Ludington’s ‘best of…’ list.

December 26, 2018

The SS Badger sails into Ludington. Photo by www.AlwayPhotography.com

Ludington’s ‘best of…’ list.

Opinion by Steve Miller, Ludington mayor-elect.

Now that we’ve reached the calendar’s final week, we can expect the inevitable avalanche of “Best of the Year” lists.  They come from every corner of the world…top news stories, outstanding athletic highlights, outrageous celebrity scandals, cutest pet pictures.  The rankings have become expected traditional media entertainment filler between the holidays that we somehow can’t seem to resist sifting through.

This year, after filtering through the inescapable landslide of these stratified categories, I wondered, how does any of this fit in my world?  In our small town world, what would make our “Best of…” list? Fortunately, for the city’s residents and visitors, we don’t have to wait for the year to end to enjoy the “Best of Ludington”.  What we have isn’t a one year phenomenon.

I’ll raise our legacy of stamina, perseverance, care and giving unto a status of its own; as it’s from that narrative we are capable of the unified strength and determination that has elevated our community image above all others.  

Ludington Mayor-Elect Steve Miller

During all the years I spent downstate, I could proudly answer, “Ludington” whenever asked where I came from originally.  The almost universal response would be, “I love that place”. And, rightfully so.

What does deserve to be highlighted on our “Best of” list, are the literally countless landmarks, traditions, and attractions that make up the ingredients that blend together to create a year ‘round living experience other towns can only try to emulate.

The New Year will be ushered in, as it has for the past nine years, by thousands of revelers, gathering in the center of town for the ball drop merriment and waiting for the stroke of midnight.  The extended forecast predicts relatively mild weather for the throngs converging at Ludington and James to mark the beginning of another year’s series of festivities.

I fancy the comparison between the facets of a cut jewel and the attractions sponsored within the city limits.  Entering the city from the east, spring through fall, you’re welcomed along a parade of petunias. By sea, tourists arrive by the thousands onboard the historic SS Badger.  We offer cultural charms in the form of art galleries, art fairs and live music venues; add seven murals, a sculpture walk, street pianos, the Maritime Museum, Sandcastles Children’s Museum and the Ludington Area Center for the Arts.  We have both West Shore Bank’s Rhythm and Dunes and the community-driven Ludrock outdoor music celebrations in Waterfront Park.

Mother Nature contributes Stearns Park beach, the most beautiful stretch of sand in the state.  Mix in the Chamber of Commerce sponsored Bonfires on the Beach for the most perfect setting for sunset gazing anywhere.  The annual Lake Jump is held in early spring, to benefit a deserving non-profit organization’s efforts. The Ludington Area Jaycees are the driving force that maintains the mini golf attraction at the corner of Lakeshore Drive and the Avenue and host the Fourth of July Freedom Festival parade and fireworks every year.  

An active Downtown Development Authority focuses on marketing activities throughout all four seasons to provide the happenings and events that preserve the heart of the city’s vibrancy.  Its list is continual, ranging from a series of 5k races, the Farmers Market in Legacy Park, and the summer’s Friday Night Live street parties to small business promotions like St. Patrick’s Day events, the 12 Days of Christmas, and the Chili Walk.  

We come together to enjoy the fishing tournaments, Guinness World Record attempts, the craft beer festivals, movies in Rotary Park, the largest Gus Macker tournament in the world.  

We care for each other with a Habitat for Humanity Neighbor-to-Neighbor program.  We’re fortunate to have C.O.V.E., Hospitality INC., the Salvation Army, and a host of other community supported advocacy facilities for men, women, and families.

Singularly, it isn’t any one of these events or undertakings that makes us such an impressive community.  It’s the fusion of all the efforts of leaders, volunteers, and participators that continues to solicit praises from the countless visitors and make us Ludington Proud.

So, when reading through all the “Year’s Best of” lists this year, take time to reflect on our surroundings.  We are privileged to live the “Best of” every day.

The very best to you and yours.  Have a safe and Happy New Year.

Steve Miller, Mayor Elect

  

 

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