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Greetings from the mayor Come out and enjoy our city’s birthday party


elcome back to Spree, Livonia’s yearly birthday celebration. In this, my 12th year as mayor, I hope you will join us in marking Livonia’s 61st anniversary as a city. This year Spree is dedicated to the memory of Officer Larry Nehasil, who was killed in the line of duty. Please remember Larry, and all of our hard-working public safety people and our armed forces. Kirksey As always, Spree 61 is packed with a variety of fun activities and entertainment offering something for everyone. For many people, Spree is a time to take the kids on carnival rides without paying the fuel costs for a far-away, out-ofstate amusement park. For others, Spree serves as a community homecoming – a chance for people of all ages to catch up with their friends and neighbors in a safe, friendly and fun setting.


This year, with the tough economic times, we hope that residents will take advantage of the vast array of free events. These include concerts, martial arts demonstrations, performances by comedians, magicians, local dance troupes, the This year Spree Star Family Circus and even the chance to watch racing pigs is dedicated to the memory of and “hot dogs.” There will also be a no-cost Family Fun Day on Officer Larry Saturday, featuring a variety of Nehasil, who was killed in old-fashioned races, contests the line of duty and games. New this year will be the First Jan. 17. Annual Beer and Wine Tasting Event. On Tuesday evening you can taste, for a $10 charge, samples of local beers and wine. There will also be food available to purchase. Please see WELCOME, 30

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Strolling circus acts, racing hot dogs part of new Spree entertainment BY KAREN SMITH OBSERVER STAFF WRITER

If you see someone eating or breathing fire while walking around Livonia Spree this year, keep a safe distance. It’s not a magic trick, but the real thing. “The fire is hot and very dangerous,” said Andrew D’Ascenzo of Bacchanal Promotions in Rochester. “There are magicians who pretend, but all of the things we do are very real.” D’Ascenzo is one of two Bacchanal Promotions performers who will do circus acts as they stroll the Spree grounds from 4-9 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 24-26. The performers are new to Livonia Spree this year. In addition to eating and breathing fire, D’Ascenzo will swallow swords. He said he is “the only true sword swallower in Michigan. “We don’t do anything in our mouth to lessen the pain,” he said. “There is no trick to it.” Christopher Bogucki will also perform circus acts, including stilt walking, jumping stilt acrobatics, unicycling and juggling. D’Ascenzo owns Bacchanal Promotions with his wife, Lex. “We had some friends who performed, and we just liked it so we started performing ourselves,” he said, adding they are self-taught. Karen Voran, a member of the Spree board, said organizers like to bring in fresh entertainment “to change things up a bit.” She said she had seen Bacchanal Promotions perform at Bright House Networks, where she works, and was impressed. Please see ENTERTAIN, 29 4 • L I V O N I A S P R E E • J un e 20 1 1

Christopher Bogucki will perform circus acts, including stilt walking, jumping stilt acrobatics, unicycling and juggling.

Local companies promoted at booths BY KEN ABRAMCZYK OBSERVER STAFF WRITER

Visitors to Livonia Spree can meet and visit with local entrepreneurs at this year’s festival. For the first time, Spree has invited local companies to promote their businesses in exhibitor booths. The booths are hoped to assist Spree by adding much-needed revenue to help put on the festival, but it is also hoped to assist businesses with promoting them, according to Spree President Dan Spurling. “A lot of businesses are struggling,” Spurling said. “Every year, we get dozens and dozens of calls, wondering about leasing booth space.” Other communities allow for exhibitor booths at their festivals so Spree Committee members decided they would try it this year. “Everybody tries to help everybody else with it,” Spurling said. “It’s a chance for people to get out and learn about the business, and it helps the business advertise what they do. It helps us, and it helps them.” Spurling said the city was shooting for 350 exhibitors for the Spree. Livonia businesses will get first crack at the exhibitor space along with major sponsors. The booths measure 8 feet by 8 feet. No raffles or lotteries or foods that compete with the food booths at the Spree will be permitted.


Admission to Livonia Spree is free. Organizers hope the exhibitor booths will help keep it that way.

