Up the River with a Paddle

aaIMG_3468gOn May 16 of this year I was asked to photograph a new adventure race. The creators of the DirtyFeat race were at it again. This time they established Lansing’s first kayak race. On a cool, foggy morning I joined a group of about 60 people; racers, volunteers, coordinators and fans, along a four mile stretch of inner city rivers. With my camera tucked inside a backpack I raced along the Lansing River Trail on my bike, visually documenting the progress of 40 kayakers. The process was relatively simple; check in at the Lansing City Market, leave by van to the race start near Frandor, enter the water in your kayak, and paddle back to the market. Jeff Smith, who is one of the creators of this event, said it was such a simple process that it could be recreated on almost any water way, at any time of year. There’s a hope to host it twice a year. Not only was it a great way to get out onto our amazing rivers but proceeds from the race benefit the Friends of the River Trail. If you’d like more information you can find it at the RedPaddle website. A full set of photographs can be found here.

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Floating on Air

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Our City Saunter interview April 13, 2011.

On a cool Mid-Michigan morning in early April 2011, I met my second news anchor in person. I had contacted Evan Pinsonnault of WLNS Channel 6 news when he put out a request for cool things happening in Lansing for his Tell Me Something Good Segment. He quickly responded to the email I sent and within the week he was joining me for one of my Saunters. He brought a camera man and they put together this lovely video. It was one of the greatest days of my walking adventure and I wrote this blog about it. After that moment I’ve had a handful of run ins with Evan; Common Ground Film Festival, Blues Festival, The Red Nose Rukus party and Ye Old Christmas. It seemed we attended quite a few of the same events and every time he saw me there, he walked straight to me, hugged me, said he was glad to see me and took time to ask how I was doing. Every time. To this day it amazes me. I’ve had folks from the Lansing community that I have photographed and been introduced to over 20 times who still have no idea who I am.

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Evan judges Ye Old Christmas gingerbread house competition. I was the photographer for this event.

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Evan on the WLNS float during Silverbells

When my City Saunter project came to a completion Evan tried desperately to get me on his broadcast again. Unfortunately it didn’t work out.

Then came the news that he was moving to California. I wasn’t surprised. He had mentioned to me before that he had hopes to move to a new location. Although I feel he will be greatly missed in Lansing, I am very excited for him.

Through communication on Facebook he suggested I come onto his Feel Good February segment to do a re-cap of the City Saunter Project, how I completed it and what I’m up to now. I, of course, said YES!

This morning I woke up bright and early, 4:45 a.m., to arrive at the station by 5:45 a.m. I’ve been to a few news stations to be interviewed for this project before but am always intrigued with the functionality of each. I was ushered to the “green room” which was really the computer offices of all the staff. One wall held at least 6 televisions all broadcasting different stations and news updates as well as the live broadcast. It was quite fascinating. I entered just as the clip showing me came on. There is something a bit surreal when you walk into a news station and you are on the news. One of the employees says, “Hey that’s you.”

I was offered a cup of coffee and told Evan would be in soon. The other anchor, Chivon, came in and we talked for a few minutes.

When the live broadcast switched to local commercials I knew Evan would be in soon. When he did come in,  just like always he came straight to me, arms spread for his perfected hug, warmly saying, “Hello my dear!”

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I gave Evan this photo to remind him of Lansing while he continues his journey. I hope he will always remember his time here fondly.

I sort of don’t remember the interview. I know we talked about City Saunter. I know we plugged AA Creative Corridor. I know we plugged my Ariniko Artistry photography, I know I was so nervous and didn’t know where to look. Luckily Evan asked all the right questions and prodded me along when I need it.

It’s a bit sad thinking that these meet ups won’t happen again. Maybe I’ll write a City Saunter book and have him arrange a book signing in California!

A girl can dream, right?

xxoo

Driving Forward in REO Town

REO Town PubThursday night while attending a REO Town Association meeting, as we went over the yearly schedule for 2015, the new businesses coming to our little section of town and the recognition as a Michigan Main Street, it really sunk in. REO Town business owners, residents and those that support this area are really kicking butt! When I first started City Saunter in late 2010 REO Town wasn’t much on the map.Train Station on Washington Ave.

