February 14, 2016

Pinconning gearing up for CheeseTown Festival

By Tim Barnum|Staff writer
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PINCONNING — Respect the cheese.

From June 18-21, the city of Pinconning Betterment Committee will be hosting the second annual CheeseTown Festival, which will include the 26th annual CheeseTown Challenge races, at Doc Letchfield Park.

“It (festival) generates a lot of exposure for the city, we let them feel the power of cheese,” said festival and race coordinator Marty Schultz. “The community is a lot more excited since they saw what happened last year.

“We had close to 800 participants in the race(s),” he added, saying that by implementing a four-day festival rather than simply holding races, attendance doubled last year.

According to Schultz, the weekend event dedicated to Pinconning cheese includes three different races on Saturday – a five-mile run, a two-mile run/walk and the little meeces race (for children up to eight years old). All of the races start from the Pinconning Area High School on Pinconning Road, at varying times, starting at 6 p.m. with the two-mile run/walk.

The races have received some adulation, as Tom Henderson, writer with Michigan Runner Magazine, listed the CheeseTown Challenge as a summer “must run” in the May/June 2009 issue of the magazine.

Prior to Saturday’s races, though, the festival has more to offer, beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday with a kickoff party, Schultz says.

“It’s a great party for people to network in the area,” he said. “That’s what we have it for.”

Friday through Sunday, Schultz, listed as the “Head Cheese” on festival literature, says children will be able to participate in softball and baseball tournaments and play in inflatables from noon until the evening hours.

“Every night there’s entertainment,” he added. “After the race (on Saturday) we have a big fireworks show.”

For a new feature, Schultz says area businesses and caterers will be competing to find out who makes the best macaroni and cheese on Friday.

For more information on the CheeseTown Challenge and Festival, visit www.cheesetownraces.org or call 989-879-5617. Runners can register for races online at www.active.com.

The festival is free to attend, with registration fees for those competing in the races.

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