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Bentley alumni

Bentley High School grads Rob Rozek (‘77), Greg Panaretos (‘80) and sister-in-laws Laurie Krueger-Rozek (‘78) and Kathy Lenhardt-Rozek (‘78) arrive at the unofficial Livonia Spree reunion just before sundown in 2009.

reunite every year at Spree BY KAREN SMITH OBSERVER STAFF WRITER

You won’t see it listed on the Spree schedule, but Friday night of every year, an unofficial high school reunion takes place in the picnic area outside the Beer Tent. “I’ve see the same people every year for the last 20 years,” said Brian Duggan, a Spree board member. “It’s people I graduated from Bentley High School with.” Duggan said Bentley grads from approximately 1975 to 1981 just show up to eat, drink, talk and reminisce. “Once it (attending Spree) is in your blood, it’s always in your blood,” said Duggan, who graduated in 1976. The annual Livonia Spree “alumni gathering” as John Please see REUNION, 27 6 • L I V O N I A S P R E E • J un e 20 1 1

Bentley High School graduates Duran Grisa (‘78) and his wife Shirley Topolewski (‘80) at Spree in 2009.

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The Kreellers are just one of many new bands scheduled for this year’s Spree.

Annabelle Road among new bands to perform at Spree BY KEN ABRAMCZYK OBSERVER STAFF WRITER

Spree promises a variety of bands for just about every musical taste. This year’s Spree is no exception. The festival offers plenty of new faces and bands of various genres to entice audiences to return to Spree night after night to hear something different. New acts feature The Kreellers, the 338th Army Band, the Livonia Youth Choir, Jane Doe, 7 Play, Annabelle Road and Mega 80s. “We’re trying to bring variety so that the people at the Spree can see some new bands,” said Karen Voran, who helped organize the musical lineup along with Spree committee members. Of course, some of the old favorites, like the Killer Flamingoes and Steve King and the Dittilies, will be back, Voran said. Please see BANDS, 25 8 • L I V O N I A S P R E E • J un e 20 1 1


The Killer Flamingos will perform at this year’s Spree. On the right is lead singer Michelle Carravallah.

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Spree-goers look forward to the carnival rides every year.

Beer, wine tasting on tap


For the first time, Livonia Spree will host a beer and wine tasting 6-9 p.m. Tuesday, June 21. A variety of beers and wines will be offered, according to event chairman Brian Duggan. Patrons can try 15 small samples of any combination of beers and wines for $10. “It’s new this year,” Duggan said. “Showerman’s will be helping us with the wine selections, and the beers will be provided by our distributor.” Sam Shoukri, owner of Showerman’s, said varieties from all over the world will be available for tasting. That includes wines from Washington, Oregon and Michigan, along with Germany, Italy, New Zealand and Australia, Shoukri said. Wine offerings range from the rich and full10 • L I V O N I A S P R E E • J un e 20 1 1

bodied merlots and cabernet sauvignons, to the sweeter and lighter pinot grigios and rieslings. “There will be educational information there as well as the tastings offered,” Shoukri said. Guests can ask questions and receive information on the specific wines, Shoukri said. “They can find out the regions that they originate from and what other wines may best suit their palates,” Shoukri said. Approximately 30 beers from 15 breweries will be available for sampling, Duggan said. Craft brews expected to available are Detroit Brewing Co., Frankenmuth, Goose Island, Great Lakes and Sierra Nevada. Hamburgers, cheeseburgers and bratwurst from Doc’s Sports Retreat will be available for $3. Tickets can be purchased that evening for the event, which will be held in the Bright House Networks Tent.


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is good, clean fun for kids The popular Spree pie-eating contest for ages 7-12 will take place Wednesday, June 22, in the Bright House Networks Tent. The event is co-sponsored by the Livonia Observer, Livonia Family YMCA and Mary Denning’s Cake Shoppe. Prizes will be awarded to the winners in three ages divisions by the Observer and the Y. Pre-registration is 5-6 p.m. The contest will start at 6:30 p.m. The six-inch Bavarian cream pies are being donated by Mary Denning’s Cake Shoppe, owned by Mary Denning and her husband, Charlie. The Michigan natives, who were raised in the area, have been in the bakery business for 19 years. “It’s not just your regular sheet cakes anymore,” Mary Denning said of the changes in the industry, partly fed by realty TV shows like Cake Boss that feature unique custom cakes, some large in scale. “Bring in a picture, and I can probably do it,” Denning said. Please see PIE, 22 12 • L I V O N I A S P R E E • J un e 20 1 1

Tommy Zabik has had enough. His effort won him first place in the 9-10 year old group.



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Spree schedule of events TUESDAY, JUNE 21

Spree & Carnival Opens at 4 p.m. Main Stage Battle of the Bands 5-10:30 p.m. Bright House Networks Tent First Annual Beer & Wine Tasting Event 6-9 p.m. (Price: $10 for 15 tokens) Spree Grounds Events Star Family Circus 7 p.m. Hot Dog Pig Racing 5, 6:30 & 8 p.m.

