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Country Heritage Tour a community event



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July 23, 2008
Editor's note: The following guest column was written by Teemie Eschenburg, longtime Almont Township resident, farmer, artist and founder of the Country Heritage Color Tour. Teemie is also the director of the CHCT committee.

Plans for the 11th Annual Country Heritage Color Tour are underway.

We, the members of the CHCT, are excited that the Almont community is now embracing this event as a way to promote the attributes of our small town. It has always been our hope that the Almont Chamber and the DDA, along with local businesses would come to join us and to spring board off CHCT annual event.

The up coming Almont Fall Heritage Festival scheduled for the weekend before the Country Heritage Color Tour will be a wonderful kickoff and a great addition to the fall events in this area.

The self-guided Country Heritage Color Tour was inspired by a meeting I went to along with business owner Debbie Schumacher and potter Paul Young back in 1996. The meeting was presented by the Museum Association of Michigan in an attempt to build the state's tourism industry.

The keynote speaker was Rebecca Anderson, the founder of a self-guided tour throughout the Smokey Mountains and beyond. I had a chance to visit with her one on one and told her of our little town of Almont. She gave me some wonderful advice that is now today taking shape.

Her most important piece of advice was to have patience and don't ever give up. I came home from that meeting truly inspired, encouraged by Debbie and Paul to press forward with the idea. It had become my mission to gather people around me who have vision and talent to create a self- guided tour. Those who also believed in the richness of our local gifts both in nature and the local people.

The Country Heritage Color Tour has been developed over 11 years due to many people volunteering their hard work and talents.

The Almont Township Board has been a strong guiding source for the development of the Country Heritage Color Tour, with the signage and regulations of such an event since its beginning.

Special appreciation also go to the staff at the Almont District Library, Tri-City Times, Charlie Brown's, The Country Corner, Mobile X, ABC Signs and Tri-County Bank for helping to promote through their resources, being a map pickup, use of signs, creating signs and newspaper coverage.

Sincere gratitude goes to all the volunteers who have consistently been a part of the tour, opening their shops, farms and studios to make this special large scale event by creating and lugging signs, creating flyers, newspaper ads, etc.

Through sharing their hard work and talents, Sue and Kevin Miller and family, stained glass artist of Miller's Medley has been the talent providing the CHCT logo along with administration work, Dianne and Dave Bishop and family of Townsend Farm, artist and teacher Kathy Eschenburg and family for administration work, Chuck and Ann Bristol and family of Brookwood Fruit Farm, Marjeanne and Rick Showalter and family of Marjeanne's Creations, Linda and Dave Schenburn and family of Schenburn's Country Place for their unfailing support and the handmade signage created by Dave himself; Deb and Art Schumacher and family, of the Mill and Brew House for tour maps, and their promoting of all things local, Maurina and John Gyergyov and family of J&M Farms, Jill Hough and family, the Almont Farmers Market vendors and Jennifer Grant for graphics and marketing.

Thanks go to the parti-cipants who have been a part of the tour from time to time also giving of their talents and hard work to build the tour to the event it is today. Gretchen and Art Anderson of Cabbage Rose Antiques for the administration, the Almont Lionesses, Michele Campbell, Linda Drinkhorn, The Sweers Family, Lynda Wearing, Elizabeth Allen, Karen Scheplar, Yvonne and Peter Ulanuck, Tom Spencer, Sarah Haning and the Almont Historical Society, along with other artists who have graced the stops with their handmades. To them all the credit goes for making this such a memorable event each consecutive year.

I personally have been blessed with the privilege of getting to know so many amazing people, who through their devotion for sharing their gifts, talents and knowledge are encouraging others to do the same. This event has grown into something that is creating positive change and I'm proud to be a part of it.

Mark your calendars for October 3, 4 and 5 for the 11th Annual Country Heritage Color Tour.

Applications are still being taken until August 25. Call me with any questions at 810-798-3361. We all look forward to working with everyone in the process of making this one of Michigan's most anticipated fall events.

—Teemie Eschenburg

teemie@teemiesblooms.com

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