Construction beginning There were hints of movement within its chrysalis; Gillespie Group was interested in starting a crowd sourced restaurant and there were rumors that BWL was planning to build a new state of the art facility. One came to fruition, and the other not so much. However it provided the groundwork for the very successful Good Truckin’ Diner to move in last year.REO Town Plant

aa_Blog_Depot 3 Skip ahead five years later and The BWL Cogeneration Plant has been operating for almost two years now, Washington Ave had a complete make-over, there’s multiple places to dine with new ones on the horizon, and the Washington Ave. section has at least five new businesses that were not there five years ago, myself included.

The new signView of Washington Ave from an upper building roof topNot only are there businesses that are flourishing in this location there’s also a consistent set of festivals that have been taking place down there for multiple years now.

ARTS & CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL

Arts & Craft Beer Fest 2014At the end of January REO Town’s festival season officially begins with I’m a Beer Hound’s ambitious Arts and Craft Beer Festival. For this year’s activities there will be three venues, including the gallery space I manage (AA Creative Corridor), an outdoor area behind REO Town Pub and also inside the Cadillac Room which is now ran by Riverview Church, who moved in last year. All three venues will have music and arts as well as Right Brain Brewery beer.

REO TOWN THRIFT STORE GALA

March 21, 2015 the REO Town association will host its second REO Town Thrift Store Gala. Last year there was a combination of retro foods, products and pin-ups. It was exciting and the perfect event to get to know the REO Town folks that are working hard day in and out to make REO Town a thriving entertainment area.

REO TOWN BEER FESTREO Town Beer Fest 2014

REO Town Beer Fest 2014 after the stormJune 27 I’m A Beer Hound will be hosting its third REO Town Beer Fest out on Washington Ave. Last year, even with threat of rain, a large crowd gathered on Washington Ave. to experience craft beers of over thirty breweries, music and community.

THE DOG OLYMPICS

aa_blog_DPP_0017There isn’t a greater event than one that is create by a child for a cause that is dear to his hearts. Last year for the second time Isaac Torok hosted his good-natured, for a cause, Dog Olympics. This year it will be held July 25 and will again benefit the American Cancer Society Bark for Life. Last year they raised $1400.

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ART ATTACKView of Art Attack from the roof tops

Art Attack ArtIn September Art Attack will once again take center stage. This hands-on arts event brings together craft vendors, performers and artists. Last year the artists used their incredible talents to create trashy works of arts.  By that, I mean contestants used their extensive creativity to design unique trash receptacles that were placed in various locations around town. The year before the elaborately, much photographed, graffiti wall was created. I would imagine this year’s event will continue in this vein.

Art Attack 2014

PEACE OF LANSING

Only a couple of weeks after Art Attack I host Peace of Lansing. This year will be the second time this single day of global peace has been in REO Town. This is the 5th year of Peace of Lansing and will fall on a Monday. This event is used to pass out free books, collect school supplies for Lansing School District Schools and provide a stress free time to reconnect with the community.Peace of Lansing 2014

Peace of Lansing 2014

OTHER ACTIVITIES IN REO TOWN

As great as it is to have these continued festivals it should also be pointed out that quite a few other activities are frequently happening in downtown REO Town. Every Friday AA Creative Corridor hosts dancing. The second and fourth Fridays have Salsa Capital dancing and first and third Fridays have Sugar House Blues Dancing.Sugar House Blues Dancing

Ixion Theatre EnsembleThe theater group Ixion Theatre Ensemble also performs multiple times a year in this location with the play Shipwrecked opening February 14.

The opening debut of The Robin Theater at 1105 S. Washington Ave. sometime later this year will provide the area with a fresh and exciting performance venue. Quite a few familiar faces are coordinating efforts to create this space, including members of the Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle, who have already performed in the space.

LUVS performing at TEDxLansing

Last summer Co:Space opened its doors as a new collaborative workspace for state workers, traveling business people and IT Professionals that might need a location to work that fits their specific needs. The brain child of Scott McLean, Vice President of Operations at New Horizon and Ryan Kinkaid of Kinkaid Henry Building Company, this facility provides the perfect centralized location for professionals to create and connect.

