s Club Jubilee and the Lake Orion Fireworks show. It will run from June 23 through July 4 and it’s composed of various activities happening throughout the community.
“My whole concept with this is to have a celebration of everything that’s Lake Orion,” Birney said. “It’s going to be patriotic and celebrating the community while embracing our restaurants, the parks, the lakes and the trails.”
The American Summer festival will include a restaurants week, a pub crawl benefiting Blessings in a Backpack, and an events sections where residents and visitors can view an activity calendar of events. Birney secured Bacardi as the main sponsor for the pub crawl and he hopes restaurant week will generate revenue for restaurants dealing the M-24 traffic construction.
“We’re one of the only communities around here that doesn’t have a restaurant week so the idea is to get all these restaurants to put together unique, good deals,” he said. “This is to have Lake Orion be a destination for people who live here and for the people outside to come in. It also gives us, the community something that we can really hang our hat on and build off of for years to come.”
Of the different events scheduled for the festival will be Up North at St. Joes, where the members of St. Joseph Catholic Church on Lapeer Road will turn their grounds into a free community bonfire with family events, music, and food. On July 2, members from Lake Orion Police Department (LOPD), 51 North Brewing and Lake Orion United Methodist (LOUMC) will host an event called Clergy, Cops and Beer. The event is a community fundraiser supporting LOUMC’s and LOPD community programs and Let Them Play playground for children with disabilities.
Lake Orion’s American Summer is still accepting events up and through the festivals run. It’s $100 for an organization to register and that money will get that organization’s event listed and promoted. “We want to make it where we are living our town’s slogan of “Where living is a vacation” where literally it is because there’s all this stuff going on that we don’t have to go away for to have fun,” Birney said. “It’s about getting the community more energized and have more things to do to keep things fresh and have new things to do.”
Organizations and attendees can visit loamericansummer.com for more information or search Lake Orion’s American Summer on Facebook.