Nicholas and Ryan Mahy practice their Jedi knight skills while waiting for the fireworks to begin.


Spree & Carnival Opens at 2 p.m. Eddie Edgar Arena Family Pizza Night 6-8 p.m. $3 per-person admission at the door. Clowns Free Slot Car Racing (cars provided) 6 p.m. until finished Bright House Networks Tent Pie Eating Contest for ages 7-12 sponsored by Livonia Observer Pre-registration 5-6 p.m.; contest starts at 6:30 p.m. Comedy Magic of Ken & Austin Dumm 7:30 p.m. Main Stage Killer Flamingos (Electro Pop Rock) 7-11 p.m. Spree Grounds Events Clowns 3:30-7:30 p.m. Star Family Circus 5 p.m. & 8 p.m. Hot Dog Pig Racing 3, 4:30, 6, 7:30 & 9 p.m. Wednesday only: Free rides for handicapped children and adults from 2-5 p.m.


Spree & Carnival Opens at 2 p.m. Eddie Edgar Arena Livonia’s Taste of Spree 6-8 p.m. Advance tickets required - $10. Limited number available at Livonia City Treasurer’s Office, Livonia Parks & Recreation and Community Choice Credit Union Main Stage Boogie Dynomite (‘70s Disco) 7-11 p.m. Bright House Networks Tent Dragon Academy of Martial Arts & Krav Maga 4 p.m. Comedy Magic of Ken & Austin Dumm 5 p.m. The Kreellers (Celtic/Folk Rock/Rock) 8:30-11 p.m. Spree Grounds Events Clowns 3-7 p.m. Star Family Circus 4 p.m., 6 p.m. & 8 p.m. Hot Dog Pig Racing 2:30, 3:30, 5:30, 7:30 & 9 p.m. 16 • L I V O N I A S P R E E • J un e 20 1 1


Spree and Carnival Opens at 2 p.m. Main Stage Annabelle Road (Country) 7-11 p.m. Bright House Networks Tent Comedy Magic of Ken & Austin Dumm 5 p.m. Square Pegz (‘80s tribute band) 7-11 p.m. (In front of stage) Fitness Motivators (Zumba & Z-Box Fitness) 8 p.m. Spree Grounds Events Clowns 3-8 p.m. Bacchanal Promotions Performers 4-9 p.m. Star Family Circus 4, 6 & 8 p.m. Hot Dog Pig Racing 2:30, 3:30, 5:30, 7:30 & 9 p.m. Free Child ID Program Provided by Thomas S. Hughes Masonic Lodge No. 574 (across from Main Stage) 4-8 p.m. Ball Diamond No. 2 Livonia Spree Vault co-sponsored by Skyshark Athletic (Pole Vaulting) Masters, 3 p.m.; 14-Under Girls, 5 p.m. 14-Under Boys, 6 p.m. Must have entry form available at For more information email: Jaycee Tent (Next to Main Stage Cash Games) Jaycees “Texas Hold’em” 5-11 p.m. Call (734) 956-0548 for info.


