“I said we should have some type of community activity,” said Wes Douma. And from there, the Cutlerville Days – which is June 10 and 11 – was born.
Started in 1972 as part of a July 4th celebration – in 1974 the event was moved to the second weekend in June where it has remained ever since – Douma said the event’s humble beginnings were part of a conversation at the Cutlerville fire station where he was a volunteer. It was debated on what to do and finally it was decided to have a parade with Douma being told “you’re in charge,” he said with a laugh.
“That first year, we about beat our brains out trying to find people for the parade,” he said. “I think we ended up with 12 entries, three of which were fire equipment.”
This year Douma and his wife Mary will be the grand marshals for the hour-and-half parade that kicks off Saturday’s day-long activities for the Cutlerville Days. The parade starts, according to Dr. Paul France, one of the organizers of this years event, as soon as the last runner from the Brian Diemer 5K crosses the finish line, or around 10 a.m.
“‘Come for the race, stay for the fun’ I believe is the Brian Diemer’s motto,” France said.
Actually, the Cutlerville Days gets an early start this year as classic cars of all types line up along Division Avenue between 60th and 76th streets for the Tom Stehouwer Auto Sales Cruise In. Running from 6 – 9 p.m. Friday, June 10, there are rally points at Sweet Rewards Ice Cream, 6969 S. Division Ave., and Tom Stehouwer Auto Sales, 7000 S. Division Ave.
The event goes into full swing on Saturday when the annual Brian Diemer Family of Races 5K Race starts at 9 a.m. at Legacy Christian School, 67 68th St. SW, with runners winding through the neighborhoods of Cutlerville. Following the race is the parade along 68th Street with the Brian Diemer Family of Races Youth Races taking place at Legacy Christian School.
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., there will be all kinds of activities at Cutler Park including the Ultimate Frisbee Showcase, the Sheriff Department TAC Team and equipment display, an American RV Community Exhibition, food booths, craft show, and carnival.
There is a short break from 3 – 6 p.m. as the evening activities are set up. Starting at 6 p.m. is the Children’s Petting Zoo and at 6:30 p.m. the cover band In the Moment takes the stage at Cutler Park. An ice cream social runs from 8:30 – 10 p.m. with fireworks capping off the evening behind South Christian.
The event itself has gone beyond anything that Douma or any of the other founders could have imaged. “Once you get the ball rolling, a thing like this grows by itself,” he said.