Imlay City’s ‘Sesquicentennial
Committee’ shares 2020 vision

IMLAY CITY — Organizers of the 2020 Sesquicentennial Celebration in Imlay City on Aug. 7-9 want to host a parade that will match the excitement and historic significance of the city’s 150th anniversary.

To accomplish that goal, Sesquicentennial Coordinator Larry Bush and Chamber of Commerce Director Shannon Hamel paid a visit last week to the studios of The Parade Company in Detroit.

Since 1924, the organization has coordinated Detroit’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is now known as “America’s Thanksgiving Parade.”

Located at 9500 Mount Elliot in Detroit, The Parade Company’s studio features 200,000 square-feet of historic and contemporary floats, costumes, papier-mache heads and related items from past and recent parades—some of which are available for rental.

Hamel said Imlay City’s Sesquicentennial Committee is seeking ways to embellish and increase the appeal of the 150th anniversary parade on Saturday, Aug. 8 at 10 a.m. in downtown Imlay City.

On Friday (Feb. 7), Hamel and Bush met with Paul Jerzy, The Parade Company’s Facility & Operations manager, who offered some information and suggestions for the Imlay City contingent.

“We wanted to tour the facility and see what they have and get some ideas for our parade,” said Hamel. “We like the idea of including some of their big floats in our (Sesquicentennial) parade.”

Larry Bush is particularly enthusiastic about making the 2020 Sesquicentennial Parade “uniquely memorable” for Imlay City residents and visitors in attendance.

“My vision for this parade is to do something extraordinary,” says Bush. “I hope to bring a few magnificent floats from the Detroit Parade Company to our town.
“We have our eyes
set on three or four fun floats that will ‘bump up’ our parade to the next level.”

Bush realizes that financial support from major Imlay City businesses and organizations will be integral and necessary in bringing his ambitious vision to fruition.

“To accomplish this goal,” he says, “I will be calling on a few selected potential sponsors to kick in some serious dollars to rent these great floats for our parade.”

He pointed out that the floats will need to be transported from the Detroit warehouse all the way up M-53 to Imlay City — “and with police escort,” Bush adds.

Sponsors rewarded

For their generosity and support, Bush says sponsors will be recognized in 2020 Sesquicentennial advertising, and be able to have their own vehicle pull their designated float through town with their name on the pulling vehicle.

“If anyone wants to be included in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Bush says, “please contact me directly at 810-348-7901.

“It’s also my hope that the ‘buzz’ created by bringing these world-class floats to Imlay City will encourage others to dress up their own parade entries in ways never imagined.”

“My hope,” says Bush, “is that we create a parade and an event that Imlay City residents’ children and grandchildren will remember all of their lives.”

Parade Committee

Hamel said she is currently seeking volunteers to serve on a “Sesquicentennial Parade Committee” to meet on a regular basis in the weeks and months leading up to the event.

Those interested in being on the Parade Committee may contact Shannon Hamel at 810-542-3256.

Plans in the works

While the parade is considered a priority, other members of the Sesquicentennial Committee are proceeding with plans for various other 150th anniversary activities.

They include a fireworks display, food vendors, children’s games and activities, contests for kids and adults, class reunions, Civil War reenactors, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, a 5K race and live entertainment at the refreshment tent on Friday and Saturday nights.

There has also been discussion of a mass interdenominational church and worship service to take place on Sunday, Aug. 9.

For more information about the 2020 Sesquicentennial or to volunteer, host an event, be a sponsor, offer a suggestion or make a donation, contact Larry Bush at 810-348-7901 or email to


Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.