70th Annual Mackinac Island Lilac Festival Caps Off with the Grand Parade

Ten days of fun culminating Sunday afternoon with the annual Lilac Festival Grand Parade on Mackinac Island.

Close to 70 entrants making their way across the island for the 70th anniversary of the parade.

“Fun day, fun island, I love coming here every time, no matter what time of year it is,” Jacob Nedolski, said.

A beautiful island year-round, but there is something special about Mackinac come lilac time.

“Lilac time on Mackinac is a very special time of the year, as you can tell and look at the beautiful lilacs and the fragrance of them,” Mayor Margaret Doud, said.

In 1948 the island nurse Stella King wanted to celebrate the beautiful plant and 70 years later that celebration has only grown larger, but at the same time has kept up with tradition.

“She felt that the lilacs were so beautiful, why not celebrate them? And have a festival about the lilacs on Mackinac. I think history and tradition on the island is very important, and I think lilac day is a part of that,” Doud, explained.

Sticking to tradition every float is pulled by horses, 250 horses in total, making it one of the few completely horse-hitch parades in the world.

“It was really fun, the weather is beautiful, it was fun to watch all the horses go by, there was no cars or anything like that, it’s definitely different than any other parade I’ve been to,” Jacob, added.

From pageant queens to marching bands, it’s an entertaining finish to the festival for the tens-of-thousands of parade-goers.

“It was so much fun, it was wonderful, I had a blast, I was so happy we were in it,” Jenna Esterley, said.

It’s a lot of work to put on a parade this grand, but those that are involved say it’s more than worth it.

“It was a lot of fun, putting in the work to make the float and working with our coworkers to make it happen. The islands beautiful we love it here,” Esterley, added.

If you want to see more of 70th Lilac Festival Grand Parade, 9&10 news will air a half-hour special June 24 at Noon.