Spree & Carnival Opens at Noon Spree Grounds The/Family Fun Day Races, Contests & Games starts at 1 p.m. between Ball Diamonds No. 1 & No. 2 Parade line-up starts at 12:15 p.m. in the front of Eddie Edgar Arena Main Stage The 338th Army Band 12:30 p.m. Livonia Youth Choir 2-3 p.m. Traditional Japanese Martial Arts (Aikido) 4-4:30 p.m. Mega 80’s (‘80s tribute band) 7-11 p.m. It's a sure sign of summer when Livonia Spree is open. (In front of the Main Stage) Fitness Motivators (Zumba & ZBox Fitness) 8 p.m. Proceeds from this event Bright House Networks Tent benefit a “Support Our Troops” project Dragon Academy of Martial Arts For more information visit & Krav Maga 1-1:30 p.m. or call (734) 224-2202 Comedy Magic of Ken & Ed McNamara Pancake Breakfast Austin Dumm 2, 4 & 6 p.m. Eddie Edgar Arena 8:30-11 a.m. $4 per person Grand Tradition Martial Arts All the pancakes you can eat! of Livonia/Plymouth 3:30–4 p.m. Also sausage, juice, fruit and coffee Jane Doe (Rock/Cover band) 7-11 p.m. Clown 9-11 a.m. Spree Grounds Events Awarding of Spree Memorial Scholarships Bacchanal Promotions Performers 4-9 p.m. Spree Grounds Clowns 3-8 p.m. Classic Car Show Star Family Circus 3, 5 & 8 p.m. Registration required. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hot Dog Pig Racing 1:30, 3:30, 5:30, 7:30 & 9 p.m. Call Denny Bourrough at (734) 591-7692 Free Child ID Program or Pat Morski at (248) 304-6969 Provided by Thomas S. Hughes Masonic Lodge Main Stage No. 574 (across from Main Stage) Noon to 8 p.m. Worship Services - Catholic, 8:30 a.m.; The Livonia Arts Commission presents Art from Protestant, 11 a.m. the Heart, Livonia’s family-friendly annual Arts & World Class Institute of Crafts festival that has been around for more than 30 Martial Arts 12:30-1:30 p.m. years featuring artists from all over including local Okinawa Budo Kai School talent, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 of Karate & Kobudo 2–2:30 p.m. p.m. Sunday. Debbie Felton’s Academy of Dance 3-4 p.m. Ball Diamond No. 2 O’Hare School of Irish Livonia Spree Vault co-sponsored by Skyshark Dance-Plymouth 4:30-5 p.m. 15-16 Girls, noon; 15-16 Boys, 1 p.m.; 17-18 Girls, 3 Scoot Magoo (Classic Rock) 7-11 p.m. p.m.; 17-18 Boys, 5 p.m.; College/Open Men, 7 p.m.; Bright House Networks Tent College/Open Women, 7 p.m.; Elite Men, 8 p.m.; Elite Comedy Magic of Ken & Women, 8 p.m. College and Elite may jump at the Austin Dumm 2, 4 & 5:30 p.m. same time, to be determined. 7 Play (Rock/Dance Alternative) 7-11 p.m. Must have entry form available at www.livoniBall Diamond No. 1 For more information, email coachSteve King & The Dittilies (Classic Rock) 7:15–11:15 p.m. Jaycee Tent Spree Grounds Events (Next to Main Stage Cash Games) Clown 1-7 p.m. Jaycees “Texas Hold’em” Bacchanal Promotions Performers 4-9 p.m. 5-11 p.m. Call (734) 956-0548 for info. Star Family Circus 1:30, 4:30 & 8 p.m. Hot Dog Pig Racing 1, 3, 5, 7:30 & 9 p.m. Free Child ID Program SUNDAY, JUNE 26 Provided by Thomas S. Hughes Masonic Lodge Spree & Carnival No. 574 (across from Main Stage) Opens at Noon Noon to 8 p.m. Ken Wagner Agency presents the Spree Run Grand Finale Livonia Spree fireworks, 30(1 mile, 5K, 10K run and walk) minute display, starting at 10:20 p.m. presented Registration 8:15 a.m. & 9 a.m. races by Livonia Anniversary Committee Inc. L I V O N I A S P R E E • J un e 20 1 1 • 17

Running for a reason The last day of Spree begins at 8:15 a.m. with the annual 5k/10k Spree Run. Proceeds from this event benefit a “Support Our Troops” project. For more information, visit or call (734) 224-2202

Art from the Heart


The Livonia Spree will bring Art from the Heart to festival patrons once again. Art from the Heart, Livonia’s annual Arts & Crafts Festival, was formerly held at Greenmead and Livonia City Hall, but it will be brought back to its origin, the Livonia Spree, like it was 30 years ago, according to Dan Spurling. Sponsored by the Livonia Arts Commission, Art from the Heart is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, June 25, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 26. “We’re moving it into the mainstream of the festival,” Spurling said. Last year, it was held near Ball Diamond No. 1. Organizers hope that the thousands of visitors will purchase items at 18 • L I V O N I A S P R E E • J un e 20 1 1

the show. “We think it will be beneficial for the show,” Spurling said. Spurling said like most art shows, Art from the Heart, hasn’t fared as well in previous years because of the economy. With the move to Spree, Spurling hopes crafters can experience more sales through the foot traffic. Crafters will be selling everything from jewelry to clothing and photographs to woodworked pieces, Spurling said. “There will be a little bit of everything there,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes. We hope it really takes off this year.” Spurling encourages Spree visitors to stop by, visit the artists and see what they’ve created. “We’re trying to give it a rebirth,” he said. “We’d like to continue it with the Spree to keep it going.”



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Livonia Spree is still run by volunteers today. The “Spree Gang of 15” are Jason Claypoole, Bob Biga, Fernon Feenstra, Sue Skaggs, Kathie Legowsky, Brian Duggan, Bill Fried, Dan Spurling, Ron Reinke, Richard Nogas, Jeff Danke, Rich Skaggs, Keith Schoen, Ken Rogman and John Pastor.


