2nd Annual Kids’ Bike Fest This Saturday, June 8

The Little Traverse Historical Society and the Top of Michigan Trails Council are teaming up to offer all area children a fun, healthy and free event.

The second annual Lynn Duse Memorial Kids’ Bike Fest will take place Saturday, June 8, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., at the Little Traverse History Museum in Petoskey’s Bayfront Park.

Last year’s inaugural event saw over 100 kids participate.

In addition to a variety of free games and other activities, kids who ride in the festival’s bike parade with a helmet and decorated bike for 20 minutes will be eligible to be in a drawing for a new bicycle (and other prizes) donated by Latitude 45 Bicycles & Fitness in Petoskey.

Parade registration is 10-11 a.m. The parade begins at 11 and ends at 11:30. The festival’s other activities continue until 1 p.m.

The idea for this event was conceived by the late Lynn (McCartney) Duse, a second generation owner and operator of the Circus Shop, a children’s clothing store on Mitchell Street in downtown Petoskey.

Unfortunately, Duse died last year, not long after presenting her idea to the historical society, of which she’d been a longtime and avid member.

According to her daughter, Marnie, Lynn’s conception of the Kids’ Bike Fest is just another of her civic-minded projects designed to showcase the community amid the fun and fanfare of a childrens’ parade of colorfully decorated bicycles.

She enjoyed welcoming children and their parents in the Circus Shop, and promoting a Kids’ Bike Fest reflects her love of children and their joy. Lynn would be so delighted at how well it’s being organized and the interest of the Trails Council and the Little Traverse Historical Society and the other community organizations involved. It is truly impressive how well it’s been organized.”

The event is designed to be a fun bike decorating and riding experience that draws kids outdoors, encouraging them to exercise and play, according to Cindy Okerlund, youth programs director for Top of Michigan Trails Council. 

Okerlund’s popular elementary school bicycling program, Kids Pedaling with a Purpose – uses a similar model – engaging fourth graders in fun, healthy, educational activities as they experience their Northern Michigan environment via bicycle.

The Kids’ Bike Fest is open to children of all ages. However, those participants who want to be eligible for the top prizes (new bike, helmet and bike lock) must ride a decorated bike for 20 minutes whether it is their own bike or one borrowed and decorated at the waterfront that day. This ride will be along a short, closed off stretch of the Little Traverse Wheelway. Kids of all ages are welcome to participate.  

Sponsored by Latitude 45 Bicycles & Fitness, the top prize (based on a drawing and participation) is a new Giant XtC Jr. bicycle in one of three sizes. Second prize in the drawing is a new bicycle helmet and third prize is a new bike lock. Additional prizes will be awarded for the best decorated bikes.  

Okerlund said kids can decorate their own bikes at home. Those who don’t have their own bikes may borrow a bike and helmet from Okerlund’s program and decorate it for free at a booth sponsored by Crooked Tree Arts Center.

All riders must wear a helmet during the riding event. 

Additionally, there will be free bicycle safety inspections, free tours of the Little Traverse History Museum, a model train display, child car seat safety checks, a display of antique bicycles, and more.

The bike parade will take place near the history museum on a short, cordoned off section of the Wheelway. Volunteers will guide other trail users to a safe detour.

Bike paraders will ride past a judging booth staffed by three volunteers dressed in early 20th Century costumes. One of those judges will be Petoskey Mayor John Murphy.

Parents and onlookers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs for the parade.

More details are available at www.petoskeymuseum.org.