REO Town Bike RackAs REO Town continues to drive forward and with staple businesses like LEAP, St. Vincent De Paul Thrift Store, Michigan Women’s Historical Center & Hall of Fame, Leroy’s Classic Bar & GrillSoulful Earth Herbals, REO Town Pub, REACH Art Studio, Cuttin’ Up Barbershop, Just B Yoga, Good Fruit Video, Uno Deuce Multimedia, Studio Intrigue Architects and Foliage Design Systems (the short list) firmly in place, you may want to put on the brakes and visit one of Lansing’s actively artistic areas.Cooley Gardens Scott's Sunken Garden

Skyline in REO Town

Rivers EdgeREO TOWN signMoores River Park

All images © Ariniko Artistry, who has a studio in REO Town.

Dressing Up for the Dogs

Ariniko Atistry Event Photography

Super Dog!

Sometimes I have a side gig where I take photos and even write a small news paragraph to accompany the photographs for the City Pulse. I was recently asked to cover a Halloween activity in Old Town. I had a really busy week at the AA Creative Corridor and thought there was no way I could fit it in but it happened to fall into a time frame that I had nothing else planned. Plus it was something that I thought my kids might enjoy. So last Friday I loaded them both into the car and told them we needed to go to Old Town to take photos of the Old Town Doggie Trick or Treat. Our pet Samoyed, Sparty, had passed away a few years ago and both of the kids have wanted a new dog. I don’t know if my letting them hang out with a crowd of dogs benefits my reluctance to get them a dog or not. But I think they had a great time. Here are some of the photos we took.

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Fluffy Strawberry

I am always intrigued by the idea to put a pet into a costume.

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Love the Look

Most of the dogs were cute a cuddly. This one really made me laugh though. What an adorable face.

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Cowdog

Cuddly Pumpkin

Cuddly Pumpkin

Scooby

Scooby

An adult dressing up like a dog.

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Frog Dog

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Color coordination is always a winner!

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Super Hero Huskies

Happy Halloween Everyone! Stay safe, fun and be kind to your neighbors as you spend time out and about this Friday!

Lansing the Mighty Phoenix

ccIMG_9313When I first took up my city of Lansing walk about, the city had taken a turn for the worse. General Motors had just closed the door on multiple factories, leaving a huge hole in the Lansing economy. After walking through this city for three years (from 2010 to 2013) I began to notice an uptick in many parts of the city that were desolate at the beginning of the walking project. Last week I was able to tour one of those buildings.ccIMG_9334Back in 2010 I attended an Ignite Lansing event inside the Knapp’s building. It was unoccupied at the time and perfect for this event which likes to expand the notions of usable space. Creating an energetic and exciting event within a space that hasn’t been used in a long time didn’t come without its problems. There were rumors that when the electricity was turned on many of the toilets and faucets within the building began to flood. There was evidence of vagabond squatting within the building as well as many unsafe areas that needed to be blocked off. Fortunately the woman’s bathroom was functioning; however the men had to use a port a potty located outside. ccIMG_9391On the night of the Ignite event I somehow found myself with a group of explorers who invited me to travel to the roof of the building. I didn’t say no. I have long been intrigued by old buildings and found the experience exhilarating. I remember thinking that it was a shame such a building sat empty and decaying.ccEOS 70D_7262Soon after the Ignite event another rumor began that the Eydes, who owned the Knapp’s building, were planning to renovate it. Four years later the first tenants moved in and as part of the Lansing Maker Week, The Runway, a fashion incubator, hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony and an open house. After four years I was able to get back inside the Knapp’s building where everything broken and old had been replaced with shiny and new. ccEOS 70D_7257The Sales area of the Runway ccEOS 70D_7253Jeff Henry, Business Consultant for The Runway, shares the pertinent information about this new fashion incubator with guests Melanie Rand and Norma Sanchez who were out and about during their lunch hour. ccEOS 70D_7241Candice Pizzo, owner and designer of Alex + Jayde Designs, receives visitors during The Runway’s open house. 

Creating a Festival

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photo by Ariniko Artistry http://www.ariniko.com

Over the weekend I had a photo shoot at the Great Lakes Folk Festival in East Lansing, MI. It was obvious from the elaborate setup, well organized music stages and greatness of its capacity that this had been a festival many years in the making. In fact this was its twelfth year. As someone who has attempted to create a new festival for four years now, it’s hard to not be envious of the success of this festival, or really any other festival that is thriving. It’s a lot of hard work. It takes a lot of connectedness to the community. I feel I cash in much of my “social equity” to make this event happen. However it’s not impossible. Through the years I’ve watched organizations put on successful event after successful event. I have also seen groups of individuals put together a great event with very limited resources. Some of those events are yet to be held this year. Here’s a sample of some of Lansing’s upcoming locally created festivals. 