Livonia Spree got its start


April 1970 — Edward H. McNamara had just been elected mayor of Livonia. It was also the 20th year of the incorporation of Livonia as a city from its township days. In one of Mayor McNamara’s staff meetings, he is reported to have stated that he wanted to have Livonians share his vision of Livonia as a city. Heretofore Livonia’s 36 square miles had been influenced by and identified by the various subdivisions and, of course, by the various subdivision officials. Mayor McNamara stated that to bring the city to maturity, we needed to think like a city and socialize like a unified city.


After asking for staffers’ suggestions, a city-wide party was organized to be held at the city ice arena 20 • L I V O N I A S P R E E • J un e 20 1 1

with entertainment and chicken dinners. Much of the planning was influenced by the Livonia Jaycee carnivals with their fireworks and the Livonia Show Train at the race track with its fireworks. However, these were fund-raisers or commercial exhibits. The mayor wanted a volunteer group to organize a family affair. He appointed some of his staff as volunteers. No one was paid and volunteer energy would be what made it successful.


Bob Osborne was the mayor’s appointed mover of the group. Paul Kugler, chair of the Water and Sewer Board, and Stan Telman of the Chamber of Commerce were co-chairs. Mike Reiser of the Water and Sewer Board; John Nagy, Planning Director; Dan Andrews and Dan Gilmartin of the Industrial Development Office; Herman Kluver of Please see HISTORY, 21



Burton Hollow; Tom Mitchell, beer distributor; Hugh Gedrich, restaurateur; Joan Duggan, Moms’ for McNamara; Sue Wisler, Moms’ for McNamara; H. Dow Tunis, Ford Motor Co.; Ken Kunkle, Plante and Moran, were the first committee. The committee had many, many volunteers. So on that Sunday, Aug. 2, 1970, the city invited the subdivisions to come to a free party. Hugh Gedrich planned for 5,000 chicken dinners; 15,000 came. Food ran out to a disappointed crowd. Livonians came together, volunteers planned and put on a party, city services were provided, but the food ran out! Year 1971 — All the planning done in 1970 was in place, the site, the entertainment, the free party was in place. Hugh Gedrich and the mayor were adamant that the food could not, would not, run out. Chicken dinners were planned for 12,000 but only 5,000 came. The planners believe the disappointed stayed home. The financial losses were many.


State papers for incorporation were filed March 23, 1971, for the Livonia Anniversary Committee Inc. by Stanley Telman with trustees Kenneth Kunkle, Carl Demek and Daniel Gilmartin. The purpose for which the corporation is formed is as follows: “To conduct business pursuant to and in connection with celebrating anniversaries of the incorporation of the city of Livonia, Michigan; further, by way of example, but not limitation: to conduct picnics, dinner-dances, sports events, parades, carnivals and to sell tickets for all of the foregoing; to promote pageants; to hire bands and orchestras; to rent any premises necessary for the staging or holding any civic function connected or related to any of the foregoing; to purchase necessary supplies, merchandise, food and beverages; to sell and dispense souvenirs, food, soft drinks and beer.” Year 1972 — The Livonia city-wide party was not held to enable the committee to assess the wrongs and keep the efforts for a citywide, free party, staffed by volunteers, with assistance from city resources that would be a success.


Fernon Feenstra is a Spree Committee member and Spree historian.

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Year 1973 — Livonia’s party in 1973 was coined Spree 23 by Industrial Development coordinator Daniel Gilmartin as a befitting name for Livonia’s is 23rd birthday. Kiddie rides were added, civic groups were involved as food vendors, entertainment was added to the existing groups and massive feeding was gone. Spree 23 was an entertainment success, a monetary success, and having the core of energetic workers, a tribute to the city coming together.

Old-School Butcher Shop

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Denning also recently introduced cake truffles, little balls on a stick filled with “real moist gooey cake filling” and then poured in chocolate. She saw them at a bakery in Texas, where they called them “cake balls.” “That’s all they sold,” she said, adding she thought to herself, “I can do that.” Denning’s cake truffles comes in lemon, cherry and chocolate. Mary Denning’s Cake Shoppe also makes cakes for special dietary needs including those that are egg-free, sugarfree and gluten-free. In addition, it makes vegan cakes that are free of all animal products and are decorated just like regular cakes. Denning also make pasties, using Mary’s mother’s recipe.

