(File photo) Workers at the 2017 Michigan Bean Festival scoop soup for the public. The event from Aug. 30 through Sept. 2 offers free bean soup.

Bean Fest offers food (the soup’s free) and music

Those coming home to see their kin during the Michigan Bean Festival may do well to visit Rev. Right-time & the 1st Cuzins of Funk at the festival entertainment tent Saturday, Aug. 31.

“They put on a great show and always get people out on the dance floor,” said Renae Ryers, treasurer of the board of directors for the festival, where the “reverend” and his bandmates perform from 8 p.m. to midnight.

The 73rd annual festival begins Friday and concludes on Labor Day, Sept. 2, with the parade set for 11 a.m. Labor Day. Festival volunteers plan to make doughnuts to sell at M-138 and Main Street, before the parade.

Entertainment-tent admission costs $5 per person for those 21 and older, and the musical menu features country music from 8 p.m. to midnight Sept. 1 when the Todd Michael Band plays the tent.

“They have a good following,” said Ryers, noting Reese vocalist Todd Felske is the band’s lead singer.

From 3-6 p.m. Sept. 1, Polka Panic, a three-man band from Bay City, performs in the tent, with free admission and drink specials during “Happy Hour” at that time. The entertainment tent, for the first time, offers mixed drinks this year in addition to the beer traditionally sold there.

Festival-goers also can try to double their money on the Big Wheel game inside the entertainment tent.

Fairgrove Lions Club members will sell bratwurst and hot dogs from a building in front of the entertainment tent. The festival, once again, provides cups of free bean soup, with workers “making a full pot” Saturday through Monday, Ryers said.

Festival volunteers crown the Michigan Bean Queen in a ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the entertainment tent.

A new event, Retro Trivia, follows at 8 p.m. Friday in the entertainment tent, featuring questions about 1980s and 1990s news, music, movies and culture. Cost is $20 for each team of two to six players dueling in seven rounds of trivia.

Bingo takes place in the Bean Festival building along M-138 from 6-10 p.m. Friday, from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and from noon to 6 p.m. Monday.

“Bingo’s a money-maker for us,” said Ryers, noting festival board vice-president Dawn Guthrie oversees the bingo activities.

A four-person coed sand volleyball tournament starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, and teams must consist of two females and two males. Cost is $20 per team, and teams may enter Saturday before the tourney.

The festival car show is from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, with registration at 10 a.m. at $10 per vehicle on the west side of Mulberry Park, also known as the Village Park, off M-138.

While the festival features a midway with carnival rides and games, Saturday also offers a new array of children’s games from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the hospitality tent south of the Michigan Bean Festival building. Andy and Ethan Frank have built a skee-ball machine as one of the kids’ games.

A donation from Pinnacle Agriculture has allowed festival organizers to rent two sections of bleachers from Bavarian Bleachers for motorsports events, including the figure-8 race at 8 p.m. Friday, the bump-and-run race at 6 p.m. Saturday and the demolition derby following the bump-and-run race.

Sunday features a cornhole tournament for two-person teams, with registration at 1 p.m. in the entertainment tent before the 2 p.m. competition.

Workers will sell Michigan Bean Festival hats, T-shirts, hoodies and koozies at the entertainment tent or in the informational booth inside the Bean Festival building.

Tom Gilchrist is a staff writer for The Advertiser. He can be reached at gilchrist@tcadvertiser.com.

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