Cedar Springs, Michigan

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Cedar Springs is a city in Kent County in the U.S. state of Michigan, 20 minutes north of Grand Rapids, Known as "Red Flannel Town," the city is home to an annual Red Flannel Festival. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 3,112.

The city's official mission statement is "The City of Cedar Springs strives to be a great place to live, work and play."

Contents

History

Established as a lumber town in 1856, Cedar Springs boasted numerous lumber and shingle mills. The town was the northern terminus of the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad for two years and also was the crossing point for the east to west running Toledo, Saginaw and Muskegon Railway, which became the Grand Trunk Western Railroad, which was built through the town in 1888. The community was named for the fine springs bordered by a cedar grove.

Red Flannel Festival

Cedar Springs has developed a reputation for its production of red flannels. Its popularity peaked in 1936, when the Associated Press featured an article about the town. Due to high demand, red flannel sales rose dramatically and established the town's status as the "Red Flannel Town."

Despite the closure of the Red Flannel factory in 1994, the town still holds an annual Red Flannel Festival the first weekend of October. This festival includes a marching band competition, arts and crafts fair, an entertainment tent, and several food booths. The festival closes every year with a parade featuring local high school marching bands, and floats sponsored by local businesses and organizations.

Featured in the parade is the "Red Flannel Festival Queen," a privileged high school junior selected in a pageant beforehand. The Queen is featured with her "court," the runners-up of the pageant. Each young lady must go through a traditional pageant format, similar to that of Miss. America. With an opening dance number, a speech on community involvement, and a random question on stage. The girls chosen are the brightest of the bright and bring a lot to their community. The winners receive a very generous scholarship to help with their future endeavors.

There is no charge to attend the festival, though there is an informal requirement that all attendants wear red. A group of mock-Keystone Cops drive around town during the festival and enforce this "law" by placing offenders in a portable jail. A small fee is required to leave the jail.

Economy

Taxes in Cedar Springs have remained steady at a millage rate of $15 per $1,000. Cedar Springs has a small retail business district and a burgeoning industrial base. The community has vast possibilities for future growth. Significant industry and business have been attracted to the Cedar Springs area, including Wolverine World Wide and various precision tool and die companies.

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