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photo by Ariniko Artistry http://www.ariniko.com

New World Flood Backpack Expo: August 18 at the Lansing Center. New World Flood is the do good non-profit that makes the world better one rain drop at a time. This event brings together almost everything a student would need to succeed at school. All children and their parents are welcome to stop by, collect needed school supplies and receive other services that might help them out.

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photo by Ariniko Artistry http://www.ariniko.com

Lansing Flow Fest & Lansing Bless Fest: August 22 & August 23 at Adado Riverfront Park.  Two all day events meant to give back to the community. This event is put on free of charge to attend so the community can be blessed. Flow Fest is an evening outdoor concert featuring Christian Rap and Hip Hop music. On Saturday return for another fun filled day of giving. There’s free food, music, raffles, kids games and so much more.

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photo by Ariniko Artistry http://www.ariniko.com

Art Attack: September 6 1123 S. Washington Ave. This event is actually the same location as Peace of Lansing. It used to be a cool dirt parking lot but now it’s a cool, paved parking lot owned by Riverview Church. They generously allow these events to take place on their property. Art Attack is a laid back, art filled gathering with music and on site art creation.

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photo by Ariniko Artistry http://www.ariniko.com

Capital City Dragon Boat Races: September 13 and 14 at the Adado River Front Park. This fantastic event is back on track after taking a year off. I haven’t been involved with this year’s planning like years past but I am excited to see it back. I know from the year I helped out on the committee that there was a very small groups that really put all the guts into this race.

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photo by Ariniko Artistry http://www.ariniko.com

Peace of Lansing: September 21 at 1133 South Washington Ave in REO Town. This is the event I host. I mostly run the show. Each year we provide peace crafts for kids, entertainment, relaxation activities, book give away and a collection for Lansing Public School teachers. It’s a wonderful way to get the community thinking about peace. The theme of this year is “Who will you make peace with?”

Community strengthening is the goal of all of these events. Each and every one of these gives back to the community. Check them out, volunteer or participate. I’m sure all the organizers would appreciate it! I know I would!

Lansing United

Ariniko Artistry Lansing, Michigan Photographer

The full stands at East Lansing Soccer Complex

Sometimes in Lansing you come across something new and exciting without really knowing how you haven’t known about it before. Sometimes it’s a passing blip on your Facebook wall. Sometimes a friend in going and mentions it to you. Sometimes someone you know creates the entire branding for a new sports team and his son plays on their reserve team. Even this last part didn’t get me fully interested in this new team. It wasn’t until I was asked to write a “break out” piece for a local paper about Lansing United, that I finally took the time to really find out about this new sports team.

Ariniko Artistry Lansing, Michigan Photographer

Lansing United vs. Minnesota United Reserves

Lansing United is the newest members of the National Premier Soccer League. The NPSL is the fastest growing national soccer league in the United States. Lansing United is an expansion team in the Great Lakes Conference. Last week this team came in first place in the Great Lakes Conference and moved on to the playoffs. There were four teams that got to play in the Midwest Region Playoffs. The game I was asked to cover was Saturday’s semi final game. Lansing United played against the Minnesota United Reserves.


 

I really didn’t know what to expect when I got there but I thought I would wing it. I had looked up the address before leaving. The home games are all held at the East Lansing Soccer Complex. I didn’t even know this place existed.  I had a brief memory of this place from about 6 years ago as a dirt pile at the end of a new walking trail. It’s amazing how quickly things can grow in this area.

Walking up the walkway I already could feel the intense playfulness atmosphere. There were children running around passing a soccer ball between them. In fact almost every kid had a ball. There was a pizza truck parked to the side of the pavilion and stacks of pizzas were being carried into the pavilion. There were lots of people dressed in bright baby blue vests. These are the volunteers that answered questions, watched the gate and sold you tickets. It’s very professional looking.

Ariniko Artistry Lansing, Michigan Photographer

Dave Ellis, the media director said that without the support of so many, this would not have come together as well as it had. He wants to thank everyone for all their support.

