If you had the option of ordering a weather forecast for the Labor Day weekend, what was delivered on Sunday would be returned for a refund.  Nonetheless, many at Clark Lake made the best of it. 

It was Ellen Searles 30th birthday.  Now living in Chicago, she was visiting her parents at their Eagle Point Road cottage, but had no idea what was in store for her today.  Neighbors like Cara King, Caroline King, Sally Lyons, Brandi Zak, and of course, her mother, Ann, put together the big surprise.  While her mother insisted on taking Ellen to church, the guests gathered on the front lawn of the Searles’ cottage.  The band was in place and tents covered the brunch.  Then the signal came that Ellen and her mom where driving up Eagle Point Road. The guests hid themselves to the side of the house so Ellen would not see them as she and her mother returned.   As Ellen came in the back door, her father, Bill, told her he wanted to show her something.  So they walked through the house.  And as her brother, Chip, and mother opened the front the door, there awaited the assembled multitude. The shout of “surprise” momentarily broke the EPA’s maximum allowable decibel level.  

Below, watch Ellen react to the entire group as they join together to sing Happy Birthday.  Although you can’t see them, the band provided instrumental support.

And there’s more.  Here are some of the people who were on hand to wish Ellen the best on her 30th birthday.

  • Mom and brother stand by Ellen has she takes in the surprise.
  • Ellen stands in front of the guests.
  • Ellen is looking up as the crowd gathers around her.
  • Bill, Ann, Ellen, Chip Searles, and Chip's fiance Maureen
  • Mothers and their daughters
  • The kids.
  • Ellen joins the ladies and their hats


Ellen is the fourth generation of the Searles family at Clark Lake.