Fords, Friends, and Fun Fantastic!

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Yesterday's 1st annual Fords, Friends, and Fun in the Park event at Highland Recreation Area was terrific! Vintage Ford Model A and Model T vehicles lined the Goose Meadow Parking lot and attracted visitors from all over the Detroit metro area to what was once Edsel Fords' Haven Hill Estate.

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Park Users' Groups such as the Highland Trail Riders, the United Flying Organization, and even visitor groups such as the Pontiac Lake Horseman's Association (PLHA), the Kensington Trail Riders, Michigan Barn Network, the Highland Equestrian Conservancy, and the White Lake Historical Society (to name a few) all put on great displays for the visiting public as well. Kyler's Koral of wonderful petting farm animals was a big hit too.

Below: A smiling goat who's about to get a snack in Kyler's Corral from the PLHA.

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The Michigan Department of Natural Resources had the park and meadow in tip-top shape for everyone. The smell of grilled hot dogs, donated baked goods and the sounds of music, all traveled across the Meadow on a light breeze during the warm summer day. Ice cream and cold pop and water were enjoyed buy all.

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Above: The Highland Trail Riders display at Fords, Friends, and Fun in the Park 2009.

Games for young and old kids included fishing casting, wiffle ball golf, butterfly collecting, and frisbee toss. Below, an Optimist's volunteer shows fishing tackle to a family enjoying the day.

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Members of "the Livingston A's", a regional Model A Restorer's Club (MARC), brought their prized vehicles from all over the area. Horns tooting and vintage engines purring made everyone reminisce of a by-gone era, while overhead the wizz of model airplanes from the United Flying Organization filled the sky.

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The Highland State Recreation Area provides visitors with a wealth of activities from quiet forest hikes, to horseback riding and model airplane flying. The Haven Hill section of the park, entrance located off of Highland Road (M-59), is the site of what was once Edsel Ford's grand country estate. The estate was built in the 1920's and 30's, and preservation/repurposing plans for the historic structures are being pursued by the MDNR and the Friends of Highland Recreation Area (FOHRA).

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Above: Pam Sienkiewicz, , Marge Sawruk, and Dick Russell, all members of FOHRA, pose amidst the vintage Ford cars.

The Fords, Friends, and Fun in the Park event was held primarily as a fund raiser for the Friends of Highland Recreation Area (FOHRA), the parks' support organization. Thanks goes out to everyone who attended and supported yesterday's event. Web links to groups' websites include:

Highland Trail Riders

Pontiac Lake Horseman's Association and Kyler's Corral

Kensington Trail Riders

Michigan Barn Preservation Network

The White Lake Historical Society

Crown V Ranch

Community Sharing

The Highland Equestrian Conservancy


The United Flying Organization

and FOHRA...

Have a great summer!


Fords, Friends, and Fun in the Park

Friends of Highland Recreation Area members are readying themselves for a great summer family event: "Fords, Friends, and Fun in the Park" will take place on Saturday, August 15, 2009 at Highland State Recreation Area in Highland/White Lake, Michigan.

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The big day will be an alternative to the famous "Dream Cruise" which will occur the same weekend on Woodward Avenue. The event will feature vintage Ford automobiles such as Model T's and Model A's. "The old cars don't take kindly to the slow speeds of cruising. These vintage car owners often drive them to locations and gather for picnics, contests, barbeques, and other activities, but they don't cruise much at all", said Jay Fitzgerald, event coordinator.

Activities for families will include the "Kyler's Corral" petting farm, historic displays, park Users Groups displays, educational information about the Haven Hill Estate (once owned by Edsel Ford), and radio controlled model plane flying demonstrations. Children's activities such as kite making, butterfly/bug hunting, frisbee toss, fishing pole casting pools, and more will be available all day. A "Family Horseshoe Challenge" will allow families to throw horseshoes for points to win prizes. Food sales will include hot dogs, ice cream, popcorn, and other summer items. Period music will be played all day to add to the atmosphere.

Fitzgerald said, "A fun item for sale at our food pavilion will be a picnic basket of 4 hot dogs, 4 cookies, and 4 soft drinks of your choice. The whole basket of items will be sold at a discount compared to the individual price of each item. We're hoping to encourage families to come out and enjoy a picnic in the park!"

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FOHRA will use the day as a fundraising event for the Recreation Area, and as a membership drive.

The event will be free of charge, except for the normal $6.00 vehicle permit pass for Michigan State Parks, or an existing $24.oo annual vehicle permit sticker which many people already have in their car window. "We've put together a fun time for a whole family in the outdoors where the expenses add up to far less than the price of a single movie ticket and a trip to the snack bar. You can't beat the Fords, Friends, and Fun in the Park event for something to do at such a low cost to you for your family".

The fun will be from 10 am until 4 pm Saturday at the Goose meadow picnic site of of Haven Hill Road. Highland Recreation Area is in Oakland County off of M-59 between Bogey Lake and Duck Lake roads.

"Vintage vehicle owners need to contact us at "" or call 248-787-1750. We also have a website just for the event,", commented Fitzgerald. "Owners will be let in free for the day, but need to register so that we can get them on a list for free entry into the park."