Inside the gate the stands were full. I found out later from the media director that the stands were full for every game. Not only were the stands full but a good chunk of grass had folks sitting on it. I would say there were close to 1000 people watching this game.I quickly made my way to the very verbose cheering section. I had been told to get a photo of them by Camron Gnass whose creative studio, Traction created the branding for the team. The sea of blue was easy to spot as well as the constant singing, chanting and yelling that came from this section. And if that didn’t draw me down there the smoke canisters and flying flag would have.

Ariniko Artistry Lansing, Michigan Photographer

Sons of Ransom- The #1 Supporters of Lansing United. Their name comes from Ransom E. Olds.

I found a place nearby and watched as the game began. The last time I watched a soccer game was when my boys were on a team. It’s been a long time. I have never watched adults play soccer. I was instantly amazed by the stamina, agility and speed of these players. The maneuvering of the ball with their feet reminded me of ballet, until they pulled that leg back and gave that ball a full on kick. There is a fascinating balance between the precise positioning of the ball with the feet and then the aggressive full on assault to get that ball into the goal. It really is amazing to watch.aa-EOS 70D_0046AA-EOS 70D_0074 AA-EOS 70D_0087After getting some really great shots I left. I found out through social media they had won the semi final game and that meant they would play Sunday as well in the finals.AA-EOS 70D_0094I brought my family back for that one and we watched this inaugural Lansing team play at an East Lansing sports field and win the Midwest Region Championship.

I am so glad Lansing has another win.

Exploring Ralph W. Crego

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com

Ralph W. Crego Park

When I heard that a wilderness area that was closed for twenty-five years due to contamination had reopened, I must admit my expectations were quite low. The area now known as Ralph W. Crego Park was familiar to me as the polluted, swampy area east of Aurelius. It was also the location my uncle would sneak into to search out morels. Sometimes he would also go there because the city would dumb collected downed trees there and set it up as a first come first serve firewood buffet. In the last two years or so word started getting out that the area was no longer contaminated. A couple of years ago the dark, green county park sign appeared at the north-east corner solidifying the rumors of a new, usable area. After reading about this park again in the City Pulse, I thought I should go check it out. I loaded up the twins and headed into town. I remembered exactly where it was from my City Saunter walk of the street. When I had passed by, it was still a closed off area. This time, as I drove down the dead-end road I could see new details. There was a brilliant white sidewalk on the east side of the road as we drove in and a gorgeous lake. On the west side of the lake new decking and walk ways were built. There was a drinking fountain and a port a potty. Along the trail there were sporadically placed black benches, perfect for resting or enjoying the view.

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com

The long view of the lake. The lake is extremely clear.

And what a view it was. Much like Hawk Island, it is often surprising that something so beautiful is really part of Lansing. But it is. Not only that but these beautified locations are becoming more and more the norm for Lansing. It makes me really excited for what’s in store for our area. While watching groups of bikers travel around the lake I fantasized about a connected biking trail that someday will easily connect East Lansing or even Haslett to this ever increasing trail system. The idea of accessible trails like this is something northern Michigan really excels at and I am excited to see them in Lansing. I have been on the Lansing River Trail and spoke to bikers who say they’ve traveled from long distances just to use our trails. They come to use OUR Trails! While I was at this park for an hour at least ten different groups came through. Some came by car, some on foot and quite a few by bike. The trail from the lake area meanders west through fields of Michigan wild flowers and eventually connects to the River Trail just east of Aurelius. It’s a nice place to travel to from almost any part of Lansing via the river trail. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should. Until then here’s some of the photos I took while we explored.

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com Lansing Michigan Photographer

We found this little guy just hanging out

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com Lansing Michigan Photographer

These boys came in off the trail and were very nice.

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com Lansing Michigan Photographer

Quite a few different groups stopped by the lake while I was there.

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com Lansing Michigan Photographer

Gorgeous Michigan wild flowers adorned all the fields.

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com Lansing Michigan Photographer

You can clearly see the fish in the water.

