MASON, Mich. — Walking through Mason, you may notice some of our light poles look a little more festive than usual.
You may see one covered in tiny American flags, one that looks like a bird hotel or you may even meet Drew, the mannequin in scuba gear who lives on the light pole outside of the Mason Chamber of Commerce.
This is because the chamber is hosting its first Making Memories Mason Light Pole Decorating Contest of the year.
“We have done a few contests similar to this to promote our member businesses and community and just to have something fun to come downtown Mason to see,” explained Executive Director of the chamber Sarah Russell.
The contest has two categories: spring has sprung and stars and stripes.
“So, Drew here was actually dressed up as the Wicked Witch of the West for our Halloween pole decorating contest. As you can see, he is ready for summer! Our category that we chose at the chamber is ‘spring has sprung.’ So don’t be creeped out by Drew, come say hello. He’s ready to swim and he wants to know, are you?” Russell said.
The contest started on May 26 and goes until July 7. It costs $25 to enter, which will be used to fund the chamber’s free public events throughout the year, “like the parades and the Thursday night live concert series,” Russell said.
Participants can be businesses, organizations, families, or individuals. The winner in each of the two categories will receive a $50 gift card to use at any of the participating chamber businesses.
“To see participation now with not only our member businesses but also with additional organizations jumping in and families who’ve adopted poles – so, when you come downtown to see them you can check out the tags on each of the poles. That will tell you who decorated,” Russell said.
Mason Community President of Commercial Bank Jason Beebe said he and his team have entered all three contests held since last fall.
“We’re really proud to trace our roots to the downtown area since the 1800s,” Beebe said. “We think it’s very important to be involved in everything that’s going on down here – really like the sense of community and how it brings everybody together. It’s a great time.”
Beebe said when he and his team thought of summer, they thought of birds.
“And we have some birds that live on the building,” Beebe added.
So, they each decorated their very own birdhouse to contribute to the light pole.
Vision Real Estate decided to go with the stars and stripes category.
“So, being that it’s Memorial Day weekend and the Fourth of July we decided to do some patriotic theme for this summer,” Amy Kruizenga, realtor and office assistant, said. “It’s such a great thing that the chamber is doing, and we had so much fun doing it in the fall for Halloween. It just helps build a sense of community and I think everybody in town looks forward to seeing them.”
Mason’s The Equity Taskforce, founded by Rhiannon Klein and former special education teacher in Mason Public Schools Katelyne Thomas, who resigned earlier this year after her proposal to teach more on Black Lives Matter was denied by district officials, also entered the pole decorating contest with their own take on spring has sprung.
“The biggest thing is bringing visibility to our community, bringing visibility to our families of color in Mason with our Black Lives Matter flag, bringing visibility to our LGBTQ+ community members. We have a pride flag up there as well,” Thomas said.
“I think part of what we wanted to do with the pole as well is to educate our community. We kind of got into this work and we realized that as much as we want to do advocacy in the schools, we also want to kind of educate our community about inclusivity and equity, as our name says,” Klein said.
To learn more about The Equity Taskforce and its upcoming events, click here.
To enter the Mason Making Memories Light Pole Decorating Contest, click here.
Want to see more local news? Visit the FOX47News Website.
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.
Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox.
Select from these options: Breaking News, Severe Weather, School Closings, Daily Headlines, and Daily Forecasts.