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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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Parade entry - hearse bearing sign "Hitler's Last Ride" from early 1940s
"Hitler's Last Ride" - Parade entry from early 1940s. Photo courtesy Lapeer County Historical Society

Lapeer Days

Held annually every August in Lapeer, Michigan, Lapeer Days includes a parade, a fair, and agricultural displays. In 1999, between 125,000 and 150,000 people attended the event. In 1901, the first Lapeer Days celebration drew 5,000 visitors. The kickoff event was the opening of the Bostick Stove Works; it concluded with a fireworks display. During the event, local merchants entered wagons in the parade with their goods on display, such as logs, freshly tanned leather, and the Bostick stove. From the back of his wagon, a local piano vendor played for spectators. Contests were held between local youths, and visitors witnessed a hot air balloon ascension.

The Lapeer County Courthouse, built in 1846 and one of the oldest courthouses still in use in the United States, has been the center of every Lapeer Days since the first festival was held. It is traditional for participants to visit the stone drinking fountain, built over a natural spring, directly in front of the courthouse.

The celebration has grown from a one-day to a five-day affair. Currently sponsored by the Lapeer Area Chamber of Commerce, it has changed over the last hundred years from serving a primarily agricultural to a primarily suburban populace. In addition to the ever-popular parade, today Lapeer Days also includes a handicraft fair, 4-H competitions, a classic car cruise, model train show, book sale, karate demonstrations, mountain bike contest, and a Miss Lapeer contest.

The project is documented with several pages of text, six historic photos and two contemporary photos, and a Lapeer County Courthouse poster.

Originally submitted by: Dale E. Kildee, Representative (9th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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