This trio had one of the best, shaded seats in the house as they awaited the start of the Sand Lake Summer Family Festival parade on Saturday. Pictured here, from left, are Cora Johnson, 2, and Blair Johnson, 4, both of Mt. Pleasant, along with Kailyn Harsch, 4, Swartz Creek. 

NATIONAL CITY – Mother Nature had a welcome change of heart this year during the 53rd annual Sand Lake Summer Family Festival, held in National City this past weekend, Aug. 9-11.

As repeat visitors can attest, the occasion has frequently been met with abundant rainfall, oftentimes during the annual parade. In fact, event organizers have joked that it would be a shock if there wasn’t a downpour at some point during the weekend.

But this reporter has witnessed firsthand how attendees never let the precipitation get in the way of their fun during the event, which is sponsored by the Sand Lake Heights Men’s Association.


A group of parade participants had the right idea when they kicked back and let this large piece of farm equipment do the work for them. In addition to the heavy machinery, others spotted during the annual procession included the Hale Area Veterans, Sand Lake Road Patrol, local businesses, firefighters and law enforcement personnel, the Sand Lake Heights Men’s Association and Adventure Bible Clubs.

However, it was still an inviting adjustment when the festival was graced in 2019 with plentiful sunshine, comfortable temperatures – and not a drop of rain.

The Sand Lake Summer Family Festival brings the entire community together each August, with both residents and visitors taking part in the activities that have become a tradition at the decades-long affair.


The Grant Township Volunteer Fire Department once again cooked up their Fireman’s Famous Hamburgers during the Sand Lake Summer Family Festival. Held this year on Aug. 9-11, the event also featured arts and crafts, vendors, live music, a parade, various tournaments and contests, a midway with game and prizes, bounce houses, raffles and drinks in the beer tent.

This includes horseshoe tournaments and other contests; drawings for prizes; bingo and euchre games; a buffet breakfast; dancing; arts and crafts; a chance to unwind with drinks in the beer tent; and an opportunity to devour some of the Firemen’s Famous Hamburgers, prepared by those from the Grant Township Volunteer Fire Department (GTFD).


When these hilariously clumsy dinosaurs came jogging along the parade path in National City, onlookers got a good laugh from the costumed creatures – and also made sure to take plenty of photos, as seen here.

Another beloved festival event is the annual parade, held on day two, with this year’s participants including the GTFD, Iosco County Sheriff’s Office, Hale Area Veterans, Sand Lake Road Patrol, numerous local businesses, the Sand Lake Sno-Goers and more.


Parade participants who traveled the route in their golf carts went all out when adorning their machines, as demonstrated with this “popcorn box” above.

Live music was also provided for the duration of the weekend, with performances given by the bands FlipSide and Gibson-Seal and the Heart & Soul Band.

Other favored festivities that made a return this year were the inflatable bounce houses, food and craft vendors, a bean bag tournament and the midway.


He may be smiling, but the look on the face of Seth Rose, 6,  Tawas City, also screams determination. Here, he tries to land poker chips into a set of glasses at the midway, in order to win a prize. 

Available on Saturday only, the midway boasted a vast range of prizes for those who were successful in playing the games on hand.

“Every year it gets better,” said Rose Ann Kreitner who, along with India Wondero, was in charge of coordinating the midway.

Kreitner said she was proud of the large number of prizes that were offered this year, which was made possible by sponsors throughout Iosco County.


Sand Lake Heights Women’s Auxiliary members Penny Kindt, Judy Olszewski and Connie Nagle created this quilt from past summer festival T-shirts. Strips of the shirts were also used to make the border around the piece. Many passersby paused to admire the quilt during a raffle drawing, with the other winnings including a kayak and a table top griddle.

Also catching the attention of onlookers was a unique quilt, which was among the items included with a raffle drawing on Saturday. Paying homage to the festival, the piece was created from previous event T-shirts.

Sand Lake Heights Women’s Auxiliary Secretary Linda Crites, who volunteered during the raffle, said some visitors purchased tickets in the hope of winning the quilt. If they weren’t the lucky recipients, Crites said they asked her if they could order one to be made, since they liked it so much.


With a plethora of prizes up for grabs during the 53rd annual festival, attendees raced to the midway for their chance to win some of the goodies. “Every year it gets better,” said Rose Ann Kreitner, who was in charge of the midway, along with India Wondero. The slew of prizes were made possible by donations from individuals and businesses throughout Iosco County.

Credit for creating the item goes to auxiliary members Penny Kindt, Judy Olszewski and Connie Nagle.

For details on other activities in the National City area, including at the men’s association/community center property, visit