Annual Saugatuck Town Crier Runs To Be Part Of New 2017 Summer Festival
Organizers for the annual Saugatuck Town Crier Runs will join forces with entrepreneur Peter Gower to bring a summer festival and half-marathon meant to boost the local economy while also helping the Saugatuck High School track and cross-country programs.
The first Michigan Art Coast Craft Beer, Art & Food Festival—to take place in the cities of Saugatuck and Douglas, June 17 and 18— was recently approved by the Douglas Downtown Development Authority. It involves the expansion of the Town Crier to include a half-marathon, a dog walk, and a craft beer festival.
“It made more sense to combine both. The Saugatuck Town Crier has been around for many years and this is just to make it bigger,” said Gower, an international sale executive specializing in wine and spirits.
He first proposed the run and festival idea last November before Douglas City Council, initially planning to have the event only in Douglas, later adding the Town Crier routes into the fold.
“I wanted to bring together all of my loves: dogs, wines—or in this case beer because of the craft beer tradition in this area—and running,” said Gower.
Gower is a marathon runner himself. His gallery, The Palette, is slated to open its doors this coming May, located across from Beery Field and to feature emerging international artists.
He is hiring a race management firm to assist him on the festival and estimates it could draw up to 1,200 participants and 2,000 visitors.
“The main purpose of this is to create an economic development tool to bring people to the Douglas area, have them eat at our restaurants and shop our gift shops,” said Gower.
In previous years the annual Town Crier runs—10k and 5K (6.2 and 3.1 miles, respectively)—started and ended in downtown Saugatuck.
This year those runs will be combined with Gower’s first-year Michigan Art Coast Half Marathon (13.1 miles), starting Saturday from the high school and ending at the Douglas Beery Field.
The kids fun run will start and end at Beery Field as well. Also, Beery Field will host The Michigan Art Coast Craft Beer, Art & Food Festival on Sunday as well as the dog walk.
The Town Crier runs benefit the high school’s track and cross-country programs.