Raft-O-Rama is reaching back to its earliest days. This year’s theme is “The 1960’s.” For those looking for a creative idea to display on the August 2, 2020 parade, the possibilities are infinite. Scroll down to revisit some creativity from the past.
The 60’s were a time of massive change. Boomers were coming of age, and they reshaped the world. As with most decades, it was a mix of emotions. The Vietnam war divided the country, mostly along generational lines. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. Later, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy, JFK’s brother were felled. At the same time, new energy brought about new fun and excitement. A genre of music, first heard in the 50’s, grew up in the 60’s —and rocked the nation. Beatles charmed young girls with “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” High school girls fretted about their boyfriends. Leslie Gore gave voice to it in a song:
Maybe I know that he’s been a cheatin’
Maybe I know that he’s been untrue
But what can I do…
Meanwhile, high school boys jammed to the Rolling Stones’ lament about getting no “Satisfaction.”
When I’m ridin’ ’round the world
And I’m doin’ this and I’m signin’ that
And I’m tryin’ to make some girl, who tells me
Baby, better come back maybe next week
Can’t you see I’m on a losing streak?
And the Beach Boys were pumping kids up with an energizing school spirit anthem:
When some loud braggart tries to put me down
And says his school is great
I tell him right away
Now what’s the matter buddy
Ain’t you heard of my school
It’s number one in the state
Dion told the tale of Runaround Sue and then had to admit that it was he who was the Wanderer. Listen to those two songs back to back for a lesson in love.
The decade began with Elvis Presley, spawned the Beatles and wrapped up with Woodstock. If you need a refresher on the music of the 1960’s, it’s readily available in an app. Just download iHeart Radio, and search iHeart 60s for an endless commercial-free stream of great hits from the 60s. At the top of each hour, you’ll hear a smash from the Beatles. Some of us at the lake were listening to those songs on this radio station.
If you lived in Jackson during the school year, you probably dragged the “Av” and hung out at the Dome. It was dinner with the family at the Regent. If you spent winters in Toledo, your hangout was probably the White Hut. Monroe street was the racetrack between the two White Huts. Then there were the under-21 Michiganders looking for Toledo’s 3.2 beer.
At Eagle Point, roller skating morphed into the Clark Lake Players. Cal PIttman built the Eagles Nest. Jon Broderick, Lynn Vermulen, Lynn’s sisters Kay & Linda, Phil Curtis, Gary & Tony Krupa, Dave Nichols, Charlie Timberlake, Roger Lyons, Buzz Belcher, and other PIne RIders made thousands of passes through the slalom course. They practiced their trick runs (the best did 360’s) and tried for distance over the jump. The Cit Pat tournament at the head-of-the-lake attracted competitors from all over including nearby Devils Lake (while Lake Columbia was still filling with water). And of course, the spotlight was on Clark Lake for the highlight of the summer—Raft-O-Rama.
The Raft-O-Rama Committee has kept the event alive and vigorous through the decades. As always, they attract fun loving people to be part of their committee. If you’re interested, they invite you to their next meeting at 1 pm on Sunday, February 16, at the Clark Lake Golf Course.
Here are some memorable Raft-O-Rama moments through the decades.
Video from Raft-O-Rama 2018
And don’t forget the Goose Lake Festival…Michigan’s answer to Woodstock! Any body else go? My family doesn’t believe me!!
Yes,I was also at Goose Lake. What a weekend! First thing I did Sunday night was jump into Clark Lake and soak the dirt and grime of the weekend away!!
Be glad to reminisce sometime.
Great story, Rick! And, yes, anybody out there that would like to spend a little time with some really great and dedicated people, the Raft-O-Rama Committee would welcome you! You’ll have some fun and make a contribution to this great community. We will be meeting at 1 pm on Sunday, February 16, at the Clark Lake Golf Course. Join us!
Thanks so much for this great recap. Loved it all. Many memories.
Great story. Took me back.