Alyssa Sielaff comes up for air during the 2007 pie-eating contest. Every year, kids look forward to the annual event. For the pie-eating contest, participants can’t use their hands so they should wear clothing they don’t mind getting a little messy. In addition, they should bring the entry

form that accompanies this story. For more information about Mary Denning’s Cake Shoppe, call (734) 261-3680 or visit


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LIVONIA ANNIVERSARY COMMITTEE, INC. SPONSOR OF SPREE ‘61’ REPORT TO THE COMMUNITY STATEMENT OF REVENUES, EXPENDITURES AND RESERVE BALANCE For Year Ended September 30, 2010 Net Reserve Balance at September 30, 2009 INCOME Carnival Income $202,921 Food & Beverage Sale 70,706 Supportership & Acknowledgement Income 39,000 Food Vendor Site Rental 8,282 Pizza Night & Pancake Breakfast 2,778 Taste of Livonia Income 3,740 Interest Income 810 Other Income 400 Gross Income Total Net Reserve & Gross Income Available

328,636 $502,700

OPERATING EXPENSES: Midway Operations & DPW/Police Billings $99,083 Insurance, License & Taxes 19,062 Board Operations & Meetings 14,620 Rentals & Maintenance 32,704 Advertising, Promotion & Supplies 14,991 Less: Total Operating Expenses Net Reserve After Operating Expenses

180,460 $322,239

PROGRAM EXPENSES: Free Fireworks Free Entertainment Less: Total Program Expenses

$36,000 40,980

Net Reserve After Program Expenses Community Donations (See Schedule) Net Reserve Balance for Spree 59 Sept. 30, 2008


76,980 $245,259 52,540 $192,719

SCHEDULE OF COMMUNITY DONATIONS For Year Ended September 30, 2010 COMMUNITY DONATIONS City and City Organizations Parks & Recreation Livonia Reserves & Explorers Livonia Needy Families Livonia Youth Commission Livonia Senior Center Friends of Greenmead Total Donations to City and City Organizations

$5,000 1,500 3,000 1,000 1,000 200 $11,700

Livonia Community Organizations Livonia Community Foundation Livonia Goodfellows First Step Livonia Symphony American Cancer Society Angela Hospice ARC Churches Total Donations to Livonia Community Organizations Livonia Schools/Organizations PTA Groups Scholarships (8) School Graduation Parties Total Donations to Livonia School Organizations TOTAL COMMUNITY DONATIONS

$2,500 2,500 3,000 1,500 1,000 1,000 500 400

$14,840 12,000 1,600


28,440 $52,540

CUMULATIVE COMMUNITY DONATIONS TO MICHIGAN’S FINEST CITY TO LIVE, LEARN, WORK AND PLAY DONATIONS DONATIONS MADE TO CITY MADE TO LIVONIA COMMUNITY GROUPS DATE OF LIVONIA 10/01/09-9/30/10 $ 11,700 $ 40,840 10/01/08-9/30/09 $ 13,197 $ 44,440 10/01/07-9/30/08 $ 13,157 $ 39,757 10/01/06-9/30/07 $ 19,370 $ 36,446 10/01/05-9/30/06 $ 15,201 $ 29,601 10/01/04-9/30/05 7,559 30,246 10/01/03-9/30/04 9,650 25,578 10/01/02-9/30/03 5,535 23,153 10/01/01-9/30/02 18,396 26,582 10/01/00-9/30/01 5,439 17,193 10/01/99-9/30/00 22,918 20,054 267,884 10/01/79-9/30/99 289,714 $431,836 $601,774

TOTAL DONATIONS $ 52,540 $ 57,637 $ 52,914 $ 55,816 $ 44,802 37,805 35,228 28,688 44,978 22,632 42,972 557,598 $1,033,610 OE08740311

L I V O N I A S P R E E • J u n e 20 1 1 • 23

e e r p S

N★ ★ COUPOonia Observer

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F F O 0 0 . 1 DE-ALL-DAY

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F F O 0 0 . 1 DE-ALL-DAY

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Congratulations Livonia! Happy 61ST Birthday from Your Livonia Observer!

Save $1.00

…on all Wade Show rides at Spree 61, courtesy of your hometown newspaper! Clip these coupons and bring them with you on the days and times shown.

Compliments of the


For Home Delivery Call Toll Free 866-887-2737 OE08740821

24 • L I V O N I A S P R E E • J u n e 20 1 1

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The Livonia Youth Choir will sing for the first time at Spree. This photo was taken at last year’s Prayer Breakfast.



Daniel S. Fox, D.D.S.