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com Lansing Michigan Photographer

Extended trail that connects to the Lansing River Trail

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com Lansing Michigan Photographer

The familiar swampy Sycamore Creek area

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com

Ralph W. Crego Park

Celebrating Freedom

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The twins posing in the street in front of the Capitol Lansing, Michigan Fourth of July parade
© Ariniko Artistry

Last year we had family out for the fourth of July and we skipped heading into Lansing for any festivities. To be honest in 2012 when we attended both the parade and fireworks display some freaky things happened that made me not want to come back. Although the parade was fine in 2012 it was hot out making sitting through the parade almost painful. This year it was almost a tad, a smidge, an iota chilly. Luckily my husband led us to the perfect, sunny, photographic location.

Lansing, Michigan Fourth of July parade © Ariniko Artistry

Lansing, Michigan Fourth of July parade
© Ariniko Artistry

We sat directly in front of the closed off parking ramp on Allegan. Every photo I took was back dropped with the Capitol and a gorgeous Mid Michigan blue sky.

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Lansing, Michigan Fourth of July parade © Ariniko Artistry

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Lansing, Michigan Fourth of July parade
© Ariniko Artistry

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Lansing Lugnut’s Car Lansing, Michigan Fourth of July parade © Ariniko Artistry

 

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Zap Zone Lansing, Michigan Fourth of July parade © Ariniko Artistry

In 2012, although there was a good enough attendance, the participants within the parade seemed thin. By that I mean each group had only a few people representing them. There was a huge difference this year where each specific group had a large crowd with them and almost every group interacted with the crowd by handing out candy or some such thing. We came home with flags, coupons, magnetic clips and even packets of orange Kool-Aid with directions to create Kool Aid playdough from Lansing Charter Academy and Windmere Park Charter Academy. The New Citizens Press Community Action Network Inc. and its Stop the Violence campaign which also partnered up with Mike Karl and The Homeless Angels had over 125 in their group. As they passed by it was hard not to join in with their encouragement to “Keep the peace, stop the violence”.  Within their midst was Yvonne LaFave and her Go Green Trikes carrying  the Quality Dairy (Pine St.) water donation to keep the group hydrated. They later donated the remaining water to Livity Inc which is a nonprofit fighting to rid the Capital city of poverty and hunger.  These types of activities are what really make Lansing amazing.

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Lansing, Michigan Fourth of July parade © Ariniko Artistry

In 2012 we came into Lansing late and our normal spot was full. We then decided to park in Old Town and walk to our normal location by the Lansing City Market. I’m not sure if it was the heat or something else but there was a strange feeling to this night. It seemed there were large groups of people who could at any moment cause trouble. Many of the members of the groups were visibly intoxicated.  At one point we thought we even heard a gunshot. Although we were walking quite fast we were unable to fully make it to our desired location. As the first fireworks began to light up the sky we found ourselves stuck under the Shiawassee St. Bridge.  The photography from this location was terrible. We then decided to go onto the bridge.  Again we found ourselves in the middle of two separate groups, sizing each other up. At one point the mayor and Capt. Daryl Green raced to where we were standing, dramatically looked around and then took off in a car. Once we got home to safety it came to our attention that someone had been shot very near to where we were at. The whole situation left me feeling unsure about ever returning to watch fireworks in Lansing.

Lansing, Michigan Fourth of July © Ariniko Artistry

Lansing, Michigan Fourth of July
© Ariniko Artistry

However after a year off I was willing to try again. Our original idea for this year’s Fourth of July was to attend the Lugnuts game. This would provide the safety needed to feel comfortable in the city, enjoy some baseball and be in the perfect spot for fireworks. Then again you can wait too long and not be able to get tickets. The next idea was to just find the perfect photographic location so I can get some good shots. With this in mind we headed to the top of Sparrow Hospital parking ramp. We had parked on the top-level a few months ago and found that the view was phenomenal.  We honestly didn’t even know if we could park there but as we drove in we found ourselves in a small parade heading into the ramp. We parked lower down for a fast get away and began our hike up 5 levels of stairs. At the top we found a very large group of people waiting for the light show. There were numerous security folks keeping the peace and all in all a family friendly environment. And as I had thought, the view was spectacular. We enjoyed watching the panoramic view of the horizon as consumer level explosions shot into the sky. It was great for people/car watching as well. We quickly settled in at a space by the wall so I could take photos and the kids took out the chairs and the bucket of popcorn I’d made just before leaving. Just after 10:00 p.m. the first city display shot off. This was the perfect spot!

