Even though Michigan is known for tourism it’s easy to forget the smaller celebrations held in our towns and villages during the fall that celebrate the end of our growing season for yet another year.
Fall is in the air and again our area of Southern Michigan is host to a number of festivals and fairs. One festival that I try to attend every year is “The Apple of your Eye” Car and Crafts Show for Cystic Fibrosis at Mueller’s Orchard in Linden, Michigan, with the proceeds going to Cystic Fibrosis.
The imposing farmhouse with stone chimney at Mueller’s Orchard is historic in its own right, located on Linden Road the house served as a Way Station for people traveling by horse between Pontiac and Lansing in the 1800’s.
Pulling into the driveway the smells of grilling brats and hotdogs of the Kiwanis’ food stand wafts through the air giving you your first taste of excitement as you get out of your car. Wendy and Charles Mueller started this festival a number of years ago. The cause is near and dear to their heart; Charlie’s daughter Madeline suffers from Cystic Fibrosis but has become a successful teacher despite it.
This year the Cars and Craft Show for Cystic Fibrosis got off to a slow start because of a very wet Saturday, but Sunday was definitely a winner. The large lawn of Mueller’s Orchard was filled with cars and trucks of every vintage. The owners of these cars bring their vehicles not to win prizes, but to show off their pride and joy, and no entry fees are charged. The cars serve as a way for car buffs to get together and reminisce about their own past cars or dream about someday owning one. Although they were all interesting in their own right, my personal favorites were a red ’37 Ford with a rumble seat and an old rusted stake truck “like a rock,” which has appeared for a number of years at the show. “Like a Rock” is almost a collage of various parts, sporting a Mobile Winged Horse emblem attached to its radiator, and an assortment of junk including pitch forks, chair and bicycle parts, even large chains in the back. The overall result is not unlike a sculpture in rust. Around the perimeter of the yard were tents set up for raffles along with arts and crafts, and over the whole affair drifted the music of “Timeless Renditions,” singing songs of the fifties that brought to mind saddle shoes and poodle skirts.
Since there are now third and forth generations of Mueller’s, children are certainly not forgotten. There is a Jump House on the lawn, goats to feed by the barn and a playground to the back of the sales office featuring a climbing tractor. Undoubtedly the favorite attractions were the ponies. Potential Cowgirls and Cowboys waited patiently in line for the opportunity to ride ponies around the ring, no doubt dreaming of riding the range. The parents seemed equally taken with their children’s riding experience as they snapped pictures, of in some cases their children’s first horse ride.
Of course all good things must come to an end which found crowds gathering in the orchards sales room to purchase apples and cider, as well as in the cafe area where they lined up for homemade doughnuts to sustain them on their trips home.