32280 Five Mile Road • Livonia 734-425-7010


The new acts feature Celtic/ folk rock/rock music from the Kreellers; rock from Jane Doe; rock/dance alternative from 7 Play; and country from Annabelle Road, a band that performed at this year’s Downtown Hoedown. Mega 80s will perform music from that decade. Voran said Spree committee members look for new bands each year, visiting venues to listen to their songs and seeing what kind of following they have. “We want good entertainment so that people will come and spend time listening to the bands, to enjoy it, and to stay and dance.” Locally, the Livonia Youth Choir, ages 9-13, will sing for the first time at Spree. Spree also features the 338th Army Band, which plays music for military and public occasions. With different groups that cover most genres of music, the band provides music of celebration and solemnity for many occasions.

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32180 Schoolcraft • Livonia

(Between Farmington & Merriman Roads) OE08742501

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Livonia Anniversary Committee, Inc. along with the City of Livonia extends a special...

Commercial Lawn Mower • Senate Coney Island Michigan Dairy • Independent Bank • City of Livonia MVM Construction • Tennyson Chevrolet • PL Marketing Livonia Trophy • Mary Dennings Cake Shoppe Livonia Observer & Eccentric Newspapers 26 • L I V O N I A S P R E E • J un e 20 1 1


to our 2011 Supporters...

Ken Grant, Chris Chester, Glen Dixon, Greg Panaretos and Patti Jerolumen attend last year’s Bentley High School alumni gathering at Livonia Spree.


King (Class of ‘79) likes to call it, “is a pretty big gathering” — the largest of all Bentley get-togethers from throughout the year. “It’s not uncommon to see 100 people from Bentley in that midway,” said King, who advertises it on the website,


King would prefer people wear something that says Bentley or at least put on green and white so it’s easier for Bentley grads to pick each other out in the crowd of other Spree attendees who like to hang out at the Beer Tent. “Wear your Bentley pride,” he said. King said grads of the former Livonia school, which closed in 1984, don’t have their old school to return to so Livonia Spree became the place to be. John’s older brother, Steve King, a 1972 Bentley grad, plays in his band, Steve King and the Dittilies, on Sunday night for Spree’s grand finale, the fireworks, which attract about 100,000 people. He thinks of all of Spree as one big reunion for all Livonians. “I consider Spree more of a reunion than a carnival,” he said. People who have moved away come into town just for the fireworks because they know they’re going to run into people they know, he said. “I love it just for that very fact.”

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(Farmington and Lyndon Roads)

is presented to you by the:

LIVONIA ANNIVERSARY COMMITTEE, INC. 24 HOUR HOTLINE: (734) 427-8190 For a Schedule of Daily Events Visit:

A Special Thank You to the Following Supporters: Without you and the countless others, we couldn't have done it! Meijer Brighthouse Network Livonia Observer & Eccentric Newspapers Labatt Blue Light Primo’s Pizza Woodland Lanes Bowling & Lounge The Looney Baker of Livonia Community Choice Credit Union Budget State Farm Insurance GFS Marketplace Doc’s Sports Retreat Frito Lay Avis Wade Shows. Inc NWC Foresters Waste Management All Access Egress Bounce Brothers Inc. Digital Planet Commercial Lawn Mower Senate Coney Island PL Marketing Michigan Dairy Independent Bank City of Livonia MVM Construction Tennyson Chevrolet Livonia Trophy Mary Denning’s Cake Shoppe

Livonia Anniversary Committee, Inc. SPREE 61 28 • L I V O N I A S P R E E • J u n e 20 1 1


Livonia Anniversary Committee, Inc. SPREE ‘61 BOARD MEMBERS Dan Spurling, President Rich Skaggs, 1st Vice President Bill Fried, 2nd Vice President Dick Nogas, Secretary Ken Rogman, Treasurer Mayor Jack Kirksey Keith Appel Bob Biga Jason Claypoole Doug Couts Paul Mallie Linda McCann Lee Morrow Jeff Nork Mike Novak John Pastor Chris Skaggs Harry Tatigian Joe Taylor Karen Voran

COMMITTEE MEMBERS Jeff Danke Chris DiPonio Fernon Feenstra Conrad Gniewek Karen Kapchonick Kathy Legowsky Ron Pearson Ron Reinke Mike Reiser Todd Rogman Carrie Spurling Sue Skaggs and many unnamed volunteers Livonia Anniversary Committee, Inc.-Spree 61 OE08740309

Racing pigs are a Spree favorite. One year, organizers brought in dancing bears instead. But people kept asking, “Where are the pigs? Where are the pigs?”