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The View from Sparrow Hospital © Ariniko Artistry

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The city of Lansing fireworks © Ariniko Artistry

The show was great. Then we waited patiently for the Lugnuts game to finish, their lights shut off and their fireworks to begin. And we waited. And we waited. I started texting people I knew were at the game and found that at the bottom of the 14th there was still no score.

The cars leaving after the city fireworks  © Ariniko Artistry

The cars leaving after the city fireworks
© Ariniko Artistry

From our eagle eye location we could see the traffic and decided we would wait the game out. Forty minutes later the news came in via Facebook that the Lugnuts had won. The lights went out over the stadium and we sat through a second fireworks display. It was a gorgeous night and even though those fireworks were farther away there was something really memorable about seeing the moon resting to the south of the Lansing downtown skyline and the baseball game fireworks filling the sky to the north.

 © Ariniko Artistry

© Ariniko Artistry

By the end of those fireworks the traffic was flowing smoothly and we had no trouble getting home. As we pulled into our driveway we were greeted by nature’s own fireworks; millions of fireflies flitting and glowing all over the tree line. This was really the perfect ending to a perfect day of celebrating our independence.

 

12 Locations in Lansing, Michigan that are spectacular and all ours!

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  • Cooley Garden & Scott Sunken Garden– I’ve written about Cooley Garden here during my City Saunter project. This gorgeous park sits right in downtown Lansing yet you would never think it was. With the majestic tree line that blocks out the skyline, traffic and city bustle it’s easy to believe this park is located in a less urban area.

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  • Shigematsu Memorial Garden-This gorgeously landscaped koi pond with other Japanese themed objects surrounding it, is located on the North West section of LCC Campus. Inside the blocked off garden you find a private walking path, koi pond and waterfall. Its isolation from Capital Ave. and the rest of LCC makes this the perfect place to reflect, meditate and relax.

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  • The Grand River-This beautiful asset to the Lansing area provides the perfect sights, travel, pathway and nature setting. Its greatness throughout Lansing, from west to east and then to the north provides stunning visual sights and boating adventures all year round.

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  • Turner-Dodge Mansion-Lansing has a rich history and beautiful buildings truly show the majesty of our past. The preservation of our oldest buildings shows Lansing’s dedication to history and beauty.

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  • Hawk Island-Twenty years ago this was a gravel pit that kids snuck into. Now it’s a flourishing, expanding family adventure! It now hosts not only picnicking, parks, boating, fishing, cycling, and walking trails but also a winter snowboarding & tubing hill and members only dog park. It also has a fantastic water play area for the kids in the Lansing hot summers.

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  • Francis Park-This is another of those tucked away beautiful gardens. The grounds are well kept and produce some of the area’s most gorgeous roses. Its location above the river provides excellent views with a very relaxed environment. It’s a must see in the spring through summer months.

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  • Theo Fulton Park-I found this park on my City Saunter walks and had never heard of it at all. It’s one of the most isolated parks in a neighborhood few Lansing people travel. Yet, if you travel the Grand River from Dimondale you’ve probably passed it.

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  • Crego Park-This recently reopened swampy area was once contaminated and blocked off to the public and might be why it reveals a rugged, undamaged wild feel about it. It is located directly north of Fenner Nature Center and south of the River Trail.

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  • Michigan Hall of Justice Building –This building is immaculate. If there was ever a building that represented the wealth of the city at the time it was built, it’s this building.

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  • Sycamore Golf Course– This is an amazing patch of river trail that runs south of Mt. Hope, through what use to be a full golf course, then meets up inside Scott’s Woods and eventually takes you to Hawk Island. It is probably one of the best new add ons to the river trail Lansing’s put in. It is used by walkers, bikers, nature lovers, runners, and dog walkers. It takes on the feel of a wilderness preservation and is delightful.

 

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  • Roger-Carrier House– This is another beautiful house in the Lansing area. The architecture and attention to detail makes it really stand out on Capital Ave.

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  • View from Boji Tower – If there is ever the chance to climb above Lansing, do it! Seeing the Lansing area from the Boji Tower, Capitol or even the roof top of one of the buildings in downtown Lansing expands the beauty of this little city.  The sites from the top of the Lansing Capitol will be a moment I cherish for the rest of my life.

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