Camp Dearborn is making its transition from an exceptionally busy summer season to its autumn season.
Currently running its full-activity season through Labor Day, the camp will continue camping through October with only limited activity.
“Even though come Labor Day a lot of people will leave, we’ll still have fall camping all the way through Nov. 1,” Camp Dearborn Manager Jim Gajewski said. “Our paddle boats won’t be open, the pool will not be open, it’s just basically camping, so we drop our rates to reflect we don’t have as many activities going on.”
The full-activity season traditionally ends with an End of Summer Bash at the Canteen. Below the Canteen is a hill, which the camp will convert into a “mini-Pine Knob” by closing the road off, and erecting a stage across the road so the road pavement can be used as a big dance floor.
The band Step 13 will play for three hours on the evening of Sunday, Sept. 5, performing pop music from 8-11 p.m. Since the concert takes place next to the Canteen, the concession stand will remain open throughout the event. Gajewski said campers traditionally will spend Monday packing up and getting on their way.
However, there will be other special weekend activities happening through this fall camping season, according to Gajewski. In September, Camp Dearborn will host a Sports-tacular X by Michigan Adaptive Sports on Sept. 11-13, another Tin Can Tourists event on Sept. 23-26 (with a Saturday open house on Sept. 25), and a fundraising 5K walk By Zaman International on Sept. 26. Hayrides will also start Sept. 17.
The Sports-tacular will be open to any camper with physical disabilities. Disabled people will be taught to participate in golf, tennis, handcycling, kayaking, fishing, wheelchair basketball and stand-up basketball. Also, Michigan Adaptive Sports President Kevin Mitchell announced that Michigan Sports Unlimited will be coming from Saginaw to demonstrate quad rugby.
The camping will be set up “like army barracks,” Mitchell said, with campers being provided barrier-free tents sleeping six, a refrigerator, stove, pantry and covered-eating area. The camping site will also be next to barrier-free bathrooms and showers, he said.
All participants and their families, and the volunteers working the event, will get breakfast, lunch and dinner on all three days of the event, except for Saturday. Saturday night will feature a dinner-dance and bonfire, with awards being presented to the volunteers.
As the event is being sponsored by the Wounded Warrior Project, Michigan Adaptive Sports will be sending out invitations to this year’s games to disabled veterans at the Veterans Administration hospital in Ann Arbor, and the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in downtown Detroit. Invitations have also be extended to the local chapter of the Disabled Sports USA.
“People are coming out the woodwork,” and Mitchell guesses attendance at the 10th annual Sports-tacular will probably be 50 percent more than in past years, because this year’s event will be free for the first time (though there will be a $20-per-night camping charge). Anyone wishing to register for the weekend can go to the website www.michiganadaptivesports.org, and click on summer activities.
There, they will be shown how to download the registration forms. Registration can also be done at the event, though Mitchell said he would prefer people preregister so he will know how much food and volunteers will be needed. Volunteers are certainly needed, he said. Anyone wishing to volunteer, or wanting more information on the event, can call Mitchell at (248) 891-9854.
The Tin Can Tourists will be returning to the camp gain after holding a previous event there this past summer. The Sept. 23-26 event will be smaller, Gajewski said, and again will feature old-style travel trailers. Some trailers will be matched with classic car models, he said, “and some of these travel trailers are truly bizarre.” During the Saturday open house, people will be able to go up to the travel trailers and walk through them, and talk to the people who own them.
The event will start with arrival and greetings from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, and a social hour for getting acquainted with sloppy joes and cider at 5 p.m. at the Tin Can Tourists tent. At 7:30 p.m., there will be a PowerPoint presentation on the history of the group.
In doing a trademark search on Tin Can Tourists, Directors Forrest Bone and his wife Jeri eventually accumulated archival information on the movement being born in Tampa in 1919, and on its movement across the country in the 1930s and its eventual demise in the 1980s. The movement was revived in Camp Dearborn in 1998, with the initial renewal gathering on the Thursday through Sunday before Memorial Day eventually joined by a “more-structured” fall gathering in 2000-2001. Bone explained the off-season was chosen for both the spring and fall gatherings to fully assure space for everyone.