Returning to Livonia Spree this year is pig racing — with a twist. F&F Productions of Jackson, N.J., will present hot dog pig racing. In addition to pigs racing each other around an oval 45-foot by 75-foot track, there will be miniature dachshunds racing each other around the track while dressed in bun costumes to look like hot dogs. “We’re the only ones in the world that do the dachshunds races,” said owner David Feimster, adding the dogs are their family pets. “It’s all designed to be a fun and educational program.” Feimster said his company, which is new to Livonia Spree this year, used to use pigs and ducks in their animal shows, but when avian, or bird, flu made it more difficult to transport the ducks across state lines, he decided it was time to make a change. “It was totally by accident,” he said, that he saw a sign advertising dachshunds for sale. Voran said the racing pigs are a Spree favorite. One year, organizers brought in dancing bears instead. But they were no substitute for the snorting, squealing curlytailed animals that fascinate spectators young and old. People kept asking, “Where are the pigs? Where are the pigs?” Voran said. “So we said, ‘OK, we’ll get them back.’” Check the Spree schedule for the times for the hot dog pig racing. For more information on the hot dog pig racing, visit For more information on the circus acts, visit

Andrew D’Ascenzo of Bacchanal Promotions will breathe and eat fire while strolling the Spree grounds. L I V O N I A S P R E E • J un e 20 1 1 • 29



Of course, the biggest free event of the festival is the magnificent grand finale Spree Fireworks Show at 10:15 p.m. Sunday at Ford Field. All of this is provided by the nonprofit Livonia Anniversary Committee Inc. Just as Spree has grown over the years, Livonia has developed since it was incorporated as a city in 1950. With that growth, our community has maintained a warm hometown atmosphere and an enviable quality of life. We take pride in the fact that Livonia is Michigan’s finest place to live, learn, work and play. Livonia consistently ranks as one of the safest, most stable, child-friendliest cities of our size in the nation. Livonia has often been recognized as one of the best cities to raise a family, one of the most attractive locations in the nation for manufacturing businesses, and even a great place to retire. We are proud of our low tax rate, great quality services, abundant parks, exceptional educational options for K-12 and higher education, and unmatched central location. Even in these difficult economic times, our city is still wellpositioned for success! Since the mid 1970s, Ford Field has been home to our birthday celebration with a carnival, fireworks, good food and lots of fun in a family setting. This year’s Spree runs from Tuesday, June 21, through Sunday, June 26. Once again, Livonia families can enjoy 50 funfilled amusement rides, with all-day wristbands available. As always, admission is free for the grounds and all entertainment.


Spree 61 promises new attractions along with your old favorites. The entertainment features Bacchanal Promotions – street performers, comedy magic by Ken Dumm, the Star Family Circus, clowns and much more. Taking the stage will be musical acts including Mega 80’s, Annabelle Road, Jane Doe, Killer Flamingos, Boogie Dynamite, Kreelers, Square Pegz, Scoot Magoo and, of course, hometown favorite Steve King & The Dittilies. Each day has something special in store. A Battle of the Bands is held on Tuesday. Wednesday features Family Pizza Night, Free Slot Car Racing and a Pie Eating Contest, sponsored by the Livonia Observer. Visitors can enjoy Livonia’s Taste of Spree on Thursday at Eddie Edgar Arena, with advance tickets for sale at Livonia City Hall Treasurer’s Office, Parks & Recreation office and at Community Choice Credit Union. The Arts & Crafts Fair returns Saturday and Sunday. Saturday is Family Fun Day with a parade and a variety of picnic-style races, contests and games. The pole-vaulting competition will be returning again this year. Please visit 30 • L I V O N I A S P R E E • J un e 20 1 1


The week’s worth of Spree excitement culminates with a spectacular fireworks display at 10:15 p.m. Sunday. for an entry form and details. The Livonia Jaycees will bring back its Texas Hold ’Em on Friday and Saturday relocated next to the main stage. Contact (734) 956-0548 for more information. The Livonia Spree Freedom Run, Ed McNamara Pancake Breakfast and Classic Car Show all help to start the day on Sunday. That evening, the week’s worth of Spree excitement culminates with a spectacular fireworks display at 10:15 p.m. Your support of Spree will help the volunteer Livonia Anniversary Committee Inc. raise money for many non-profit organizations in the community. Spree contributes to numerous projects and programs, including its annual Spree scholarships. Spree also pays for the Sunday night fireworks display. In addition, the Livonia Spree provides the opportunity for numerous civic and community organizations (such as local PTA groups, the Rotary Club and area churches) to sell food and beverages and raise tens of thousands of dollars for their respective groups and projects. To learn more about Spree or become a volunteer, visit or call the 24-hour hotline at (734) 427-8190.

Mayor Jack Kirksey City of Livonia


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Livonia Spree - special section  
Livonia Spree - special section  

Livonia Observer - category 18 special section