“It’s a chance to kick back and end the camping season,” Bone said.
Friday will start at 10 a.m. with the Steven Fuqua Memorial Breakfast at the Tin Can Tourists tent, in memory of a member of the club for nine years before passing away this year. Bone said that when the group held breakfast or donuts at 7:30-8 a.m., Fuqua would “yelp why we couldn’t have breakfast at 10 or 11!” Bone said likely only a small group will come to the tent at 11 a.m. to carpool for antiques shopping in Holly, as most will be hanging out to socialize and trade trailer renovation tips.
There will be a 4 p.m. pumpkin carving, followed by a 6 p.m. pizza party and dance. The theme for the dance, deejayed by Rocking Red Bob, will be “Trailer Park Tacky,” with the couple wearing the tackiest outfit being crowned “King and Queen of Tacky.” After 7:30-9 a.m. with coffee and donuts at the tent, the Tin Can Tourists will hold their open house and flea market from 11-3 p.m. Saturday.
Because of the sheer number of campers expected for the more formal dinner Saturday, Bone said, seating at the tent will be divided between 5:30 p.m. for those who reserve the 1-50 trailer sites, at 6:15 p.m. for those who reserve sites 51-110. The event will close Sunday with 7:30-9 a.m. coffee and donuts before the trip home.
Anyone wishing to participate in the event , Bone said, should contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org for registration information. For information on the club and photos of the camper trailers used by members of the group, he said, go to www.tincantourist.com.
Zaman International, a non-profit service club much like Kiwanis, said club member David Turfe, will be taking on-line registration for its Sept. 26 “Walk 4 Humanity” through Sept. 20 at www.ZamanInternational.org. Check-in and registration will start at 8:30 a.m., with walk time beginning at 10 a.m. There will be a $20 donation for participation ($5 for age 12 and under), and the event will also feature aid stations every 1/2 mile, t-shirts, food and refreshments, and activities for children.
The proceeds from the event will go toward the club’s activities, such as two or three food banks each year, clothing and food drives, Plots for Tots that provides plaques for dead or stillborn infants, or helping battered women. The event is being held at Camp Dearborn for the first time.
“Hopefully it will become an annual event,” Turfe said. “One of the reasons we’re doing this is to let people know we are there, and know about what we do.”
In case of bad weather, check the website. For more information: call 313-551-3994 or email rsvp@ZamanInternational.org.
On Sept. 17, the camp office will start signing up people for fall hayrides every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until it snows. The group has to contain at least 20 people, who will receive entry into the park, a shelter, a bonfire, and 45-minute hayride coming from the shelter to around the park for $7 per-person.
There will also be hayrides during the special Halloween weekends Oct. 8-10 and 15-17. Other activities that weekend will include a hired magician, trick and treating, children in costumed parades, and pumpkin-carving contests.
Typically, Gajewski said, not too many will sign up for hayrides through late September and into early October. The picnic shelter rental has not yet slowed for autumn, as the Milford American Legion, Iron Workers and University of Michigan-Dearborn will be coming out for picnics the same weekend.
This comes after a summer in which “we did very well camping-wise,” Gajewski said, with a waiting list for camping sites every weekend.
“Whether it was a matter of people staying closer to home, not spending big bucks going to Disney World, you know, staying local, I don’t know,” he said. “All I can say is our camping was way up.”
The camp is open daily 7 a.m.-10 p.m., with the Canteen open daily 4-10 p.m. Admission at the gate is $4 per-car for Dearborn or Milford residents ($6 for other cars). Until Sept. 13, the Dearborn Recreation Department and camp office will be reregistering campers for 2011 in the same tent and week they occupied this season, and then new reservations for 2011 will be taken for Dearborn and Milford residents starting Sept. 20 (remaining campsites will be open to the public starting Nov. 1).
For more information on the fall camping season and these scheduled events, go to www.campdearborn.com, or call the Recreation Department at (313) 943-2350 or the camp office at (248) 684-6000.